A “God” among us
In the first 10 minutes of “God of War III,” the ex-Spartan warrior, Kratos, makes it clear he has only one goal in mind: “If all those on Olympus would deny me my vengeance, then all of Olympus will die.”
While it may seem like the man has a one-track mind, you can’t really blame him. The first “God of War” found Kratos, consumed with rage and newfound power, duped into killing his own family. Then, after failing to win any popularity awards from the other gods on Mount Olympus, Kratos was betrayed by Zeus and sent to Hades in the 2007 sequel.
Despite the long three-year wait and a couple blemishes, the stunning visuals and extreme carnage makes “God of War III” a thrilling and captivating final chapter in one of the best franchises in gaming history.
Bloodthirsty and spurned, Kratos enlists the titans to aid him in his quest for revenge against Zeus and the other gods. We first find him storming Mount Olympus, riding on the back of the titan, Gaia: a monstrous creature made of earth and stone.
The scene is spectacular, with the player practically tasting the anger and intensity emanating from the savage warrior with every climb up the mountain. Zeus nervously awaits at the top, but before you can tackle the king, Poseidon launches an attack. The perspective shifts between the massive god and the tiny Kratos, as you scramble across Gaia’s body to get at Poseidon’s weak points. The changes in perspective are very nimble, but the entire battle manages to be exciting without being overwhelming.
While many games take awhile to get going, “God of War III” doesn’t, with the action escalating right from the start and cropping up throughout the game at unexpected moments. In terms of execution, the game stays in tradition with the previous titles with relatively no change in gameplay, which isn’t a problem since the system was smooth and solid to begin with.
The combat is particularly exciting, with the Greek -killing-machine’s chained blades back for action, with numerous new weapons added to his arsenal including the Claws of Hades, Apollo’s bow and oversized gauntlets known as Nemean Cestus. Certain parts of the battles have button commands shown on the screen and these are the moments when the fighting becomes really brutal. These moments are vicious yet fun, with Kratos easily able to decapitate or rip his enemy’s body in half. Despite how gruesome and scarily realistic these attacks are, they’re testaments to how superb the graphics are.
From gilded, ornamental palaces to dark, cavernous ridges, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the graphics in the game rival those of “Avatar” and other big-budget action films. The set design is extraordinary and epic; it’s a shame that you can’t explore the surroundings more.
While “God of War III” is an excellent game, it is still far from perfect. You have no control over the camera angle, which gets annoying quickly and makes things unnecessarily difficult, but that still is only a minor issue.
The only major flaw of the game is its length. While most action games boast about 12 to 17 hours of gameplay, this epic final chapter can be completed in less than nine hours on normal difficulty. Overall, the game was satisfying, but the unexpected brevity was disappointing and leaves you wanting more.
Despite these few shortcomings, “God of War III” lives up to the hype as the most anticipated game of the PS3. Although it hasn’t evolved much from its predecessors, the game is epic, electrifying and nothing short of a work of art. The jaw-dropping conclusion in the monumental trilogy is undoubtedly the best game out there and will be what future action-adventure games must measure up to. It’s only March, but the creators of “God of War III” should buy some polish for the “Game of the Year” award now.
Dana Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mustafa Ziberi can be reached at email@example.com.