God of War III

Spartan, father, God and killer, Kratos has fulfilled many roles while undertaking a tortuous journey, filled with pain and suffering. After making a deal with the God of War, Ares, one which cost the lives of his family, at Kratos' own hands, the Spartan warrior has continually sought to satisfy his thirst for revenge. A trail of bodies lies behind him, including, Ares, and even the Goddess Athena, who died to save Zeuss. Now, in the final installment of the God of War series, Kratos is on the verge of completing his revenge, and finally defeating Zeuss. First, of course, he must reach the fearsome god, which sees him take on Hades in the depths of the underworld, Helios and Hermes in Olympus and numerous others along the way. The shorter version of all this is that it's time to start smashing up gods again, this time with both the power of Kratos and the power of PS3 to back you up.

God of War 3

The first thing to note is that the game provides no revolution, with almost all areas of gameplay remaining the same as they have throughout the series. The blades are back, with Kratos retaining the ability to strike at range, swirling orange blurs of death and destruction around him, slicing through hordes of enemies. The game attempts to offer a range of weaponry, but the similarities in three of the four main weapons are too strong to be ignored. While three weapons are essentially variants of the Blades of Chaos, with slightly varying colours and effects, the fourth is at least a bit more imaginative. The result of a good bust up with Hercules are the Gloves of Cerberus, with shorter range, but significant punch, offering a nice bit of variation during battles. In addition, several other accessory weapons become available during the game, including the Bow of Apollo, which do offer something quite different, even if their use is somewhat more limited.

The combat isn't dictated to by the variety of weaponry though. Were the game entirely based around fighting identical enemies in exactly the same situation, the weapons may indeed become boring, but when one fight sees you clambering your way up an increasingly annoyed titan, while another involves leaping from one part of a Daedalus' puzzle to another between battles, there's no way that things can grow old. The sense of scale is incredible, with every fight proving to be absolutely epic, confidently outdoing everything that has gone before. No enemy is too large, too vicious, too spikey or too skilled for Kratos to take on, and it's a blast to take part in every fight.

God of War 3

The game doesn't rest solely on combat either. Though never taxing, there are puzzle sections to provide a nice change of pace, as well as collectibles to search for. It gives a good opportunity to admire the incredible world created for the game. After an initial failure at the very start of the game (with no other way to resolve the finale of God of War II that wouldn't cut the third game short), Kratos finds himself in Hades' realm once more, and this time Hades is somewhat more annoyed and prepared for Kratos' arrival. As you fight your way through the underworld, you see the dead falling into the mist filled abyss that surrounds the angular, fearsome rock formations of Hades' domain. Once clear, the battle-torn Greek cities provide bright contrast, which change again as gradually Kratos murders the gods, removing their influence from the world and throwing Greece into disarray.

There are also enjoyable parts of the game dedicated to expanding and progressing the story. Kratos encounters numerous mythological figures, and there's an enjoyable glimpse of redemption as Kratos even strives to save the young girl Pandora, who undoubtedly reminds him of his own lost daugther. As in previous God of War games, and consistent with the comfort the people of Ancient Greence showed with the topic, there are sexual elements to the game, predominantly as a result of the Aphrodite encounter. Thankfully, as much effort was put into world creation as there was in breast animation, since both look incredible. It's strange that an encounter like this will perhaps raise more eyebrows than the incredible violence in the game, when surely this brief sexual encounter is far more normal. Roughly half the people in the world have boobs, while thankfully a lot less than that are blade-swinging creatures of violence, intent on taking revenge on Greek gods.

God of War 3

It's not just the boobs that look stonking though. In terms of smooth frame rates, God of War's slick visuals can only be compared with the most freshly buttered of penguins, set loose on a frictionless surface for the entertainment of kids everywhere. It's incredible stuff, and beautiful to behold. Character models, especially Kratos, are superbly detailed and brilliantly animated. The worlds explored, though relatively small thanks to the careful placement of barriers (though none invisible, to everyone's relief) are highly detailed, with backdrops that are sometimes staggering. In some cases, the view encapsulates miles and miles of beautifully rendered terrain, with mountains, massive cities, huge forests and more on view. The bosses are perhaps the most spectacular feature though, particularly the Titans, with the game never struggling to cope with such huge creations raging around the screen.

Though it's a shame that God of War 3 doesn't push the gameplay to a new level, it does put further polish on the best combat gameplay formula available. There's a reason that so many action slashers copy the God of War format, and only God of War itself gets things just right. With this game bringing the story to a conclusion, it's a perfect end to one of the greatest gaming series of all time. Perhaps the next game from the same studio can build on the ideas that have evolved with the God of War formula, while bringing something completely new to the system. Besides a lack of new ideas, there's nothing major to criticize the game for, and for fans of the series, there's no reason not to give God of War 3 a go.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Sony

Developer:

SCE Santa Monica

Players:

1

Online:

None

Release:

2010-03-19

Trophies:

36

Review summary

Gameplay:

Perfection untouched - superb combat

Graphics:

Staggering visuals and epic scale

Sound:

A brilliant score complemented by great effects

Lastability:

Not massive, but good replay value and extra challenges

9.6

Meteoric

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