Monday, May 7

God of War: Ghost of Sparta Review (PSP): Still got it

A few weeks ago I read that several notable first-party PSP releases were being marked down to a more-than-reasonable price point. The likes of Gran Turismo, Patapon 3, Resistance: Retribution and Little Big Planet would cost just over ten dollars. My impulse muscle -- by far my strongest -- was pulsating at the news, particularly when I noticed that Ready at Dawn Studios' follow-up to the wonderous God of War: Chains of Olympus was also included. God of War: Ghost of Sparta is one of the final high profile releases to appear on the PlayStation Portable that matches its home console brethren in terms of ambition, but how about fun?

Short answer is: God of War: Ghost of Sparta deserves a spot on your PlayStation portable (see what I did there?) of choice. It honestly makes some Vita games appear lacking with spectacular visuals, compelling combat and a meaty adventure that had me hooked from beginning to end. It's amazing that so little appears to be compromised in this package: you have an authentic, rousing score, the series' signature sense of scale, and an array of visually-impressive abilities that players have come to expect from the God of War games.

The story, which is set in-between the first two chapters of Kratos' saga, follows our favourite anti-hero's quest to find his brother, Deimos. The narrative isn't a strong selling point, but there are some moments where -- shock horror -- Kratos isn't required to kill everything on screen that have some genuine impact. You'll also come across more mythical creatures and characters from Greek mythology, and the brutal fashion in which some are dispatched will arouse the odd, wry smile.

The only real criticism I can level at Ready at Dawn's second triumph is the lack of variety in terms of enemies and the wholesale lack of challenge. No matter where Kratos finds himself he'll end up fighting the same minotaurs, harpies and automatons that appear throughout Atlantis, Heraklion or the Domain of Death. My playthrough on Normal (Hero) difficulty lasted about six hours and I was very rarely troubled. That said, however, there's additional difficulty levels and a wealth of extra content that's playable upon completing the game.

All things considered, I had an absolute blast with Ghost of Sparta. There may be some issues with challenge and lack of variety, but Ready at Dawn have again managed to pack all of the scale, ambition and fun of the home console instalments into the PSP's tiny frame. So, at roughly twelve dollars, is the game worth your time and money?:

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