Review: God of War III (PS3)March 8th, 2010 | Written by Chris Selogy | Topic: PlayStation 3, Reviews
The Ghost of Sparta makes his real debut on the PS3 to seek revenge against Zeus and the other gods that are to blame for his suffering. God of War III is the epic conclusion of Kratos’ tale of vengeance and brutality that continues the Sony’s string of very good games this spring.
God of War III continues where its predecessor left off, as the Titans are climbing to the top of Mount Olympus with the help of Kratos as they hope to finally defeat Zeus once and for all. You don’t need to have played the previous games to get what is going on here, but it will certainly help add to the story to have played through the first two games that had been conveniently remastered for the PS3 last fall to help fill in the full story. Beyond the story, the great use of Greek mythology and the epic scale of its locales adds a lot to the experience. It’s great to see the option to take in these beautiful settings whenever you see a pedestal with a book on it, which also offers some information about what you’re seeing along with the option to move the camera to get a better view.
The combat in God of War III should be very familiar to those that have played the previous games, though Sony Santa Monica has done a good job of adding new layers onto those mechanics to help flesh them out. Besides Kratos’ iconic chain blades, he now gains three additional weapons to fight with as you progress through the story which have the same combos and controls as the blades, but have their own fighting style to make each of them useful in different situations. Enemies now have the ability to swarm onto Kratos so that he must throw them off, though Kratos can retaliate by grabbing an enemy and using him to ram through a bunch of enemies before hurling him to his death. There are even a few creatures that you can ride and control to take out other creatures around you before finishing them off. The combat is very much as bloody and brutal as Kratos can gut Centaurs and ripping out the eye of a Cyclops so that Kratos can bathe in blood all throughout the game.
Adding to these features is just the use of scale in God of War III’s fights on the Titans, where you’ll see the battlefield change orientation mid-fight as they move around with zooming out to better see what the Titan is doing to affect your fight. It’s basically a way for the developer to just brag about how good the game looks when you see that you can still fight when Kratos looks to be about a few inches tall on the arm of a Titan. The quick time events have even been improved as the face buttons will appear in the edge of the screen that their corresponding button appears on the controller itself, which lets you keep an eye on the action and just use your peripheral vision to respond to the button prompts.
The entire campaign in God of War III has a great pace to it from start to end that has very few periods of slowdown, though it’s mostly centered around the point where you lose your weapons and kind of start over again with Kratos. The number of enemies you’ll fight starts off small as Kratos is underpowered and grows up to the end when you’re taking on groups of enemies at once that requires a good amount of proficiency to succeed. You do revisit locales a few times, though it’s usually to go through parts that were previously unreachable the first time you were there. Along with unlocking harder difficulties, you also earn quite a few unlockables when you first beat the game with a ton of documentaries about various aspects of the game, costumes, and challenges to test your skills even further.
God of War III pushes the PS3 even further with some amazing visuals that capitalize greatly on the Greek mythological setting. There is a ton of detail to the world around Kratos along with the Ghost of Sparta himself having a great look to him that highlights his ash-covered skin very well, though there are some odd textures at times when showing close ups of characters and parts of the setting. The framerate holds up well for most of the game, but it can stutter a bit when you start having a lot of enemies on screen at once with a lot of chaos going on. The cutscenes are also well done with great animation for the many characters you’ll run into in conjunction with animated cutscenes that have a great style to them that helps set the mood for flashbacks and such. The orchestrated soundtrack in God of War III is great and really does a great job of matching the brooding tone of the story as Kratos makes his way up to Olympus.
The gist of this review is that God of War III is a fantastic game that should be played by anybody with a PS3 that has a craving for some brutal combat and plenty of vengeance. It’s hard to really find any faults here that isn’t just nitpicking what is otherwise a great experience to end Kratos’ epic story. While it would be best to have played the previous games in the God of War Collection to understand everything you’re seeing here, it’s not really necessary since you get enough context to make up for any history you may have missed. The campaign takes about ten hours to beat, give or take a couple of hours depending on difficulty and whether you’re going for all of the chests and items to fully upgrade Kratos.