God of War: Ghost of Sparta is a third person action-adventure video game developed by Ready at Dawn and Santa Monica Studio, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). It was first released for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld console on November 2, 2010. The game is the sixth installment in the God of War series and the fourth chronologically.
Loosely based on Greek mythology, Ghost of Sparta is set in ancient Greece with vengeance as its central motif. The player controls the protagonist Kratos, the God of War. Kratos is still haunted by the visions of his mortal past and decides to explore his origins.
Ghost of Sparta received praise for its story, gameplay, and graphics. Several critics agree that it is the best-looking game on the PSP. Others have compared the overall game to those on the PlayStation 3, and some have said that the graphics are better than those of the PlayStation 2. Ghost of Sparta received several awards, including "Best Handheld Game", "Best PSP Game", and "PSP Game of Show" at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), and "Best Handheld Game" at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards. By June 2012, it had sold almost 1.2 million copies worldwide. Together with Chains of Olympus, Ghost of Sparta was remastered and released on September 13, 2011, as part of the God of War: Origins Collection and the remastered version was re-released on August 28, 2012, as part of the God of War Saga, both for the PlayStation 3.
A series of flashbacks reveals that an oracle had foretold that the demise of Olympus would come not by the revenge of the Titans, who had been imprisoned after the Great War, but by a marked warrior. The Olympians Zeus and Ares believed this warrior to be Deimos, the brother of Kratos, due to his strange birthmarks. Ares interrupted the childhood training of Kratos and Deimos, with Athena on hand, and kidnapped Deimos. Kratos attempted to stop Ares, but was swept aside and subsequently scarred across his right eye by the Olympian. Athena stopped Ares from killing Kratos, knowing his eventual destiny. Taken to Death's Domain, Deimos was imprisoned and tortured by Thanatos. In honor of his sibling, Kratos marked himself with a red tattoo, identical to his brother's birthmark.
Years later, when the game begins, Kratos has taken Ares' place as the new God of War on Mount Olympus. Still haunted by visions of his mortal past, Kratos decides against Athena's advice to explore his past and travels to the Temple of Poseidon, located within the city of Atlantis. The sea monster, Scylla, attacks and destroys Kratos' vessel off the coast of Atlantis, although the Spartan drives the beast off...
The protagonist of the game is Kratos (voiced by Terrence C. Carson), the God of War after having killed the former, Ares (who appears in flashbacks and voiced by Steven Blum).
Other characters include:
- Athena (Erin Torpey), the Goddess of Wisdom who warns Kratos about exploring his past
- Deimos (Mark Deklin), the younger brother of Kratos and imprisoned and tortured in the Domain of Death
- Thanatos (Arthur Burghardt), the God of Death and main antagonist
- Callisto (Deanna Hurstold), the mother of Kratos and Deimos
- Thera (Dee Dee Rescher), a Titan imprisoned beneath the Methana Volcano
- and Erinys (Erin Torpey and Jennifer Hale), Thanatos' daughter
Minor characters include:
- Lanaeus (Fred Tatasciore); a servant of Poseidon
- King Midas (Fred Tatasciore), a king whose touch will turn anything to gold
- the gravedigger (Paul Eiding), who warns Kratos to not alienate the gods
- a loyal Spartan soldier (Gideon Emery)
- and Poseidon (Gideon Emery), the God of the Sea
The gameplay of God of War: Ghost of Sparta resembles that of the previous installments. It is a third-person single player video game viewed from a fixed camera perspective. The player controls the character Kratos in combo-based combat, platforming, and puzzle game elements, and battles foes who primarily stem from Greek mythology, including minotaurs, cyclopes, harpies, Gorgons, and satyrs. The undead legionnaires, keres wraiths, geryons, automatons, Boreas beasts, and Triton warriors were influenced by the mythology, but created specifically for the game.
Platforming elements require the player to climb walls, jump across chasms, swing on ropes, and balance across beams to proceed through sections of the game. Some puzzles are simple, such as moving a box so that the player can use it to access a pathway unreachable with normal jumping, but others are more complex, such as finding several items across different areas of the game to unlock one door. The game features new weapons, magical powers, and navigational abilities not present in previous games and has been cited as featuring 25 percent more gameplay than God of War: Chains of Olympus.