God of War 3 Game Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2010
An “epic of epic epicness” may be the tagline for the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World movie poster but after playing through God of War 3 it is also the only thing that can describe Kratos’ latest and possibly last adventure.
First things first, you do not have to have played the previous God of War entries to be able to enjoy or understand this game. Sony Santa Monica (the game developers) uses an opening sequence (think something along the lines of the opening sequence of Spider-Man 2 but with tons of more blood and the art of Sin City) to recap the events prior to God of War 3 and get you up to speed. It is however, preferable that you have played the games so you are emotionally involved and fully engaged in Kratos’s revenge quest. Knowledge of the past games will also allow you to pick up on a lot of the nods to the previous entries scattered throughout God of War 3.
The game opens up right where God of War 2 left off and how God of War 3 starts is truly epic; in terms of scale no game can touch it. The opening of the game is something that has to be seen to be believed. If you thought the Hydra battle in God of War and the Colossus of Rhodes battle in God of War 2 were awesome then prepare to be blown away for what’s in store God of War 3. The opening sequence is perfect because it sets the stage and prepares you for everything that the game will be. The grand scale of the events is showcased by the settings; you are climbing your way to Mt. Olympus on top of a titan as you battle a god. How is that for big? Describing how epic this game is would require the story to be spoiled and we won’t do that because it would ruin the many surprises and cool moments the game has to offer. Just know that the story delivers and offers a nice closure to the God of War trilogy.
We won’t go into details of the story and instead focus on what is new in God of War 3. The first thing you’ll notice is obviously the improvement in graphics which is a given since the God of War series is making the jump from Playstation 2 to the Playstation 3. Kratos in HD looks truly badass and beautiful at the same time. For our money he is the best looking character in any of the Sony Playstation 3 flagship titles, surpassing Solid Snake and Nathan Drake. The level of detail on Kratos is impressive; everything from his facial expressions to how he looks all covered in ash and blood is great. It’s not only Kratos that look great, the characters and the environments in the game also look sick.
Aside from mind blowing graphics, God of War 3 features new weapons. Unlike the past God of War entries where you stuck always with Blades of Chaos due to the other weapons sucking, you’ll actually want to use the weapons in God of War 3. There are a total of three new main weapons; two of them (Claws of Hades and Nemesis Whip) are basically variations of the Blades of Chaos. The Claw of Hades allows you to summon enemy souls for attacking and the Nemesis Whip allows Kratos’s to unleash electricity attacks. The other weapon you may be familiar if you played through the demo, it’s the Nemean Cestus. The Cestus is two huge gloves in the shape of a lion’s head that lets Kratos hand out devastating attacks. You’ll also be able to carry a few secondary ones like the Bow of Apollo (basic bow & arrow), Winged Boots (run fast, reach new areas) and the Head of Helios. Yes, you rip out the head of the god Helios and then use it as a flashlight or use sun god’s light to attack. As in all God of War games, using the red orbs will upgrade the weapons to deal more damage and add moves to the attack combos.
If you remember, in God of War 2, Kratos acquired the Icarus Wings. Since God of War 3 takes place immediately after God of War 2, Kratos still has the wings and they play a big part on a new addition to the game. God of War 3 comes equipped with some flying sections. Kratos now has to travel great distances in a short amount of time (from Mt. Olympus to the Underworld for example) so he will use the wings in a couple of sections in the game to fly up or drop down to where ever he needs to get to. When the flying starts, the camera pulls back behind Kratos and then you’ll have to navigate your way through debris and treacherous paths till you reach your destination. These sequences while few, offer a nice change of pace to the constant hack and slash action constant throughout the game.
Also new this time around is the ability to ride certain beasts. Kratos faces a lot more enemies this time around to the point where he may be overwhelmed by them. At this point he can use a new move to his arsenal where he picks up an enemy and uses him as a battering ram to clear some space or if there is a beast near by he can hop on top of them. Once on top of the beast, you control it for a few seconds and use it to deal damage. For example, riding a Cyclops will allow you to destroy enemies with shields fairly easy.
Our favorite new addition to the game is the one added to the quick time events God of War is famous for. There are a few moments in God of War 3 where during the quick time events the camera will switch to a first person view, be it from Kratos’s view or his victim. Witnessing Kratos’s brutality through the eyes of his victim can only be described as pure and unadulterated awesomess!
All these additions to the game cause improvements that easily make God of War 3 the best of the series.
A one man’s quest for revenge has no room for multiplayer so you won’t find any in God of War 3. However, Sony Santa Monica has promised downloadable content which will probably come in the form of extra rounds in the Challenge of Olympus mode.
Even though God of War 3 has no multiplayer mode and instead focuses only on the single player campaign, the game is a definite must buy as it offers one of the most visceral gaming experiences to date. Much of the game play remains the same, so you’ll feel right at home if you’ve played the previous games. If you haven’t played them don’t worry, the in-game tutorials will get you familiar with the control schemes. The game kicks ass in every facet and offers a campaign (around nine to twelve hours depending on the difficulty) filled with breathtaking and awe inducing moments. It also looks great in high definition and more importantly is a great closing chapter to the God of War trilogy.
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Mania Grade: A+