Wednesday , February 21 2024
Kratos is back and he's still not taking any guff.

PlayStation 3 Review: God of War III

When is more of the same not a bad thing?  When the predecessor was outstanding.  God of War III offers very little new to gamers, it is a title which, almost entirely, takes that which came before it – both good and bad – and wraps it up in a new, or more accurately continued, story. 

God of War III opens with our anti-hero, Kratos, climbing up to Mount Olympus with the Titan Gaia, which is pretty much where we left him at the end of God of War II.  Things for Kratos never progress simply however, and soon enough, the Ghost of Sparta finds himself on the outs with the Olympians and the Titans.  And what does that mean for you, the gamer?  Blood, lots and lots of blood. 

The game may in fact be more bloody than its predecessors, and Kratos is certainly an angrier man (or is it dethroned god?) than he has been previously.  Whereas in earlier titles he was content with only eliminating one or two deGod of War IIIities, this time out is goal is clear – not just to dethrone and eliminate Zeus, but to destroy every Olympian he possibly can… and any Titan that dares oppose him as well.

Anyone who has played either God of War or God of War II will instantly be able to pick up the title and whiz through it in its entirety.  Whereas those two games both had puzzles that may have left one briefly perplexed, no such problem occurs here.  There are certainly several push the block and then turn the lever moments, but what has to be done to progress to the next area is almost entirely clear from the outset.  Though there are a significant number of boss battles, and they are certainly enjoyable, they also feel easier than those from the earlier games.

In point of fact, the hardest thing about the game isn't the content, but the setup.  Though better than in the earlier games, the camera still has a tendency to sit, annoyingly, in just the wrong place, not allowing you to see quite what you want to.  Of course, when the camera hides a corner of a room there's a pretty good chance that there will be a hidden chest with some sort of bonus in it. 

More difficult and annoying than the camera, as was the case in the earlier games (or, at the very least, in the recently released God of War Collection) is the fact that Kratos doesn't always do what you've asked him to.  Most often this occurs with his needing to double jump and stretch out his wings in order to cross a wide divide.  All too regularly, Kratos will either not stretch his wings at all or stretch them only to retract them moments later, leaving you to crash to your death.  Moments like this would prove only marginally frustrating except for when these types of jumps are placed back-to-back-to-back, dying on the seventh out of eight jumps due to a failure to take flight is slightly annoying, dying right after that on the fourth jump for the same reason is more frustrating, and then dying on the fifth jump right after that becomes infuriating.  At that point it doesn't matter that save spots and check points are ample and that you can start up again right before the jumps begin, the fun of the game is momentarily lost.God of War III

Fortunately for God of War III, the incredible pace at which it proceeds, quickly zooming from one mammoth battle to the next makes you forget your frustrations.  Kratos isn't the smartest character you've ever gotten to take control of. In fact, as the Olympians repeatedly, and correctly, point out to him, he causes more trouble for himself than he would by leaving well enough alone. But he is one of the best fighters and those skills are on display full force here.  Whether it's battling the mammoth Kronos, chasing after Hermes, or eliminating Poseidon and his water horses, Kratos is an unstoppable machine of death.  If you like your heroes not just violent, but completely drenched in blood, Kratos is your man (or dethroned god).

The graphics in God of War III are, for the most part, truly outstanding, and certainly better than the updated Collection.  The levels of detail, even in the spurting blood, are great, and the lighting truly impressive.  There are however, disconcertingly, more than one moment where liquid – be it water or wine – inexplicably disappears. 

The soundtrack, too, is everything you've come to expect from God of War.  The music drives Kratos forward; the pounding bass urging him on in his struggles, the sickening thwack of his weapons into flesh failing to satiate his bloodlust, and the coos of the women he leaves behind providing little more than momentary joy.

God of War III is a relatively short title to complete, butGod of War III during your first time through the story you will repeatedly pick up items that cannot be used until you beat the game.  It moderately adds to the replay value of a game that might otherwise have none (except, that is, if you failed to satisfy your personal bloodlust the first time out).

Full of great boss battles that are less marred by annoying "push this button, now that button, now the other button" minigames than God of War II, and with a character at its center that is over the top and yet completely understandable, God of War III is a worthy entry into the series. It is certainly not a title for those faint of heart or who dislike sex and violence in their videogames, but if you're someone who likes to run through Ancient Greece eliminating hordes of enemies with one blow and then taking a moment to stop and smell the roses with Aphrodite, God of War III is a must own.

God of War IIIis rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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