God of War 3 User Review
God of War is, for the most part, a gameplay-driven experience. The story does, however, serve to provide a context for the brutalities you will no-doubt perform, so it needs to be mentioned. The game begins immediately following its predecessor as you, Kratos (ever heard of him?), hitch a ride on Gaea’s back towards the top of Mount Olympus. Your goal is simple: defeat the gods of Olympus and end their oppressive theocracy.
Many critics and fans alike have voiced their concerns about the story in this installment, claiming that it dehumanizes Kratos so much that it is difficult to feel any sympathy at all for the tragic hero. I agree with this to some extent, but I also came to realize just how far Kratos had come. Everything and everyone he had ever loved was gone, and the time to look backward had long since passed. It is time for justice. That is it and that is all. Take apart Mount Olympus piece by piece, and let the rest sort itself out. I am a sucker for a story driven game (Heavy Rain is one of my favorites of the generation) and God of War succeeds in telling an intriguing story of betrayal and revenge.
When it comes to God of War, gameplay is king. God of War seized the action genre, God of War 2 refined it, and God of War 3 puts any argument to rest, perfecting every aspect with precision and polish. While I’m on the topic of polish, let me say that God of War 3 is, without question, the most polished game I’ve EVER played. The fluidity of the combat is unmatched, the mixture of puzzles and combat is nearly flawless, and the sense of satisfaction you will receive when you tear your enemies apart is unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
I cannot praise the combat in God of War enough and it is difficult to separate the pieces because it all works so well together. You have a variety of tools at your exposal ranging from your trusty Blades of Chaos to a flaming bow to a severed head that is able to light your path and reveal hidden locations and chests. These are only three of the many instruments you will gain access to throughout the game, but you will use all of them extensively throughout your adventure. The ease of access is also extraordinary, as each is mapped to a different combination of buttons. This means that when you are fighting a variety of different enemies at once, you can easily choose the tool best suited for each enemy class. This makes combat dynamic and adds an extra layer of strategy that is rarely seen in this genre.
Adding to an already novel combat system is the ability to customize your items using (surprise!) your red orb currency. You will gain red orbs by defeating enemies and opening chests and you may use them at any time to level up your weapons and items. So, on top of fluidity and strategic elements, you also have depth. The plusses just keep adding up, but wait, there’s more!
God of War has always been about scale, whether it be environments or enemies. God of War 3 once again excels, pushing this console generation forward with gorgeous, multi-leveled environments, and Shadow of the Colossus caliber bosses. The level design and art direction is superb and most areas you will enter present extremely complex and satisfying puzzles which you will need to solve in order to progress. The bosses also demand strategy and many of these are also multi-tiered, meaning that once you pass a certain point, your strategy will need to evolve. The game is constantly introducing new elements and doesn’t stop until the credits roll.
I also want to mention the voicework and sound design of God of War III. The voice-acting is, as always, exceptional. Kratos is as intense as ever and each character, from the sly Hermes to the hulking Hercules, does a wonderful job of portraying their attitudes. The music is also remarkable, though it often takes a back seat to sounds of tearing flesh, breaking bones, and the screams of your enemies. Finally, The gameplay sound effects are awesomely satisfying and constantly reward the player. Pots explode, showering orbs that melodically float until they are absorbed. The clang of swords and spears echo on the battlefield until all is silent and you, Kratos, stand alone.
God of War 3 is a benchmark game. The graphics are stunning, the gameplay smooth as silk, and the presentation ties everything together with a meticulous attention to detail. If you can find a flaw here that doesn’t involve story preferences or very, very minor gripes with environment or puzzle design, I challenge you to name it. Despite its critical acclaim I still think God of War 3 is underrated. It sits firmly among my favorite games of all time and it should be among the first purchases for Playstation 3 owners.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.