Review: God of War III
God of War III, Developed by Santa Monica Studio and Published by Sony Computer Entertainment
In the God of War series you play the part of Kratos, aka ’strength’ a demi-god who really appears (albeit briefly) in Greek legend. Alongside his siblings zeal, victory & force he was part of an Avengers like team in the original myths, enforcing the will of Zeus on the hapless mortals that surrounded Mount Olympus.
It is therefore somewhat odd, if unsurprising that Kratos in his video game outing not so much takes liberties with the source material but straps it down, beats it over the head and tears out its entrails with its teeth. Like the mostly forgotten Dante’s Inferno of 2010 the use of existing writings is taken to be more of a vague hint rather than cannon despite the obvious qualities that both The Divine Comedy and the cannon of Greek myth have for something like a video game where one battles gods and monsters.
You are in the God of War games unceasingly both killing things and people. This is entirely the kind of game that misguided politicians should be referencing if they want to make people aware of the corruption of youth, its 18 certificate in that regard notwithstanding. While as an adult I’m perfectly aware of the difference between real life and fantasy even I stop at times to question if tearing the head from an enemy and using its corpse to bludgeon others is entirely necessary, nay encouraged with its award of extra upgrade orbs for a ‘brutal’ dispatch.
Intermingled with your various attempts to commit what I suppose cannot be called genocide exactly (considering the nature of the monsters/undead you are killing) but is certainly in that sphere of crimes are the odd small puzzle element. Thinking perhaps that its player base might object to being made to think too strongly without seeing a fountain of blood spurt out of a gaping wound these are mostly fairly short and relatively untaxing, though there can be some that are slightly less obvious albeit usually because of design oversight than actual challenge. Some of the more platform oriented sections can be frustrating due to the difficulty of judging some of your jump distances. One might think that using the wings of Icarus would not be the most sensible of ideas and indeed as it turns out you are in many cases likely to fall to your death on obtaining the skill to glide over short distances.
I’m not entirely sure what it is exactly that compels me to continue on playing games akin to God of War. While the combat is undeniably bloody there is something elegant about its fluidity and the response it gives to each of your movements. While it’s certainly not on the level of sophistication as it could be (mentioning no names here) it does have a fairly varied amount of combinations and counters for most weapons and enemies it throws at you. I am a particular fan of you basic knives-on-a-chain which will swirl around you as you rotate the stick on your controller in a deeply satisfying motion.
To finish of most of the slightly more taxing adversaries it becomes necessary though to do a certain timed button press events. While the finishing moves offered by these quick-time-events certainly do mean you can have animations that would otherwise be impossible, the lack of meaningful control over your actions makes them a little bit less satisfying than the combination of dance and destruction that makes up normal combat.
One of the better places for button mashing events is when playing this game the generally rather tasty boss fights. It is in this area that the game really start to feel like it’s getting into its stride, mixing the flow of your character with a shifting array of things that are trying to kill you alongside combat and interesting multi-tiered environments. When you have to do a specific combination of button presses here it makes more sense, because how else exactly could you slice of the tentacles off of a giant tentacled seahorse?
Certainly though the narrative structure is not what makes me want to play more, as I played through the game I realised that Kratos also sounds something akin to an intensely unlikable American version of Michael Cain. To explain, he shouts an awful lot; he shouts at people, at gods, at titans, at wailing corpses that he’s stamping on and, well, pretty much everything else. It’s as if he’s incapable of not being both annoyed and angry at every possible moment and that the standard animated object in the series is either profoundly deaf or will be after they meet Kratos.
Some other minor gripes, such as the titanically idiotic system used to highlight text in the game do somewhat annoy though they can for the most part be forgiven. During one particular taxing segment I was asked if I wished to switch to easy (from hard) and due to their choice of typeface managed to select the opposite of what I wanted (i.e. yes instead of no) and was forced to repeat the fight from a much earlier checkpoint. This tendency to offer you a downgrade in difficulty also does not take account of the difficulty on which you are playing by suggesting knocking you down one notch, instead of to the bottom. Nor does it notice when you’re dying to the environment rather than enemies which are the only thing it effects. This in turn affects your sanity.
Even putting aside the odd gripes I’ve had with this game it’s certainly a very well made and mechanically sound game. If you suspend disbelief and avoid thinking too hard about the flagrantly silly elements you can have a very good time and take out stress you have while you do it. There’s no particular need to have played the first two games to get into the action, though there is a recently shined up version of them for the PS3.
Play this game, but don’t think too hard while you’re doing it.
- theinfinitenostalgia posted this