Players engage gods for merciless slaughter in gruesome ‘God of War III’

Michael Wafford
April 7, 2010
Filed under Reviews

he third installment in the “God of War” trilogy is insanely satisfying. From the second I picked up the controller and guided the lead character, the antihero Kratos, along the back of a gargantuan titan, I knew I was going to enjoy every second of the game.

The story is nothing special. Kratos is out to kill Zeus and anyone who gets in his way, and it just so happens that nearly every notable figure in Greek mythology gets in his way.

As you play the game, you’ll notice that Kratos isn’t the nicest guy around; he blurs the line between antihero and outright villain constantly, and is often times worse than the pitiable gods he kills.

The game tries to set him up as a sort of sympathetic figure but I never quite believed it since even at his lowest moments, he was still pounding in the face of whatever got too close to him.

However, that’s what makes the story so engrossing despite its limited range; whether you are beating in the face of some poor god who happened to bump into you, or tearing the eye from a Cyclops with your bare hands, the game never lets you forget that Kratos is a merciless killer.

As a killer, Kratos has to have the appropriate tools. Starting the game with the “Blades of Athena,” you gain a variety of weapons and magic to help you slaughter your way to victory.Some are found as you play the game but most are obtained after killing a character of importance in a gruesome way.

While the blades were my most used weapon in the game, I found myself switching to other weapons as I played the game simply because they were all equally fun to use, with their own advantages and disadvantages, such as trading in speed for power, or range for damage.It helps that all weapons have similar controls with the square and triangle buttons determining the strength of your attack and a tap of the right trigger activating the weapons unique spell so the learning curve is lessened.

Your tools aren’t limited to weapons and spells because you can use enemies as weapons, usually by grabbing them with a tap of the circle button. Be it through riding on the back of a beast, slicing off a gorgon’s head to turn enemies to stone, or just picking someone up to use as a battering ram, I rarely ran out of new interesting ways to massacre the armies of Olympus.

The game looks great. From the crystal clear water to the innards of a centaur, everything in this game looks gorgeous. For a fantasy game, “God of War III” tries its best to imitate life and it does. Blood spills with a sense of weight, blades leave appropriate wounds; even heads roll with a sense of gravity.

The characters all have an ugliness to them that works to the game’s advantage, seeing the Greek gods look so ragged made their situation seem more dire to me and ultimately made Kratos’ victories all the more satisfying.

The monsters you encounter also have an ugliness to them, but they look more terrifying than pitiable compared to the gods and tearing them apart almost always managed to make me feel like I’d overcome a challenge.

Speaking of challenges, the game also has a few puzzles. While none of them were frustratingly hard, I did have to sit down and think for a few minutes to work my way through some of them, and when I finished them I felt a little smarter than I did before. They also provide breaks from the action segments, which prevent the game from growing stale from repetition.

“God of War III” is a splendid game. Everything about it from the simple revenge story to the tight combat kept me entertained throughout the game. It’s violent, fast-paced, a joy to look at and pure bloody fun.

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