Monday, March 15, 2010

God Of War III on Playstation 3 Review

God Of War III represents Playstation at its very finest. From the rip-roaring spectacle of the opening sixty-minutes, right through to the ultra-stylish conclusion; Kratos’ last hurrah is a marriage of refined combat mechanics, perfectly prepared puzzles and the kind of technical showcase that has you ripping the head from a water horse, while riding a gigantic other-being scaling Mount. Olympus. Unforgettable.


What’s It All About? 

Picking up directly after the conclusion of the previous game, God Of War III once again places you in the shoes of the anti-hero Kratos. He seeks compensation for the corruption of the Gods of Olympus and the wrong-doings they’ve caused him, and so he rides the Titan Gaia – mother Earth – to the top of Mount. Olympus, desperately seeking vengeance from his father Zeus and the other Olympians. 

What ensues is a spectacular adventure planted firmly in the traditions that have made the God Of War franchise such a huge success world-wide. The combat’s familiar yet refined, the puzzles are deep yet rewarding, and the entire spectacle goes above and beyond anything seen on Playstation 3 to date. It’s a showpiece. 

God Of War III will take you roughly 10 hours to complete, but there are plenty of challenges and unlocks left to keep you entertained beyond its surface length.

What We Liked:
  • The opening. God Of War III sets out its stall within the opening sixty-minutes. In that time, you’ll be privy to Sony Santa Monica’s unrivalled technical genius. As Kratos rides the back of Gaia, you’ll experience a multitude of jaw-dropping set-pieces — the camera zooming in and out to frame the scale of the moment while you remain fully in control of the gameplay. The thing is, while we’re picking out those first sixty-minutes, God Of War III never lets go once it’s hooked you. The game essentially makes all other set-pieces seem tame, as its scale is unmatched by any other video game.
  • It’s not CGI. Going hand-in-hand with the ridiculous set-pieces are God Of War III’s visuals. The game sets an entire new benchmark for graphical fidelity, stealing the crown from Uncharted 2 and prancing comfortably with its victory. From the unparalleled scale, to the simple fidelity of its objects – God Of War III pushes the Playstation 3 in directions it’s yet to go. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Sony’s power-house.
  • Refined combat. It’s easy to describe God Of War III as “just another God Of War” game. Yes, essentially you’ll still be using Kratos’ chained blades with the Square and Triangle buttons, hammering out combos for the reward of red orbs — but alas, you now have other worthy weapons in your arsenal. For the first time in the God Of War franchise, switching makes sense. Giant melee fists provide a slow powerful approach, whilst chained claws allow you to summon spirits to aid you in battle. At times the combat can rely on the careful switch between Kratos’ arsenal (still accessible through the d-pad, or mid-combo with the L1 and X button). It’s not just new attacking implements that adapt the combat in God Of War III though – Helios’ head allows you to both stun and search for secrets in the game’s environments, while the boots of Hermes allow you to run up walls.
  • Puzzles. Once more, the puzzle design in God Of War III is brilliantly creative. Labyrinths and garden mazes provide the territory for a slew of testing challenges, where you’ll need to consider perspective and resources to succeed. There are perhaps less “smaller” puzzles throughout God Of War III than in previous games, leading to “bigger” more creative puzzles when they arrive. The game’s pacing is still as great as ever, constantly changing gears to keep the experience refreshing. God Of War III’s so well designed that you could simply sit through it and complete it in one long session – mainly because the game’s elements are so carefully laid out that it never feels particularly tiresome or repetitive. In fact, in that regard the game’s perhaps the best in the franchise.
  • Stylish. Without giving much away – this iteration of God Of War III is stylish. If you thought the franchise was simply blood, guts, gore and scale then… You’d be right. However, the conclusion to God Of War III is one of the most stylishly presented climaxes we’ve yet to see on Playstation 3.
  • Animation. Perhaps not quite at the level of Uncharted 2’s uncanny character animation, God Of War III is a particularly different beast, animating wildly large and well designed enemy character models in a way that brings them to life and makes them satisfying to kill. Some of the animation on the Titans is startlingly impressive.
  • Technical things. Aside from the striking art-direction and ambitious level design, God Of War III does a lot of things that are technically impressive too. The frame-rate’s particularly solid, the aliasing results in very few “jaggies”, and the use of processing effects such as motion blur and dynamic lighting brings the environments to life with stunning clarity.
What We Didn’t Like:
  • Technical things. So, we have one tiny issue with God Of War III and it relates to the chests. For some reason, during our playthrough, we couldn’t always open a chest first-time. The R1 control prompt would pop-up, we’d press and hold the button, and Kratos would reach forward then stop. So we’d press it again, hold and, nearly-nuh he’s not opened it again. Some chests would open first-time, but some took patience and endeavour to get open. We’re not quite sure how this glitch slipped through QA but, really, it’s hardly game-breaking. In fact, by the time you read this it’s probably been patched.

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