God of War III is the first outing for Kratos developed for the PlayStation 3 and his last, as it is supposedly the final chapter in a trilogy. Yet the ending (or rather, the 15 second scene after the end credits) makes you wonder if this is will really be the last we’ll see of the sadistic Spartan. None the less, Kratos is back, and he’s hell-bent on destroying the ruler of Olympus, and his father, Zeus. This third and final installment picks up right where its predecessor left off, and holds a tight grip on the formula that has earned it such high praise.
How To Kill a God
Evidently, it’s not as simple as climbing Mount Olympus on the back of a Titan, knocking on Zeus’ door, and disemboweling him. After all, it would be a pretty short game if that were the case. That’s where things start, and where GOW2 left off, minus the disemboweling part. There is a cut-scene prior to the game’s menu which sums up the story so far, for those who haven’t played the previous two games. But it’s likely not enough to fill in all of the gaps, and past events are just barely explained as they are referenced. None the less, there is plenty of fun to be had hacking and slashing your way through every god, demigod, titan, and mythical creature that stands between Kratos and Zeus. But for someone who has played the previous games, the continued story remains exciting, and closes the trilogy quite nicely. There are plenty of moments where your jaw is left hanging, while you frantically hit the right on-screen cues to spill the guts of your enemies in the most glorious fashion.
As usual, Kratos falls from grace pretty early in the game, but immediately gets back on the horse and continues his quest for vengeance. Collecting weapons, upgrades, and massacring any living, breathing thing in his way. As the story unfolds, Kratos discovers the path he must take in order to murder his father (Zeus, for those who haven’t been paying attention). This time, with every slain god, comes a direct consequence which befalls humanity. At times, I found it hard to support Kratos’ actions and often wished the choice was left in my hands, but that was not the case. Kratos is absolutely relentless, with no regard for consequence, and shows no remorse. I’ve always viewed Kratos as an anti-hero, but he almost seems like a villain (for the most part) in this 10 hour jaunt.
An Astounding Sense of Scale
The GOW games have always been absolutely massive. From the set pieces, to the boss battles, and of course the Titans. GOW3 is no exception, in fact it has an even bigger sense of scale than its predecessors, if you can believe that.
Same Old Gameplay
This isn’t a bad thing, since the GOW series have been known for its small learning curve and huge fun factor. It’s not a button masher, per say. There are combos for each weapon which result in devastating actions when done right. Not knowing at least a few of the combos will leave you with much frustration as you fail at the bigger/longer battles, over and over again. When you are instructed to mash on a button, it usually results in separating limbs and heads from bodies, which is most definitely forgivable and extremely satisfying.
Quick Time Events, Revisited
I do believe the God of War franchise is responsible for popularizing quick time events. And in GOW3, we see a new take on this type of gameplay. Previously, the button prompts would pop up in the upper-middle of the screen. But now they appear in the screen position of the corresponding button on the PS3 controller. For example, the Square button is the left button on the face of the controller. When the Square button prompt appears, it’s on the left side of the screen. Bottom for X, Top for Triangle, and right for Circle. I found I was much quicker to react, and was able to focus more on what was happening on screen, as opposed to staring at the position where the prompt would normally appear.
How to F*** a God
If there are children in the room, please close your eyes and cover your ears. For those still here, Aphrodite (the goddess of love, sex, and beauty) makes a brief appearance about three quarters of the way through, where Kratos has the opportunity to join her in bed for a quick romp. If you hit it a couple of times, there is some pretty funny dialogue to be heard from Aphrodite’s mistresses, who watch from the sidelines.
Kratos Still Has What it Takes
While God of War III isn’t quite as mind-blowing as the first (or even second) game in the series, it’s an exhilarating trip through Greek mythology, depicted as only a God of War game can. The action is non-stop, completely grotesque, yet utterly satisfying. An absolute must-play for any fan of the series. New-comers to the series might be left in the dark a little as far as the story goes, but fun will be had, without a doubt.