God of War III Review

GOW3
Platform: PS3
Release Date: March 16, 2010

I hate how the word “epic” is an overused term. That movie was epic. My turkey sandwich is epic. The word gets played out to the point that when something is actually epic, it doesn’t have the same impact. Being a played out word or not, God of War III is one of the most epic games I’ve ever played.

God of War III
holds you down and forces a sensory overload of its gigantic scale in your face the moment after you press start. Kratos is pissed off at the gods and has assembled a posse of Titans to climb up Mount Olympus to and talk out their differences and maybe come to a mutual agreement. Wait, no, he just wants to murder the gods. All of the gods. The focus of killing Mount Olympus’ finest is the primary motivation for story here and it fits the series. Kratos doesn’t care about anything but revenge and he will get it, no matter who he has to turn into red paste. Without spoiling much, he does show a different side of him that is welcome near the end of the tale. Couple that with some great supporting characters, betrayal, and all out war, the story comes along well and never gets dull. You’ll want to see the end and it finishes the trilogy with one of the most satisfying conclusions in all of gaming.

The story is great but that doesn’t mean the action is weak. In fact, I’d say it has the best combat in any game. God of War‘s combat has always been fluid and responsive but a couple features have been added to make it faster and more combo heavy. The ranged grab adds maneuverability because you can zoom directly to an opponent, or vice versa, and this speeds up already fast combat. Alternate weapons are nothing new to series but they’ve all had the same problem: they’ve had to compete with the Blades of Chaos. Let’s be serious here, it’s hard to go against swords on flaming chains. God of War III changes this by having all the secondary weapons be completely useful to the point where it is hard to pick a primary weapon to slay with. Chaining these weapons together mid-combo with each other is where the real depth comes. This leads you to make up your own combos and feel more like a complete badass. An item meter is also present and these function as help in traversal, puzzles, and combat. The meter regenerates quickly so you can further add these to your fighting repertoire. Do you rush in with your boots, pepper the airborne enemy with arrows, only slam him with Cestus, and finish him off with Blades of Exile? I’ve beat the game around 5 or 6 times and I still have many combos to discover and figure out. Complexity such as this is rare but oh so welcome.

A game so focused on combat needs to have quality boss battles to test your skills and God of War III does not disappoint. I won’t reveal who you clash weapons with but just know that if anyone gives Kratos crap, he will go out of his way to murder that person and smear that blood all over himself (not in a perverted way, mind you). The boss encounters are all feel different and are challenging but completely fair the whole time. Attacks are switched up and the multiple stages of a fight are always different, so it doesn’t fall into the trap most games fall into of being repetitive. You’ll need to be smart, as some require minor puzzle solving, but you more than rewarded with a gorily amazing finishing sequence. As long as you mash the correct buttons during the improved quicktime events, the boss will fall in a fantastically disgusting way, and you’ll walk away with a weapon or item, along with a twisted sense of gratification.

God of War III is godly among its technical prowess. Towering over anything that came before it and everything now, the graphics are probably the most pleasing of any game to be released. The varied mythical environments have an immense amount of detail and the gore is sickeningly rendered. There are vistas where I couldn’t progress simply because I wanted to check out the backgrounds. Kratos’ character model is amazingly rendered with visible pores, muscles, and incredible emotion and arguably the most detailed object in the digital realm.
Stunning graphics can only get you so far but this game pulls of some technical feats that match, if not surpass, the pretty graphics. Titans play a big part in this game and their drastic size constantly fills the screen. Most of first level takes places specifically on the back on one of these titans, Gaia, and her actions directly relate to you. While Kratos is fighting on top of her, she is constantly moving about and while the camera zooms out, you can literally see your tiny body, swinging your deadly blades down below. This happens a couple times that are worth finding for yourself, but rest assured: they are awesome. The ante of scale has been upped from the series’ past, not a small feat to achieve. Couple this with small welcome additions like no visible loading and no install and you are never out of the action. With all of this pulled off to perfection, it makes me wonder if the programmers sold a part of themselves to Hades himself to pull this off.

I had astronomically high expectations for God of War III. The first 2 games are considered all time favorites in my book so following those up would not be easy. It didn’t even need to push the envelope to be great, but the fact that it did in so many ways makes it that much better. Improving already addicting combat, throwing memorable boss fights in the mix, console defining graphics, and impressive technical achievement have this game raising the bar for all other games, let alone other hack and slashers. Not to mention the satisfying ending to an unforgettable trilogy all props up this game to always stick out even among the best. The end of the road is bittersweet but the conclusion here is a bang you don’t want to miss. That would piss off Kratos and you don’t want that, do you?

Pros:
+Technically flawless
+Combat is improved in small but great ways
+Boss fights are thoughtful
+Impactful ending
+New weapons are actually useful

Cons:
-…?

Final Score: 10/10

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