God of War 3

The following fact should be perfectly clear if you’ve ever read any interview I’ve ever done or even know anything about me in general, but I will reiterate it anyway: I love God of War.  It is basically my favorite game series of all times (yes, all times, plural; it’s my favorite in the Bronze Age, the Roman Empire and the Crusades in addition to today’s age).  Upon reading this, you might think me possessing unnatural feelings for this game and its bald, blood-soaked protagonist, Kratos.  Let me assure you that all feelings for Kratos are irrelevant, as he responds to all affection with MURDER.

I say this for the following reason: no matter what I feel, what I think or how I may dream of one day killing someone through a quick-time event minigame, this game kicks exactly seven different kinds of ass (Australian, American, European, Incan, Martian, Smithsonian and the ass of some dude named Dennis).

Keeping in mind these disturbing and awkward confessions, let us go kidney-deep into this game…

Some of you may not know the story of the game, since God of War I and II came out in that black era of JRPGs and one-testicled fighters known as the age of PS2, so let me enlighten you.

This is Kratos.

Kratos is not a happy man.

Kratos was never a happy man.

Kratos pretty much does what he’s doing to Helios there, except to everyone. He did it to the former deity of war: Ares.  He did it to the former deity of wisdom: Athena.  And now, having slaughtered close to a fourth of the Greek pantheon, he has returned, riding atop the backs of the formerly imprisoned Titans, to finish the rest of them off, climbing Mount Olympus to kill vengeful Zeus and eviscerate, decapitate, decimate, annihilate and sometimes masticate all of the mythical Chimeras, Minotaurs, Gorgons and Cerberi standing in his way.

The single word that would summarize this game is epic. There is absolutely nothing about this game that isn’t cranked up to 11, graphics or content-wise.  From the great, primordial Titans that carry Kratos to face the Gods, brimming with their own heavenly fury, everything about this game is completely balls-off-the-wall.

Recently, I’ve begun using my own style of scoring for any kind of book, video game or movie I see.  And that is how many times it manages to make me guffaw like an overstimulated buffoon, cackle like a hyena at a frat party or squeal like a little girl seeing a pale, pasty Briton.  Basically, the stupider I look playing a game, the better it is.

Approximately two minutes into God of War 3, I probably resembled a drooling, gibbering mandrill and it only got worse from there.

The combat is superb.  God of War has always been a pioneer of combat, striking a perfect balance between easy-to-use controls and the challenge of mastering the delicate ebb and flow of a fight.  You can’t simply go mashing a button and winning all your fights.  You need to feel the fight.  You have to keep an eye on the Centaur in front of you, wondering when he’s going to charge you, while simultaneously fending off the vicious blows of his undead soldiers.  Add into this watching the skies for a vengeful sun god and you basically have something that is gory, violent and oddly beautiful, like a clockwork ballerina: everything moving in gorgeous, utter harmony as she gingerly wraps the twisting gears of her thighs around peoples’ necks and watches the skin bunch up, fold and split in the mechanism.

The beauty of the fights are only compounded by the graphics.  God of War is known for pushing the limits of a system’s visuals and God of War 3 continues this trend, not so much pushing the limits as smashing off a piece and using it to shatter the rest into pulverized dust.  That is to say, it’s very, very beautiful and…lordy, it’s like lovemaking.  You can’t describe it.  You must experience it.

Gorgeous, vastly elaborate environments, and the puzzles so greatly worked into them, are also an object of renown in God of War games and the third installment continues its new tradition of smashing this old tradition into dust.  The puzzles are fantastic, delicately woven into the environment so that they don’t feel so much as there just to inconvenience you as they are a natural part of the area.  Admittedly, if I have one criticism about this game, it’s that the head-scratchers might have been toned down from the previous installments, as there weren’t any real moments that caused me more than a few minutes’ pause (compared to God of War 2’s almost conspiratorially frustrating Phoenix Chamber), but overall, I think this is the best choice, as it means the action never once slows down.

Basically, the message is that this game not only succeeds, but succeeds to a phenomenal degree, at nearly everything it does: gameplay, graphics, puzzles, combat, design, monsters, soundtrack (beautiful orchestra done by Gerard Marino, Ron Fish and Cris Velasco).  I mean, hell, the depiction of Kratos himself is almost a work of art with the level of detail put into him.

It’s one of those games where the biggest flaw you can think of is that it eventually ends.

This is a game that has has a few people lamenting the lack of a PS3.  Is it worth the price of one alone?  Eh, possibly not.  Though, if you have your eye on any other PS3-exclusives, like Uncharted 2, then this one should be on your list, as well.

And if you have a PS3 and don’t own this game?  You are automatically worse than Hitler.  Yes, I know I just violated Godwin’s Law.  It’s that good a game.

7 Responses to “God of War 3”

  1. N. R. Alexander

    It is not.

    I fear you’re going to eat me for saying this, but I’m perhaps two thirds of the way through God of War III as of today, and yes, I’m having fun – the combat is superb, the set-pieces are impressive – but don’t we expect more than that for our God of War games? There hasn’t yet been a moment that floors me. God of War III doesn’t seem to have the breathtaking scope of its predecessors, and the narrative that promised so much at the end of the second game is sadly all kinds of been there, done that.

