God of War III (2010), video game review.
The God of War series has always been highly praised. God of War II has been called by many the greatest PS2 game of all time. That seems like a pretty hard act to follow. Even more so seeing as this is the teams first PS3 game.
After playing through the HD collection of the first two games my hopes for the third were high. I’d heard lots of good things about it. Other reviewers were giving it 10’s or 9.50’s, I’d seen gameplay and it looked amazing. I had loved the first two games, but I was late to the party and their new game sheen had worn mostly off.
So is God of War III any good? Read on to find out…
The Good and The Bad.
If you’ve played a new action game in the past four or five years your probably familiar with the God of War combat to some degree. The combat has seeped into many a game, some don’t even try to hide it and are basically just God of War with a different skin.
But for those of you who aren’t familiar with the combat of the God of War series I’ll give you a brief description of it.
In God of War the player character–Kratos–is equipped with a pair of blades that have been connected to a pair of chains and then attached to his arms. Using the Blades you are able to throw them about to attack enemies that are a few feet away from you. As you kill baddies you collect their souls which you use as currency to upgrade your weapons and magic.
That is a very dumbed down version of the GOW experience. There are combos that can be pulled off, you fight some of the most amazing boss fights, and there is actual a pretty good story behind it all.
In GOW III they didn’t make any serious tweaks to the combat, but what they did do is make the combat even funner and more fluid. By adding the ranged grab move they made it easier to propel yourself across the screen towards a groups of baddies. And now when you do decide to do a good old fashioned grapple you have more the one option of what to do (most of the time at least, it doesn’t work on the bigger enemies), you could either, throw the enemies into one of his allies, you could sink your blades into him on the spot, killing him, or you could run into a group of enemies using the one you grabbed as a battering ram.
Anyone who played GOW II will probably remember the Cyclops. Once you had weakened them, and killed their rider, it would come up with a O prompt were you would jump up on to their back and then pull out their eye. Now, they have added the ability to ride conquered enemies and use them to attack other enemies.
The last games had other weapons that you could get other than the Blades, but they didn’t really feel good enough to use or spend your hard-earned souls to upgrade. But now that has changed. The way that weapons are implanted in GOW III is one of my favorite things about the game. Not only are their now four weapons (one of them is just an update version of your classic Blades)–all of which are cool and equally fun to use. But the way that magic works in the game has changed so that each of the weapons has a spell tied to it. So instead of upgrading only your weapon, you also are upping your spells as well.
At the beginning of GOW II something happens so that you lose all of the items and upgrades that you collected during the first game. Many sequels do this and it annoys the heck out of me. Thankfully, GOW III sidesteps this curse of sequels–at least partially. Instead of losing all your upgrades, items, and weapons, you lose about two-thirds of it. You lose your upgrades to both your Blades, health, and magic, but you do get to keep items, such as the Icarus wings, that you collected during GOW II. This isn’t perfect, it would have been fun to be able to play though the game with your Blades maxed out–and since they removed New Game + this isn’t possible–but it is a step up from the last game where you lost everything.
In addition to adding new weapons, there are new items that you can use. Some of you GOW II vets may remember the ice bow spell that you got. It was a really useful spell but it ate up your mana fast. In GOW III they have again added a bow (this time its a fire bow), but they have also added a new meter that rests below your health and magic, it’s called the item meter. So instead of using up your valuable magic to shoot some grunts with your bow, you can now fire off as many shots as your able to with the bow and then just wait a few seconds and the meter recharges.
As well as the bow there are also two other items: the Boots of Hermes which allows you into charge enemies sending them up in the air, or you can use them to run up walls; and the Head of Helios which can be used as a lantern in dark caverns, to stun enemies, or reveal hide objects and passageways.
GOW III has some of the best camera work in video games. In the GOW series you’ve never been able to control the camera–at first when I started playing the series this was something that I didn’t like, but as I played more and more I got used to it and learned to love and appreciate the masterful camera work that was going on. But, with all the amazing camera work being done in the series, GOW III stands out as the best of the best. Whether its Kratos hanging upside down from underneath the palm of a titan, as the same titan can be seen in the background looking around for Kratos, or his the chilling execution of Posidion, seen through the eyes of Posidion himself, GOW III has cemented its place in my mind as having the best camera work in a game. And those were only two great moment out of hundreds. Every moment is a joy to watch and play. And coupled with the games AMAZING graphics it is also one of the best looking games out there.
Most games these days have good graphics, and lot of them are realistic and awesome, but once in while there comes a game that just blows your mind graphically, GOW III was that game for me. But not only are the cutscene graphics great but since most of the cutscenes use the games gameplay engine, the graphical difference between gameplay and cutscene is nil.
If you own a Playstation, go out and buy this game. If you don’t own a PS3, go out and buy a PS3, and then buy this game. It is one of the very best games I have played in a while. Even if you played the first two and didn’t like them, buy this game. Few games are this good and seeing as this was the teams first game on the system it is even more of an achievement, I can’t wait to see what the creators of a game like this could do on a second game.
Visuals: Top-notch visuals both in the camera department and in graphics. This is best camera work in the business, and the graphics are also some of the best.
Sound: The sounds of battle sound great; swords clashing, people screaming and shouting, and the slicing of flesh all sound terrific. But even better than the sounds of battle is the music. Music in GOW games has always been great, but the GOW III soundtrack is the best. Filled with old favorites and amazing newcomers, there’s always music for the scene, be it a chilling and creepy tune, or fast epic battle drums.
Gameplay: There isn’t much more to say here other than, amazing.
Worth Your Money?: The trip alone is worth the 25 bucks the game now costs at Gamestop, but there are also a few bonuses. There is at least an hour of interviews, trailers, and making of videos. There are a handful of challenges, and if you manage to beat them all (which I have yet do) you unlock another mode named Combat Arena. May one complaint here (and possible with the whole game) is the that they removed the New Game + mode where you could start a new game but keep all you upgraded weapons, but instead you can only replay the game and use a few items that you picked up in your last playthrough to modify the game a little.
Console: PS3. Sadly if you don’t have a PS3 (or the next PS) there is no legal way to play GOW III.
Developer: Santa Monica Studio
Parental Rating: M/17+
Overall Score: 10/10. And in addition I’m giving God of War III the “Best Playstation 3 Game” award.