As I ran home from work with my copy of God of War III (GoW III) in hand, thoughts of not being impressed with the game kept running through my head. Would the game live up to the hype? What insane stuff would this game bring to the table that I haven’t already seen were some of the questions I bounced around in my mind. And then I booted up the first level that not only blew my mind, my jaw and my jewels away but made me realize that this right here is what gaming is all about.
In its first hour God of War III puts more 'awe' in awesome than any game in the history of gaming. Yeah I know that’s a bold statement but no form of media has even come close in eliciting such raw emotion from me. It leaves no stone unturned in making sure you don’t leave your couch even if your entire house burns down around you. After the first level you’ll probably have to put the controller down just to soak in some of the stuff you experienced minutes ago.
Don't mess with him
The God of War series have always been appreciated for their powerful plot and this game is no different. You step into the boots of Kratos once again as he strives to take down Zeus (the God of Gods) and the rest of Mount Olympus. The game takes place immediately after the events of GoW II which means you’ll start off the game with all the powers from the second game like the Wings of Icarus, the Golden Fleece etc. Pretty soon you’ll - how do I put this – violently obtain various powers and weapons throughout the course of the game that can be upgraded via red orbs dropped from enemies or picked up from crates.
You’ll amass four weapons throughout the game each of which are best suitable for certain types of enemies. Mix this up with a healthy dose of magic and the ability to juggle between weapons with a touch of a button and you’re looking at pulling off some insane combos. Quick time events, something this series pioneered are a lot more forgiving this time round which means you’ll have little more than a split second to press the prompts on-screen. Even if you do mess up, don’t worry, it won’t mean immediate death.
How do you like me now
Besides tearing Greek mythology a new hole you’ll spend a fair amount of time completing puzzles and platforming. There are definitely fewer puzzles in this game than the second iteration and most of them are tied down to lever and crate pushing. Still it’s a pleasant respite from all the stabbing and maiming. Platforming could have been a real bitch with the uncontrollable camera and all but the programmers at Santa Monica are thankfully really good at their job so it’s rarely an issue.
The GoW series has always been well known for their gigantic over-the-top boss fights and this game takes that ideology, throws it out of the window and dishes out stuff you’ve probably only dreamed of till date or witnessed in CG. I would really love to talk about some of the boss battles in this game but I’d rather you discover them for yourselves and then proceed to soil your pants the way I did. Nothing and I mean nothing, be it videos or screenshots can mentally prepare you for this game’s boss encounters. As colossal as some of the bosses are in this game they are still no match for Kratos’ rage and proceed to get owned in some of the most violent and cringe worthy ways I’ve seen in a game (and this is coming from someone who’s played both Manhunt 1 and 2).
This will hurt a lot
As far as presentation is concerned there’s no game that even comes close to what GoW III brings to the table. If there was any game made to display the graphical prowess of the PlayStation 3, this is it. I loved Uncharted 2 to death but this game pretty much upped that in every way possible. Character design is flawless and you will be shell shocked by the amount of detail poured into pivotal characters. Level design is phenomenal, animations are top notch and creature design is brilliant. Special mention has to be made of the game’s lighting engine that once again I feel is pretty much the best in the business. I’m sure I pretty much sound like a love struck teen once again but I firmly believe in giving the devil his due and this game deserves it by the truckload.
If I had to really sit and nitpick about the things I didn’t like in the game I would have to say that the game makes you backtrack quite a bit reusing older levels more than I’d like albeit with different powers and weapons. And the second part would have to be that the game feels a bit slow paced in the middle. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the game opens with such a bang but either way these are minor niggles that don’t detract from the grand experience in the slightest bit.
If you haven’t figured it out by now God of War III is epic in every sense of the word. It excels in every department be it visuals, audio, combat, story and then some more. Yes it’s still a linear game and yes there’s no “multiplayer” but you won’t care about any of that once you’ve completed the game. In fact you may just take a slight sabbatical from gaming because no other game will come close to offering such an experience for years to come.
God of War III will release on the 16th of March exclusively for the PS3 but you can pre-order the game at Game4u now.