God of War: Ghost of Sparta Review

Like God of War 2 represented an improvement over its predecessor, Ghost of Sparta feels superior to Chains of Olympus in pretty much every single aspect.

God of War: Chains of Olympus for PSP is still considered one of the best games available on Sony’s portable platform. After all, the action adventure game was a terrific entry in the violent series. The fluid combat, gorgeous visuals, amazing sound design and compelling storyline proved that a portable God of War game was possible. Ghost of Sparta attempts to create a similar experience and luckily for fans of the series, it largely succeeds.

God of War - Ghost of Sparta 01

God of War: Ghosts of Sparta is one of the best looking games you can play on the PSP.

Unlike Chains of Olympus (which was a prequel,) Ghost of Sparta is set after the events of the original God of War when Kratos defeated God of War Ares. In Ghost of Sparta, Kratos decides to go to Atlantis and the Spartan’s early life is revealed through flashbacks. The portable game sheds some light on Kratos’ history and we meet his family, including his mother and his brother Deimos.

Kratos has always been a one-dimensional character and this game’s no exception. Sometimes he seeks revenge or wants to kill a god and, in this case, he also wants to find his brother… so that he can kill him. This is a rudimentary story that serves as your motivating force. As you probably noticed by now, the game’s subject matter is still as gruesome and violent as always. Kratos decapitates, mutilates, maims, slashes, kicks and punches anything that moves and on some rare occasions, he also finds the time to have sex in a simplistic (not to mention completely unnecessary) minigame. Overall, this is still the God of War you know and love and that’s great news. The combo system’s still as intuitive and satisfying as ever, there are gargantuan bosses, you can upgrade your weapons using colored orbs, you still participate in QTE-based minigames and so on.

God of War - Ghost of Sparta 02

Parkour! Parkour!

The parkour discipline is a more prominent part of this game (especially when compared to its predecessor Chains of Olympus.) Fortunately, climbing walls, walking on wooden beams, swinging back and forth using chains, hanging from ledges and leaping from ladder to ladder is remarkably easy. Still, it’s worth mentioning that the game sometimes demands precision, but the PSP’s controls don’t support the necessary finesse to pull off those amazing feats which leads to some unnecessary (not to mention infuriating) deaths.

The best part about the gameplay is that there are new weapons and spells and when you level them up using the red orbs you’ve collected throughout your adventure, you receive new combination of attacks. Although I had a hard time memorizing the dozens of attacks I had unlocked, combining them in creative new ways was a delightful and intuitive process. Despite the lack of a second analog stick, pulling off convoluted combos, dodging attacks, using powerful spells, performing quick-time events and jumping over platforms felt satisfying enough.

God of War - Ghost of Sparta 03

Push that circle!

Some of the game’s new abilities include Thera’s Bane which sets your Blades of Chaos on fire so that you can perform some truly devastating attacks that not only defeat enemies and bosses, but also destroys certain objects that block your path. This ability is extremely satisfying to use, since it allows you to deal more damage to regular enemies and some specific enemies and bosses can only be affected if you use Thera’s Bane.

Once you beat the main campaign, you have access to the treasure section in the main menu which is packed with extra content. Here you’ll find the Challenge of the Gods which is a series of challenges from Athena or Ares where you need to fulfill certain objectives, such as opening chests without dying, killing all enemies in a limited amount of time, retrieving all red orbs before time runs out, killing all enemies without taking a hit and so on. Combat Arena is a mode where you can participate in fights tweaking some of the rules. For example, you can play with infinite health, change costumes and more. In temple of Zeus, you can spend red orbs to unlock even more treasures and finally, the video section is a virtual place where you can watch all the in-game movies, credit scenes, movies and galleries where you can see the game’s concept art.

God of War - Ghost of Sparta 04

I bet he’s mad about something.

Like God of War 2 represented an improvement over its predecessor, Ghost of Sparta feels superior to Chains of Olympus in pretty much every single aspect. After all, there are new enemies, weapons, spells and extra content while the core gameplay remains unchanged. On top of that there are some scripted scenes, such as the first time you explore Sparta, that are memorable and impactful. God of War: Ghost of Sparta is worth dusting off a PSP for and that’s something that can’t be said about most portable games.