PSP Review: God of War: Ghost of Sparta

Is Kratos’ second handheld outing worthy of the Gods?

With the trilogy all wrapped up, what else is there for us to see from Kratos? Quite a bit it seems as Ghost of Sparta would have you believe. At the end of God of War, the brutal warrior Kratos had defeated Ares and ascended to Olympus as the new God of War. In Ghost of Sparta, Kratos finds that his new powers are not enough to stop the nightmares that continue to plague him. To free himself of the ghosts that haunt his memories, Kratos must embark on a journey that will reveal the origins of lost worlds and answer long-awaited questions about his dark past.

The story is engaging and is full of the standard twists and turns that we’ve come to expect from the franchise, fans will simply love what has been done here and it serves more than enough cause for you to play through the 8-10 hour campaign.

Ghost of Sparta is business as usual, kill everything in sight and move on. Big boss battles, full of quick-time events also return and there’s less emphasis on puzzles and exploring than in other GoW games. I missed out on Chains of Olympus, but was wondering how the game would cope without a second analog stick and actually they’ve done very well without it. Having said that, it would have been nice to have the option to use the d-pad to move Kratos instead of the analog stick, which becomes uncomfortable after a while. Also, whoever decided to make you roll using both shoulder buttons and using the analog stick needs shot, it’s incredibly awkward and unnecessary.

These control nibbles aside, Ghost of Sparta is a fantastic game and the best I’ve played on the PSP this year. It’s full of brutal destruction and gory deaths as you would expect, Kratos gets a few new moves and upgrades as you progress, but you are best sticking to your blades to attack. Enemies are powerful, but a bit on the dumb side I found, they are also pretty predictable when they are going to attack. Of course, God of War is all about getting massive combos and killing your foes in incredibly violent ways and Ghost of Sparta does not disappoint in this regard.

After you complete the game, you’ll unlock challenge rooms which will put you to the test. You can also unlock new costumes with abilities for another playthrough, so there’s good reason to go through again. In terms of presentation, you won’t find a better looking game on the PSP. Ghost of Sparta pushes the system to its very limits, while somehow keeping load times short. Character models are superb for a handheld and the framerate is consistent for the most part. Voice-acting is as good as the console versions and the script is well done.

The Verdict

God of War: Ghost of Sparta is a brilliant entry into the series, one that newcomers and fans of the series will definitely enjoy. This is without a doubt, the best PSP game of 2010, despite some control problems that hold it back somewhat. If anything, Ghost of Sparta just goes to show that there’s still a lot of life left in the PSP and shows just how much can be done with the hardware.