God of War: Ghost of Sparta HD
Review by bbears
God of War: Ghost of Sparta is another bite sized edition of the God of War franchise and was originally exclusive to the PSP and is supposed to take place between the first and second games of the main trilogy. As a system mover for the PSP Chains of Olympus, the God of War prequel, it was a given that there was going to be another exclusive title for the PSP. I personally can't stand hand held systems and stayed far away from this game even though God of War is one of my favorite franchises. So I was grateful to finally see Sony come their senses and give this game a port to the PS3. Th first God of War PSP game was a shadow of it's bigger brothers on the consoles and an overall disappointment to me. Ghost of Sparta improves compared to Chains of Olympus in almost every where. Still this title is limited and short in comparison to proper God of War games. Throw in a odd but nearly debilitating control issue and Ghost of Sparta is a questionable purchase on PSN.
Ghost of Sparta is an impressive bit of tech for the PSP and looks better than even Chains of Olympus. However this game was designed originally for an inferior system and looks rather unimpressive on the PS3. The art direction and sense of scale is present though and helps capture the epic tones that it's predecessor could not muster. There are many more boss encounters as well with some great design. Basic enemies are still recycled and will become repetitive when you fight them for the umpteenth time across your spartan carer. The great music and score is present that the series is known for. The rest of the sound design and voice acting is a strength of the game as you would expect.
Ghost of Sparta has a control set up identical to Chains of Olympus. While this works well enough it is disappointing that they still have not restored proper console controls. That said they work well enough with one major exception. The quick time events that the franchise is so well known for are glitched in some parts. This is random and inexcusable even if this is a port. These quick time events are mandatory and must be completed to progress forward in the game. Practically the only time I died during the game was when trying to figure out these sequences. Hitting the prompts when they appear in some parts is not good enough but you instead have to anticipate each random prompts. This was hugely frustrating and at one point was enough for me to quit the game outright.
Ghost of Sparta picks up after the conclusion of God War 1 and you are not quite an actual God yet just a servant carrying the mantle. After defending Sparta from an attack the brooding Kratos stumbles upon some of his own personal history. It turns into a tale where you are going out to avenge your brother and tries to give Kratos a more fleshed out back story. I felt that this was completely unnecessary as the angry character of Kratos is supposed to be larger than life that his history didn't matter as much as the current focused quest to rid the world of Gods. This tale did do a better tour of the now familiar Greek mythology than is predecessors.
Ghost of Sparta play similarly to all the other God of War games. They have definitely gone with if it's not broke don't fix it approach. And for the most part this is a good thing. Basic enemy variety is still lacking but there is more change of pace content this time around. The puzzles mostly involve levers and block pushing which will not stimulate your brain. The platforming sections also leave much to be desired. There is a fair amount of water sections this time around but they aren't impressive. One complaint I have is that several times Kratos will be forced press up against a wall to walk around an edge. While this is common in a lot of games Kratos has his blades that he can thrust into mountains and use maneuver around quickly. Not doing this seems odd as there is little reason not too. The big improvement though has to be the boss encounters. They are much more common and actually fleshed out and definitely the highlight of the game. However all this is wasted if you can't get past the broken quick time event sections!
God of War: Ghost of Sparta is the perfect example of taking one step forward and two steps back. While this title has improved in every way over the other PSP title the broken quick time events are a game ending glitch that make this game worth avoiding all together.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 12/03/12
Game Release: God of War: Ghost of Sparta HD (US, 09/13/11)
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