God of War III
Kratos’ scars haven’t yet healed and we can already admire his wounds in HD. In part three of the saga we again get to control master Kratos who’s got some unfinished business with the gods above. Forget the clone Dante’s Inferno, the wannabe Bayonetta and the superficial Darksiders as for the third time in a row Kratos proves he’s the only god of hack & slash!
For those that didn’t play the two previous God of War games we get a short flashback at the start of the game which summarizes all necessary information. I do have to say that the introduction is a bit short for newcomers and it’ therefore wise to buy the GoW Collections which is available for about 29 euros. The game starts where part 2 left off, the difficult climb of Mount Olympus where Kratos and the titans will bring the downfall of the Gods. It’s best to play God of War III during the weekend as this +10 hour game takes on epic proportions and is best finished in one go.
Talking about epic… the first 45 minutes will remain in your head for a long time. I’ve been gaming for about 15 years and have never seen such an intense, large-scale and brutal beginning as with God of War III. While climbing Olympus you see giant titans all around who are not only dealing with gravity but also centaurs, harpies and gods. You, as Kratos of course, climb up an in the titan Gaia and what comes next is for you to experience. Believe me, you’ll go from one surprise in the other!
The essence of the game is still the same as that from five a six years ago. Fight, climb, puzzle, and defeat an endboss as cherry on the pie. Next to some minor tampering nothing has changed in the combat system and that’s good as why would something need fixing if it isn’t broken? As always you have standard attacks and more powerful ones and plenty of hostiles will also be sent to the afterlife by means of “magic”. The game this time has four primary weapons that are truly equal in strength. No secondary weapons like the Blade of Artemis or the Spear of Destiny which you hardly ever use, but four unique weapons with their different combos, skilltree, pros and cons. To avoid spoilers I won’t be going in any deeper on the other weapons and their hidden powers.
Upgrading weapons is still done by exchanging red Orbs which you get by opening crates or simply cutting off some heads. As there are now four weapons to level it’s no longer possible to max out all of them. Up to you to decide which gets your preference and which will get the ugly duckling treatment. Next to the red ones, there are also green and blue orbs which regenerate your health and magic and now and then you’ll also encounter yellow versions which fill up your Rage meter.
Quick Time Events have always played a large part in the GoW franchise and also this time they appear as pop-ups on your screen. They’re usually limited to the bigger enemies and endbosses with a gruesome finishing move as result. The team, however, added a subtle touch to this system which greatly improves the experience. The buttons to be pressed are shown on screen in line of how they’re located on the controller. The advantage of this is that you see the correct buttons from the corner of your eye and won’t miss anything from the real action, something that did happen in the previous parts. Especially when having to please some ladies you don’t want to miss a thing!
Next to that Santa Monica also added a badd-ass feature to God of War III, called First Person Kills. You’ll get to kill some endbosses from their point of view, something that makes it even more violent than before. It may be clear: the gameplay is incredibly good!
Visually things have also progressed. Where God of War I and 2 were a benchmark for the PS3 and Chains of Olympus can be seen as the most beautiful game on PSP, part three is the crème de la crème on the PS3. Kratos and the other main characters like extremely detailed. You’ll almost be able to count the red blood bodies when he tightens his muscles, see the vains in his revengeful eyes and you would certainly prescribe some moisteriser when seeing his wrinkled skin. The “gore” element has been increased thanks to the integration of real-time blood which makes Kratos and your opponents covered with it after a fight. Cut open a Centaur and his guts will fall out, tear someone’s head off and you’ll see their flexible skin tear, and so on.
God of War III has done something many deemed impossible; be better than the previous parts. This third episode takes on epic proportions, seemlessly manages to mix innovative elements with the old foundations, and can easily be put next to graphical highlights like Uncharted 2. I took on the skin of the most feared Spartan ever with great joy and revenge took us both to the downfall of the Gods. In the end there will only be Kratos.