|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ready at Dawn Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCE Santa Monica||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 2, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
2010 seems to be a hallmark year for the God of War series. The final entry in the series' timeline, God of War III was released earlier this year, and though the end of the game seemed pretty finite as far as storyline goes (well, for now at least), almost as soon as the game was released, a new game for the PSP was revealed to be in the works. God of War: Ghost of Sparta follows Kratos through his journey as a God of War into the heart of Atlantis. We recently got to sit down with one of the levels in this game and came away impressed.
Much like the previous PSP-exclusive title, Ghost of Sparta features a guided level design that lets you navigate Kratos through several self-contained dungeon-like areas. We started our adventure on a ship bound for the lost city of Atlantis that was being attacked by a tentacle-clad creature known as a Scylla. In true God of War fashion, we had to fight off several waves of enemies while attacking the tentacles Scylla had wrapped around the ship. After doing enough damage to the creature's extremities, we were able to attack it head-on and then wallop it with one of the quick-time finishers the series is known for.
Once we passed through this point, we embarked on a journey through a dark dungeon-like area that featured plenty of enemies and some light puzzling involving some thrown switches. We were also able to pick up a new weapon (the spear) and gain some electricity powers. The spear is a first for the God of War series, giving Kratos some excellent reach for strong attacks and also allowing you to toss the powerful weapon in your enemy's direction.
Although the spear was easy to use and did some devastation during the Scylla's second appearance (that's right folks, it didn't die the first time!), I have to say that Kratos' electrical attack was the most useful. When used, you simply have to point the stream of electricity in the general direction of your enemy and then hold the button while the enemies fry.
The level we spent some time with was short, and though it only gave us a taste of the gameplay, there were some other things we noticed while playing. The game's visuals are impressive and take the series to a new level on the PSP. Kratos has plenty of detail on him and his cinematic attacks are presented with impressive and varied animations. Enemy animations are also nicely varied, and even though I found myself fighting hordes of the same type of enemy on more than one occasion, they all moved and attacked in wildly different ways, which kept the gameplay interesting. The environments also featured plenty of animation, including many different water effects that help set the tone for the underwater city of Atlantis. Cascading waterfalls and dripping beads of water from the ceiling help keep the underwater setting active.
One thing we didn't get to check out in the demo, however, was the story. We know that God of War: Ghost of Sparta will take place between the first and second God of War games, but the dialog in the demo did not even hint at the game's overarching story. I suppose this is probably to keep up anticipation levels for the game's release this November, but I would have still liked to see one or two cinema scenes in the game explaining some of the early plot points.
The story may still be shrouded in mystery, but from what we've seen so far, you can bank on God of War: Ghost of Sparta being a worthwhile title. The game features all the same action we've come to expect from the God of War series but adds some new weapons, magic attacks, and will have awesome visuals that improve upon the high standard set by Chains of Olympus. We're definitely excited to see more from this game, and even though 2010 has seen the blockbuster release of God of War III, Ghost of Sparta looks like it will bring as much excitement to the PSP as the former did to the PS3.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor