Nine straight hours had passed since I first placed God of War 3 into my PS3, and as the credits slowly rolled down my TV screen, all I could think about was how my quest for vengeance had finally come to an end. Getting up from my couch, I calmly walked over to the sink to wash the blood of all my countless victims off my controller: for I had slain any who stood in my way and the entire world now trembled at my feet.
No, I might not actually be Kratos, son of Zeus and destroyer of the gods, but for those incredible nine hours I felt like I was. Having played all three God of War games to date, I have been with him on every step of his long, arduous and bloody journey. Now that it’s finally come to an end, I feel an empty place in my heart, like I’ve said goodbye to an old friend. The only thing left to do is explain why you need to experience the marvelous end of his quest for vengeance yourself.
There are more epic moments in the first thirty minutes of God of War 3 than most games manage to fit into an entire ten hour play-through. When the opening sequence finally comes to an end, and the last bead of sweat has dripped from your brow, you’ll probably find yourself thinking there is no way the rest of the game can top that, but you would be wrong. You should grab some Gatorade before you pick up your controller because you’re in for one hell of a wild ride.
If this is your first God of War game, I would like you to hand over your “man card” now so I can tear it up in your face. How have you managed to not play one of the most testosterone fueled action games in history? Kratos is literally a legend in the video game business. Wimpy male characters like Luigi want to be him, and beautiful women like Zelda want to sleep with him. If you’re going to step into his shoes I better prepare you for what you’re getting into.
Although the envy of many, Kratos is not exactly the most likeable character. The man killed his own wife and daughter and now wears their dead burnt ashes permanently on his skin. As a servant of the gods, he used to do all their dirty work, but that was before he actually became a god himself. Their betrayal has made him mortal again and now he seeks revenge for a lifetime of wrong doings against him. To accomplish this, he’s sought out the assistance of the Titans, huge elemental giants who were sentenced by the gods to a lifetime of solitude.
As God of War 3 begins, we find Kratos and the Titans climbing Mount Olympus to confront Zeus, which is exactly where the second game left off. Where the story goes from here I won’t say, but this is the end of the trilogy, so there is closure for sure. It is important to note that people who’ve played the previous games will get a lot more out of the story than newcomers. Things really come full circle and events from all the previous titles have consequences here.
If you’ve played God of War before, you will feel right at home the minute the action begins. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and developer Santa Monica Studios did just that. Kratos controls exactly like he always has, with a few welcome improvements. He still has his typical light, heavy, and grab attacks, as well as the ability to block and use magic.
What has changed is the depth and complexity of the weapons at his disposal. In previous games players usually always stuck with the default, dual chained blade. Now every weapon has the same amount of moves and complexity, and each has its own unique magic attack. This makes them all valuable, and allows for a wide variety of play styles.
Besides a more fleshed out weapon arsenal, Kratos has also learned a few new moves. He can now lash out with his blades and attach to far away enemies to pull himself in, closing the distance quickly before unleashing a stun attack. He can also pick up enemies to use them as battering rams, and he can latch onto flying beasts to fly him to high places.
What really sets God of War 3 apart from its predecessors is the epic set pieces that make up the final leg of Kratos’s journey. This is truly the final war to decide the fate of the gods, the Titans, Kratos, and the rest of all mankind. The developers express that through the larger than life scale of all the levels, and through the incredible boss battles, some of which are the size of entire levels from other action games. The game is essentially one long chain of extremely memorable “Oh My God” moments that will leave your jaw resting on the floor for nine hours.
All of this comes together beautifully thanks to some of the most awe inspiring visuals in all of gaming. This shouldn’t be a shock though to most fans, since God of War titles have always been known for their top notch graphics. Many people still think that God of War 2 on the PS2 looks just as good as some of the first PS3 releases. That tradition of excellence has carried on here, with God of War 3 once again standing tall as one of the best looking games in all existence.
As with most titles in the series, once you’ve beaten it there’s still more stuff to do. The disc includes a ton of video documentaries, as well as a challenge mode and harder difficulty settings. There are also in-game collectibles to find, as well as the possibility of future DLC. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably end up playing the first thirty minutes over and over again just to re-live those blood curdling intense moments.
I think it’s safe to say that fans of the series had pretty huge expectations for God of War 3, and I’m happy to announce that it lives up to all of them. Everything people loved about the previous games is still here, plus a few welcome new features, and it’s all set against some of the most epic set pieces in all of gaming. Thanks to Kratos and his thirst for blood and vengeance, Sony once again adds another gem to it’s exclusive library of games.
The jaw dropping visuals are accentuated even more thanks to one of the most stylistic camera systems in all of gaming. The game simply doesn't give you any reason to ever take your eyes off the screen.
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The classic gameplay that made the series great returns, along with a new in-depth weapon arsenal, and some fancy new moves.
With support for Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound, a deep appreciation for the proper use of bass, and some top notch voice acting, slaughtering millions of enemies has never sounded better.
While Kratos's journey only last 8-10 hours, you'll want to immediately jump back in just to experience it again. Extras like challenge mode, unlockable costumes, video documentaries, and harder difficulty settings will give you plenty of other stuff to do as well.
God of War 3 not only meets the extremely high expectations of its huge, testosterone fueled fan base; it exceeds them. Every moment, from the epic opening sequence, to the final trilogy ending confrontation, is a delight to play and a pleasure to behold.