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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?

So all that stuff is a lot of fun, as QTEs go. But while the game is mercifully short on “press X to not die” moments, they’re still in there, and getting too used to the peripheral-button flashes might leave you unprepared when a looming hazard suddenly requires you to curve the analog stick down. That’s irritating, but at least the forgiving checkpoints ensure that dying usually just means you’ll have to start the QTE over.


Above: Quick time!


Unlock the mystery

Of course, combat and QTEs are far from the only things God of War games offer. While they’re continually overshadowed and sometimes nearly forgotten, the series has always excelled at huge, elaborate puzzles that incorporate the environment in interesting ways. GoW III doesn’t fall flat here, delivering an assortment of memorable and frequently strange challenges, like the musical one mentioned above. Even more striking, however, is a perspective puzzle that forces you to “see like the gods” to shift its platforms and stairways around until it looks like they’re interconnected, at which point they will be. (Yes, exactly like echochrome.)

Most of the puzzle action takes place in the Labyrinth, revealed as an assortment of what look like massive, hanging crates in a cave halfway between Olympus and Hades. At first, you’ll battle across the tops of these as they shift around their enormous cavern, and occasionally you’ll have to keep a few minotaurs from hacking away at the chains that keep the boxes aloft, which gets frustrating fairly quickly. It’s only when you come back later in the game that the Labyrinth’s true potential is revealed, as a series of twisting, trap-filled cubes that each contain a puzzle (usually of the sliding-block or hidden-switch variety) you’ll need to solve to get through.


Above: Not all that impressive now, but wait until you get inside

As always, the strength of these puzzles isn’t in their size or elaborateness. It’s that while they’re clever, they can almost always be solved just by quickly taking stock of what’s in your immediate surroundings. If a puzzle ever seems tough, just experiment with what’s around you; you’ll get it eventually.


Titanic promises

Speaking of things that are enormous, we should take a moment to address one of the promises Sony made early on. In our first real preview with the game, we got to hear all about Titan gameplay, which as we said earlier was supposed to be a revolutionary idea that would set entire levels on the bodies of Titans. These Titans, in turn, would behave dynamically as they wandered around a huge, persistent game world, making for landscapes that would shift unpredictably with every movement.

Sadly, it didn’t go down quite like that (although to be fair, that idea probably would have been terrible in practice). But while we don’t get to climb around on an assortment of Colossus-like Titans, there are two (entirely linear) areas that treat their bodies as moving levels. The first is Gaia, whom we discussed earlier, and the second is a familiar face who shows up late in the game. We won’t spoil too much, aside from saying that popping gargantuan, oozing sores is one of the least-gross things you’ll be subjected to.

So, Sony didn’t entirely come through on its promise, and there are only two Titan areas in the game. However, what’s there is pretty amazing, and the shifting nature of the Titans’ bodies – pre-planned or otherwise – makes them two of the most enjoyable levels in the game. It just would have been nice if there were one or two more of them.

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

  • 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.

    :D
  • 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.

Showing 1-20 of 67 comments

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