My first exposure to the God of War franchise was when Sony released the re-mastered God of War Collection (God of War 1 & God of War 2) on 1 blu-ray disc including trophies. It was a great first exposure to the characters, story and game play. We all remember the ending of God of War 2 where Kratos was on the back of the Titans while they scaled Mount Olympus in search of Zeus and looking for Revenge. This means one thing and one thing only it’s March and Kratos our beloved God of War is back making his debut on the PlayStation 3.

Obviously the game starts with Kratos standing on the shoulder of Gaia a titan, who urges her fellow titans to climb Mount Olympus and kill the gods for once and all ending the rein of all mighty god Zeus. The camera pans around and shows this mere molecule (Kratos) enjoying the ride. Kratos main job is here is to protect Gaia from the relentless attacks from Poseidon with most the battle taking place on the titan herself. A confrontation with Gaia ends up with Kratos arriving in the land of the dead where he must battle Hades and defeat him. I personally had such a hard time battling Hades the game recommended I switch difficulties.

Next up it was time for Kratos to make his way into the City of Olympia and track down Helios during the course of wandering through the city you poised to help a titan by shooting down Helios using a ballista. This was like target practice, quite challenging at first but shooting him down provided me with instant gratitude. Using the head of Helios to light the way it’s time to head down the path of EOS. Later on you’ll battle your bitter rival Hercules and after disposing of him it’s time to check out Poseidon’s chamber where you speak to the goddess herself Aphrodite.  Next it’s time to make for the Pit of Tartarus and look for the Omphalos Stone. Remember Crono’s from God of War 2, he’s back and it’s time to rumble.
After that it’s Time to return to Daedalus’s workshop, escape Hera’s Garden, then head into the hidden passageway to find Pandora and to escape the Labyrinth before it’s too late. Finally you arrive at the Chain of Balance where you must break it and return to Pandora. It has arrived time to Battle the mighty Zeus.
There isn’t a whole lot changed in terms of combat, it’s the same formula just polished up from previous versions. Of course there is a bunch of new weapons like the blades of exile; the army of Sparta is one of my favorites. These Spartan Warriors surround Kratos with shields and spears, these warriors attack those who cross Kratos path. You also are immune from taking damage during the casting of this spell. The Claws of Hades are cool but you have the blades of Athena and I haven’t found much use for them.  One of the favorite new items is the head of Helios this allows the Kratos to shine a light and kill enemies.  The finishing moves are just over the top, gratuitous, fun to execute and enjoying to watch. One of the big things I’ve noticed over its predecessors is that the level design and the variety is quite noticeable and makes the game a lot more enjoyable. The boss battles are challenging, fun and cross between fighting the Gods and the Titans is a good mix up. I wish I could battled more titans.

Sony Santa Monica has developed a visual masterpiece, the sense of scale of is incredible, the way the camera pans out to show everything and you see Kratos this little spec on screen. One small noticeable improvement all game developers should take notice of is during quick time events placing the buttons on the side of the screen. This draws the player’s attention to focus on the quick time event so they can enjoy the action. The camera, I loved how the camera pans to show the incredible sense of scale, detail and just awe dropping moments throughout the game. However, I wish I had more control of the actual camera at times. I’d love to be able to look out the titans or gods from Kratos point of view.

One of the biggest dislikes in the franchise I’ve noticed and still isn’t rectified in God of War 3 is there is no HUD system on screen. This is more of a personal preference rather than a fault of the game. I am not a great puzzle solver at any game and the lack of “hint” system in place has caused me great frustration at different stages of the game. Sure when you get to a puzzle the camera pans around showing you where you start and where you end.  If you half way through solving a puzzle and get stuck why not implement a “help” button similar to Uncharted 2? It’s simple, easy and if you don’t want to use it don’t press the button.

Honestly there isn’t much wrong with God of War 3, the things I mentioned above are small personal preferences I like in games. I understand why there not there.  The facts are God of War 3 does what it does and does it better than the original 2 game’s. Isn’t that what sequels are for? Improving over the original games while sticking to the key successes of the franchise and God of War 3 does that well. If you like Kratos, the storyline, the button mashing and the gruesome finishing moves and oh yea did I mention an artistic masterpiece? God of War 3 will sell a ton of copies, hell it may even sell a few additional PlayStation 3 systems. Why would you miss out on potentially one the best games of this generation.

The Good

  • Awe Yeah, the combat is just fun
  • Stunning Visuals
  • Boss Battles are Challenging

The Bad

  • It ends
  • No Help / Hint’s during puzzles
  • No HUD/ on screen navigation