E3 2009: The Five: God of War III
The Skinny: Kratos' next-generation debut is set to bow in March 2010. The PlayStation 3 exclusive is directed by Stig Asmussen and follows Kratos' ongoing quest for revenge against the Gods.
1. God of War III is pretty, but it ain't that pretty. So go ahead and file David Jaffe's "painting come to life" comments as friend-of-friend hyperbole. Still, there's a lot of high-definition eye candy to cram into hungry sockets. Dramatic lighting makes many of the areas pop with an extra undercurrent of realism.
2. Kratos continues to live up to his job description. God of War III is unapologetically violent. In the course of a 10-minute preview, Kratos stabbed a mythological creature with its own severed horn, tore the eyeball out of a cyclops' face, and ripped the head clean off the god Helios. To add insult to injury, Kratos pockets the severed noggin, using it as a grotesque flashlight in dark caves.
3. Despite the sense of scale made possible by the PlayStation 3, I didn't detect a proportionally grander sense of awe or amazement flowing from the game. Maybe that's because the bits of the game I played really didn't take me anywhere new. Kratos fought hordes of jerks. He took potshots at harpies and mutilated a couple of fearsome creatures. All the while, a titan lumbered in the background. Here's hoping that the best and most balls-out sequences are yet to be revealed.
4. My biggest ongoing gripe with Kratos is that guy is a serious one-note Charlie. By God of War: Chains of Olympus his snarling shtick is beginning to wear thin. This, the final chapter in the God of War trilogy, had better find a way to deepen or expand Kratos' character before Sony sends him off to pasture. Because right now Kratos is rapidly become a parody of himself.
5. I never thought that high-definition gaming could detract from gameplay, but I noticed that playing God of War III on a widescreen display made nailing Quick Time Events a little harder than they needed to be -- that's because the cues to press circle and square popped up way out on the far left and right sides of the screen. Perhaps this difficulty was a result of sitting and playing too close to the screen. Or maybe it was just a result of me being a shitty gamer. Either way, it's an issue that ought to be ironed out before next year.
The Verdict: Not exactly legendary.
This preview is based on a hands-on demo of the game at E3 2009.
Check out more previews from E3: