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Jeremy Jastrzab
20 Mar, 2010

God of War III Review

PS3 Review | Kratos will not be denied his revenge.
Dante had the style. Bayonetta had the grace. Ryu had the challenge. But none of these seminal action heroes could match the brute force and rage meted out by Kratos of the God of War series. And on top of that, Kratos could lay claim to a coherent and engaging story with rich characters based on ancient Greek Mythology. While not the biggest-selling Sony franchise (even though the main instalments have reached two million in sales each), the God of War series has provided a great mix of violence and fun for the core gamers and the more casual players. The ending of God of War II may have left players high and dry, but rest assured that after three years, Kratos is here to finish the job in God of War III.

Players who haven’t gone through either God of War or God of War II will certainly miss out on a lot if they jump straight into God of War III with no prior experience. Unfortunately, since the God of War Collection is only available in Australia through the limited (and expensive) 'Ultimate Trilogy Edition', those who want to catch up may need to resort to importing. For those who have played through the series, the game has a superbly animated and stylised credits sequence that provides a concise rundown of previous events. It serves as an adequate reminder of the past for those of us who have joined Kratos in battle before, but may have forgotten the details.

Players may be relieved to hear that God of War III does indeed conclude the trilogy. Picking up exactly where God of War II left off, Kratos and the giant Titans are scaling Mt. Olympus to take on Zeus and the remaining Gods. Kratos wants revenge on Zeus for all the things he’s had to put up with over the course of the series, while the Titans have been brought forward in time from the first War of the Titans, where the Olympians had originally triumphed. They're looking to change that. However, nothing is this simple in Ancient Greek Mythology. As with all God of War titles so far, the beginning is completely insane, the middle falls into a predictable formula before picking up for a remarkable and, in this case, satisfying conclusion. By the end, most of Greek Mythology has been covered and, best of all, the journey is a total blast with excellent progression and pacing throughout - probably the best of the series.

More going on than you can poke a stick at.

More going on than you can poke a stick at.
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Most impressively, though, you come to see more depth to Kratos’ character before the story is complete. While God of War III does a great job of pushing the boundaries of what would be considered acceptable, you'll find that Kratos' motivations amount to more than just revenge, rage and bloodlust, and at the end context is provided for all of it. Simply put, you may even sympathise with his relentless pursuit for murder and vengeance. That said, you have to wonder how on earth this game passed with an MA15+ rating. At times, the gore is cleverly obscured, but if there was ever a game that demonstrated the need for an adult rating, this is it. But, we’re not going to look a gift Pegasus in the mouth…

After the stellar opening, you’re dumped into the River Styx and drained of most of your powers. The Blades of Chaos go limp, your health and magic deplete and you’re left on Death’s doorstep. Literally. Still, you’re quickly granted the Blades of Exile (which incidentally, are quite similar to your last set…) and cleverly, the designers have left you with most of the abilities from the last game. These include the Wings of Icarus and the Golden Fleece. So, not only do you have the majority of your old abilities, you’re on your way to acquiring a whole set of powerful weapons and a bunch of new abilities too. Probably the best part about them is that just about all of these power-ups are pried from the Gods themselves.

Aside from the new weapons, the combat hasn’t really changed too much. In total, you’ll have four weapons and each of them has an associated magic attack. Three weapons are ranged, while one is for close-up combat. However, all three of them handle differently enough to warrant experimentation, be favoured for certain enemies and all are required in different situations. So, you can’t spend all your time with just the Blades of Exile. There have also been a few minor tweaks to help mix things up. For example, you can grab enemies and use them as shields as you charge through hordes. Also, the quick time events are now unobtrusively positioned on the sides of the screen, so you will not miss any of the action. While the events are basic but impressive, it would have been nice to see some more dynamic animations (but hey, Heavy Rain was only out a few weeks ago, wasn't it?).

Head on? That's not going to work...

Head on? That's not going to work...
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Kratos was never the most graceful combatant, but he makes up for it with brute force and ferocity. Pity the poor souls that come before him, as he is more equipped than ever to dish out the most fearsome attacks this side of Sparta. However, inexperienced players who are just playing for the story will have enough lenience to have fun without being frustrated. While it’s not as expansively deep as the systems in Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry or Bayonetta, there is also enough challenge for experienced players to have their work cut out for them too. That said, more often than not, Kratos’ lack of grace will come to haunt you on higher difficulties, usually with platforming tasks. While it makes sense for him to be a walking stack of meat, it can take time for you to figure out how best to utilise him and keep him alive.

