"The gates of Hades could not hold him, the Sisters of Fate could not control him, and on this
day, he would have his revenge..." - Gaia
First off, any game that starts out with opening narration like that is going to be epic. God
of War 3, the highly anticipated conclusion to the story of the Ghost of Sparta, Kratos. Many of you have probably read the reviews or even played and reviewed the game for yourselves, so here is another one.
As mentioned earlier, God of War 3 is the conclusion to Kratos' epic adventures. In this sense
the story serves it's purpose as being a final chapter to Kratos' misadventures. It is difficult to give a good review of the story without spoiling anything for those of you who haven't played the game yet...but in my opinion the story was good, but not as good as it could have been. Too many times during the game you just stop and wonder "wait, why am I doing this again?"....and not because the reason was unclear, but because it feels like the purpose had already been accomplished and the devs were just trying to fill up space.
By the end of God of War 2, (slight spoiler for those that haven't played GoW 2)... you are almost at the top of Mount Olympus with all the titans rollin' with you ready to rip some gods in pieces. So at the beginning of God of War 3, you wonder how are they gonna flesh this out into a full game...and the answer that they gave us isn't the greatest. The story is still good, only problem is that it seems like they simply recycled their formula for the story in God of War 2 and just increased the "epic-ness", which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but falls just short of living up to the hype.
Kratos is more detailed than ever
Also the pacing seems a little.....for lack of better words "eh". God of War games have been known for their epic openings and this game is no different, but due to the near overwhelming "epicity" (real word? i doubt it) of the opening, when the game slows down it feels as if the pacing is off, like going 80mph on the highway then coming to an abrupt stop. This is forgivable however, since it is obviously necessary for the story to have a dynamic. Too much epic would eventually dull the game and thereby make the ending not feel like the epic ending it should feel like.
Overall, great story but just seemed kind of recycled from the previous game, which in itself is not a bad thing! Would be better if the developers tried something slightly different.
Graphics and Presentation
Now this is the department where GoW 3 is the best in. If you have been watching videos of the game and reading other reviews, then you've probably heard that gamers and devs everywhere are praising Kratos as the best looking character in all of gaming...that, dear reader, is no exaggeration. Kratos' character model is just unbelievably amazing looking. His movements are fluid and the "brutal kill" animations are top notch. Kratos' scars are all fleshed out and the muscle movement is also amazing. You might find yourself taking breaks between action to try to find a good camera zoom of Kratos. Everything about his character model is just phenomenal and hard to describe in words. Keep in mind there are no pre-rendered cut scenes in the game other than the stylized flashbacks and such. Otherwise, all the cut scenes are done with the in game engine, which is nothing short of amazing.
Lionsnakegoat? Goatsnakelion? Snakeliongoat?
The Kratos you see in the cutscenes is the same Kratos you control and kick ass with. The character models for most of the enemies in the game are also pretty amazing. Notably the minotaur (giant bull monster that stands on 2 legs) and the gorgon (same as Medusa). The Gorgon's scales are just amazing, and during the QTE (quick time event) brutal kill of the gorgon, the slashes you make in the scales stay there and are so detailed and fleshed out. Same goes for the QTE with the minotaur and the centaur. There are many others but again, going further into this would spoil things.
We have the Zipper Tech engine to thank for all the awesome brutality of the game. Pretty much what Zipper tech does is what's mentioned above, leaves the wounds of enemies on their character models, accurately shows guts pouring out of disemboweled enemies and decapitations and dismemberment during brutal kills, and showers Kratos with blood that stays on his body for quite some time. All these things provide for a very enjoyable experience when ripping foes in half or ripping a cyclops' eye out and having the blood gush out all over you, disturbing as that may sound.
Although most of the character models are amazing, there are definitely some that could have used more work. Even some of the important characters (i.e. gods) don't look as good as they could or should have. There is definitely imbalance between certain characters. It would spoil the game to specify which ones, but you will be able to tell if/when you play the game.The environments/set pieces look pretty awesome as well. Especially when you are battling while on a Titan. Those scenes are just mind-boggling. Scale scale scale!!! that's what makes the game so epic.
Kratos is about to get a call from Scorpion's lawyers
The camera work is done very well to suit these epic scenes. However, there is again a noticeable imbalance between certain set pieces and stages, some looking amazing while others seem like they were not given attention to at all. For example, in some areas the water looks so thick and smooth like it should and in others it looks thin and edgy. Despite that, for the most part the game is beautiful and one of the best looking games ever made.
Another commendable accomplishment by the devs at Santa Monica Studios is the lighting. It is simply amazing. The light produced by Kratos' blades is distributed very elegantly in the environment around him. Light bends with water and reflects off of Kratos' golden fleece, all very impressive.
