Well, it’s that time, time to hit up one of the biggest PS3 games of 2010. What game am I referencing, well, 'God of War III', of course. Kratos has finally come home with a new bag of tricks in the final run of the God of War trilogy. So lean in, and see what the God of War is up to.
'God of War III' is a huge game. What do I mean by huge? Well, probably the biggest 'Playstation 3' release to date. While most of the other franchises have made the transition over to the PS3 from the PS2, 'God of War' wasn’t quite ready to be reprieved until now... and the strange thing is, it’s the game people wanted to see the most. The original 'God of War', and 'God of War II,' are institutions on how to make an action game, and SCEA is back to school all the developers who have been riding their coattails over the years.
True, 'God of War III' has a lot to prove, and all eyes will be judgmentally observing ever second of gameplay. The forums are already buzzing with madness, and no doubt, now that the game has been released, the flame will be ignited even more. Safe to safe, people are passionate about the 'God of War' series, and I think SONY has given them what they wanted in 'God of War III'. That comment alone isn’t easy to come by, because expectations are astronomical, so if you are a 'God of War' fan, 'God of War III' will make you very- very happy!
Vengence is Mine
The plot picks up chronologically after ‘Chains of Olympus,’ and ‘God of War II’, severing as the final piece of the puzzle in the ‘God of War’ trilogy. Not to worry, it is not over for the series, as Sony has stated that it will not be the last 'God of War' game. Whew, when they are all this good, why stop? To keep the plot brief, without any spoilers, the story follows Kratos in is continuing quest for vengeance against Zeus. In typical "God of War" nature, the story is loosely built around Greek lore, and features lots of violence (and a little sex) to go along with the headstrong plot.
One nice touch are the amount of flashback cut-scenes to get the player caught up with Kratos' war against Olympus. This makes 'God of War III' open for new gamers who haven't played the series in the past. As you will learn, Kratos is not the most lovable character, by any means-- but when he says he is going to do something, he does it-- and it doesn't matter who, or what, gets in his way. The entire adventure will take you about 9hrs (my game clocked in at 9:20 with some downtime), and until the final piece of flesh is cut, you will likely feel empowered in this brash tale of complete escapism.
If It's Not Broken...
In comparison the gameplay doesn’t stray too far from the original two games, but it still manages to feels fresh. Since, the last two games where developed for the PS2, but most of ‘God of War III’ has been rebuilt to work on the increased hardware specs of the PS3. The results are awesome and in no shape has Sony Santa Monica alienated any of their fanbase. There are some new twists in ‘God of War III’, but they are all for the better. What does all that mean? Well, you will still be button mashing and dealing with a good number of quick-time events-- but everything is more polished, a few new moves have been added, and the seamless nature of the action steps closer to perfection than before. However, its not all about the combat, as the action is mixed up with a small amount of platforming and some puzzle solving segments also. Even though these mechanics are a little "old", and repetitive, 'God of War III" always remains fun, and never feels like a chore. Really, this is a ‘God of War’ game after all. What else would you want?
Weapons of the Gods
The main moves to get things done starts with powering up your weapons and hitting big damage combos-- two points Kratos is extremely good at. Along with powering up weapons with red orbs, you can switch among four separate weapons at the flick of the stick, or use one of four “magical” abilities also. This makes combat fast and continually moving, even when you are mixing up combo types, weapons, and magic skills. ‘God of War’ has never felt so strong; the Santa Monica team totally has this one nailed. In the beginning of the game you only start with a few options, but your journey progresses and your victims fall; you will be lavished with more goodies to help you eradicate your enemies. Now mind you, the weapons themselves don’t really feel that different (aside from the big Lion-head metal gloves “The Cestus”), but the section that is offered lets you switch up the variety of your attacks, especially if you are into the mid-range attacks for easy damage.
I Will Fear No Evil
Your enemies in ‘God of War III’ range from your typical Skelton warriors and helldogs to a few interesting creations that act like mini-boss battles within typical action sequences. These “mini-boss” styled characters come into the action with a splash and make you take notice. Thankfully, they are never overused and only in a handful of instances will you have take out multiple different types of “mini-bosses” at once. These bosses usually have multiple stages of defeat and can even be mounted to use at your will. Death is always gruesome and the fight usually up-close and intense, everything you need for a good action game, and perfect fodder for the Gods. If you have played the demo than you should already be familiar with the ‘Chimera’, the part lion, goat, and serpent beast. He is cool, but it gets better. I don't want to spoil any of the surprises, but expect a good amount of variety in your enemies.
‘God of War III’ big-bosses are nothing short of EPIC. The word “epic” might be overused, however, it is the perfect to use-- because for the most part, they are. Without spoiling the progressions of whom you will beat to a bloody pulp, most of the battles are multi-tired and varied. Not all the bosses come off standouts; however, the few that are easily squashed are overshadowed by the cool masterful boss battles. Easily, ‘God of War III’ has some of the best, most intense boss battles in a game. Kratos delivers without a shred of compassion and a fearful vengeance. This is what gaming is all about.