    Tell me I’m wrong. It’s fun and it’s tremendously beautiful to look at, sure, but I just don’t think it has the sort of soul the previous games did.

    I’m having a more memorable time with Heavy Rain, in fact. And that’s just a poorly written suspense thriller strung together by the quick-time events that God of War pioneered.

  2. sam

    Well, I’m not going to eat you, of course, since you seem a bit stringy and high in sodium, but I might have to contradict you unto my dying breath.

    Really, I’m not quite sure what you mean by lacking the same soul as the other games. God of War has routinely about a man versus forces perceived to be out of his control, with each game successfully stepping that up from fighting the god that gave you your powers to fighting fate itself to destroying the goddamn world (doesn’t count as a spoiler, since it’s pretty obvious what’s happening almost immediately).

    So, I may have to ask you to clarify what you mean by “soul,” since it’s a pretty tricky thing to define. The only thing that really changes is we get to see more of Kratos’ human side, which I found pretty refreshing.

  3. N. R. Alexander

    Haven’t yet seen much of Kratos’ human side and perhaps that’s the problem. Really I should reserve judgement until I’m done. But I’ve started on this path, so I shall finish.

    When I say God of War III has no soul I mean it doesn’t feel to me that is has the vitality of the first two games. Just about everything I’ve had Kratos do, he’s done before. It’s never looked as good as it does here, that’s for sure, but it feels like he’s off down a well-trodden path where before there was an immediacy about Kratos’ quest, a spitefulness, a humanity to it all that, if it didn’t quite move me, at least engaged me. Here, it seems like he’s up to the same old tricks, just in HD.

    Which is fine. It’s just not the bee’s knees I’d hoped for.

    God of War III. It’s no Dante’s Inferno, eh? 😛

  4. Akin

    N.R. Alexander: “There hasn’t yet been a moment that floors me. God of War III doesn’t seem to have the breathtaking scope of its predecessors”


    I need to smoke what you’re smoking.

    But, in all seriousness, I can’t respond to this. I don’t know how to. If you’re actually having a more memorable time with Heavy Rain (predictable story, terrible voice acting, poor researching in how things work in America – and I’m not even American, yet I saw the mistakes) and you think God of War III lacks “the breathtaking scope of its predecessors” and doesn’t “have the sort of soul the previous game did” and Kratos is “up to the same old tricks, just in HD” then … lmao!

    And did you just say it’s no Dante’s Inferno? Did you just put Dante’s Inferno above God of War III? Dante’s inferno?? Ok, so that I’m not confusing the Dante’s Inferno with the game I recently finished – you mean the one about the dude going to hell and fighting Satan in the end, that Dante’s Inferno?

    Lol next thing I’m going to hear from you is: I had a more memorable time playing Little Big Planet.

  5. sam

    Well, let’s be fair, here. God of War 3’s story isn’t really unpredictable either (Kratos kills a bunch of dudes).

    This may be one of those things we’re destined to disagree on, Mr. Alexander. I felt his quest was more immediate than ever. The idea of “everything at the cost of vengeance” has been a recurring theme in God of War, and nowhere is it more immediate than 3 (pretty evident if you play the game).

    Part of the appeal of Kratos has been his steadfastness, though, the fact that his motives are pretty simple, but his actions are complex. By all means, this shouldn’t work for any other character, but for some reason it works for him. I mean, on paper, the idea sounds really stupid (“Okay, so there’s this guy and he’s all fightin’ these beasts ‘n shit and it’s like crack pow boom he kills a cyclops and-and-and he KILLS HIS OWN FAMILY because he’s THAT HARDCORE”), but somehow it all works out in the end.

    So, yeah, man, I probably am just not seeing what you are.

  6. N. R. Alexander

    Akin, ah Akin, wherever to start. Let’s just agree to begin and end with the fact that I don’t know that laughing your arse off is what you might call a considered rebuttal whatsoever.

    So Sam, I’m officially finished the game and in the end, I did have a great time – particularly pleased with the Chronos sequence and how they wrapped things up. Still, I’d gotten a bit tired of Kratos coming across some dudes and ladies, viciously murdering them for no discernible reason most of the time and getting on with his mindless vengeance. Wasn’t sure they did much to earn the whole Pandora thing either, though it worked anyway.

    So in serious spoiler territory now: what did you make of the post-credits sequence? Have we more Kratos to come? God of Gods?

  7. Akin

    Lol I wasn’t laughing my arse off as a form of rebuttal, Alexander. I was actually laughing my arse off … hard as that is to believe. Really. It’s funny. It’s like someone saying they read Lord of the rings, Harry Potter and The Name of the Wind, and then saying Harry Potter is so much better than the other two. It’s a funny opinion, but not a fact.

    What am I trying to say? You obviously played three very great games – GOW 3, Heavy Rain, and Dante’s Inferno. So I’ll peg you as a gamer who knows enough to spend time with quality products. But putting GOW 3 below those two is actually very funny. No insult intended, though

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