God of War III isn’t a complete trail of blood, guts and gore, as the intuitive and interesting puzzles make a return, especially throughout the middle of the game. The only really tough ones are optional, and the rest make great use of the environment. Their over-the-top nature makes them fairly novel as well. While it would be easy to criticise the middle of the game for being puzzle-heavy and frill-light, particularly in comparison to the beginning and end, these moments have actually been very well paced, so you’re never left too long in one spot. Not to mention, there are a few nice distractions along the way, including a meeting with the Goddess Aphrodite. For those who didn't take Classics 101, that's the Greek Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. Need we say more?

As you continue on your slaughtering tour de force, a couple of the bosses towards the middle of the game may give you the false impression that you’ll be going by the numbers. At first glance, they seem not as inventive as the bosses in Bayonetta, but some of them trump anything you’ll have ever seen in a game through sheer scale. Not to mention, the end-game bosses put a very nice spin on events that we dare not spoil. Completing God of War III on your first playthrough will take somewhere between 8-12 hours. The clock will probably say around 8, but it’s not always accounting for everything, such as repeats and pauses. Upon completion, you’ve got Challenge Rooms, Arena Battles and a number of funky extras to look for in subsequent playthroughs.

Hey! I just cleaned that!

Hey! I just cleaned that!
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Perceivably short games can cop a little bit of stick, but the good thing about God of War III is that it doesn’t outstay its welcome. As enjoyable as the game is, the fact that the conclusion is so well put together makes up for any length deficiencies. Aside from that fact that Kratos moves like he looks, the only other issue that sticks out is that the range of locations in this game is fairly limited, as you tend to trek through the same locales more often than you’d like. However, some solid design acumen makes sure that backtracking is kept to a minimum. You get the feeling that the number of times that Kratos enters Hades is somewhat symbolic of the series as a whole. It’s almost as if Kratos has nowhere else in Olympus or the world to go, as does the series. Hopefully, the developers will do respect the ending they've crafted here by leaving the series at this point.

There is very little to say about God of War III's visuals. It looks awesome. There is a scope that is virtually unmatched, and unlike Halo 3, which would not be considered a huge 'visual leap', God of War III trumps its predecessors in just about every department and is one of the smoothest experiences we’ve ever played. And that includes gore unlike that which you’ve ever seen before in a video game. Occasionally, something will look out of place, like a 'square block fitted into a round hole’, but these moments are rare and the game is otherwise difficult to reproach from a visual standpoint. The God of War III soundtrack is one of the best and most varied that we’ve heard in an action game for a long time. The music never misses a beat with the mood and contains some very memorable tunes. Even the voicing is of commendable quality with some big names lending their voices. Anyone growing up in the late 90s and early noughties ought to listen out for Kevin Sorbo’s rather appropriate casting.

The developers obviously backed the God of War formula, and as satisfying and enjoyable as it is, God of War III doesn’t stray far from it. You should know the score by now, and that it will play in the same brutal and unrelenting manner as its predecessors. However, the best thing about this game is that it is a true sequel, and a killer conclusion. That, and that the story makes excellent use of Greek Mythology, is paced well and ramps up to a great ending. These aspects help make up for any perceived lack of originality. As brutal, gory and boundary-pushing it is, Kratos will indeed get his revenge. And you may even find that you care about it. God of War III is just about as good a conclusion as you could have possibly asked for.

Editor’s note: During the review play through we experienced several crashes and visual glitches. We have found that this may have been isolated to our console, but players are recommended to proceed with caution.
The Score
God of War III is as brutal and suitable a conclusion as you could have possibly asked for. Kratos WILL get his revenge. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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21 Comments
4 years ago
Still playing through it as we speak and am enjoying it immensely. Hopefully I find the ending as good as you did.
4 years ago
^Ending is freaking awesome, for many reasons apart from the events too.

Review is definitely mirroring my thoughts exactly.
4 years ago
Doesn't seem to be any price discounting going at the moment with this....anyways waiting for mine to arrive from OS - paid $72 delivered.

Same with collection - around same price from memory.

Gotta love the $A at the moment.
4 years ago
Just thought I'd mention The God Of War Collection
is getting a release 22/04 locally. EB has it listed at approx $60 or $50 if you preorder by Sunday.
4 years ago
I'm getting it into the game properly now and if you own a PS3 buy this. SO DAMN AWESOME!!!
4 years ago
It's good. Amazing game, but I noted at the end of the review how you ran into a number of glitches. So did I! I was suprised, it was far more glitchy than the first two, which had very little problems I ran into.

Though it didn't really take from the experience, the storyline is pretty good and the environment is AMAZING, same with the gameplay. The new weapons are actually useful this time around.

Is not as epic as the first GOW was on me, this one was pretty easy to beat and you pretty much know most of what is going to happen. But hey, i need to try chaos mode icon_razz.gif, and beat the challenges!
4 years ago
Too linear.

