God of War III
God of War III is a good game, but falls just shy of being truly amazing. Yes, it is critically and popularly acclaimed, but it is not quite phenomenal.
First of all, the game looks beautiful. The graphics are obviously top-notch. Throw in great lighting and shadows and various effects and you have this visual masterpiece. The backgrounds are busy (in a good way) with action and almost look handpainted in places.
GoWIII wastes no time getting to an epic conflict. The game starts right where God of War II left off with the Titan's siege of Mount Olympus. With a good mix of cutscenes and player-controlled action, this first chapter sets the tone for the rest of the game. The rest of the game continues to have a good mixture of cutscenes and player-controlled action.
For a hack and slash title, GoWIII has a great amount of variety, which is mostly added by the puzzles. The puzzles aren't inane, like some in many games. The perspective puzzles were exceptionally crafted and fitting, since they were part of a puzzle with a one-eyed statue.
God of War III adds some more items and weapons to the previous ones. Now, the items and non-chained blades are actually beneficial and add welcome variety to the combat. Theitems have a meter that depletes with usage and replenishes fairly quickly, allowing the items to remain useful. The item lock on can be hit or miss as they sometimes target enemies they should not. i have to say the Nemean Cestus looks like it was borrowed from Meng Huo of Dynasty Warriors. The ability to upgrade your weapons however you want (since they're all useful now) adds another element to the game.
Like with the previous God of Wars (or is it "Gods of War"?), hack and slash combat is supplemented by button presses at certain times. For gods' sakes people, stop calling these minigames! They're not. The Monster Arena in Dragon Warrior III and the Chocobo Racing in the Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII are minigames. Hell, even the rock-paper-scissors game in Army of Two: 40th Day is a minigame. Hitting the triangle button while fighting a cyclops is not a minigame.
The story is OK, but it could be great with a few tweaks. Following a little closer to the mythology or exploring more Greek mythology would make the story more interesting and cohesive.
One thing i dislike about the game is that you are forced to play a morally bankrupt character. Don't get me wrong; i'm not a Puritan. But, i think the game needs to give you some sort of choice about your character or what choices you have, even on a small scale. There was one part of the game where i could not even advance to the next section until i killed all of the civilians (which i had just saved, by the way). True, Kratos is a tragic hero full of flaws (which makes him what he is) but there is nothing redeeming in him. He's basically pure evil. Sure, it can be fun for awhile being the bad guy (and who's a bigger badass than Kratos, i suppose) and doing things you can't (or perhaps shouldn't) in real life, but i can't feel good about playing as a morally bankrupt character for too long. Maybe i'm just too much of a boyscout. Closely related to Kratos being a badass is the amount of gore in the game. i'm not a prude and can watch Saving Private Ryan without flinching (too much), but there are times when the gore is excessive and is well beyond tasteful. Intestines-spewing centaurs, i'm talking to you. Not every one of you needs to die in a coil of your own innards.
The controls are polished, which is essential for any third person game. The camera is usually spot on and the camera controls are good for the most part. There were a couple of frustrating moments, however, when i could not see where i was landing during a jump and thus plummeted to my death. What i find inexplicable is that there were a few places where i fell through holes in the map (one was by Aphrodite). Strange, on such a polished and tested game. These instances were few and far between, though. Luckily, the game provides ample checkpoints, so even if you get ripped off and die, you don't have far to go.
The camera is good for the most part and has good controls to it, but it is not so good in certain areas like the Labyrinth, where you can expect it to bone you at least a few times.
GoWIII has a good musical score and the voice acting is well done, with the glaring exception of Kratos. His voice just sounds forced. Luckily, Kratos is a man of few words or this would be a serious detraction.
The ending is epic. Period. Don't worry; i won't spoil it for you.
Despite a handful of shortcomings, God of War III is a fun hack and slash game that is visually pleasing. This title shines as the best of the series.
8 out of 10
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