Friday, February 4, 2011

Perfect Ending to the Angry Trilogy

When the demo for the first God of War ( ) came out, I was in middle school and was an avid Final Fantasy junkie. A friend of mine had just introduced me to Devil May Cry and I decided to pick up the demo for God of War. I couldn't get past battling one Hydra head. I died ten times in five minutes and finally gave up and through the disc (that's right, demo discs) in the trash can. After that I refused to pick up the series. Time passed and God of War II came out as well as the PSP game Chains of Olympus ( ) but I still didn't want to touch them. For Christmas, my dad accidentally bought me the PSP game and in order to not hurt his feelings (he worked really hard to get me some good games that year) I opened the game and popped it in. After that, my eyes were opened.

Fast forward to this past Christmas when my best friend John hands me God of War III. After getting my PS3 fixed (damn you yellow light!) I popped the disc in and was immediately enveloped. This game is disgustingly overwhelming. The amount of detail that went into this game is amazing and the work and time and effort has truly paid off.

The game picks up story wise right after God of War II ( ). Kratos is making his march with the titans up the side of Olympus and the Gods are planning their defensive maneuvers. The graphics in this game are breath taking. In the first two (from what I saw in clips and of others playing it) the engine on the PS2 was good, but just like every other action game on the PS2, it couldn't hold a flame to games like Final Fantasy. Definitely not the case here. God of War III's visuals are astounding and I would definitely put them up there to contend with Final Fantasy XIII any day. The quick tutorial for mechanics is great too. In both PSP games the tutorials were useful, but seemed to last as long as halfway through the game. Before the final confrontation with Poseidon 15 minutes in you, the player, know pretty much how to do everything.

One of the Varied and Numerous Bosses that Kratos Crushes.

Speaking of Poseidon, what a way to start off the game. Because it picks up exactly where the game left off, Kratos is beefed up to the maximum level in all stats, carries the Athena Blades at max level, and still has the Icarus Wings and the Golden Fleece. The entire battle, with the exception of the finale, takes place on the titan Gaia's back. The entire model of Gaia is an actual character model, not a background to the level which until you witness it seems like nothing, but trust me, it's fantastic. After tangling with Poseidon you come to the button press finale. In this final(?) installment in the series, the development team decided to change the camera angles around on these finales, rewarding each correct button press with a first person view as the victim. The results give you chills down your spine, giving a very cinematic feel that really goes well with the rest of the camera work done in the game.

The combat is similar to the God of War franchise with only a few augmentations that add great layers to the battles. The first is the amount of enemies on screen. Most of the times you will be fighting around eight to ten enemies at a time, which was typically the larger battles for the old PS2 titles. In God of War III, as many as 50 enemies can appear on screen at one time and the results are amazing. Plowing through the waves of foes with the Blades of Exile and the other weapons in the game is so intense, but as you see Kratos standing alone, blood soaked, it is so damn rewarding.There are also specific times in the game, Kratos is able to ride on top of a Cyclops to tear through enemies. This feels kinda gimmicky, but happens so little that it is kind of refreshing to hop on top of the monster and relax as you tear apart the other enemies. Another change is the charge ability, that lets you grab an opponent and charge with their body like a battering ram through a crowd of opponents. I never used this ability, however John used it relentlessly when he was surrounded by a large group.

This Game is Gorgeous, from the Lighting to the Blood Spray down to the Environmental Design.

The biggest refreshment to the combat has to be the weapons. Kratos gets four main weapons including the Blades of Exile and three sub-weapons that are also used for puzzle solving. These sub weapons include Apollo's Bow which can be charged to shoot fire arrows, Helios's Head, which can blind enemies and be charged up to shoot a solar flare to blind all surrounding enemies (surprisingly useful throughout the game) and finally Hermes's Sandals, which give you a quick burst of speed on land and air and can even be used to ram into enemies. Hermes's Sandals were by far the least useful, but all three weapons can be used interchangeably in and out of battle by holding the L1 button and hitting the corresponding face button.

The main weapons are by far the most fun to play with, each having it's own distinct style to increase the variety of game play. Each weapon also comes with it's own unique magic rather than having Kratos equip separate magic. The first is the Blades of Exile, which is this game's version of the Blades of Chaos. Though very fun, they are the same weapon used in every God of War and therefore, for me at least, I used them the least. The next weapon obtained is Hades's Claws, which look like huge meat hooks and are quick, light attack weapons that are great for surrounding Kratos when enemies get close. The third weapon would be the huge lion gauntlets named the Cestus which are the slowest, but strongest weapons in the game and are so much fun to obtain and to play with. The final weapon is the Nemesis Whip, which is the quickest, and weakest weapon in the game. The amount of variety given from the four weapons is amazing and really helps freshen up the combat and the drive to continue on earning orbs and leveling up.

Overall, the amazing quality of this game is amazing. Even after beating all the difficulty levels there are still the trophies to obtain and the Challenge mode and all the bonus costumes and Olympian items to find. The story, even if you haven't played any other game in the series, is fantastic and really helps hold the package together. This game makes me want to play all the other games in the series, even the ones I already beat, and the ambiguous ending aside, I hope this isn't the last of the Ghost of Sparta we see.

10 out of 10

Here are some links for God of War III:
IGN's Review:
The Official Game Site: Guide:

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