God of War 3 - PS3 - Preview 2
Between the creative level design, humungous boss battles, and badass main character, the God of War series has delivered nothing but chills, spills, and excitement on all fronts. Each of the preceding games has defined their platform, providing some of the best action-adventure experiences ever seen. As I walked into the press room for God of War III, I had visions of decapitations and chainblades dancing in my head and was eager to see what new challenges await in Kratos' next and possibly last adventure. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed.
The first thing that you will notice about God of War III is that it looks and feels a whole lot like God of War II. No that isn't an insult, as the second game was one of the sharpest titles of the previous generation. Building on all that they established before, GoWIII will feel instantly familiar to fans while also being surprisingly easy for newcomers to jump into. You still have an assortment of brutalizing weapons, long distance attacks, and combos in your arsenal, but the developers have also implemented a few new tricks into this iteration. While they didn't talk too much about the new weaponry, we did get to see the Cestes, which are metal boxing gloves that can be used to beat any opposing force into a bloody pulp. Other new moves include a battering ram-like charge that knocks down soldiers as well as the combat grapple, which allows you to pull Kratos closer to enemies or save him from falling in a never ending pit.
The demo level opened in the outskirts of Olympia as a gigantic Goliath rampaged a building in the distance. As Kratos slashed through the first few enemies that wandered his way, the Goliath noticed the ghost of Sparta and began to destroy the environment around him. Hordes of new enemies waited around every turn, including the Centaur—which can command an infinite wave of smaller fiends to attack you—and the Chimera—described by the game's producer as a “half-goat, half-lion, half-snake.” The Chimera in particular was an excellent fight, as each of the three represented animals had their own head on the beast's body. When you deal enough damage, you kill one of the heads and the creature turns his body to a different head with a whole new flurry of attacks. We were also told about the new random enemy generation system, which is programmed to assign different looks, accessories, and body pieces to each hapless idiot that tries to take you down. This should prevent any on-screen enemies from looking the same, which is a clever solution to one of gaming's long-standing issues.
Other new elements shown during the demo include the ability to ride a Cyclops and use him to bash through armored foes. Proving how nice a guy Kratos is, he rips out the poor monster's only remaining eye after his usefulness has ended. We were told that the Cyclops wouldn't be the only ride-able brute, though no firm number could be confirmed. We were also shown a sequence that is temporarily being called the “Icarus Flight.” These replace the Pegasus scenes from God of War II and allow Kratos to travel great distances without any game-halting load times. The Spartan extends the Icarus wings acquired during his previous adventure and can soar through underground tunnels thanks to winds emanating from the Earth's core. During the scene that they showed us, Kratos had to dodge obstacles, walls, and the Goliath himself as he sped towards the next location. The developer mentioned that these would appear pretty frequently during the game, and seemed like a lot of fun to play.
The demo contained a number of breathtaking moments that whipped all watching into a frenzy. A god named Helios was flying around dropping fireballs in your way as the Goliath rampaged through the background. Kratos used a spear cannon to pin Helios to the Goliath's hand, which in turn caused the monster to fling the Helios into a wall. Kratos then ran up to him and ripped his head off, which also happened to become a useful tool for the vengeful Spartan. The demo ends with Kratos using the Icarus wings to finally make it up to the head of the Goliath. He raises his blades as the beast notices his presence, but the screen cut to black before we got to see what happened. Shame on you, Sony...shame on you.
To sum it all up: if you own a PS3, God of War III is the game to anticipate. While very similar to previous titles, the action is intense, the variety is astounding, and the graphics—which include new elements like blood splatters on Kratos after an intense battle—are very impressive. The producer mentioned that he would love this to be the end of the series, as he thinks that the story is wrapped up nicely. He also said that Sony has the final say in that, so it is pretty unlikely that this will be Kratos final fight.
God of War III ships in March 2010, exclusively on the PlayStation 3. A demo was confirmed to be on the way pre-release, though no timetable could be locked down for it.