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God of War III PS3 Review

 

Score
92%
Summary
Carries much of the feel of the original. Great action, nice visuals...Could use a bit more freshening in terms of gameplay and structure. Still excellent.


We all knew it was only a matter of time before the God of War franchise would make its way to the PS3. The previous games were console sellers, the second one causing a rebirth in sales for the PS2 at the end of its cycle, no less. Many thought that game would actually be pushed to the PS3 but Sony was smart. Sell more PS2's which cost nearly nothing to make. Sony was losing $150 per console when the PS3 was released. God of War 2 on the PS3 would have been a financial blunder. So, we played 2 on the PS2 and loved it. And then we waited. And waited. E3 2009 brought the long awaited demo of God of War 3, a playable version released on the God of War 1&2 redux for the PS3. (Another stroke of genius. Have us pay to replay the first two on the PS3 with updated graphics. Nice.) And now, the game is finally here.

 

Expectations can hurt a game like this. The hype builds and builds and then even a perfect game cannot match it. As a huge fan of the series, I slipped this disc into my PS3 with the thought in the back of my mind that I might be disappointed. I wasn't. At least, not totally. After the mandatory intro movie (chronicling the first two games) I started a new game and tried to control my anticipation. These games like to throw you right into the action, and that hasn't changed with GOW3. Nothing wrong with staying with a working formula.

The game starts off with an attack on Olympus by the Titans, with Kratos coming along for the ride to exact revenge against his father, Zeus. I won't spoil anything, so I'll just say this game picks off exactly where the last one ended. The Titans looked massive on screen, and the graphics impressive. But not that impressive. I expected more. I expected total eyeball annihilation. Then I had an 'a-ha' moment.

I'd been spoiled by the remakes for the PS3. Smartly, and quite proud of said smarts, I fired up my PS2 and loaded God of War 2. I remember being dazzled by that game. For the PS2, it was dazzling. Right then, however, after having seen the new game, it looked dated, blocky even. Despite having the PS2 HD cable connected, there was no comparison. My eyeballs weren't annihilated, no, but impressed. That's good enough for me.

Like I said, the Titans blow up the screen. Ditto for the gods, the effects, and the terrain. All of it contains a polish you don't see too often in games. This is why I stay up til 3AM with a controller in my hand, to play a game with this much attention to detail. Santa Monica studios put their time in on this one and the effort has paid off. There are a lot of in game movies at the start, and I found myself with my mouth open more than once. If you look for graphics in a game, this is the sort of game you want to play. It justifies that HDTV purchase.

An overlooked area of a game, at least in my opinion, is the sound. This series always had good sound, and the third keeps up with that tradition. The soundtrack goes along with the action, rising and falling, and immersing you into the experience even further. Spell effects and other action sounds are spot on, and very reminiscent of the previous games. The PS3 packs plenty of media firepower and this games uses it. Surround sound systems explode while playing God of War 3. That's how it should be.

None of this would matter if the gameplay wasn't there. It is. Controls are no different than before, with a few add-ons to keep things fresh. Some of it is still a little too button-mashy for me but I guess most fans of the game won't mind or even notice at all. I don't like the 'events' where you have to tap in sequence and such, but again, it is a hallmark of the series. I just think we can move past that. (I mean sequences like beheading a Medusa, mouth-stabbing a Minotaur, etc) If this wasn't a problem for you in the past, you won't mind it at all now. You get new weapons, new spells, and there are plenty of clever puzzles to solve. Platforming plays a more important role in this game, something again I am not a fan of but understand others are. I played through the game and found enjoyment throughout the greater part of it. I can't ask for more than that.

GOW fans probably already bought the game. If you haven't, there is no need for hesitation. It's as good as you want it to be. There's no disappointment. Those on the fence, well, that depends why you are fence-sitting. If the previous two games didn't light your fire, there's nothing new enough here to change your mind about the series. If you've never played one before, I highly recommend saving 30 bucks and getting the God of War Collection. It's a better way to get introduced to the series, and you'll understand the plot better. Still, you won't be upset with this game.

Highs: Great visuals, superb sound. Game brings you right back into the universe. Controls are what they should be and the bigger boss battles will entice many.

Lows: In some ways, a lot of the same. Depends on how you look at it. Some odd camera bugs but they are few and far between.

 

Score: 92/100

 
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