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God of War III review

AT A GLANCE
  • Quick, fluid combat is more fun than ever
  • Gigantic sense of scale
  • Puzzles are clever and challenging, but not that difficult
  • QTEs can catch you off-guard
  • Ending is somehow too long AND too abrupt
  • Only two Titan levels?

Kratos isn’t charming. He’s not interested in saving the world, rescuing a princess or really doing anything at all that doesn’t serve his immediate goals of getting revenge and tearing apart anyone that stands in his way. He’s a one-note character with a one-note aspiration, and yet somehow this bald, grunting terror of ancient Greece is the headliner of the PS3’s longest-awaited and most hotly anticipated action game. Although if you’ve followed his exploits since 2005’s incredible slashfest God of War, you already know why.

God of War III is Kratos’s fifth and ostensibly final adventure, and it brings the series crashing to a fittingly brutal close, giving fans everything they’ve come to expect on a bigger scale than it’s ever been delivered. Gallons of blood are spilled, gods and Titans die in horrifyingly elaborate ways, and thousands of monsters are messily eviscerated by Kratos’s whirling chain-blades. The bosses are big, the puzzles are bigger and the combat is more fluid than ever. It’s also prettier than any other game in the series (duh), and while it doesn’t delve as deeply into Kratos’s troubled past, it doesn’t really need to. This one’s all about Kratos, the anarchic force of pure rage, bringing down the old order as violently as possible.

And before you ask, yes, there’s a sex minigame. One that actually shows you visibly bare breasts while it’s happening.


Above: Unfortunately, we can’t show it to you - yet


The end begins

Before that happens, though, there’s a lot left over to resolve. When we last saw Kratos, he was riding up Mount Olympus on the back of the Titan Gaia, ready to get all kinds of nasty on Zeus (who’d tricked and killed him at the beginning of God of War II, and then escaped justice at its end) and the rest of the Olympian gods. That’s exactly where GoW III opens: the Titans are still slowly making their way up the mountain, and it’s up to Kratos to keep the gods’ army of skeleton warriors off Gaia’s back. After he’s battered his way through a few dozen of them, he’ll face the game’s first real challenge: Poseidon, god of the sea, who appears as a water giant riding a team of massive, crab-like horses.


Above: This is one of them

As a single horse-creature burrows through Gaia’s arm like some kind of gross parasite, you’ll get your first real taste of what Sony’s been hyping as “Titan gameplay.” The landscape – actually just Gaia’s forearm – buckles and shifts as the water-horse yanks it around, forcing Kratos to climb up its sides and monkeybar underneath it during the fight. Meanwhile, the action zooms in and out for dramatic effect, frequently reducing Kratos to a tiny onscreen speck (which doesn’t get as confusing as you’d think) and giving you a real sense of the massive scale on which these creatures operate. It’s all pre-scripted, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

As gargantuan as Poseidon’s water-horse is, it’s as vulnerable as anything else to Kratos’s Blades of Athena, and before long Kratos has torn off its jaw, stabbed it through the heart and pummeled its master to death in one of the most jaw-droppingly ugly beatdowns ever to appear in a videogame. Soon afterward, however, events conspire to send Kratos rocketing back down to Hades, where he (once again) loses all his powers and sets the game’s real plot in motion. Yes, he’s still hell-bent on revenge – but before he gets it, he’ll have to murder his way up the Olympian hierarchy, endure the pleas of an imprisoned girl who reminds him of his long-dead daughter and be reunited with a powerful artifact from his past.


Above: Also, he’ll get to finally kill that fat creep Hades


Chains of destruction

Losing all your abilities so soon after getting a taste of fully powered-up Kratos isn’t so bad, seeing as you’re guaranteed to get better stuff down the road. And God of War III’s new weapons and powers are better – better-implemented, more useful and much more fun to use than those in previous games. For starters, no longer will you be forced to choose between Kratos’s chain-blades and some big, kludgy weapon that isn’t much fun to use. While Kratos’s new Blades of Exile handle more or less the same way his favored weapons always have, the three new additions to his arsenal – the soul-stealing Claws of Hades, the lightning-infused Nemesis Whip and the lion-headed Nemean Cestus – are all cool variations on the chain-blade theme.

