Impressions: God of War Ghost of Sparta Demo

In June of 2008, developers Ready at Dawn, creators of God of War: Chains of Olympus, declared that they were no longer developing games for Sony’s portable system. Fortunately, they’ve come back to the PSP in a big way with God of War: Ghosts of Sparta, which should be available to PSP owners November 2nd. To give fans a sneak peek at the upcoming game, a demo was made available for download off the PlayStation Network in late September.

The demo doesn’t really doesn’t reference the game’s story, which at this point we know takes place right after the events of the first God of War and deals with both Kratos’ ascension as the God of War and the details of his past including his mother and his brother Deimos. The demo takes place in Atlantis which appears to also play a role in the story.

The combat in Ghost of Sparta will be familiar to anyone who played any of the previous games in the series. Kratos primarily fights using his dual blades, and quick time events are used to finish off stronger enemies that are close to death. The demo also shows off some of the new additions to Kratos’ arsenal including the new Hyperion Charge, the Eye of Atlantis and the Arms of Sparta.

The Hyperion Charge is a new attack which has Kratos tackle enemies and drive them into the ground. Once on the ground he can attack them with his blades or his fists, or he can pick them up and throw them at other enemies.

A new magic attack that players get to use is the Eye of Atlantis which fires a beam of lighting in the direction that Kratos points it in.  In addition to taking out enemies, the Eye of Atlantis  is able to bring down a wall. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s a common use for it in the final release, either as a way to progress through levels or as a way of finding hidden chests.

In addition to the Blades of Athena, Kratos can also use the Arms of Sparta, which consists of a spear and a shield. Kratos can move with the shield raised, and its main purpose in the demo is to protect him as he closes in on a group of enemies hurling blades at him. Kratos can use the spear as a melee weapon, or he can throw it, giving him a long range attack.

The demo also includes a boss battle that has Kratos going up against the giant sea monster known as Scylla. Just like the Hydra in the original God of War, or the Colossus of Rhodes in God of War 2, Scylla looks to be an epic boss battle against a massive enemy. Scylla primarily uses tentacles coming out of its chest to attack Kratos, but it will also try to smash him with its hand, or use spider-like creatures ejected from its body that will try and swarm him.

One you complete the demo, you can unlock the Combat Arena , which lets you fight against wave after wave of enemies. You can change several different options before the battle begins, including whether or not Kratos has infinite health and magic, the type and number of enemies you fight and the arena you’ll be fighting in. It’s a fun mode if all you want to do is take part in some God of War combat.

As visually impressive as Chains of Olympus was, Ghost of Sparta appears to surpass it. The textures look sharper and the animation is smoother. Ready At Dawn is showing once again that they are more than capable of creating impressive looking PSP games. The demo not only looks great but sounds great as well. It looks like Ghost of Sparta will continue the God of War tradition of great sounding, epic, orchestral soundtracks.

I have to admit, when I first heard this game announced I had mixed reactions. Having recently played through God of War 1 and 2 again as part of the PS3 God of War Collection, and then subsequently playing through God of War 3, I felt it was time to take a break from the series, but after playing through the Ghost of Sparta demo, November 2nd can’t get here soon enough.

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Written by Paul Nash

Paul is originally from New York City but now lives in South Florida (A former New Yorker now living in Florida? That NEVER happens…). Paul has been playing video games for a long time. He started playing games during the days of the Sega Master System and NES, and hasn’t really stopped since. He’s owned just about all of the major consoles since then, and quite honestly, doesn’t see the sense in stopping now. Some of his favorite games include Revenge of Shinobi, Final Fantasy Tactics, and The Mark of Kri.

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