What is God of War III?
You assume the role Kratos, the badass son of Zeus who has spent two games being manipulated by gods and titans. Kratos is a skilled, well-armed, resourceful, and pissed off Spartan warrior with nothing to live for but revenge.
The basic premise is that you are hacking and slashing your way through Greek mythology. In the previous games you sliced & diced a lot of mythological heroes, villains, and monsters, with a few gods mixed in for good measure. In the third installment it’s pretty much all gods and titans.
This game is awesome. The two things standout the most for me are the scale of the levels, and the boss battles.
The scale is downright staggering. Everything is so damn huge, but Kratos moves quickly and traverses a lot of ground in very little time, so it doesn’t feel slow or overwhelming. Fighting battles on the bodies of titans, traversing the underworld of Hades, or pushing your way through the Labyrinth are a ton of fun, but the size is what sells it.
Speaking of scale, the boss battles are nuts. The game immediately throws you into a fight with the sea god, Poseidon and the Leviathan… On top of the titan Gaia. Gaia moves and helps you as you trade blows with one of Greek mythology’s most notorious gods.
As a big fan of The Odyssey and Odysseus, I have never liked Poseidon (he tormented Odysseus for a decade), so it was very satisfying to beat him to death. Now that I am thinking about it, most of the Greek gods are unlikeable characters (except for Athena, she’s pretty cool), so it’s fun to kill all of them. Each boss battle is different and memorable. The same goes for the boss kills… They are brutal, unique, and very fitting.
I am happy that they changed the skill tree so that leveling up weapons also levels magic abilities. This decision makes the magic abilities far more useful than in the previous two installments.
Other high points are the flying mechanic; the stylized opening credits/ flashback sequences were neat; and the elimination of the awkward balance-beam stuff from God of War II.
The Not So Good
The graphics are generally great, but sometimes it seems like they just got lazy. For example, the wine in Hera’s glass doesn’t really move when she shakes it. It just looks odd.
(Watch this video to see what I mean, but beware, there are spoilers because this is deep in the game)
Similarly, the voice acting is hit or miss.
Finally, the jumping and swinging mechanics never feel completely fluid to me. When there are a series of jumps and swings in a row, I die often because the controls in that situation feel a little off. Almost every time I died while playing it was due to a fall.
Three things pulled my attention away from the narrative and made me scratch my head because they felt wrong and out of place:
Sex Mini-Game with Aphrodite
In the second half of the game you encounter Aphrodite; one of the few members of the Greek pantheon who you don’t fight. Instead, you have the choice to have sex with her.
Sex and nudity in video games doesn’t bother me at all; when it has purpose. This felt needless and childish. It was kind of funny, but ultimately seemed like it was shoehorned in because the developers already knew the game would be rated “Mature.”
God of War Guitar Hero
There is a music/rhythm puzzle in God of War III that is a total failure. It’s odd, out of place, and it even looks like poo. This idea should never have made it past the brainstorm meeting.
The Attitude of the Gods
When this game begins, Kratos has already killed Ares and Athena. As the game progresses, he butchers Poseidon and Hades pretty early, but the gods still arrogantly approach battle with Kratos. The god’s lack of fear and cavalier attitude is a big detriment to the storyline. They talk of Zeus fearing Kratos, but even that doesn’t seem true when the king of the gods is onscreen.
It only took me nine hours to play through God of War III, but it was a superb nine hours.
If brutal fights and violent games bother you, I recommend that you pass, otherwise, I think this is a must play game.
I’m not sure if I like the ending or not, but I respect the decision to end the game the way that the developers did. That’s all I am going to say about the conclusion.
I’ve been waiting a long time for some great boss battles, and God of War III nails each and every one.
Go play it then share with me your favorite boss battle; mine was Hades.