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Hands-On With God of War: Ghost of Sparta

by Joe Juba on Jun 15, 2010 at 05:58 PM

Sony is making an extra effort at E3 to show that its support for the PSP isn't waning, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta is the most compelling argument for the publisher's case on the show floor.

Developed by Ready at Dawn Studios, the minds behind God of War: Chains of Olympus, Ghost of Sparta already plays like a worthy entry in this spectacular series. The controls feel similar to last PSP title; you'll alternate strong and light hits in your combos to take down hordes of soldiers, perform well-timed parries and counters, and roll out of the way to avoid danger. All of those moves should sound familiar, but Kratos has some new tricks, too.

A new move, Hyperion's Charge, lets Kratos pin his foes to the ground, pounding them mercilessly like an MMA fighter. He also has new magic spells, like a chain lightning attack he learns after obtaining an item called the Eye of Atlantis. Of course, Kratos will also get at least one new weapon in addition to his trademark blades; the Spartan-style spear and shield weapon will allow for a more technical method of playing, balancing offensive and defensive tactics. This can be especially useful against the new bosses, which include a beast called Scylla -- a clear homage to the Hydra from the original God of War.

It shows a little in the screenshots, but Ghost of Sparta looks stunning in motion; it's easily the best looking PSP title I've seen, complete with towering structures, atmospheric lighting, and fantastic animations. Ready at Dawn did a great job with the technology in the last title, and it looks like the team's skill has only improved.

Set between the first and second God of War games, this title will answer some of the lingering questions that remain after God of War III. What's the deal between Kratos and Poseidon? Where did Kratos get that awesome armor? Expect to find out more about these issues (as well as about Kratos' past) when Ghost of Sparta hits later this year.