It’s hard to believe that, technically, this is the sixth God of War game. And whilst recent games have focused on lead Kratos once he’s become the eponymous God, Ghost of Sparta aims to take things back to their roots and reveal the origins of the character. Of course, this doesn’t mean there’s going to be any deviation from the series’ core principles and mechanics – Ghost of Sparta is still a third person adventure with lots of fighting and quick time events, but at least we’re seeing some love for the PSP.
Taking, we assume, much of the technology behind Chains of Olympus, this second PSP game builds on the first one both in terms of gameplay (Ghost is supposed to be 25% bigger) and visually, with some nicely updated graphics on show (and some lovely filmic motion blur effects) and, of course, bigger and badder bosses. The area we played is based on the city of Atlantis (mentioned in God of War III by Poseidon and a familiar Greek legend) and whilst starts on familiar ground (a boat) soon moves onto the pavements of the famed city.
Naturally, this isn’t before being introduced to one of the series’ key elements: a massive boss – Scylla. We don’t get to meet Scylla’s counterpart, Charybdis, but we’re assuming that Kratos won’t be skimping on the double act and hopefully, if our encounter with the former is anything to go by, battling both sea creatures at once could be a real treat. As with previous games in the God of War lineage, this boss pops up several times over the course of the level until the climax, an angry (and conclusive) leap from Kratos towards her, cuts off our demo abruptly.
The improvements, such as the new weapon (in addition to the Blades of Athena) with its shield and spear toggles with the trigger, seem to offer deeper combat ideas and will prove essential on the harder difficulties which is a refreshing notion at this point. There’s a couple of other moves open to Kratos too and the magic item on show in the level we played, the Eye of Atlantis, is both dramatic and powerful, making us wish we could have seen more of what this brand new PSP game has to offer. Still, it’s left us wanting more – and soon.
I’m a big fan of the God of War series, and whilst it’s clear that Ready at Dawn are masters of the PSP’s tech (there’s practically no load times, the visuals are incredible and the game plays perfectly) I’m wondering just how much life there is left in the old black box. At least sales of the recent God of War Collection have shown that the series is still incredibly popular so we’re hoping that, whilst this is unlikely to be a system seller, anyone with a PSP and a passing interest in the games will be picking this one up on day one.