Graphics and lighting are awesome. Kratos' character model is amazing, but other characters and some areas are just underdeveloped.
The soundtrack is like the rest of the game, EPIC. With battle drums on the constant pound and the chorus work sounding like impending doom for all, the soundtrack is pretty awesome, even tough some gamers have reported sound syncing going bad during cut scenes. The sound effects are good, what you would expect from an action title. The voice overs are also done well. With a cameo voice over by actor Rip Torn (Men in Black, Dodgeball) you can't really go wrong.
For a Spartan general, being pissed off 24/7 is part of the job
The gameplay is pretty much the same as the previous GoW titles with a few upgrades. You are now able to switch between weapons on the fly. This gives the opportunity to link together some brutally massive combos. The new weapons are also more useful than the other weapons in previous games. Although most of the new weapons you will obtain have a similar movement and range as your original blades, each has a distinct ability and distinct combos which makes for some fun times during combat.
The way magic is used has been altered as well. Different types of magic are now linked to a specific weapon. So basically to switch magic you have to switch weapons, which may sound awkward but it works really well, and saves from having to touch the d-pad. You can link your combos by changing weapons until you get to the one whose magic you wanna use then boom, finish/or continue your combo with that magic spell you wanted to use.
Other than magic and primary weapons, there are additional items & sub weapons as well. Again, iterating exactly what these are would spoil the game a little bit. These items all have unique abilities and are used to solve certain puzzles or find secret chests and areas. This increases the game's "treasure hunter" dynamic, which has always been present, but the new items make it more enjoyable. Some of the items double as sub-weapons, not really for killing enemies but more for stunning them or exposing enemies in hiding. There is also an item use meter now which limits the amount of times you can use certain items. For example, your bow uses up the item meter as you fire arrows, but it will quickly replenish and is mainly there to avoid players from spamming arrows for a whole battle.The item and weapon level up system remains unchanged. Collect red orbs to level up your items. Just as a heads up it is possible to level up all weapons and items in a single play-through, which is rewarding, but at the same time slightly decreases the game's replay value.
And what would a God of War game be without QTEs (quick time events)? The original God of War pretty much pioneered the QTE in action gaming and it is definitely a huge part of gameplay once again in this title. A noticeable difference is that the QTE prompts now appear at the sides of the screen making the actions being performed more visible, which means we get to see all the grotesque bad-assery that Kratos delivers to his foes.
The gameplay hasn't changed much and that definitely isn't a bad thing. It adds enough to keep things fresh and at the same time stays true to the system that we've all come to love.
The game runs anywhere between 8 - 11 or so hours depending on what difficulty you play it on, and how good you are or how bad you suck. There is a challenge mode as in previous GoW games called "Challenge of Olympus" and Arena Battle mode, as well as a different costume/skin to unlock for Kratos. There are also collectibles called Godly possessions that add certain tweaks to gameplay such as infinite item use, infinite magic, and increased damage, etc. These items can be toggled on or off in the items menu after you beat the game, but keep in mind it will disable trophies.
There's also 4 different levels of difficulty including Spartan (easy), God (normal), Titan (hard) and the unlockable difficulty Chaos (very hard). You can unlock Chaos by beating the game on any difficulty. If played on God mode, it's not too challenging but a good balance between the feelings of accomplishment and frustration. So you technically could get 2 or 3 playthroughs out of this game just trying to unlock everything and get all the collectible items and beat it on the highest difficulty levels.
It also feels like this game has a little more replay value just because it looks so amazing that you might want to play through it again or at least pop it in every once in awhile just to enjoy the epic opening levels. If you wanted to show off the power of your PS3, this is one of the games to do that with.
The game is an epic ending to an epic story. Although somewhat lacking in variety in story structure from the other games and a few areas of misdirection in objectives, the story is still pretty solid and delivers an effective ending to the trilogy. Graphics are amazing, Kratos especially, but highly recognizable imbalances between characters and stages. Presentation and scale is awe-inspiring. Sound is awesome and voice overs are done well. Gameplay remains similar with a few adjustments for the better, in other words the gameplay kicks ass as usual. The replay value is decent. Even though it's a game you can finish in 2 sittings if you want, with some unlockables, collectibles and extra modes and mind blowing visuals you may find yourself playing this game more times than you originally thought.
Well that's the review. Try the game out. Hate it or love it, you should try it. One thing is for sure though....Kratos is out for blood and you will get a whole lot of that!! So what are you waiting for fellow god slayers, play this shit!!
overall score: 9/10