|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|
What little extra power the PSP hadn't yet revealed is finally juiced by this game. I sincerely doubt that any PSP game after this one will arrive and look markedly better. Kratos himself looks splendid, detailed, and well-animated. Both in cutscenes and in gameplay the environments and characters look fantastic.
The audio is another area where this game excels. The PSP isn't always the best game for achieving clear audio, but Ghost of Sparta still manages to deliver good sound. Terrence T.C. Carson reprises the role of Kratos, and he's solid as usual. The score is similarly powerful, but (at risk of sounding like a broken record) it wont blow you away. It enhances the experience, but it's almost invisible due to how standard it is for this series.
The leveling-up mechanic also works much the same as it always has. The red orbs that the series has employed since the first game are still collected and funneled into specific weapons and powers. It's limited customization, but at least it allows you some choice in how you want to play the game. If I hate one of the weapons, for instance, I can choose not to devote experience points to that weapon and level up others.
Overall, Ghost of Sparta is an extremely polished experience that nails the core tenants of the God of War formula. But at this point I have to wonder if that formula might finally be getting stale. Sony has released a new God of War game every single year since 2005, and the experience hasn't really evolved at all since the very first game. So far the series is still doing fine and will probably sell a couple million copies. However, I have a hunch that the next God of War game that fails to evolve the design of the game will probably be met with sighs from gamers. How long can Sony rest on its laurels and pump out new levels for David Jaffe's original God of War design?
If they're not careful, they'll end up like Devil May Cry, which slowly turned off fans, before eventually needing a marquis developer to completely reboot the series. As much as I would love to see a God of War reboot, Sony needs to be more careful than that. Why not try stretching God of War into new genres? Introduce an open world, stretch into Roman mythology, or add motorcycle riding mini-games. OK, I'm kidding about that last one (although Kratos on a motorcycle would be totally badass). But I think this is the last time Sony can get away with ignoring innovation.
CCC Freelance Writer