More Info

Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Action
Published by: SCEA
Developed by: SCE Santa Monica Studios
Franchise: God of War
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content

67 comments

  • Darkhawk - November 15, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    I beat Bayonetta on normal mode, but GoW is proving more frustrating just because of the double jump mechanic. I don't know what it is, but the time frame for double-tapping X is really strange, and I'm having a hard time getting through some platforming sections (and some bosses that require double jumps to avoid area attacks). I'm not alone in this - Google verifies that - but as comparisons go, Bayonetta definitely controls better
  • reeperskull - March 18, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    just picked up this game for under $8 :D best $8 i will ever spend....ever!!
  • DrOfInsanity666 - June 8, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    This is one of the best games I have ever played.
  • TwilightBlaze - June 5, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    I love this game, but you know what the sad part is? The fact that the first time I read this review, I thought you had given the game a 7, which made absolutely no sense.
  • wiljohannes - April 7, 2010 10:34 p.m.

    It is really a great game BUT...come on, that story. we know that GOW is not about story but the first one was great and the second was ok. gow3 story was a joke. also have problems with pace, it was a rollercoaster with lots of puzzle solving and few epic battles. also have two of the most epic bost fight but had definitly thw WORST boss fights in the series ( hermes, helios...zeus ?). not a perfect score worthy.
  • boxmeizter - March 21, 2010 2:50 p.m.

    There are no words of how epic this game is...The series are incredible compelling and there are over-the-top action around every corner, and the only way to feel about the series is just to love it. And you people that say this doesn't deserve a 10, you...are...short minded... Halleluja, and please, tell me this wasn't the ending of Kratos!
  • farewellandgoodnight - March 21, 2010 12:24 p.m.

    Really enjoying it sofar but the combat and controls are a little sluggish after playing Bayonetta.
  • minimaxi - March 21, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    people are right in that GR is too generous with 10's lately. If bayonetta gets a 10, this one deserves a 12. perspective of a gow fan who enjoys bayonetta and appalled by dante's inferno's purely business approach
  • CLEIP - March 20, 2010 2:57 a.m.

    Ok, i played this game alot now, and it is just no way it is a 10. Definantly a 9, but 10, no way. GR has become way to geneorus with their scores lately. this game is not the first nor do i think it is the last one to get a way to high score...
  • DeathandBlackMetal4 - March 13, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    I can't wait for this game, Its my favorite game series.
  • jordanlacroix95 - March 12, 2010 1:30 a.m.

    so glad it got 10/10 !!!! ultimate edition on tues. !!!!!! screw ign, 9.3 / 10 ?!?! thats bullshit! it deserves a 10.
  • crimson_soulreaper305 - March 11, 2010 10:12 p.m.

    one word...Epic.
  • MrWeaselTips - March 11, 2010 1:26 p.m.

    This is the turning point, I am seriously considering getting a PS3 now! Will continue to buy multi-platform games for 360 though, one step at a time!
  • TheIronMaiden - March 10, 2010 7:45 a.m.

    this is going to seem like the longest week ever.....even worse than waiting for MW2.
  • Cwf2008 - March 10, 2010 5:24 a.m.

    Seems like it'd be more of a 9 game to me, but who cares 9 and 10 are still incredible scores. Anyway wish i could get this game but i got a 360...oh well someday i will play this
  • GoldenMe - March 9, 2010 11:55 p.m.

    A game gets a 10 and people are freaking out/ bitching about. I wish I can go back to my Sega Genesis, where all the good video games are at.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - March 9, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    @TheWebSwinger - Well duh.. Twenty-TEN :D Cheap jokes ftw. Anyway. Epic game. Epic series. Now to persuade the parents to allow me to get GOW Collection and this and I'll be very happy :)
  • philipshaw - March 9, 2010 6:31 p.m.

    Was getting this game anyway but this was a great review and lets me see that my money will be well spent
  • Xplosive59 - March 9, 2010 5:36 p.m.

    if this wasnt a ps3 exclusive they would of given it an 11 stupid biased games radar only kidding
  • crumbdunky - March 9, 2010 2:45 p.m.

    @karna-I don't think the game perfect enough to be getting ten has been made, ever, and even held back, at the time from giving classics like OoT more than the 9.5 mark as I always felt that any fault made a mockery of a perfect score. Thing is GR, and other sites have painted themselves into a corner by giving out so many that scores have got redundant without ebven considering that all sites review using different scales and different amounts OF those scales. time has come for either the end of scores or to make a set media standard that we all agree is best.

Showing 1-20 of 67 comments

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