Ghost Of Sparta is the best God Of War title released so far. If you neglected to play this game on the PSP last year I urge you not to make the same mistake twice. The portable version was fantastic but thanks to HD/3D visuals and tighter controls, this Playstation 3 port (which is being sold both as part of God Of War: Origins Collection and as a standalone PSN release) is phenomenal! When the game was first released last fall it received a fair bit of criticism for failing to bring anything new to the table, but that was partly due to the fact that it was released just a few months after God Of War III. Now that Kratos fatigue has worn off the game feels bigger and better than ever!
It’s hard to believe this game began its life on the PSP. The fantastic graphics coupled with huge boss battles and epic set pieces makes Ghost Of Sparta look and feel like an original PS3 title. The story which takes place between the events of the first two games is equally impressive, particularly if you’re familiar with the God Of War universe.
Ghost Of Sparta gives us some insight in to Kratos’ childhood and finally introduces his long lost brother Deimos, who was first hinted at several years ago. I’ve stated many times before that I’m not too fond of Kratos as a character but Ready At Dawn has successfully managed to humanize the blood thirsty Spartan by giving him a relatable motive for vengeance, something which the series had yet to do. Little things like seeing Kratos comfort a dying soldier or witnessing how much civilians worship him as him humbly walks through Sparta adds so much to the character and it’s refreshing to see him put someone’s life before his own for a change, even if it is his brothers.
As far as combat goes, Ghost of Sparta provides your typical God Of War affair. Kratos can attack with his twin blades, launch enemies in to the air for juggling opportunities, perform grapple moves, parry incoming attacks and more. This title also features some of the best weapons the series has ever had and as always, each weapon can be upgraded to improve their abilities. Kratos’ health and magic meters can also be upgraded by finding hidden objects scattered throughout the game world, this makes fully exploring the environments an essential part of the game. Without dropping too many spoilers the first new power which Kratos possesses is Thera’s Bane which allows him infuse his blades with fire. Once you’ve obtained Thera’s Bane you can use it to cut through the defences of heavily guarded enemies and bust open fire-sealed doors.
Occasionally Kratos will take time away from combat to solve environment puzzles. The puzzles are a little on the easy side but they do a good job of breaking up the game’s pace. Kratos is also quite the acrobat and he’ll frequently get a chance to demonstrate his skills by scaling huge walls and swinging from ceilings with his “magical grappling hook”.
Ready At Dawn has come a long way in the past three years and God Of War: Ghost Of Sparta solidifies their position as one of the best development studios our industry has to offer. Ghost Of Sparta’s 7 hour campaign will satisfy anyone who’s looking for a fun-filled action game and additional challenges and unlockables provide even more to see and do once the end credits roll. Sure it doesn’t do much to reinvent the God Of War wheel but this title does enough to be considered an essential purchase.
This review was based on a retail download copy of the game for the PlayStation 3 provided by Sony.