mildmolasses's God of War III (PlayStation 3) review

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GoW III review

A funny thing happened a few hours into God of War III: it became really, really amazing. Perhaps it was the over hyping of the first 30 minutes that so many previews had gushed about. Perhaps it was the considerable increase in hack’n’slashery that I had done this year. Maybe it was even the incredibly misguided Platinum trophy runs of Dante’s Inferno that I had done, but I just was not into this game at all. The giant bosses, the same combat I had played with twice before, and the puzzles which seemed to only slow down the pace of the game. Then, all of a sudden, it just clicked.

First off, this game is more God of War. If you’ve played the previous installments, then you know what you’re getting yourself into. Brutal combat, mythological beings, pushing things around to solve puzzles, and some gratuitous nudity that seems to do nothing other than appeal to 16-year-olds, all make their returns.

From a presentation standpoint, this game is gorgeous. With some exceptions here and there, this game is stunning in its scale and detail. The Kratos model is truly impressive. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all characters as there is the odd model that pops up with poor texturing, or is just plain weird looking. More specifically, the character of Pandora has odd, buggy eyes, and her father Hephaestus is pixilated and features some clipping issues. But these are minor gripes, especially when you factor in that Hera has been designed as a drunken socialite. Truly a round of applause should be sent to whoever is responsible for that.

The story itself seems pretty predictable insofar as Kratos continues on his journey of killing anything that he comes into contact with. I will admit that my dislike of the character stems from this anger and the fact that the events of the series are entirely his fault. It’s hard to care about a guy who seems to want to punish everyone but himself for the mistakes he has made. Fortunately, the journey that his killing spree takes him is enjoyable enough that I can overlook his depravity.

Perhaps what I enjoyed the about this game over previous ones was that all the “in between” time, meaning the elements that connect the major set pieces, were a lot more enjoyable. The game does not get dragged out by walking down corridors only to fight a group of enemies, and repeating the process endlessly. Truly it seems that ever location, every mountain and every hallway serves out a specific purpose to the overall experience.

That is until you reach the end game. Things seem to fall apart a little, when suddenly you are back tracking through areas and repeating set pieces. It seems like a complete shame after having created so many wonderful areas and encounters beforehand. The final boss and conclusion are epically disappointing when compared to the earlier games. The final conclusion to the story seems so forced, and so against everything that they build up, it almost seems like a fake out. But then reality hits and you realize that it wasn’t a joke; they really did want to end it that way. Ultimately that’s what holds this game back from greatness.

While there are some nice improvements to the gameplay and combat, courtesy of the powers and enhancements that you earn throughout the adventure, the thing that is really needed to make this game great is an amazing conclusion to the Kratos storyline. It seemed like they really had something special here, and for the most part it is, but the final act leaves a lot to be desired. The amazing set-pieces and boss fights that precede can only do so much if the entire package cannot maintain the same level of quality. Without a doubt I would recommend this game to anyone to play, just be wary of expecting an absolute masterpiece.

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