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REVIEW: God of War III

Kratos rages on in our review of God of War III. SPOILER! At one point in the game Kratos will scream "ZEUS!"

The final chapter in the God of War series comes to a close on the PS3. For those who are new to the God of War series; God of War is Sony's flagship action / adventure series geared towards their hardcore audience. So far, every God of War game in the series has been outstanding with the exception of the PSP versions which was just OK. First is my favorite subject... the gameplay.

Gameplay

God of War III takes place immediately after the close of God of War II. Kratos' trademark "Blades of Chaos" combo is still present as well as a variety of new maneuvers. Of the new moves, the most welcome is the new grab abilities. Kratos can now grab an enemy and use them as a barricade to bash through a series of other enemies. Other classic abilities such as Icarus' wings are still in Kratos' arsenal and, thankfully, do not have to be re-earned as per usual in most action / adventure titles.

As you progress through the game you can expect new weapons to be acquired and added to Kratos’ arsenal. One of the more brutal yet awesome sub-weapons is one that was shown at E3 last year which is the head of the god Helios. Kratos rips his head off early in the game (as seen in the pic below) and uses it as a flashlight. Mind you, every time Kratos acquires a new weapon, someone in God of War III has to either die or suffer. The main weapons that Kratos acquires are good but not as original as the weapons found in God of War II. Every main weapon that Kratos gets in GOW3 is dual-wielded (as in one weapon for each hand). They are great weapons and all but I found myself quickly longing for the Spear of Destiny and the Barbarian Hammer found in GOW2. However, great new magic attacks have been added for each of the main weapons such as the Army of Sparta. The puzzles found throughout GOW3 are just as challenging as before and even more annoying this time around.

Sound

Voice acting in God of War III is just as impressive as it was in GOW2. Terrence Carson reprises his role as Kratos along with Linda Hunt who also returns as Gaia. Other major names enter into GOW3 to provide voice work such as Rip Torn who plays the role of the father of Pandora, Hephaestus. Also (in a very coincidental twist) Kevin Sorbo plays the role of Hercules! If you remember, Kevin Sorbo played the role of Hercules for years in the ongoing TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys which aired in the 90s.

The soundtrack is absolutely glorious in GOW3. Familiar tunes like The Vengeful Spartan have been redone while new tunes have been added such as the somber tune of Pandora's Song. Each event and environment in GOW3 has it's own particular musical score to give players specific "feels" for each part of the game. The music is outstanding and does a great job of adding to the overall experience.

Art & Animation

This is probably going to sound like a cheap plug but in all honesty... God of War 3 is, by far, the absolute best looking game I have ever seen to date. Everything looks gorgeous; everything! Character models are not only modeled with outstanding detail and mapped with very high res textures but the mixture of forward and deferred rendered lighting shows off God of War III beautifully. Light is an outstandingly well created aspect of the graphics. For example; using Helios’s Head creates a beam of light being emitted from his mouth. The light itself is actually a beam of bloom lighting while performing a solar flair actually creates a temporary environment light within the level.

Monsters can be summoned with the Blades of Hades. These monsters have a series of light applied directly to their models as well as surrounding particle effects to give them a ghostly look. God of War has always been known for it's incredibly brutal animations and God of War III doesn't disappoint. You'll cringe at some of the stuff Kratos pulls off this time around.

God of War III is an outstanding title for the PS3. Gorgeous visuals and a gameplay mechanic that works; plain and simple. However, God of War has always been much more than just that. A deep and engaging story can be expected from GOW3 just as in 1 and 2. However, I won't spoil anything but I felt a little let down at the ending of GOW3. After all the epic events that take place throughout the game, I was hoping for something more in terms of closure to the God of War story. Also, a familiar character shows up and has a very sudden twist in their personality at the end of the game which kind of throws you off. Honestly, the ending is something that you would expect to happen but it still felt like it could use more to be complete.

Another qualm is the reliance of sex in the game. God of War has always been known to be a little on the naughty side but it goes a little further this time around. Not only does GOW3 follow suit with the sex mini-game but this time it is unavoidable. It is actually part of the story. I've always believed that sex in video games is like a crutch; it's as if faith in your own product is lacking and sex is just used as a cop-out to push the product further. This has always been common among games like Grand Theft Auto which has recently been mediocre at best but I expect more from the developers of GOW3. A game this good should not need to plug itself this way; it also needlessly cuts their potential audience in half.

In short, God of War III is magnificent; that's all there is to it.

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