Kratos returns in the final part of the trilogy.
Lets get one thing clear before we start. God of War III has one of the best opening 45 minutes in gaming history. I won’t tell you why, so as not to ruin it, but just trust me on this one. So here we are, the end of the God of War trilogy, and what a long and bloody journey it has been. We have battled titans and gods, killed innocent people and maybe had the odd personal moment. So it’s time for Kratos to take a bit of a rest in his last outing, right? Well, Sony Santa Monica don’t think so, much to the joy of many fans. What Santa Monica have done is created the most deadly, most blood sodden game featuring our lovable “hero” Kratos, to date. How does it fair against other games in its genre or against past games in the series?
Let me make it clear that there will be spoilers of God of War I & II, so if you bought the trilogy, please don’t read on if you want to stay pure. The game starts with the narrator talking about the past, when Kratos was once a spartan captain and Athena promised to Kratos if he destroyed Ares, the memories that consumed him would be no more. Of course, nothing ever goes to plan for our hero as Zeus tricks him and sends him to the underworld, where the mother of the titans, Gaia, saves him from his doom and forms an alliance to kill Zeus. God of War III picks up right where God of War II left off. Kratos is riding on the back of Gaia, as they climb mount Olympus to reach Zeus and the other Gods. This is where my afore mentioned best 45 minutes in gamingÂ history comes into play. I won’t ruin too much but I will say Poseidon is the first god to jump off the top of the mountain and, when the god of the sea makes contact with said sea, bad stuff goes down. When all is said and done, the story in God of War III is great, for both fans and huge Mythology lovers like me.
Gameplay is the core of game design and it’s something God of War games have always done superbly. God of War III is no exception to this at all. It is fast paced and features some of the most bloody moves in gaming. The quick time events are where this shows, you might be ripping out a Minotaurs insides and giving them some fresh air, or taking of the heads of dogs. The QTE are the standard array, pressing the face buttons at the right time. But one feature I did love was, instead of putting the buttons just on screen, they are placed on the area of the screen that represents the position of the button on the Ps3 controller. This can make life a lot easier when you are being told to press buttons one after another. This feature is most useful in boss fights, because you can pay more attention to watching the amazing action, rather than where the next QTE is coming from.
God of War is not all about QTE’s however. The core of its combat lies in the weapons you use and how you use them. During the game you will acquire 4 primary weapons. You still get the famous Blades of Exile which most people will use for most fights (as a note at the start Kratos is wielding the Blades of Athena). The Claws of Hades are one of the new weapons Kratos has at his disposal. They feel similar to the Blades of Exile/Athena in that they are fast, but they have a unique look to them which helps to give them a fresh taste. Next up, we have the Nemesis Whip which is simply a pair of chains with three claw-like daggers at the end, that give off a greenish blue aura. The Whip itself was crafted for Kratos by Hephaestus. Last, but not least, is the Nemean Cestus, the most unique of the four weapons. This fist like weapon is shaped to look like a lion (the weapon was given to Hercules after defeating the Nemean Lion). The Cestus is mainly used to smash through objects that would other wise be unbreakable, even for Kratos, like Onyx, a type of rock only breakable with the Cestus.
As in previous games, you still need to collect orbs. These come in red, blue, green and gold. Red orbs are used the upgrade your weapons and are collected by killing enemies or opening red chests. The blue orbs are used to replenish your magic. These are obtained from the blue chests. The green orbs are used to replenish your health and are obtained after killing enemies and through chests. Finally we have the gold orbs. These are used to increase your rage of Sparta gauge, which can also be increased by killing enemies. As you can tell, the rage of Sparta is back, giving Kratos a quick burst of immunity while dishing out some devastating damage and high speed.
First we had Metal Gear Solid 4, then we got Killzone 2 and then Uncharted 2. We all thought that was it, we had seen the power of the PS3. Can it really get any better? Well yes, is the simple answer. In part this is due to Sony Santa Monica being a Sony studio, so they have all of the tools at their disposal, which helps, I guess. This leads me to why I think God of War looks so good. Anti-Aliasing, simply put. It makes the game look smooth. Anti-Aliasing has been something PC gamers have been used to for years. Even when you take a look at a game like Metal Gear Solid 4, if you look really close you will notice some very rough edges. Well, what Sony Santa Monica did is possibly a stroke of genius. They found a way to get Anti-Aliasing via the power of the Cell processor in the PlayStation 3. Anti-Aliasing is one thing, but its not the only reason God of War is such a masterpiece. Kratos is one amazing looking Hero. The detail in Kratos alone uses more memory that the Playstation 2 was able to handle, giving you some idea of just how much more powerful this latest instalment really is.
The environments and back-drop in God of War have always been stunning, but previously they looked very static. In God of War III however, things happening in the background will make your jaw drop just as much as the games bloody combat itself. From Titans climbing up buildings, to far out vistas showing the depth of field, we will now come to expect this from games on the Playstation 3. God of War 3 breaks new ground and sets down a challenge for other developers to have a go at making a game on the Playstation 3 that can look quite this good.
It’s safe to say that God of War III is a fantastic game, and a must own for Playstation 3 owners everywhere, and if you don’t happen to own a PS3, there has not been a better time to go at get one. I honestly could talk for hours about what I love about God of War III, how it deals with the mythology and how the story plays out, and the amount of times the game will gives you “WoW” moments. God of War III a great end to this franchise, but is it the end of Kratos? I guess we will have to wait and see.
This review was written by David Hollingsworth, editor of GeekMandem