First Impressions: God Of War III
March 22, 2010
a·gape1 /uh-geyp, uh-gap/
Throughout the opening hour of God Of War III, it’s hard not to sit there with your mouth agape, drool dripping onto the controller clutched between your clammy hands. It positively oozes spectacle; everything here has been lavished with overblown detail. In typical exaggerated pomp, God Of War III’s tutorial is executed as a colossal, multi-stage boss fight on the back of the enormous Titan, Gaia; it is her ascent of Mount Olympus that comprises the opening act of the game, and the exact point where its predecessor God Of War II left off.
Not that fans of the previous instalments in the series will need to pay much heed to the tutorial, however. The name of the game here is evolution, not revolution. A few hours in, and God Of War III delivers no major new innovations, no gameplay twists to freshen up a formula which is now five years old. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Those who want dazzling originality in their sequels are surely in the minority; the very point of continuing a commercially and critically successful series is to deliver more of the same, just better.
It’s clear that even this early into the game that developer Sony Santa Monica has full mastery over its craft. God Of War III oozes pomp and swagger, much like the game’s ‘hero’, Kratos, and belies 3D artists at the very top of their game. Animation and particle effects in particular are real visual treats; Kratos moves with such grace for such a brutal killer, his swords swathed in orange luminence that light up environments around him. Mythical beasts, particularly the Centaurs and Gorgons, move like the animals they are based on, galloping or slinking around the Ghost of Sparta with exaggerated, but believable, menace. And the encounter with the Lord of the Underworld is so epic, so early in the game, that it beggars belief how they are going to top it throughout the rest of the playthrough.
More of the same then. But when the results are this astonishing, who cares?