by Ryan D Lowe
reviewed on PSP
The Sisters... are dead! (cntd)
Along with the Quick Time Events, the game introduces sequences where the story is told as the player is allowed to walk about the environment. This is a great addition, and one that adds a lot of freedom to the structured format.
Throughout the adventure, hidden chests can be found scattered here and there. This is one of my favorite aspects of the gameplay and truly encourages exploration. Which is not a bad thing in the least as the design of the worlds are incredible. They are fully polished and a wonder to behold. Even one of my least favorite aspects has been overhauled, namely the climbing sections. The developers, Ready and Dawn, were somehow able to craft some beautiful game mechanics to make these sections feel fresh again. However, these pales in comparison to the underwater sections. Every time I dove underwater I smiled as I knew the game was going to throw some type of new idea at me. Throughout the game you’re never asked to do the same thing twice. Yes, there is a bit of back-tracking, but you’ll find the way back radically different on your return. There are a handful of puzzles but none of them will present the average player with much trouble.
The only downfall with the gameplay is the difficulty. I ran through my first game on the Normal difficulty setting, and sadly I had no problems whatsoever. I seriously could have opened a treasure chest shop with the number of unused health/magic chests I had accumulated. Not to say the ending is a breeze, though. Granted, you are given your choice of difficulty setting, and upon choosing Hard mode or above I was getting my ass handed to me, as is the franchise staple.
God of Presentation
I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I’m still not sure how to best convey my level of appreciation for the presentation of this game. So I’ve come up with the following. Throughout this epic tale I swam in the depths of Atlantis, watched lava turn to solid gold, and snow gently flow off of bridges high atop the world of men. I have seen the epic city of Sparta, and ran through the darkness enveloping the valley of death. I am utterly in shock. In every conceivable way this is the best looking game not only on the PSP, but every previous God of War title, minus the next generation entry God of War 3. Many times I had to stop and catch my breath as I stared at the PSP's screen wondering how in the world did Ready at Dawn do this and would they share their magic spells with other developers so we can be treated to more equally gorgeous games?
Along with the spectacular visuals comes the most epic score I’ve ever heard for the franchise. I know that it’s hard to believe but I truly appreciated it more than any of the past iterations. From the roar of the mighty Cyclops to the deep hymns as Kratos explores the most ancient of ruins, the sound design just fires on all cylinders. The voice talent once again is incredible. All the familiar talents return, with the addition of a couple new ones. This is a game that you have... no: MUST pull out the headphones for. You are sure to miss out if you don’t.
Once you complete the main adventure, you are given the option to spend experience orbs at the in-game store (Zeus’ Temple as it were) to purchase goodies such as developer videos and concept art. This should definitely extend the replay value. There are also the series hallmark arena challenges and even a ‘create-an-arena’ option where you can mix and match your favorite baddies to decimate at your leisure.
Truly a God
I enjoyed every second of my time with God of War: Ghost of Sparta, and can’t believe that this is the fifth entry into this treasured franchise. I can count on one hand the number of games that have accumulated five entries that have each been picture perfect. With ridiculously over-the-top production value that has been polished to a blinding sheen, God of War: Ghost of Sparta not only stands as the finest action adventure experience on the PSP but also as one of the finest games in the world of hand-held gaming.
An epic masterpiece that fits in the palm of your hand.
Would have liked some more difficult puzzles.