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Game Review: God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP) April 13, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Game Reviews, Reviews.
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My recent trip to China allowed me to rekindle my long lost relationship with my Sony PSP (which had sadly been relegated to second fiddle after getting an iPad).  I had been playing the same old games and needed something new to bring some spice back into the relationship, so I went with a can’t-miss game — God of War: Ghost of Sparta.

This is the second GOW game on the PSP, the first being the very solid, albeit slightly too short GOW: Chains of Olympus.  Having played the sensational GOWIII on the PS3 last year (review here) — which was probably one of the best games I’ve ever played on the PS3 — I knew it was going to be difficult for the handheld Ghosts of Sparta to compete.

Of course, it is not exactly fair to compare a PS3 game to a PSP game, but in any case my concerns were unfounded.  Ghost of Sparta is a marvellous game, a significant improvement on Chains of Olympus, and when all is said and done, will probably go down as one of the best PSP games of all time.

I believe Ghost of Sparta is set after the original God of War game, and even though I didn’t really follow the story closely, I understand it is about Kratos’s search for his younger brother Deimos.  But let’s be honest here — no one plays GOW for the story.

In keeping up with tradition, Ghost of Sparta is an all out action adventure that is bloody, brutal, exciting and incredibly immersive.  Visually, it is by far the best PSP game I have ever seen, and is at least on par with the PS2, if not better.  The developers of the game have clearly learned something from their creation of GOWIII, as evidenced by the bigger, meaner monster battles and the epic boss fights.

The one thing that always impressed me about the GOW series was the variety in its gameplay.  While other similar games might feel repetitive after a while, Ghost of Sparta keeps gamers engaged by making a conscious effort to mix it up — either by alternating terrain, throwing in a few mini-puzzles or enemies that require different combat styles to overcome.  Rarely does it feel like you are simply doing the same thing over and over.

In all, this was a top-notch production that deserves to be owned by every PSP gamer.  Everything from the graphics, sound (including the voice acting), the gameplay to the replay value (the game itself is longer than Chains of Olympus and there are several post-game challenges to take on which will no doubt keep you tapping away at the buttons long after your first walkthrough), Ghost of Sparta oozes class.

If only they made more games like Ghost of Sparta — I would never leave my PSP behind.

10 out of 10

Game Review: God of War III (PS3) July 2, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Game Reviews.
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1 comment so far

I just finished playing the third installment in the now-legendary God of War franchise brought to Sony’s PS3 by Santa Monica Studio.  It was a rushed effort because I bought the game in Hong Kong for a friend, who was kind enough to allow me to “test” the game for him first.

I’ve been a fan of the God of War series since the original, and I had a great time with the sequel, both on the PS2.  God of War III is the first of the franchise to appear on the significantly more powerful PS3, and it really shows.  I really can’t say enough about this game because it lived up to all my expectations and more.  Without a doubt one of the most impressive games I’ve ever played.

I had my doubts about God of War III when I first placed the game in the console.  Unlike most other games, there was no grand pre-game intro to demonstrate the prowess of the PS3.  Instead, all you got was the protagonist Kratos’ massive and familiar head.  When I started a new game, that was when the cinematics began, and while it was pretty, it was nothing I hadn’t seen on the PS3 before.  And when the gameplay finally began, it felt very familiar as Kratos wielded the same weapon (but with a different name, ie the Blades of Exile) he had in the two previous games, and the enemies (a few skeleton dudes) weren’t anything new.

This raised alarm bells and had me thinking — were they just milking another title out of the popular franchise with basically the same game but on a next-gen console?

Let me assure you, those doubts were soon put to bed for good with the first boss fight against Poseidon, which effectively takes place on the body of a colossal Titan (Gaia).

(For those unfamiliar with the God of War series, it’s immersed in Greek mythology and is about this guy called Kratos, a warrior who is tricked into slaying his family and turns out to be the son of Zeus.  He’s an ugly anti-hero hero of few words and no mercy, and the whole series he is fuelled by a desire for revenge against the Gods that destroyed his life.  The stories from the three games are linked.)

And so began an eye-opening adventure that took the franchise soaring to a level I had not experienced before.  What the makers of God of War III have done is taken all the best elements from the first two games of the series and charged them up with the PS3 engine, AND added incredible new elements with ingenious innovation and creativity.

Let me try and break these down one by one.

(to read on click on ‘more…’)


Game Review: Heavenly Sword (PS3) April 19, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Game Reviews.
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1 comment so far

I am finally getting around to playing a bunch of PS3 games that I bought almost a year ago but haven’t even opened.

The first one of these I tried was the 2007 Heavenly Sword, a kind of tamer version of God of War mixed in with a little Devil May Cry, Lord of the Rings and Dynasty Warriors, and featuring a sultry female protagonist.

After not expecting a great deal from the game, I came away pleasantly surprised.  The game features a basic but well-executed storyline, a mixture of proven and newly innovative battle techniques, a steady assortment of different levels, and as a bonus, excellent dramatic direction and motion capturing from “Gollum” himself, Mr Andy Serkis, as well as a stellar voice cast including Serkis and the distinctive voice of Anna Torv (from Fringe fame).

I would recommend Heavenly Sword to people who like this sort of stuff (ie action-adventure), don’t have a lot of time to on their hands (I finished the entire game over a long weekend), and want a good bargain (since the game is now heavily discounted).

(click on ‘more’ to read the full review)


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