This action takes place on an ambitious scale that is impressive in size and dynamics. It is peculiarly cool how it transfers you in out and out different perspectives while feeling natural. In ‘God of War’, you can go from the normal third person viewpoint, to being ant sized in a giant playground of death. The first moments of the game show off this technology as you will be fighting on a moving landscape miles above the ground, and the last stages come back to its size and scale with an impressive labyrinth of tricks that will have your jaw of the floor—‘God of War III’ is good at this. This epic scale goes right along with the story of Gods and Titans, where other games stop and scale down, ‘God of War III’ heads into obscurity and does the impossible. Fans of 'Uncharted 2' will have to think again, when it comes to action sequences on moving objects in multiple stages. Yes, 'Uncharted 2' was good, but ‘God of War 3’ does it better.
If you already jumped down to our final score, you must be wondering why we did not hit ‘God of War III’ up with a perfect score. Well, a few minor issues pulled us away from that elusive score. However, it’s not as ‘God of War III’ ended up with horrible digits. One problem I had about ‘God of War III’ is its sticky double jump. I haven’t seen too many people complain about this, but the contributing factor to the majority of my deaths come from not holding down the button properly. To double jump you simply tap the button twice, the second time, you hold down the button. Sound easy, sure, because it is, however for some reason, I questioned the accuracy of buttons as I fell to my death. It seems like a minor deal, or a simple case of "human error", but it is a problem that I kept reoccurring through the entire game, and worthy enough to note.
The other problem really isn’t a problem, just a knock towards the old standby, the QTE (quick-timed events) and static cameras. It all works in ‘God of War III’, but I could help to think it might have been done a little better. Adjusting to the static camera took some time to adjust too, and really, besides the large pan-out, I don’t see why they stuck with an old system. Some times, you miss things when the camera is cut a certain way, and paths of direction might be needlessly confusing. In addition, ‘God of War III’ doesn't help you when you are stuck. Usually after so long, a game might prompt you with a clue, but not in ‘God of War III’, so if you are stuck, you better hit the internet to clear up the problem. I didn’t hit too many snags in the game, but a few of the puzzles will have you wondering what to do next. They are not groundbreaking, but adequate-- (Let’s not even get into the musical Guitar Hero styled mini-game-- say what?).
Looking Good in HD
Graphically, ‘God of War III’ is a beast; it looks awesome (for the most part) and runs without hardly any load times-- thanks to a 5MB mandatory install. The detail is outstanding and the use of colour, shading, and lighting is smartly applied. The one problem with the graphics is that it slows down on some occasions. It is not overly noticeable, and very forgivable when you factor in the amount of detail and chaos going on at any given time. ‘God of War III’ simply looks phenomenal, and it stands amongst the top-heap of Playstation 3 lookers.
Voices of War
The audio contribution to ‘God of War III’ is impressive, and not because it includes some A-List celebrates, because it delivers a performance that adds, and perfectly fits with the on-screen action. (The next list will have some cast member spoilers—alert) My favourite character in the game from a vocal performance was Rip Torn (Dogeball, Men in Black II, Marie Antoinette) who did a great job bringing ‘Hephaestus’ to life. When you see the character, you will understand. Also to credit a few others who make the game pop is obviously TC Carson as ‘Kratos’, Malcolm McDowell for ‘Daedalus’, and Linda Hunt as ‘Gaia.’ In a genre that usually passes on perfecting solid vocal performances, I am glad the team put in the effort to make the entire production a top-notch job.
Without question, the second part of the audio, the soundtrack, and effects, is awesome, and it is exactly what you had in the last games with a little more punch this time around. I especially dug the 'Zuma' flavoured tracks along with the delicacy of how the score would enter and leave a scene. The little touches make a ‘God of War’ what it is, and the audio is a prime example, how to implement sound into a game—without being overtly artsy.
When the Fighting is Over
Lastly, the adventure doesn’t end after the credits role. Several extra behind-the-scenes footage is unlockable when you beat the game, which offer a nice insight into how games are made, and what went into making ‘God of War III.’ There is also a ‘Battle Arena’ that has a number of challenges and a section with challenges to overcome called ‘Challenge of Olympus.’ Both unlockable game modes will reward you for a trophy and offer some extras to keep this one around a little longer. Plus, the main quest itself is worthy of another playthrough, it is that good that I could see someone returning multiple times.
'God of War III' is a triumph that lives up to the hefty expectations that the studio set for itself-- and more importantly the expectations of the hardcore crowd who has been waiting on Kratos return. ‘God of War III’ doesn’t try overly to innovate by sticking with the formula that made the original games so great-- 'God of War III' only amps this up, and excels. I was presently pleased with the entirety of the package, start to finish, ‘God of War III’ grabs you and never lets up. The ending of the trilogy is truly epic and worthy of a God. Hands down, ‘God of War III’ is solid, and one of the notable action titles of the year.
Gameplay:9.0, Graphics:9.0, Sound:9.0, Innovation:8.5, Mojo:9.5 Final:9.0 / 10