Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available On: PlayStation 3 ($60)
Rated: M for Mature
The God of War series has been one of PlayStation’s priceless entities over the past few years. However, with its first (and last) installment into the current generation of gaming consoles, it certainly takes away from this priceless nature. In fact its price tag of $60 is debatable given the hype surrounding this game for the past year and a half. In Kratos’ final adventure, you’ll find yourself saying a quick hello and ushering a swift goodbye to his journey on the PlayStation 3.
As players of previous installments can tell you, in God of War III you play as the protagonist Kratos, a Spartan warrior hell bent on a mission of revenge against the Greek god, Ares. If you played the first or second iterations in the series, you will know that Ares has fooled Kratos into killing his own family and Kratos will never let Ares live this down. With this, I introduce to you the first problem with God of War III. Being that this is the first God of War for the current gaming generation, there are sure to be newcomers to the series who haven’t played the first two games. Unfortunately, the developers did a poor job of providing a back story in GoW III for new gamers to rely upon. The game literally starts where GoW II left off, with Kratos climbing to the top of Mount Olympus seeking his revenge against the Greek gods. Gamers will slowly be able to piece together Kratos’ past while absorbing themselves into the story, but providing no history for newcomers at all was a huge miscue.
The story itself is, thankfully, interesting. You will encounter many of the Greek gods, such as Hermes, Poseidon and Helios, as you venture through the game searching for your target, Zeus. You will travel through the River of Styx, discover Pandora’s Box and even lose Kratos’ trademark Blades of Athena along the way. Your journey’s ultimate motive is to annihilate Zeus, after which you will seemingly be freed of the guilt killing your family has ridden you with. But there is more to the ending than just your battle with Zeus (which I dare not give away), making the story a fairly worthwhile element of the game.
Gameplay is pretty much unchanged from GoW I and II. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the mechanics of the gameplay have been solid since the first installment. But seeing as how this is the end to what Santa Monica Studios surely wanted to make an unforgettable trilogy, going out with a bang could have been provoked with the addition of a major, game changing element to the gameplay. Instead, they decided to leave everything as it was and give gamers the same gorey hack-and-slash style they have come to expect from the franchise.
The only shining element about GoW III is the graphical representation. The fact that the game is on the PlayStation 3 saves face for the developers. The visuals are jaw-dropping, environments are meticulously rendered and no effort was spared in detailing the normal game world or that of the boss battles. The entire environment is pre-loaded, so there are no graphic pop-ins as you follow Kratos down his winding road to retribution. If I could simply watch GoW III occur before me, I would certainly do so, but unfortunately, to reach the end, you have to play it.
The worst part about having to reach the end is the painstakingly linear path the developers created for you to get there. And this is what makes their flawless graphical design pointless. I would have loved to free roam some of the game’s environment and really immerse myself into the game, but no can do. The game is created so linearly, you can’t even change the camera angle. Here lies the area in which Santa Monica could have added that game changing element to GoW III: create a side story to complete as you free roam through the beautiful setting they’ve created for us.
Instead, they decided to create small platforming levels disbursed throughout the normal gameplay to give gamers a break here and there. I suppose this is what they saw as “game changing” for the series. If I wanted intense platform gaming I’d play the new Super Mario Bros., but this is God of War III. Gamers want intensity.
To top off all of the flaws contained within this game’s existence, there is roughly only twelve hours of gameplay, give or take, depending on the difficulty you choose: Spartan (which is easy), Titan (medium) or Chaos (hard). Twelve hours. In the finale of PlayStation’s ruby red gem of a franchise: twelve hours. I can rent this game from BlockBuster and complete it on a lazy, rainy Sunday…which is exactly what I did!
Fanboys will undoubtedly revere this as an amazing accomplishment in gaming history. Major gaming institutions will also give GoW III astonishingly positive reviews with the fear of being “the review” that went against the norm (and a simple Google search will show you there are practically no negative reviews of this game from said major establishments). But I think much more should be expected from a series that captivated and fascinated. God of War II established itself as the swan song of the previous gaming generation, leaving behind a fantastic era. God of War III sadly couldn’t carry the torch into the current generation as smoothly. I’m not sure whether I’m glad that God of War is coming to an end, or upset that Santa Monica doesn’t seem to be looking to redeem itself with another effort in the series. Either way, look to avoid this highly overrated third installment.