God of War III: Going Out with a Bang.
Sony Santa Monica has crafted one of the most critically acclaimed franchises in video game history with God of War. So, with God of War III, the final chapter in the Ghost of Sparta's story, there aren't any big risks made or creative liberties taken with the winning formula. The deaths are more brutal, the scenarios more epic, and the combat has been honed to near- perfection. All of the se trademarks of the series are more engaging through their presentation and the optimization of the PS3's capabilities.
The story starts off with Kratos scaling Mount Olympus along with the Titans. Yet, as expected, he is betrayed by the Titans, claiming him being merely a pawn in their war. So, Kratos plummets to the depths of H ades only to eviscerate brutalize his way to the heights of Olympus. The criticism regarding the way it concludes, with Kratos being the last vessel of hope, was regarded as a weak way of justifying the truly horrible things he's done. Sort of like the whole "Who shot first?" phenomenon regarding Han Solo and Greedo in Star Wars.
It's been established that Kratos is justified in his revenge, yet he has slowly become blind by rage, systematically destroying the world in the process. So, to claim he is still a bastion of anything positive is hard to believe. As an avid fan of the series, it seemed inherent that he was the most capable catalyst for change in such a world. Kratos' story is one of tragedy, he loses his family when in his blind state of subservience
So, heading into God of War III, it seemed obvious that there was no way this was going to end well for anybody, including Kratos. For nearly half the game, Kratos seems dead set on murdering Zeus, yet when he meets Pandora, his humanity rushes back. He begins to remember all that he's lost, what he's done, and tries to protect Pandora. So, what happens in the end, seemed inevitable.
Something I've had trouble with the other entries of the series were that all of the secondary weapons didn't feel nearly as substantial and effective as the chaos blades, though this time I found myself mixing it up a whole lot more. This time around, there are a total of 4 weapons with a specific magic attack, including the default blades, the Blades of Exile. There are the Claws of Hades, which are faster yet weaker than the standard blades, and summon a beast pre-selected from a list of enemies you've defeated with them. The Nemean Cestus are gauntlets that are very effective against weaker foes, and are used for a handful of obstacles throughout the game, and then there is the Nemesis Whip, very similar to both the 'Claws' and 'Blades', yet are very handy in causing a lot of chaos with their chain lightning magic. A very welcome addition, in which all the weapons are capable is grappling onto enemies and pulling you in for any follow-up attacks, really giving the combat an extra level of visual flair that also proves quite helpful in the harder difficulties, knocking weaker, more pesky enemies off of platforms.
You have the option to switch between weapons in the middle of a combo by pressing L1 and X, though I found it easier just to do it with the directional pad. You also have access to a selection of items which function mainly as tools to solving puzzles and clearing obstacles. They also function on a separate bar in combat.Helios' head blinds enemies for longer periods of time, functioning a lot like the Gorgon heads from previous games. The Bow of Apollo is good for pecking away at enemies, and when held down, briefly sets enemies ablaze, and Hermes' boots are good for dodging enemy attacks.
The standard quick-time events, (that the series helped popularize), return yet this time around are placed on the outskirts of the screen, relying on your peripheral vision to hit the corresponding button, allowing you to focus more on the gorgeous action at hand. So the X button always flashes on the bottom, the O to the right and so on. It's all of these little tweaks and improvements that make the combat of God of War III the pinnacle of the series.
Though, what seems to be the biggest selling point are the visuals. Much like the other big release of the month, Final Fantasy XIII, both games' visuals are true marvels visually, both pushing the limits of the console. So, with being on the PS3, there are a lot of minute details they're able to add to make each encounter truly memorable. Whether it is the skin on Helios' neck tearing as its being ripped off or reading one of the many degrees of anger on Kratos' face, or being swatted at like a fly on an epically pissed off Titan in real- time. The level of detail this game shows is truly a technological wonder.
God of War III is really hard not to enjoy. It may not do anything radically different, yet you can't really blame Sony Santa Monica for sticking to their guns. It does everything you come to expect from the series and capitalizes on the system's capabilities, so with deciding to end the story of Kratos, it's hard not to be anxious to see what's next.