God of War: Ghost of Sparta marked the second entry for the God of War franchise to the PlayStation Portable, it was released in 2010 and it serves as prequel to God of War 3.
Ghost of Sparta starts with Kratos on his throne as the God of War, haunted by visions from his past, of a brother that was taken and never found, he goes then to explore why these visions still haunt him, despite Athena’s warnings to just leave the visions be. Kratos is then attacked by Scylla, after killing Scylla, Kratos then finds his mother, Callisto who after a little talking turns into a hideous monster attacking Kratos, after killing her, Callisto’s last wish for Kratos is to search for his brother, Deimos, and save him, and thus begins Kratos’ quest for finding his brother.
During Ghost of Sparta, Kratos will visit, well, Sparta, the only place in the game that is not ravaged by monsters, and where Kratos is met as a god and a Spartan hero (Along with the infamous God of War sex scenes which are present in Sparta). Kratos also goes to Atlantis which gives a good explanation as to why God of War 3 starts off with a battle between Kratos and Poseidon, for the sake of not ruining anything, I won’t explain more of this. Amongst other numerous places Kratos visits of course, the underworld not being one of them, almost for the first time I believe, though Kratos gets close enough to it that I didn’t miss the underworld a lot.
During the game, as per any God of War, Kratos acquires more ways to dispose of his enemies, or, well, dispose of basically anything that moves, And though I personally didn’t find a big use for magic in the game, it is still fun to mash O as you blast away with the Eye of Atlantis and see the hit counter go up, then again, I played this on the second difficulty, which was humiliatingly easy, though spare me, I did try to play on the hardest and the game was so punishing I left it for almost a year until I picked it up again last week.
Aside from magic, Kratos also acquires the Arms of Sparta, or in other words, his old spear and shield, and you can switch out to those by pressing down on your D pad, the Arms of Sparta have their own set of combos and uses, I personally thought they were a bit overpowered when completely upgraded, but they do serve as a replacement for the Bow of Apollo in regards of disposing of ranged enemies, and the combos are fun to do anyway, so no complaints there.
In terms of length, the game is not long, it isn’t too short as well though, it is very well made for a handheld clocking at 5:45 hours exactly on Mortal difficulty WITH exploring, though length aside, the game has tremendous replayability value if you want to get that shiny platinum we all crave, more so that when you beat the game, the artwork and some of the challenges of the gods aren’t automatically unlocked, you have to purchase them with the red orbs you earn in game. I beat the game with 90k orbs and I thought I had a lot, one of the unlockables cost a whopping 250k orbs so you get the picture here.
The HD remake for this game did it justice, so much justice in fact that I barely noticed it was originally a PlayStation Portable game. Everything looks splendid, even the shadows, and that’s a lot coming from me, but one issues with the shadows is that they’re not very consistent, there are no shadows for your weapons or the environment, you only have shadows for the characters, which isn’t too annoying, but noticeable. The game runs at a steady and smooth 60 FPS unlike its non HD sibling making playing the game on the PlayStation 3 even more of a delight.
Sound effects are what you would come to expect from a God of War title, everything is good, the screams of the very few people running around in Atlantis, Kratos’ grunts and dialogue are all very well made, along with all the dialogues in the game, though I felt that it needed a little more back story behind all the hack and slash going on, it is basically a two liner cut scene, then killing anything that moves for a good hour or so, then another two liner cut scene where Kratos screams bloody vengeance (As usual).
All in all, God of War: Ghost of Sparta is a very well made PlayStation Portable title, and a very well executed HD remake giving fans of the franchise who never owned a PlayStation Portable (As me) and don’t exactly want to play the PlayStation Portable game on the PlayStation Vita a chance to experience more of the story for the God of War without any hiccups whatsoever in the gameplay or performance.
The game is out on the PlayStation Network for purchase alone or as the God of War: Origins Collection, and most recently, part of the bundled God of War Saga which includes all God of War games released to date.
Let me know what you folks thought of the game.