God of War III: Vengeance Is A Dinner Best Served Bloody

By Spencer . March 8, 2010 . 9:00am

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God of War III picks up where God of War II left off, in the middle of a grand battle. Kratos, fully powered up, starts the game on Gaia as the titan scales Mt. Olympus. The titan’s body is a living environment and while you’re walking on her limbs cutting apart lesser enemies Leviathan, a watery hydra-like creature attacks. The fight begins with Kratos firmly on the ground, but Gaia and Kratos rotate during battle. You have to defeat Leviathan while climbing and hanging with the Blades of Athena as your only support. The twisting, constantly shifting battle is an impressive start. And it’s just a start. After Leviathan, Kratos scuffles with Poseidon who is the first of many top tier Greek Gods that will die in the hands of Kratos.

 

But, not before Kratos falls into Hades and loses most of his power when souls in the River Styx hungrily consume his energy. God of War III has a hint of Metroid syndrome. After the intro level you’re given the Blades of Exile (basically, Blades of Athena 1.5) and have to collect Gorgon Eyes all over again. Kratos’ “new” weapon has a magic spell attached to it which summons a phalanx of phantom Spartans to stab everything around him. The Army of Sparta spell is good for crowd control, especially elevator fights. Unlike past God of War games, each weapon has a built-in magic spell. Hades’ claws (guess who you get that from) lets Kratos summon a ghostly chimera and cerberus to attack for him.

 

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In God of War III, Kratos can also carry items, which have their own energy meter. The yellow bar underneath the magic meter is for items. It increases when you collect Minotaur horns and rapidly refills when Kratos is idle. Apollo’s Bow is the first item you get. When you hold L2 Kratos can shoot arrows or charge the bow to release an fiery blast. Other items Kratos obtains include a “flashlight” that reveals hidden chests and boots that allow him to dash.

 

Here’s a list of weapons and items Kratos collects. Since this is filled with spoilers you have to highlight the text to read it.

 

Blades of Exile – the standard chain blade weapon with the Army of Sparta spell that summons a phalanx around Kratos as spears and arrows skewer enemies.

Claws of Hades – chained hooks that also allow Kratos to rip the souls out of enemies and summon creatures with his magic meter.

Nemean Cestusgauntlets that shake the ground, disarm enemies carrying shields, and launch enemies in the air with the Nemean Roar spell.

Nemesis Whip a swift weapon made by Hephaestus. You can keep the blades on the end spinning by holding square or triangle. Nemesis Rage, this weapon’s spell, shocks nearby enemies with electricity.

Bow of Apollo – shoots flaming arrows. When you hold square down the bow can launches a fiery blast that ignites enemies and certain background objects.

Head of Helios this acts like a flashlight for dark areas and can reveal secrets when you shine the beam on spots with bits of gold dust. In battle, the head can stun enemies with a blinding light.

Boots of Hermes – lets Kratos launch enemies into a body slam and air dash.

There are also hidden relics to collect. These keepsakes from various Gods such as Zeus’ Eagle (infinite Rage of Sparta) and Helio’s Shield (triples the hit counter) can power up Kratos after you beat the game. God of War III has costumes too, which change Kratos’ stats and disable trophy collecting.

 

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Players can switch weapons in real-time, but three out of the four tools of destruction Kratos obtains are chain blades. The Nemean Cestus, a pair of lion-faced gauntlets, are the odd weapon out and sacrifice distance for pure power. Kratos’ most basic weapon, the Blades of Exile, borrow moves from past games such as Tartarus Rage. Even some finishing sequences like where Kratos rips the eye out of a Cyclops are exactly the same. God of War III is familiar, maybe a tad too familiar, but there are few twists to the formula. God of War III has an on-rails vertical flying mini-game where you dodge structures and debris by moving Kratos side to side with the analog sticks. There are also a few elements that feel like a nod to other Sony developed games. One puzzle is a perspective bending area reminiscent of Echochrome and a small part at the end reminded me of Ico.

 

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God of War III’s greatest moments are still grandiose boss battles. Each fight closes with a string of quick time events and a brutal death – often from another perspective. At the end of the first adrenaline pumping battle with Poseidon you watch, from Poseidon’s eyes, as Kratos pummels Poseidon into oblivion. It’s visceral, arguably the most violent death in the God of War series until you get further into the game. At the end of another fight, the camera shifts into first person when Kratos deals the finishing blows. Each time Kratos kills a God mankind suffers. Poseidon’s death makes the sea rise and flood cities. Will this stop Kratos’ lust for vengeance? Maybe not, but God of War III shows a less bloodthirsty side of Kratos through flashbacks to previous events all leading up to a fitting conclusion for the Ghost of Sparta.


