God of War III (PS3)
The God of War series has always been known for their epic storyline arc, stunning graphics, deep combat system and over-the-top gory action. God of War III continues this winning trend and is a “must-have” title if you own a PS3.
Within minutes of turning on God of War III, you are thrown right in the center of a battle between the titans and gods as Kratos tries to get his revenge on Zeus and all of Olympus. To people who have played God of War II, this isn’t new news, you will be essentially picking up right where you left off, so if you’re a fan of the series just stop reading this review right now and go buy the game.
That being said, it will be difficult for newcomers to the series to grasp the grandeur of Kratos’ adventure, as Kratos’ character has been crafted so eloquently in the two previous iterations. In addition, to truly appreciate GOW III’s story, the player should have a basic understanding of Greek mythology, as knowing the god’s back stories will make the game’s interpretations of the Greek gods that much more meaningful.
However, even if you haven’t played the previous games, the gameplay of GOW III will suck you in. Kratos’ main weapon of choice is still two blades attached to long chains which he will use to slice through all enemies surrounding him. Honestly, there nothing more satisfying than digging a blade into an enemy’s skull, smashing him off the ground only to carve his body up more in the air and then juggle him again. Then, once you get bored with that, you can decapitate him into a bloody mess and continue your combo with other unfortunate souls. If there is any inkling of blood thirst in your veins, you will be sated playing this game.
God of War III is just plain pretty. You will drool over controller with the HD graphics and the wide-angle shots of Kratos taking down gods fifty times his size will make you feel badass. The cinematography is especially worth noting, as GOW III implements a first-person view at certain key moments to capture the brutality of Kratos’ massacre. In addition, GOW III gives you a great sense of scale, especially when you are fighting Poseidon’s hippocamp form while you are standing on Gaia. When you see the titan moving in the background you feel stuck in the middle of nowhere fighting a fruitless battle, unless you are Kratos, of course.
Finishing moves for bosses and big enemies are still executed through quick time events, meaning you’ll have to input button presses and control stick movements quickly in order to perform your final attacks. Some players may feel this takes away from the combat but once you see the animations for these finishing blows, you will be in awe and maybe even slightly disturbed. Simply put, let’s just say that if ever wondered what a centaur’s intestinal tract looks like, you need not look any further than GOW III.
The most memorable moments of the game will come from the numerous boss fights with the gods, titans and heroes from Greek mythology. Facing Hades in the underworld will scare the living daylights out of you and the one-on-one brawl with Heracles will test whether or not you have mastered blocking, dodging and attacking in a seamless fashion. Each boss fight feels so unique and will require you to use different tactics in order to succeed, which is a testament to the outstanding game design.
As you defeat the bosses, you will be rewarded with weapon upgrades, including alternate chain blades infused with magic abilities. By spending red orbs (experience) on these blades you will not only acquire different attacks but you will also level up that magic ability, which is a notable difference from God of War I and II. Sadly, many of the combos with the various blade weapons will look and act similarly, leaving you to question if it really matters what main weapon you use. That being said, with the options to use magic, sub-weapons or dodging, you will always feel that you have alternate methods for killing your foes, which keeps the battles fresh and exciting.
There is not much to complain about with this game overall. The action is solid and gory and I guarantee you will feel an urge to finish the game and find where the story takes you. There were only a few complaints I jotted down while playing the game. Choppy controls take away from the flight sequences because once you hit an obstacle the debris will obscure your vision causing you to smash into five more. I also felt that there should have been some sort of map I could access from the menu because while I never felt lost in the game, I wanted to know where I had been and where I had come from. Also, just to note, I finished the game with the game clock approaching nine hours, though I did get stuck on the perspective puzzle (you’ll know what it is when you get there) for a good twenty minutes.
GOW III did what most fans of the series wanted; it changed almost nothing. GOW III strikes a balance between the first two games and does nothing different in terms of pacing. The first GOW had the best story, and the second GOW had the best combat. The third installment is the beautiful, albeit violent, love child of the two. GOW III is how you end a gaming trilogy and can be considered the gold standard for future action games to come.
This review was based off a retail copy of the game.