If you thought Kratos' adventures finished at the conclusion of God of War III, think again. Developer Ready At Dawn is taking another stab at the PlayStation franchise, pumping out a second PSP adventure titled God of War: Ghost of Sparta. The game was playable on the show floor at E3 2010, but we also managed to get a sneak peek at an extra section in the game behind closed doors for this first-look preview.
First up, Ghost of Sparta's storyline takes place between the events of the original game and God Of War II and sees Kratos heading to Atlantis. The demo starts off with Kratos fighting enemies on the deck, dispensing with them the only way he knows how--brutally. Ready At Dawn is aiming to replicate the huge, epic nature of other God of War game openings, and this was clear from this first scene, as you realize your ship is just one of hundreds being tossed around on turbulent seas. After disposing of his first set of foes, Kratos heads belowdecks, and we saw one of the game's new additions to the PSP series--a new running attack move called Hyperion Charge. By holding down L and pressing O, Kratos rushes at an opponent and can either take him down and pummel him on the ground or throw him at other foes. The move even has an air variant, which sees Kratos diving onto opponents mid-jump.
Back on deck, Kratos comes across a gigantic tentacle that had wrapped itself around the bow. At the end of this tentacle was a gaping mouth that would occasionally strike out, with Kratos having to loosen the tentacle's grip on the ship by attacking it. Eventually, a quick-time event is triggered, which ends with Kratos burying his blade deep in the tentacle's mouth.
This just serves to annoy your foe, however, and the ship is picked up and tossed by the gigantic sea creature onto a nearby shore. The mysterious behemoth--the mythical beast known as Scylla--then rears up from the depths, exposing a multi-armed body with six holes in its chest from which long tentacles burst out. What followed was another mini-boss fight, with the Scylla swiping its tentacles at the shore and Kratos rolling to avoid them. As always, a QTE popped up after an intense bout of combat, with the angry Spartan eventually swinging up onto the Scylla's head and taking out one of its many eyes.
Kratos then makes his way into a temple-like structure and comes across another new addition to this arsenal--the Eye of Atlantis. This item shoots out multiple bolts of electricity at enemies, sending them into fits of convulsions. He'll also get a brand-new weapon in Ghost of Sparta. Called the Sword and Shield, this weapon will see the god rock a huge, round shield for defence and wield a large spear that can also be used for ranged attacks. With the shield held up, Kratos can inch his way toward tougher enemies before unleashing a strong spear thrust at close range. But it's not only weapons that will be added in this latest God of War--Kratos will make his way up walls a little more quickly in Ghost of Sparta, with a new ledge jump ability added on vertical sections. There will also now be sections in levels where Kratos can "slide" down steep inclines by using his blade to slow his descent.
After making his way through some Atlantean streets fighting off small groups of enemies, Kratos found himself in a large, open area where he came across a mini-boss named Garron. Garron was a large humanoid with four arms that was carrying a globe that cackled with blue electricity. The creature had pretty slow foot speed but could teleport instantly behind Kratos to deliver some heavy damage. Some careful dodging and sticking to hit-and-run tactics proved successful for Garron, and soon we had finished off this enemy by grabbing his globe and crushing his skull with it. We didn't have long to bask in our sense of achievement, though, as in the distance the massive figure of Scylla appeared, prompting Kratos to speed off in her direction and ending the playable demo.
The extra section showed off behind closed doors takes place farther on in the game and finds Kratos in some underground location with rivers of lava flowing around. Making his way into a cave, Kratos finds a weeping, solitary figure--King Midas, the mythical king whose touch could turn anything into gold. As you approach him, Midas attacks the Spartan, trying to lay his bare hands on him to turn him to metal. Kratos successfully resists (via QTE, of course) and punches Midas unconscious before throwing him over his shoulder. But as he's making his way out, small doglike creatures come out. Putting Midas down, Kratos makes quick work of the dogs and heads back over to Midas where he casually slams his head into the ground (to keep him unconscious and unable to retaliate, of course). Back in the main cavern Kratos puts down Midas, who's now pleading for the God of War to end his life. Kratos complies, throwing the king into a waterfall of lava.
We're not sure what grudge Kratos has against Midas, but we're keen to find out more about this upcoming action game. The game is already looking quite good, with some impressive water effects during the early scenes in Atlantis and an improved character model for the angry god himself. Look for more coverage of God of War: Ghost of Sparta soon on GameSpot.