God of War: Ghost of Sparta Review
Developer: Ready at Dawn Studios/ Santa Monica Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: Playstation Portable (PSP)
Release Date: November 2, 2010
The original God of War is one of those games that did so well that not even it’s own sequels were able to be significantly better. With that being said, God of War: Ghost of Sparta was great and just what I was expecting from another God of War game. The fighting mechanics were great, the graphics were very close to the PS2 version, and, as always, the story was great.
I’m going to spoil parts of the story, so if you didn’t play God of War or God of War: Chains of Olympus then you should skip ahead a little. Right after the first game ends is where this game starts. Kratos is the new God of War and after a time of waging wars and murdering, he has a vision of his past and starts to look into it. Kratos finds out that he still has living family members and starts hunting for them. He first meets his mother Callisto and learns that the God of Death, Thanatos, has his brother, Deimos, in the world between the living and the dead. After a battle with his mutated mother is where the story shows how dull Kratos can be. Kratos is usually the angriest guy in the universe and nothing shakes that, even the death of his mother is just blamed on the gods. Most of the time the God of War games are pretty strong in every area including the overall story, but it seems like the developers never really cared about the evolution of Kratos himself. Kratos tears his way through Atlantis and a few other mythological areas before getting to the realm of Thanatos. This story offers a bit of lightness to the overall brutal, revenge-seeking ways that Kratos normally follows, mostly noticeable when Kratos is interacting with the Spartans. In one scene there is a group of soldiers pulling down a statue of Ares to erect a statue of their new God of War Kratos; one actually gives Kratos his old weapons that he used to use as a captain of the Spartan army. I have always liked the story behind God of War and this game was great as wel;. The addition of the family was a nice touch and it didn’t go overboard on the flashbacks of killing his family. The story of Ghost of Sparta ends with a nice showdown between the God of War and Thanatos; showing that Kratos is a killer of multiple gods before God of War 2 even starts.
The gameplay in Ghost of Sparta was some of the best gameplay in the God of War game series. God of War is one of those games that allow for both button mashing and some thought with combinations and magic. The core gameplay has Kratos using his signature blades that are attached to his body through some sort of god magic. The blades allow for some pretty fancy looking moves that have Kratos flying through the air and spinning around like a mad man. The free-flowing combat is very fun and is even incorporated into more than one weapon. Kratos is known for having the use of magical items like the head of Medusa and that continues into GoS. Kratos gets a couple items that range from freezing the enemies to shocking the crap out of them and almost all of the items were fun to use and nice to see. The boss battles shake things up a bit with context sensitive battles that have you mashing buttons repeatedly or pushing a specific button that is shown on screen. The battles are very cinematic and even though the battle is scripted, you still feel like you are controlling the pain that is being dealt out by Kratos. The battles are separated by some decent platforming and the occasional puzzle. I love this game’s fighting mechanics just like all of the other God of War games and it is complimented with great background visuals and above par voice-over work.
Everywhere you go in God of War: Ghost of Sparta you will see huge backdrops. There is always something happening. Either a city is falling to the bottom of the sea, giant monsters breaking through a wall, or Kratos just ripping something in half. Kratos has great animations and that goes for all of the other creatures in the game. Each actor in the game is amazing and most of the voice work sounds like something that would come right out of a blockbuster movie. In fact, some of the voice work is actually done by professionals from the movie industry, which in my opinion, makes the characters more believable than if some untrained nobody were doing the work.
I have loved Greek mythology since I was a little boy and when I first played God of War I knew I was in for a treat. Then, when I heard that there was going to be more than one, I almost had an accident. Although half of me was a little scared that Sony wouldn’t be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat again. Well, they did, God of War: Ghost of Sparta is a full-fledged God of War game and you will honestly be missing out on a great part of the tale if you do not play this game. Aside from the dull character that is Kratos, everything in God of War: Ghost of Sparta was amazing.
What is your favorite GoW game?