God of War III review

  • 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?

The new weapons all handle differently, sure, but they also do a good job replicating the unique sense of fun that comes from making Kratos whip blades through the air in fiery arcs – something that was sorely lacking in previous games’ secondary weapons. Each one also has a unique purpose that makes them indispensible for combat and puzzle-solving; the Cestus, basically a pair of oversized gauntlets, is super-strong, and is the only weapon that can crack obsidian objects, which naturally you’ll run into a lot.

Meanwhile, the Nemesis Whip – which can be flailed around by holding the button down on each strike, racking up ridiculous combo counts – is key to restoring power to the broken Olympian machinery. And while the Claws of Hades don’t really come in useful for solving puzzles, they can rip skull-shaped souls out of enemies, which then whirl around like deadly purple fireballs.

Making each weapon more vital is the overhaul to the game’s magic system; instead of simply switching between spells, each weapon now has a spell attached to it, which grows in power as the weapon levels up. Your magic meter is also kept separate from the new item meter, which refills automatically and enables you to wield things like Apollo’s bow (which can be charged to shoot flaming arrows) and Helios’s lantern-like head (once you’ve freed it from his body, of course).

Above: You know, like this

Additionally, Kratos gets to keep his Golden Fleece – which can parry and reflect attacks – and the Icarus Wings, which enable him to glide over gaps and up shafts of hot air. And if you miss wielding the massive Blade of Olympus, you can still do so by activating the Rage of Sparta, which turns you invincible for a little while and applies a cool visual filter to the screen.

As always, Kratos can wreak considerable havoc with just his bare hands, and his new grab moves – especially the one that has him charging around holding a foe like a battering ram – become essential for clearing out the large crowds of enemies you’ll frequently face.

All these new additions are a considerable improvement to God of War III’s combat, taking something that was already fun and ironing out anything that felt sucky or unnecessary. However, there’s still one part of the combat we haven’t addressed. The most divisive part. The part that a lot of you really hate right now.

Yes, we mean quick time events

Quick time events (QTEs) are the pre-scripted, mash-buttons-on-cue moments that have been an integral part of God of War since the series’ debut. Since then, however, the industry has overused them to the point where they’re just seen as lazy and stupid. The developers of God of War III obviously understand that, but rather than just eliminate them altogether, they’ve found ways to make them less obtrusive, starting by moving the button prompts to the edges of the screen.

Above: QTEs in God of War II vs God of War III. Note the Circle button at right in the second image

At first, this might seem even more irritating. But because the buttons consistently show up in the same directions they appear on the controller – i.e. Triangle at the top, Circle at the right – and because they’re accompanied by a bright flash at that end of the screen, it quickly becomes easy to respond to them as they pop up in your peripheral vision, enabling you to focus on the action instead.

And you’ll want to focus on the action, because these moments are almost always rewards for beating down a particularly tough enemy; your participation may be minimal, but we’ll be damned if the results aren’t always fascinating to watch. Especially if it’s a god or hero you’re smacking down – the game’s most notable deaths are also its most horrific, and range from the Helios head-rip with which we’re all familiar, to a gruesome re-creation of the fire-extinguisher scene from Irreversible.

Above: This is actually comparatively tame

Aside from killing things, QTEs are also key to riding some of the larger monsters, like the occasional Cyclops or the smaller, fire-breathing siblings of three-headed demon dog Cerberus. They also occasionally come up in puzzles – most notably a bizarre rhythm minigame in which you have to tune and play a massive instrument – and, of course, they’re an integral part of Kratos’s romantic encounters.

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


  • 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.

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