|God of War: Ghost of Sparta|
|Developer: Ready at Dawn
Release Date: Out Now
Ready at Dawn’s first GoW title “Chains of Olympus” was a fantastic showcase for the PSP and they certainly proved they knew how to handle Sony’s prestigious franchise with the care it needed i.e. they didn’t tinker with the formula too much. That was back in 2008 and now the series has (sort of) concluded on the PS3 the developers have come back for another stab/chop/cleave/slash on the handheld.
Set between the original GoW and GoW II, the story kicks off with the newly crowned Kratos suffering from flashbacks and visions of his suitably murky past and the revelation that his long-thought-to-be-deceased brother Deimos is actually still in the land of the living. Thus begins the search for your sibling in typical brutal style and the fan-pleasing origin of Kratos’s facial scar adds to the appeal. On the surface it’s all a bit daytime TV but Ready at Dawn have done an admirable job of weaving the plot into the existing timeline and in the end it certainly gets you pumped up for the many, many battles you’ll step into during Ghost of Sparta’s 6-8 hour length.
Whether you’re floating on a ship headed towards Atlantis or working your way through hell, enemies are always in plentiful supply. The basic minions are despatched with a few flicks of your trusty weapons, the iconic Blades of Athena, but as is to be expected there are times when you’ll experience QTE (Quick Time Event) sections where you’ll be pushed into tapping the on-screen prompts in quick succession until you get it right. It should feel like an old and tired game mechanic after all this time but honestly it still works brilliantly to empower the player, especially when accompanied with the wonderfully over-the-top blood letting and eye gouging.
From the game’s opening battle with two massive sea creatures to the truly brilliant final boss, you’ll always be impressed with the scope and scale of what the game has to offer, even more so when you remember that you’re playing on the PSP and not its big brother. The environments share the same attention to detail with visually impressive landscapes to work through along with weather effects and cinematic camera angles aplenty adding the much-needed atmosphere. The terrific voice acting and thumping orchestral score must also get a mention.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta isn’t the longest game in the world (I had it finished in a weekend of solid play) and it never takes any risks to truly take the franchise forward but it honestly doesn’t need to when it plays this well. The mechanics are solid and it still has the ability to give you that visceral thrill that very few action games can. It’s well worth dusting off your PSP to spend some quality time with everyone’s favourite anti-hero. THIS IS SPARTA! And it feels great!
- It’s gorgeous (or should that be gore-geous? – I’ll get my coat.)
- You get to kick defenceless mortals through wooden doors!
- The story slots nicely into the GoW mythology.
- Some of the new weapons/powers are a bit naff.
- It is essentially more of the same.
- PSP Thumb GRI (Game-Related Injury.)