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.