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LTTP: God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PS3)

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LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

God of War: Ascension was such a disappointment for me. Before playing that game, I didn’t think it was possible for Sony Santa Monica to disappoint me with a God of War title. I didn’t think the studio would start grasping at the fringes of Greek Mythology and roll back their combat advancements.

It was such a disappointing release that I began to doubt the franchise’s future success. Was this it? Was this the end of it all? Did they squeeze all that they could from this stone? Perhaps they did run out of ideas because there was another prequel that was released before Ascension, God of War: Ghost of Sparta.

Ready at Dawn’s God of War: Chains of Olympus was a solid effort and I expected their second contribution to this Sony franchise to be of equal calibre. I was mistaken though. Ghost of Sparta exceeded my expectations and I place it along side the mainline God of War titles.

The writers of Ready at Dawn assembled a story that fit snugly between God of War I and II. It was easy to follow and featured mythological cast that I was familiar with. It’s tough to slot in a prequel but it’s even tougher to nestle one between established story lines. Ready at Dawn’s effort was admirable though. Despite Kratos never mentioning his brother before, I still felt the story was plausible and coherent.

The Gauntlet of Zeus is one of favorite weapons in this franchise. Ready at Dawn understood how to create a weapon that was fun, effective and fits the motif of Kratos. The Spartan spear and sword was a fantastic inclusion that ticked all the checkboxes I mentioned. It was such an ideal fit that I couldn’t help but wonder: “Why did they take so long to include this?” The same thought crossed my mind when they introduced Thera’s Bane power up which engulfed Kratos’ blades with fire.

I should come away from every God of War title recalling epic or memorable moments. I wasn’t able to do that with Ascension but with Ghost of Sparta, I remember the interaction with Midas and build up towards Deimos well. This game didn’t have the epic scale that I’ve come expect from a full sized God of War title but meaningful integration of these known characters was enough to leave an imprint.

It’s a good thing that I played God of War: Ghost of Sparta after Ascension because it restored my faith the franchise. It also convinced me that Ready at Dawn’s upcoming PlayStation 4 title, The Order 1886 deserves consideration. They know what it takes to make a cinematic game; they’ve proven that twice with their God of War titles. Will they be able to stand and walk on their own without the aid of an established franchise? I don’t know but I wouldn’t discount them. That would be a mistake.

Verdict:
Highly Recommended

Ratings Guide

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