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God of War: Ghost of Sparta review

AT A GLANCE
  • Looks absolutely incredible for a PSP game
  • Arms of Sparta are fun to use, if not always effective
  • Packs GoW's signature, satisfyingly vicious combat
  • Some fights go on for way too long
  • Balance beams are a bigger pain than ever
  • Few real surprises

Then there’s Kratos’s long-overdue encounter with the Furies, the revenge goddesses infamous in Greek myth for hounding those who’ve committed crimes against nature or the gods. Here, they’re condensed into a single character – named Erinys – who seems less interested in avenging Kratos’s many, many crimes than she is in simply keeping him from ever finding his brother. Whatever her reasons, the fight against her is one of Ghost of Sparta’s high points.

Ghost also brings a few original touches to the gameplay, the biggest being the Arms of Sparta, a shield-and-spear combo that’s surprisingly versatile compared to Kratos’s usual arsenal. Not only can Kratos fight at close range with it, but he can hurl the spear at distant targets (something that’s also key to solving a few of the game’s puzzles) and ward off various environmental hazards – like a massive wall of flame – with the shield. Ultimately, the Arms aren’t as effective in combat as the trusty old Blades of Athena, but it’s still nice to have a secondary weapon that feels like an important part of the game, instead of something we can just ignore.

Other additions include the new Hyperion Charge, a dash move that enables Kratos to tackle his enemies and punch their faces in while they’re on the ground. And again, Ghost of Sparta also grabs a few ideas from God of War III, like an added “fire” meter that lets Kratos charge up his blades to punch through armor and some walls, and a slightly modified approach to quick time scenes that moves the button prompts off to the sides, leaving the action unobscured.

Ghost of Sparta also features the now-customary secrets and power-ups to unlock once you’ve finished the game, as well as a handful of challenge modes and a new endless combat arena for which you can set the parameters.  But otherwise, it doesn’t hold too many surprises, especially not if you’re a longtime fan of the series – and that’s the bulk of its problem. The gameplay is stellar and the visuals are beautiful, but the ships, dungeons and snowy mountains Kratos explores all feel just a little too familiar.

Granted, this is a handheld interquel, so the developers don’t have a whole lot of room to introduce anything too earth-shaking. But after the last four God of War games, earth-shaking is what we’ve come to expect. And while Ghost of Sparta is still better than most other games (especially on the increasingly bone-dry PSP), it’s a strangely by-the-numbers outing for one of gaming’s most inventively brutal anti-heroes.

Oct 27, 2010

More Info

Release date: Nov 02 2010 - PSP (US)
Nov 05 2010 - PSP (UK)
Available Platforms: PSP
Genre: Action
Published by: SCEA
Developed by: Ready At Dawn Studios
Franchise: God of War
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content
PEGI Rating:
18+

29 comments

  • Redeater - October 27, 2010 9:27 p.m.

    Almost makes me want to get a PSP......almost.
  • juicenpancakes - October 27, 2010 9:27 p.m.

    I had a LOT of fun with Chains of Olympus, but my PSP is currently doing a solid job of collecting dust, and I don't want to ruin that. With All of the games that have come out and are coming out, is this game worth shelling out even more money and getting out the ol' PSP again? I've read the review twice now, and I still can't decide. I was going to Best Buy today to pick up Vanquish... surely I shouldn't pick this up instead...? Ahhh!!! Too many games!!!
  • magemaster - October 27, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    I thought you will give a nine.. Nevermind, I still want it so bad!
  • MattMk2 - October 27, 2010 9:40 p.m.

    Im glad it doesnt suck. Ghost of Sparta is the only reason I still have my PSP. Damn things falling apart, should really be put to rest. After Ghost of Sparta I think it will finally be time to let my PSP go. We've been through alot together, from picking it up on launch day, to finding out I could use it to look at porn. Ah good times. I'll miss you PSP.
  • batmanboy11 - October 27, 2010 9:56 p.m.

    Maybe I'll buy this and blow the dust of off my PSP.
  • 510BrotherPanda - October 27, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    My only PS console is the PSP because my family only gets Nintendo stuff (I bought the PSP with chore-doing earnings). I'm mostly getting this for the supposed pre-order developer's commentary DVD and other stuff.
  • Austin_SJ - October 27, 2010 9:58 p.m.

    The tone of the review led me to expect a much lower score. Maybe you've just had too much God of WAr for one year.
  • blocpartier - October 27, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    The God of War series is the only reason at the moment for making me want a PS3. I wish would have gotten one instead of a 360.
  • reaper - October 27, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    Kratos goes to sparta?
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - October 27, 2010 10:40 p.m.

    noooooo! king midas!
  • LAKERdynasty247 - October 27, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    Nice I loved COO so I'll most likely enjoy this one too.
  • garnsr - October 27, 2010 10:54 p.m.

    I liked the first two GOWs, but the third one sort of left me a little disappointed. Recently, Enslaved and Castlevania LoS have left me underwhelmed, too. Maybe I'm just tired of this sort of game. I never played Chains of Olympus, and I don't think I'll try this one out either.
  • Clovin64 - October 27, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    I felt a tiny bit dissapointed with God of War 3 because it just felt like more of the same from GOW1 and 2. I should probably wait until next year to get this, two GOW games in one year is a bit too much.
  • ultimatepunchrod - October 28, 2010 12:22 a.m.

    really looking forward to this.
  • Alakasam342 - October 28, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    SHOULD GET A 0!!!! THIS GAME IS HORRIBLE!!! NOT AS GOOD AS MUSCLE MARCH!!!!
  • JellyvsJam - October 28, 2010 12:55 a.m.

    totally looking forward to playing this thx Mikel
  • Turboash - October 28, 2010 2:22 a.m.

    Wash, rinse, repeat. God of War has really gone down hill since... well, since God of War!
  • TNK2 - October 28, 2010 3:06 a.m.

    This it the best God of War because it touches on the personal side of Kratos. [EDITED TO REMOVE SPOILERS] And the psp is not bonedry. Just because it doesn't have as much shovelware as DS doesn't mean that it has no games.We got Tekken DR,Tekken 6,Crisis Core,Kingdom Hearts,Patapon series,Syphon Filter,Resistance,MotorStorm,Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi Tag Team,God of War,Rock Band,Bleach,Yu-Gi-Oh,Burnout,Monster Hunter,God Eater,Yakuza,MGS Portable Ops,MGS PeaceWalker and much more.
  • razorwiretensho - October 28, 2010 7:12 a.m.

    @TNK2 Seriously dude? You just completely ruined this game for me Maybe try tell people it's a spoiler alert before blows the entire games story, dumbass.
  • cyclone306 - October 28, 2010 5:06 p.m.

    TNK2 - What a dick

Showing 1-20 of 29 comments

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