Not enough townz

4/10

Just kidding. I really want to get this game but I know that the price is going to drop very fast. With GoW 2 I got it at EB 2 weeks after release for $50 new. They must have gotten waaay to many.
4 years ago
wtb ps3!
4 years ago
I don't know about that jesuslol, it is selling really well so far from what I've heard.
4 years ago
TAG1 wrote
I don't know about that jesuslol, it is selling really well so far from what I've heard.
Its more that there is always lots of copies of big name releases and they eventually come down. The ones I buy at launch are normally only my favorite franchises and niche games that will be hard to find. Speaking of hard to find I need to buy Resonance of Fate asap.
4 years ago
jesuslol is playing it smart in my opinion.

I got the collector's edition, finished it yesterday and took it back today. I'll definitely pick it up again when it gets cheaper. I've never been a huge GoW fan, but this was fantastic... just a little too short. Best graphics I have ever seen.

I only encountered one glitch: When climbing up towards the final battle the loading icon appeared. About 2 minutes with no action, however I could play on after the freeze.
4 years ago
Dutch Rootsman wrote
I only encountered one glitch: When climbing up towards the final battle the loading icon appeared. About 2 minutes with no action, however I could play on after the freeze.
Oh wow, same thing happened to me at exactly the same point. Had several other glitches as well, but nothing that a quick "restart from checkpoint" didn't immediately fix.

I didn't think it was too short at all. Was at around 10 hours gameplay time when I finished, not including deaths, reloads and challenges, that seems plenty to me. It was much more fun combat wise than even the first two god of wars (namely with the grapple bodyslam move) so there's no doubt i'll be playing through it again.
4 years ago
Dutch Rootsman wrote
jesuslol is playing it smart in my opinion.

I got the collector's edition, finished it yesterday and took it back today. I'll definitely pick it up again when it gets cheaper. I've never been a huge GoW fan, but this was fantastic... just a little too short. Best graphics I have ever seen.

I only encountered one glitch: When climbing up towards the final battle the loading icon appeared. About 2 minutes with no action, however I could play on after the freeze.
EB 7 day rental? shame on you.

/meh





anyhow game is great. Just finished. 10/10 for me. A keeper for sure.
4 years ago
I'm going to go out on a limb here, but after listening to the GoW3 soundtrack a few times, I've come to the conclusion that it is quite possibly one of the most awesome soundtracks I've ever heard from a game.

Freaking mind-blowing stuff.
4 years ago
Denny wrote
I'm going to go out on a limb here, but after listening to the GoW3 soundtrack a few times, I've come to the conclusion that it is quite possibly one of the most awesome soundtracks I've ever heard from a game.

Freaking mind-blowing stuff.
yeah the OST/audio work in the game is very stellar. Probably the best sounding game I've played this year.
4 years ago
I'm a big fan of the GOW series. GOW3 has fantastic graphics, great enemies, brutal gameplay, and sadly a poorly told, weak story.

GOW1 had an Awesome story with great cutscenes. What happened to these??? The story in GOW3 is minimal. Would have been a 10/10 title but it'll have to settle for an 8.5 from me.

P.S. I rate the STORIES ALONE as follows for GOW:
GOW1(PS2):10/10.
GOW2(PS2):7/10.
GOWCOO(PSP):9/10.
GOW3(PS3):6/10.
4 years ago
God of war had cutscenes. They were all in in-engine but they're there. You can tell from the very slight pixellation during these sequences.

I thought there was plenty of story. And the end game told a lot without resorting to cutscenes. Thought it was excellent

* you have got to be joking classing the cOO story as better than this. Because it isn't
4 years ago
I guess I just didn't like the in-engine cutscenes. The cgi ones from previous games looked much better. The graphics in GOW3 are great for gameplay but I don't think they work so well for the cutscenes.

Also the stories pacing, scripting, etc just isn't great in GOW3. I wish it was because the rest of the game is awesome.

*Yeah, okay. I guess I just liked COO's story more because it was more similar to GOW1s.
4 years ago
Can i just say, this is an awesome game, and for those people who abuse the GAME and EB 7 day return policy, you may as well pirate the game. Go and hire the game you scums, at least you actually paid for the experience. If you dont like the game fair enough. But if you do, at least either trade it in for like the special $70 to $90 value, or simply hire it for 2 or 3 nights.

Ok vent and rage over, back to your discussion about how awesome this game is.
3 years ago
This and UC2 best games on PS3 thus far, i must admit i enjoyed GOW1 & 2 more though, thank god for the collection icon_smile.gif
3 years ago
Yeah, playing the collection now, then number 3. Need to refresh my memory.

Even for a PS2 game, number 1 is seriously epic and is really half this gen, half last.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  18/3/2010 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $109.95 AU
Publisher:
  Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre:
  Action Adventure
Year Made:
  2009
Players:
  1

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