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


  • Frexerik - March 8, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    EPIC!! thanks gr!!! preodred mine just now! :D
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - March 8, 2010 5:15 p.m.

    A very well deserved score.
  • jimmyjoo - March 8, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    Great review! I cannot wait another week to play this! That 'ol Kevin Sorbo though, he definitely won't be playing Hercules, that's for sure.
  • loonyman978 - March 8, 2010 5:21 p.m.

    wow....just wow. It seems foolish to say i want this game because... who doesn't?
  • Embolado - March 8, 2010 5:28 p.m.

    What no Multiplayer ?!?! *smirk* FTW
  • Jacob816 - March 8, 2010 5:32 p.m.

  • metalgatesolid - March 8, 2010 5:45 p.m.

    As if it wasnt going to be great. The Sony exclusives are now flowing on the PS3 (Heavy Rain, MGS4, Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank, God of War and soon Gran Turismo). I have to say the exclusives are mindblowing.
  • Corsair89 - March 8, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    Damn it, why does this have to release so close to FFXIII?! Argh, I have to wait a little longer to get it. :(
  • radicallyrad - March 8, 2010 5:58 p.m.

    I was expecting a few Xbox fanboys to be the first ones to post and say this game sucks solely for the fact that it's not on their console and then compare a high rated game that's only on their console(and PCs)to this, such as Mass Effect 2.
  • felipe222 - March 8, 2010 6:07 p.m.

    @Embolado Multiplayer?! how this game could get multiplayer?
  • Amnesiac - March 8, 2010 6:13 p.m.

    I want it so hard it hurts.
  • kjdubz22 - March 8, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    This game looks awesome and it's the reason I want a PS3, but doesn't it seem like GR throws 10's around a lot? I'm not saying anything about other games like ME2 who got a 10, but just seems like they give a lot of 10's compared to other sites maybe that's why their able to avoid getting hate in their forums like other sites like IGN. Anyways this game looks awesome I think this pushed me into getting a PS3.
  • boxmeizter - March 8, 2010 6:49 p.m.

    ................................................................................................................speachless............................................................................................................ i've waited for over a year for this title,if not two. it got delayed a couple of times, but now, it is for real...yeah, i am a fanboy
  • AnonymouZ - March 8, 2010 7:06 p.m.

    never cared for GoW before... but the game looks goddamn good. i mite go and buy the "updated" prequels to this.
  • iKOemos - March 8, 2010 7:07 p.m.

    This game is soooo worth the wait. Its gonna be nothing short of EPIC!
  • RebornKusabi - March 8, 2010 7:18 p.m.

    I'm picking up Final Fantasy 13 tonight, so I will picking this up when my taxes come in... whenever the **** that will be lol Also, the reason for the 10's lately is a two-fold theory of mine- 1) Because this site seriously got SO MUCH ****ING **** for it's review scores that these lovely gents' gave Haze, Killzone 2, Lair and Heavy Rain. In all honesty though, of the above games, only one of them deserved a higher score, in my opinion and I'll leave it up to you to decide which one ;) My other theory is... maybe these last couple of games that have gotten 10/10 on here recently have actually been good enough to warrant them, at least in the reviewers eyes. To be fair though- Mikel knows his **** so if he gives a game a 10/10, I tend to listen up and take interest. I was already gonna get this game so his review helped validate my future purchase (though it really didn't need to, I already adore the first two God of War games). In the end, great review! Informative AND critical, just the way a reviewer should be.
  • Conman93 - March 8, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    Great review GR! Believe it or not, at first I wasnt too excited about this game. But now. id invent a time machine and go back in time to punch my past self in the face becaues he was an idiot. This could possibly be my new favourite game. The thought of there being more than one of those crab-horse things scares the shit out of me. March 19th cant come any quicker.
  • TheWebSwinger - March 8, 2010 7:29 p.m.

    Two 10's in a week? And this is, what, the fifth 10 this year? 2010's shaping up to be quite the year for gaming.
  • Samael - March 8, 2010 7:57 p.m.

    Huh, almost sounded like a 9 near the end. Which I would have been fine with...but I'm sure others wouldn't have. Worried about the difficulty of this Echocrome-esque puzzle and an apparently cheap final boss. I'm sure I'll manage to beat em though. I bet I'll like the Max Payne-ish scenes, as two of my favorite parts of GOW are the "hug and defend family" sequence from #1 and push away daughter from Chains.
  • TFUPrivateIron - March 8, 2010 8:08 p.m.

    Shouldn't people be happy that more games are getting 10s and not upset? It means that games are getting better. People need to stop being cynical and pessimistic. Gamers are so unappreciative nowadays.

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