Kratos wants to do one thing: kill Zeus. It's the only goal that the "Ghost of Sparta" has in the entirety of God of War 3, and everything from the epic beginning moments to the final credits serves to make that happen. If you haven't played the first two games and you have a PlayStation 3, it's worth your time to pick them up and get up to speed on how our "hero" became what he is today. Also, don't skip on the PSP adventure Chains of Olympus.
You can't respect how something ends before you know how it began.
God of War 3 is the first game in the series built from the ground up for the PlayStation 3, and the team behind the title spared no detail; the game feels like it has been painted on your screen. Even the flashback sequences, using more traditional animation and a hyper-stylized look, add much to the game. It's a clever way of showing what came before without dealing with the graphics of the past.
This is one of the most anticipated titles in the history of the PlayStation 3. We've beaten it, and have had some time to think it over. Does the game live up to the hype?
God of War is a third-person action game with some light platforming; you view the action through a fixed camera. Not being able to adjust the view may continue to rub some gamers the wrong way, but it allows the director to set up the action in a way that wouldn't be possible with a player-controlled camera, and some puzzles and secrets depend on you looking in a certain direction at a certain time.
The weapons will also be familiar to fans of the previous games, although the specifics are new. Your blades slice and fly through the air, cutting down enemies as you collect the red orbs they drop to power up your attacks. You can chain attacks together into epic combos, which is the heart of the God of War series. Combat is a flowing, balletic dance of blood and destruction. Weaken enemies enough, and you can grab them and end their lives with a few predetermined button presses in a quick-time event. These finishing moves are always over the top and violent: expect to see heads ripped off, entrails spilled, and creatures killed with things that used to be attached to them.
Describing the game mechanics in these dry terms doesn't do much to communicate how playing this game feels. Kratos doesn't care about anything except exterminating the gods. Innocents are introduced in the game as nothing more than obstacles for you to do with what you will. Ignore them? Slaughter them? It's utterly meaningless. We're supposed to be on the side of Kratos, but rarely has gaming dealt with a hero so thoroughly dead inside.
At one point Kratos "rescues" a topless maiden, and rather brutally uses her to advance to the next section of the game. It's not that he does it, or how he does it, that's important: it's that there is absolutely no empathy or mercy left in his heart.
The game is rated Mature, meaning it's aimed at gamers above the age of 17, and the back of the box lists the expected warnings about nudity and graphic violence. Still, those are just words on the back of a box on a store shelf. Sure, the game is violent, but how bad can it be?
If violence makes you queasy, or if you're a parent, be advised: this game is out there.
The camera doesn't blink when Kratos does his terrible things, and early in the game you'll watch a brutal beating in first person, getting a feel for what it's like to be bashed to death by someone's bare hands. The sequence ends... well, you know if you read our previous coverage. If you're trying to avoid spoilers, I'll leave it out of the review.
In another scene Kratos simply slams a new weapon into someone's head until it (the head, that is) looks like raw hamburger. The scene is simple, almost matter-of-fact: you're just watching someone get murdered. This is one of the rare games with sequences where I was tempted to turn away.
In other scenes, the game does a good job of having the player act out the process of slicing limbs off characters or forcibly removing their heads, leaving bloody stumps and viscera pooling on the ground. You're not just watching this; you're taking part in it. The new quick-time event system that puts the button prompt on the side of the screen makes it easier to follow the action... but you may not want to.
And this isn't even discussing the sexual content. We've passed the point where naked breasts in a game are shocking. God of War 3 doesn't shy away from nudity, and the sexual minigame included in this title... well, it goes a little further than we're used to from the past two games. There are M ratings, and then there are M ratings.
Even if you let your children play other Mature-rated games, this may be one you want to sit down and play with them, or wait a few years.
I talked with some friends about the level of violence in the game, and they agreed that the only issue here is that video gaming is a visual medium. The mythology of every culture is filled with violence and sex—you don't have to look past the Bible or Greek myth to find some pretty scary stuff. But in God of War, you aren't reading about these things, you're seeing them. In fact, the game goes out of its way to make it feel like you are doing them to your victims.
The goal of all this violence? It's not "saving the world for democracy" or rescuing a fair maiden or a lost child; it's sheer vengeful nihilism. While this attitude fits the setting and is there to tell a very specific story, it will turn off some gamers. Let that be a warning... or possibly an invitation.
The story may borrow some characters and themes from mythology, but don't expect much in the way of subtlety when it comes to the storytelling. Kratos speaks in bold, declarative statements, basically telling everything he sees that he's going to kill it. The gods are what you expect, with condescending and haughty tones. This game is designed to be an epic, and the voice acting certainly reflects that, but it can also cross the line into Cheeseville.
One standout in this crowd is Rip Torn as Hephaestus. His voice rumbles up, deep from his chest, and his words carry weight and sadness. You'll meet him multiple times throughout the game, and every time you get a hint of how a lighter touch with the writing and voice acting would have improved the game. There is another character introduced later in the game with a surprisingly strong performance, and her voice adds greatly to the game.
