Published on March 26th, 2010 | by prime0
God of War III – Review
Summary: Possibly the greatest action game ever made
God of War III is as good as it gets it is about as perfect as you could ever hope for, and if anyone can ever top this, well we’d like to see them try. From the terrific art direction to the magnificence of the set pieces, the best in the class combat to the superb sense of scale, God of War III is a landmark moment in videogame history; a game that deserves to be remembered in the same breath as Half-Life 2 and Final Fantasy VII, and one simply too difficult to find substantial fault with to suggest anything less.
Of course, GoW III is essentially just a continuation of the formula we all know and love, following the same basic structure as the previous two games. Kratos kills a beast of significant size during an epic opening sequence (and by epic we mean the most damn impressive set piece you’ll likely ever see), and gets stripped of his powers and double crossed by a former ally before quenching his thirst for vengeance by slicing off the heads of the powers that be. But amazingly, Stig Asmussen’s first attempt at the formula is so perfectly well-executed that it completely blows David Jaffe and Cory Barlog’s efforts out of the water. There’s never a dull moment and never any downtime even during some of the relatively unexciting lever-pulling sequences the action is still in full swing, with Santa Monica throwing blood-soaked set piece after set piece at the player as they venture closer to the peak of Mount Olympus.
The combat system, too, has been perfectly refined to the point where being thrown another wave of enemies is more a joy than an irritation (doubly so when factoring in the ever present sense of progression via the regular unlocks and constant weapon development), while the boss battles themselves are so much more spectacular than those seen in any other title – including previous God of Wars that they simply make a mockery of anything to come before it.
From chasing Hermes through a war –torn city, battling Hades in his lair to witnessing Poseidon’s gory end are utterly unforgettable, though the battles aboard the titans prove to be the highlight, filled with moving parts for Kratos to traverse, sweeping camera angles and a stomach churning sense of height. Our one concern and one that, given its occurrence in previous God of Wars too, we’re surprised that Santa Monica hasn’t learnt from – is that, however grandiose some of the later set pieces can be, the game often fails to match the spectacle witnessed in the opening hour. Some better pacing rather than the game’s necessity to blow its load in the opening moments would have perhaps been more prudent.
Elsewhere though, God of War III remedies much of the criticism laid at its predecessors with much aplomb. The frequent variation in combat provided by the hordes of different enemy types somewhat removes the previous games’ sense of ‘one note’ gameplay and guarantees that you’ll hardly ever be left button smashing, while the variety in the environments themselves and the pandemonium within does wonders to keep players interest on the high.
Titan battles are the highlight, filled with moving parts, sweeping camera angles and a stomach churning sense of height
The increased emphasis on story and characterization too, and the regular introduction of and frequently double-crossing by a variety of gods, titans and other mythological characters ensures that this rollercoaster nine hour adventure provides the trilogy with the send-off it deserves, while excelling that satisfying sense of badassery the God of War games have become known for. The body count goes through the roof, Kratos’ war paint slowly becomes replaced by splashes of claret and Mount Olympus itself gradually becomes increasingly desecrated by the chaos occurring within.
Puzzles too, though few and far between, are incredibly clever rather than infuriatingly tough, resulting in a delicious sense of satisfaction when the light bulb finally flickers on. And even the smaller things, like the QTE prompts being placed on the four sides of the screen rather than the center, or the intentionally gratuitous, utterly unnecessary sex scene show Santa Monica’s knack for the IP. They know what makes gamers tick, and more importantly, they know how to do it.
So, like Mass Effect 2 and Uncharted 2 before it, God of War III’s one of those titles that will change the way you look at everything else. On its first attempt, Santa Monica Studio seems to have wringed every ounce of power it possibly can from the hardware to provide a faultless (and unrivalled) presentation, while offering an unforgettable end to one of the greatest story arcs in years. The Dog’s had its day; God of War III’s a brutal, bone shattering thrill ride of an adventure, Playstation 3’s finest hour and quite possibly the greatest action game ever made.