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  • malek86

    Not a fan of GOW, the first game felt too much like a button masher to me, and after a good first two chapters, it got old quickly.

    Also, it was the game that broke my PS2 drive (stupid dual-layer), so yeah, maybe my opinion is kinda biased.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I’ll agree with this. I don’t like the QTAs and the combat never feels as in-depth as, say, Devil May Cry. I feel the game doesn’t give me enough control over Kratos. I finished Chains of Olympus on the PSP, too, and it was “okay.” I really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about when I was done with it.

    • Chow

      I have the same feeling about GOW, but not because it’s a “button masher” (which I disagree with), but because all you really do is just attack and attack.

      That said, I did finish the first two games on my PS2, and am actually thinking of getting the Pandora Box (that’s what it is, right?) for GOW3, though I haven’t actually ordered it yet. I will online if I’m still able to in a few days hopefully.

  • bobhoskins

    Judging from the posts above, I guess I’m not the only one who feels that the approach to the GoW series to be completely tasteless, and the gameplay classless.

    It’s the same damn combo, for hours on end, with absurd puzzles that are there for the sake of being there, and the story being about a pissed off Spartan just killing things.

    I’ll take cheesecake like Bayonetta *any* day over bullshit like the GoW series. I suppose the big appeal of the GoW series is the fact that you don’t have to put any *effort* into killing things…

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      You know, Jaffe — back when he was still working on the games, if I recall correctly — said that the goal behind God of War was just to develop an “entertaining game.” It’s kind of ironic that you pointed out that you prefer Bayonetta’s cheesiness, because I feel the exact same way about Devil May Cry.

      It doesn’t have to make sense; it’s not trying to do that. It’s just trying to be entertaining and crazy, and it does a damn good job of it. Even 4, which people had complaints about, was absolutely fantastic imo. I couldn’t stop grinning when Nero revved his sword like a motorcycle and rode it around, driving over things.

      God of War just doesn’t have those moments. Kratos is almost like the stylish-action genre’s equivalent of a bald space marine. The daughter thing comes off as rather heavy-handed, and you never really get a feel for anything that happens to Kratos himself. In the end, it just feels like, no matter what, he’ll just let out a few growls and grunts and be on his way to kill the next big thing.

      • FireCouch

        I completely understand what your saying about DMC, like when Dante rides on a missile in 3 and does that ridiculous rock show thing when he gets that guitar. But at the same time, GOW is as entertaining and crazy, just in a different sense. The ridiculous stunts Dante pulls off could be compared to the ridiculous carnage Kratos unleashes onto his foes. Both make me laugh.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          I guess the question is, are they trying to be funny with GoW’s story or is it unintentionally comical, the way you pointed out? :P

          • Ereek

            Wow! This was posted over a week ago, I have no idea how I missed the GoW3 playtest. I feel bad.

            I’m with FireCouch, GoW’s violence makes me laugh, as did Dragon Age: Origin’s violence. For that matter, the violence in Fallout 3 completely broke the somewhat creepy atmosphere in some areas (Read: Any Raider camp and the DC tunnels). When the violence is so over-the-top it becomes amusing. I don’t think the developers intended it to be that way, because some developers, BioWare comes immediately to mind, seem to think that sex + blood = maturity. God of War is all about an Angry kratos and his serious goal, so I don’t think it is in GoW, either. However, in the case of Fallout I think it is meant to be taken as a dark sense of humor.

            That said, I like God of War. It’s mindless fun and at times quite amusing. I don’t really think it tries to by anything but that. That’s entirely the problem though. The violence doesn’t impact me. If it was rarer when Kratos absolutely mutilated an enemy in a grotesque way, I might be more shocked or even take a second glance. But because he is violent in every other scene – and even battle – I find myself not caring. The violence loses its impact. I think that’s one reason why Final Fantasy VII’s scene was so impacting. At the time there was very little graphic violence in the genre and when a well-known series suddenly added it, it was horrifying. There’s also only one scene in FFXIII that has blood, yet that adds to power the scene conveys. I think a lot of these western developers don’t seem to understand the idea of “moderation.”

      • bobhoskins

        Funny you mentioned that… Rodin always wanted to be a bald space marine. :)

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