God of War III User Review
Graphically, God of War 3 is a stunning example of what every game should strive to be. It is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the best looking game to date. However, due to the realism, I can not, in good conscience, give it a perfect ten, knowing that some time in the not-too-distant future, it will be surpassed. I feel that this is exactly what the developers have strived for the entire time, this grand and epic scope, this highly detailed and jaw-droppingly rendered world. Gone is the slightly-cartoonish aesthetic which the earlier games held, but it is not to be missed. The more realistic nature of the game lends itself perfectly to the over the top violence portrayed throughout. From decapitations to disembowelments, it is enough to make the player avert their eyes in horror. It is often said that the first hour is the best, but that is only true if you are interested in the spectacle. Watching the Titans climb, and fall, from Mount Olympus while playing is one thing, but seeing the detail and substance later in the game is far more rewarding to me. Everything about the look of the game screams ‘I AM AMAZING!’. Everything, that is, except the animations. Unfortunately, Kratos still moves in the same jerky style that he held in God of War 2. The attacks of the chain blades have not changed, nor has the wall climbing, roof traversal or rope swinging. The new attacks introduced by the sub-weapons however are interesting, if not entirely inspired. The same feel carries into the grapple attacks, which are a mix of the new and the old, with some being instantly recognisable, while some are enough to shock veterans of the series.
Unlike the incredible polish placed on the graphics, the sound leaves much to be desired, particularly early on in the game. There is little variation in the sounds that the enemies produce, although that is to be expected. The swish of the blades is beautifully designed, no fear, but when you are constantly mashing the attack button and hearing that sound over and over, it begins to grate. As does the score. It is compelling and suitably epic, but it seems to repeat constantly, and eventually blends into the background. That is probably my biggest complaint in the entire game. The music should have been at the forefront in an attempt to capture the gamers mood. Alas, it suffices, and I shouldn’t complain because it is still one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a game, but it’s a personal, niggling thing. And now, the early voice acting truly let me down, but it picked up upon meeting Hephaestus. Unfortunately, Gaia has lost her mysticism, Zeus has lost his sibilant ‘S’s, and until Kratos realises the import of Hephaestus’s daughter, he had lost his humanity. On the other hand, Athena is the same as she always was, the smith-god’s daughter is simply outstanding and Hermes was a lot of fun. Oh, I could go on, but let it just be said to not expect everything to be grand on the sound stage.
As far as the way the game is presented, I have no real qualms. The title screen harkens back to the earlier games, the new style of performing finishing moves is a little counterintuitive, but not detrimental to the gameplay. The camera angle can be a little frustrating in the plat forming segments, but I’m actually inclined to think that it was just me being unable to accurately gauge where I was, and where I was trying to get to on screen. Returning from previous iterations is the majority of the control scheme, with Square and Triangle being light and heavy attacks respectively. Grappling an opponent is as simple as pushing the Circle button and following the prompts (or using an attack button for certain enemies), while jumping is controlled by tapping the X button. A second tap of X will activate a double jump, while holding it down will allow you to glide a short distance with the Icarus Wings (an item returning from God of War 2). L1 is used to block incoming attacks, and if timed correctly, will allow you to parry attacks and deliver a counterattack. L2 controls the items you will collect during your play through. Using this in conjunction with the Square button will give you control of the bow, Triangle the lantern, and X, the boots. Unfortunately, these items could have been fleshed out much better, but alas, the only one that is any great help is the bow. Movement is controlled with the left stick, while the right stick controls your dodge, which is more important than ever before with the number of enemies on screen. Unlike previous iterations, magic is mapped to your weapons (which you switch with the D-Pad, or the block button and X), and controlled with the R2 button. It took me a while to get used to this change, but that is most likely because I went into the game being very familiar with the first two having played them in the week before the third. It seemed to me to be more difficult to chain combos in this game, not having been able to get over three hundred hits, while I managed to get over seven hundred in God of War 2. Oh well, such is life, uhh, gaming… This set up is a refreshing change from the other control schemes I’ve used in other action games this generation in its intuitive and easy nature. Elitists will find it too simplistic, but they can shove it, because the formulaic nature of the game welcomes it.
In conclusion, yes, God of War 3 is a fantastic game, though not without its share of flaws. Technically, it outstrips the near unanimous Game Of The Year of 2009, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, in terms of graphical fidelity and scope. The rest of the production does not, in my opinion, feel quite as polished as Naughty Dog’s gem. It is a game lacking in humour and bright moments. As it should be. It is intended as a serious, and even punishing creation. You are not supposed to leave Mount Olympus with a smile, no. The game is thoroughly unhappy, and Santa Monica Studio has done its absolute best to make sure you know that. Then again, nor were the earlier games. If you enjoyed them, then it is simple. You will enjoy this, Kratos’s last outing (at least until Sony get greedy and want more money). It takes everything that those games did well and ramps it up past 11, while adding its own ingredients to the tried and true formula. God of War is STILL the premier non-gun action franchise available on consoles, and I anxiously await its superior. Yes, this game deserves your money, and that is the last thing that I am going to say about it.
Now, I have tried to focus on the negative parts of the game, (which, admittedly are few.) in the hope that you will go in with lowered expectations and come out thinking better of it than if I had lavished praise upon it, and it had failed to live up to that. Thankyou for your time and I hope that you found my words to be both informative and helpful. Until next time PSXE, Peace and Law be with you.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.