25th March 2010 - God of War 3 is the last installment in the God of War trilogy that started on the Playstation 2 back in 2005. The anticipation for God of War 3 has been massive and has been fueled by probably too much footage and so called “spoilers” being released of the game. This can be detrimental to your experience of the game as when you normally play through a new game, one of the great things is seeing aspects of the game for the first time, but with so much of the game being revealed, you may feel like you have seen a lot of before. Despite this, has God of War 3 lived up to the hype? Read on to find out!
As in the first two games, you take the role of the ex-Spartan warrior, Kratos as he scales through the intimidating heights of Mt. Olympus and the dark depths of hell to seek revenge on those who have betrayed him and the only way to do this is to create almighty chaos! And as Kratos, chaos is certainly what you end up creating loads of!
God of War 3 plays very similar to its predecessors, so fans of the series will feel right at home with the hack ‘n’ slash style of play coupled with the intricate puzzle solving that the God of War series has become renowned for. Of course things have been turned up several notches for the 3rd game in the series, which you’d expect considering the extra power the PS3 has for Santa Monica Studios to utilize. What has been turned up several notches, not only from the first two games, but any game, is the scale of the game, as the game throws you into scenes with Titans that are larger than entire levels in some other games. The scope of some of these sequences is simply amazing, with playable sequences that take place on creatures the size of a skyscraper. Right from the start you will be blown away by the immensity of some scenes.
Also adding to God of War 3’s in your face action is the fact that this game is more brutal than any of its predecessors. Whilst only a modest M-rated game (well there is no higher rating in Australia at the moment, but that’s another issue), the game is filled with blood, gore and detached limbs, but it certainly doesn’t feel over the top and seems to fit the style of the game and the story perfectly. A particularly cool thing that has been implemented into God of War 3, which is something new for this type of game, is the first person kills. This doesn’t occur too often, but when it does it gives you a new perspective on the kill you are performing and really adds a new element to the brutal in your face action that this game presents.
The combat in God of War 3 is super responsive which allows you to pull off massive combos that you'll always feel in control of. So much so that there is a 1000 hit combo Trophy for the die-hards to unlock! Blocking, cancelling out of almost any move or rolling out of trouble is effortless and helps you defend yourself, which in this game you need to do in abundance. Magic is now tied to each weapon, so switching between these has become simpler and more effective. The puzzles throughout the game are quite clever, but can be frustrating at times. I found they became frustrating when I couldn’t think of how to get out of a particular area when all I wanted to do was move on and go slice some enemies! All in all the puzzles do add to the depth of the game and add that element of thought to an otherwise full-on action game.
The camera in the game feels somewhat awkward at times and you still don't have control over it as the camera is specifically placed in spots for each scene. This does work well for the most part, but I felt like at certain points I would have loved to be able to move the camera to get that slightly better angle.
If the 10-12 hour story mode isn’t enough for you, then the extras included on the disc will keep you entertained for a little while longer. These extras include behind-the-scenes footage, a series of very difficult challenges (14 in all, 7 under the heading of “Challenge of Olympus” and 7 under the heading of “Challenge of Exile”) and a Combat Arena. However, to access the Combat Arena you will have to finish the game and then the challenges. The Making of God of War 3 (accessible from the start) is your usual behind-the-scenes video and there are some 15-plus other videos that delve into different aspects of the game, including level design, the music and visual effects that are available once you complete the game. It is all presented in High Definition and will soak up a couple of hours if you watch it all.
The graphics in God of War 3 are some of the best seen on a console to date. Although I personally like the look of Uncharted 2 better, which I know is a bit of an unfair comparison due to the different genres, although many have done the same lately. However the detail that has gone into every nook and cranny of God of War 3 is simply amazing. Kratos himself looks unbelievable and is as sharp and detailed as any game character I have seen. It looks awesome when the blood of an enemy you are killing is spilling out onto you and it stays there until it is shaken off by you moving around and performing more attacks.
The vast environments also look spectacular and the large bosses you encounter are also extremely detailed. The normal enemies that you encounter are a little plain and boring, but that doesn’t detract from the game. There was a very glaring graphical glitch that I encountered and although it didn’t affect the game at all, made me say WTF when I encountered it. It was when I was standing on the edge of one of the many cliffs in the game and I had to jump over to a platform to continue on my way. On my first few attempts, I stupidly missed the platform and died. The graphical glitch came when I pressed the button to re-do it again. When the game loaded all I could see if grey clouds and tiny pieces of the environment. I thought, what’s going on here, but after a few seconds, the game went back to normal and everything was fine. I know it wasn’t a big deal, but it made me wonder was I going to encounter any major problems. Thankfully I didn’t.
God of War 3 supports up to 5.1 surround sound, as selected in the options menu of the game and when you have it connected to a decent surround sound setup and have it cranked up loud, the game sounds awesome. The slicing and dicing of the enemies sounds meaty and gives you a great deal of satisfaction. The environmental sounds are great too with flies buzzing around you and the rain pelting down, amongst other things. It all adds to the great atmosphere that Santa Monica Studios has created. The musical score also has to be given a special mention as it is outstanding and adds the element of drama to the game and suits the mood of any particular situation perfectly.
Seeing as God of War 3 is a 10-12 hour play through (I took around the 11 hour mark on normal), depending on your difficulty level, I would say that it is more than worth the purchase price. Since most games these days, apart from large RPG’s are not usually longer than the 10-12 hour play through mark, God of War 3 is a fairly good length, although you will be left wanting more when you finish it! If you are a fan of the series, then it will be a no brainer that you will get this and for others, it should still be a no brainer as it is a great showcase of the power of the Playstation 3 and it is one of the best games the system has to offer.
Whilst God of War 3 certainly has lived up to its lofty expectations, especially for fans of the series, I have to admit that I was left feeling slightly disappointed. Whether it was the fact that this was my most anticipated game on any system in 2010, or if I had just been so saturated with content on the game that it made me feel like I was seeing nothing new whilst playing it I am not sure. Either way though, God of War 3 is a fitting end to the trilogy and is definitely the best game in its genre and a game that will be hard to beat in the race for 2010 Game of The Year. Great work Santa Monica Studios!
AAG SCORE: 9.1/10
+ Graphics are outstanding
+ It is just so much fun hacking and slashing through all the enemy bodies
+ The QTE’s are so detailed and brutal, they are awesome
+ The game provides a good challenge on all but the easy difficulty
- Small graphical glitches here and there
- Some puzzles are boring and break up the fast paced action to the detriment of the game
- The hype had me expecting more
Reviewed and Written By Craig Cirillo