In defense of the storytelling, the ending does much to alleviate the problems I had with the voice acting and story notes in the first half of the game.
Technology Made This a Better Game
There is a scene in the game that takes place in the dark, and your whirling blades light the rocks and enemies around you. It's beautiful. The sort of moment where you are almost forced to stop and marvel at what you're seeing isn't rare in this game. Telling a story of gods and monsters demands scenes that seem almost too large... and the scope of God of War 3 simply wouldn't have been possible on previous generations of the hardware.
The lighting, the shadows, the animations, they all work together to tell this story. This is a game that shows what is possible when you are able to aim a game for a single platform through its entire development cycle. Some sections slow the pace every now and again, but you're shown something amazing every hour or so in the game. The first scenes here are better than the last scenes of most games, and the finale is surprisingly satisfying.
God of War 3 ends the trilogy (plus PSP game), and I told myself that if the game ended with Kratos in a deep freeze floating out in space... there would be words. Luckily, the game brings the story to an actual ending, and a satisfying one at that. Four games, three systems, multiple directors... it's amazing the series was able to tell a story that flows so well from game to game.
Oh, we'll see this world again—no one in the gaming business ever walked away from a series while it's selling well—but this story, with these particular characters, has been brought to a close. And with style.
Amazing boss fights
References the past games for a sense of history and purpose
Classic gameplay remains fun
Rip Torn's vocal performance
The voice acting fits the genre, but can be a little overdone at times
After you beat the single-player game, there's not much left to do
The game can feel a little too familiar in places
Kevin Sorbo as Hercules? Really?
The ending is going to have people talking, but that could just as easily go under "The Good"
Walking in on someone playing the new sex mini-game... you may find this one in your kid's top drawer, if you know what I mean
Rave reviews hit for God of War III
Embargo lifts to reveal high across the board for Sony’s PS3 only God of War III
The first reviews have flooded the internet of Sony’s upcoming PS3 only God of War III, and it seems that Sony has yet another critical smash on its hands.
The next-gen hack ‘n’ slash outing was awarded an impressive nine from Eurogamer , a 9.3 from IGN UK , 94 per cent from Play.tm , an ‘A’ from 1UP and a 96 per cent from Spong .
Given its lavish budget and the high standards set by the previous two installments, God of War III was always likely to be a special game.
But were we really expecting the Greek mythology-inspired action sequel to be this jaw-droppingly good?
It doesn't merely dwarf its predecessors, but also totally decimates its recent next-gen rivals such as Darksiders and Dante's Inferno.
The sense of scale in God of War III is truly unprecedented. Battle grounds range from the backs of screen-filling warring mythological Titans to the gates of Hades' underworld itself.
Level and character design is epic not only in terms of technical and graphical superiority, but also in terms of the game's consistently imaginative art direction. If ever there was a game to show your PS3 off with, this is most certainly it.
Combat is fluid and visceral, and, with the game's added graphical sheen, visually gorier than ever.
So violent in fact, that it may push the boundaries of taste for even usually liberally-minded gamers.
An early indicator comes during an over-the-top first level encounter with a centaur that requires you to rip out its entrails.
Nevertheless, it is all fitting within the gruff lead Kratos's sweeping tale of vengeance against the Greek gods.
Combo's flow easily enough for newcomers to get stuck in straight away, but the precision needed to execute pinpoint evasive manoeuvres make for a strong challenge, particularly on the higher difficulty levels.
If the game has one weakness (and this is truly nit-picking), it is that this central combat system has barely changed across each chapter of the God of War saga.
It remains one of the tightest and most sickeningly satisfying brawlers out there, but if this is to be the final God of War title as it seems to be, it would have been interesting to see something brand new to see the series off.
Aside from the recent clock bug debacle, its been a good few weeks for PS3 owners.
With the excellent noir-drama of Heavy Rain living up to expectations and Gran Turismo 5 also finally on the horizon, the console really seems to be hitting its stride.
Even with such stellar titles just around the corner though, expect God of War III to be the console's crown jewel for some time to come.
An absolute must-buy.
Originally Posted by Bazylik /forum/post/18272097
Where's the 7 or 8 from Edge?
Without question, God of War III sets the new gold standard for action games, clearing and then raising the near-impossible bar that was set by its previous installments. For many years to come, this will be the game by which all others in the genre are compared, and I suspect we won't see anything like it for quite some time. If God of War III was the reason you bought your PS3, your purchase has been justified and then some. If you're looking to show off the power of your console, this is your new showcase - it's an experience that simply can't be missed.
Score: 10 - Flawless Victory
Originally Posted by Toe /forum/post/18272452
Overall this is getting awesome scores, but there is a few 8s and 8.5s as well......which is normal of course
1 more week.........cant wait!
Originally Posted by tgable /forum/post/18273168
I think if the outliers are a couple 8s the game must not be too bad.
Originally Posted by tfoltz /forum/post/18274637
Pass for me. Gratuitous gore is not my thing. Watching the first few seconds of this video helped in the decision making ( http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/action/g...i-video-review ). I'm sure it will be great technically, though.