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ZeitgeistReview On March - 21 - 2010


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Write-Up:

It’s been quite a while since I’ve played a good hack’n’slash game. I missed out on Dante’s Inferno and I’d never played the previous two God of War titles besides the latest demo, so I’ve really been out of practice and had no idea what to expect before I jumped into God of War 3. Thankfully the gory presentation and in-your-face action drew me in the moment the game started. The publisher was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the game to review for you, so of course I’d like to thank them for their generosity. Make sure to check out my other channel, ZeitgeistOther, for tons of HD game-play footage and follow me on Twitter to see what games I’m playing each day. Developed by Santa Monica Studios and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America for the PS3 for 60 bucks, here’s God of War 3.

Story

The game starts off right in the middle of some intense action with no back-story, so if you are like me, you need a little filler before we get started. Kratos, once a captain of the Spartan Army, is deceived by Ares, the God of War, to kill his own family. Out of revenge, he kills Areas and takes his place as the new God of War. Having terrible dreams from his past, Kratos leads the Spartan army to destroy Greece in an effort to drown them out; thus angering the other gods in his triumph. Fearing Kratos would kill all of the other gods, Zeus strips him of his power and kills him. On his way to Hell, Gaia, mother of the Titans befriends Kratos and they begin to battle the Gods together.

The game opens with Kratos climbing Mt. Olympus on the shoulder of Gaia with a bunch of Titans. Upon reaching the summit, Zeus knocks Kratos and Gaia off of the mountain and Kratos falls to his death as Gaia saves herself. At the entrance to the afterlife, Kratos is confronted by Athena, whom he killed in the past, and she reveals that as long as Zeus lives, humanity will suffer, and as such, is willing to aid Kratos; telling him that to defeat Zeus, he must destroy the Flame of Olympus. On your journey you’ll battle several gods and huge monsters and climax in an incredibly hard battle with an epic conclusion to the series. It is very clear that Kratos is a troubled man struggling with his own guilt and the need for vengeance.

Design

God of War 3 took me about 12 hours to complete on the Normal difficulty with somewhere over 50 deaths. This game is freaking hard as hell. The game begins with you relatively powered up, as it is essentially beginning where the 2nd game ended, and as such, I found myself struggling enough for the game-over screen to ask me if I wanted to lower my difficulty settings a few times. Once Zeus kills you, you lose all of your power and have to start over from scratch, and then things become a lot more manageable.

Having played the demo, I thought it was really cool how the level that I played was actually in the game, but there were a lot of differences. The demo was tailored to get you pumped up for the game, so it’s nice to know that nothing is spoiled having played it. This is a single player game but it has a lot of replayability. Throughout your adventure you’ll collect hidden items that can be used after you complete the game to give you bonuses such as infinite energy and extra armor. There are also videos and additional game modes such as an Arena and Challenge mode that become unlocked upon completion.

Gameplay

While this is a hack-n-slash game, it’s important to point out that you aren’t simply mashing buttons. Having 5 different weapons in the game and various items like a bow and arrow, a magical lantern, and speed boots, you’ve got a wide variety ways to kill your foes; and there are tons of different button combinations that you’ll be strategically executing to take out the hundreds of enemies in the game. In addition, each of the weapons and items can be upgraded with the red orbs that you’ll collect, both making them stronger, and granting you additional moves to execute. This was really fun to me because I couldn’t wait to see how awesome the new moves were going to look each time I upgraded.

As you fight larger enemies and bosses, you’ll be presented with really cool QuickTime sequences that provide a level of satisfaction worthy of the opponent you just defeated. But don’t mess up and push the wrong button because sometimes it’ll straight up kill you. A lot of times I had trouble with this because I play on a 60 inch and you’ve got to pan your eyes across the screen to see what button you have to push. It was also tough to get the analog stick motions correctly when they came up, so I got frustrated a lot here.

In addition to beating the crap out of the handful of unique enemies and epic bosses, you’re going to need to solve some basic puzzles and do some platforming. None of this is very difficult but it’s all very fun. Swinging from location to location or flying on a harpy as you beat the crap out of it gave the game a slight Prince of Persia feel. All-in-all, the game-play is very addictive and extremely fun, even if you suck and die time and time again like I do.

Presentation

Coming straight from Final Fantasy 13, I was kind of spoiled with the graphics. Luckily, God of War 3 doesn’t fall short in this department. It’s becoming more and more clear that the Playstation 3 truly is capable of pumping out some wonderful graphics. Of course the game has a very dark and eerie feel to it, and the lighting and shadows in the game truly make this stand out. There are also some stylized and cool cut-scenes that tell some back-story and history, and even some nudity scattered here and there including a gratuitous sex scene with Aphrodite.

The soundtrack in the game is wonderful as it was recorded by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the voice acting to accompany is just as great… Well, except for Kratos. I thought he sounded way too cheesy. While this is likely what the developers and voice actor were going for, I just didn’t dig it. When you complete the game for the first time you’ll unlock a series of videos that deal with the creation of the game, including a great video showing the voice actors work. To me, this was a really really cool feature.

Summary

Being thrown head first into the hack-n-slash genre, I was completely unprepared for the epic-ness I was about to endure. God of War 3 completes the tale of Kratos on his quest for revenge against the gods of Olympus with beautiful presentation. It provides hours of great action-packed and intense combat that is extremely difficult at times to the inexperienced. I really enjoyed myself as I played through this wonderful adventure, but it’s important to point out that this is a mature title for a reason, so parents, make sure you don’t purchase this for your kiddies… Keep this one for yourselves! What were your experiences with the God of War series? Leave your questions and comments below!

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Categories: Playstation 3, Reviews

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