God of War picks up right were the last one left off; there is no time to breathe as you ride upon the shoulders of Gaia and her titian army while marching towards the base of Olympus. Zeus and his brothers are in disarray, not fully understanding the depth of the danger they are in, or the magnitude of the monster Zeus had created. “The hands of Death could not defeat him, the sisters of Fate could not hold him, he will have his revenge!”
And he meant every word.
The story of Kratos is one you might call a cautionary tale of pride and ego gone wrong, a Greek tragedy if you will (pun intended) of a mighty Spartan that fell victim to his own ambitions, leading him to make a deal of servitude with Ares, the God of War. As we follow Kratos from God of War through God of War: Accession, we see in full understanding the depth of the price he had to pay for his power, acquired by means of betrayal and lies. What we are privy to as an audience to this downfall is the defining moment where Kratos is tricked into murdering his wife and daughter, an event that will haunt Kratos throughout his time in Greece. It is also a moment that would plant and feed the seeds of vengeance against the gods that he once respected, and set him on the bloody and treacherous path to forgiveness.
Right from the get go we see that the game play has vastly improved from the previous installments of the God of War series. There is a fluidity in movements and an ease of controls that wasn’t there before. One fix that I’ve noticed and kept in high praises was the cool-off time between the QTE prompts that would appear when the mini-bosses and main bosses were at the grappling points. The peak of this improvement can be seen with God of War: Accession.
Much to the player’s relief there was a lack of severely difficult and unnecessary puzzles and traps. This is a far cry from the first installment where you were running from flaming balls of death, fighting heavily armored zombies, robot minatours, and legions upon legions of bat-dog flying things, encountering hard to find sex scenes, and of course the bane of my existence- walking through condemned beams and running in f***ing circles…
My god. So. Many. Circles.
However, as I played through the series between PS1, PSP, PS3, and so on, I noticed that the gameplay was reaching further and further away from the platform gameplay and more towards a narrative-based action. There was only a taste of it during God of War 3- a taste that came to fruition through the fluid and smooth movements showcased in God of War Accession. From the looks of it, it’s a trend that will continue and improve in this year’s next installment
Audio and Visuals
I need not say more. As everyone knows, with each upgrade in a console system: the greater the graphics card, the greater the quality of the video game. For the time it was released the graphics of G.o.W 3 was amazing, the colors were vibrant and clear, and that horse-toothed, fish-eyed stare that plagued many PlayStation games was not as present in GoW 3 as it had been for previous installments.
That being said, with the remastered edition, all I can say is ‘Impressive.’ Impressive that the quality of the graphics remained the same, and in some ways, improved. From the gleam of the marble floors of the temples and the wet stones of the underworld, to the heat filled flares of Tartarus, even the graphics for the organs and gore that spilled on the floor and onto Kratos had either aged gracefully or had indeed been enhanced. Needless to say it is not without some flaws; the odd lip-sync when the gods were pleading for their lives, the out-of-place movements of the souls of the damned, and- a small pet peeve- the over-saturation of the dirt and pores of almost every main character… Almost.
Pros and Cons
With this installment, I can say with a clear mind that the pros had and still do outweigh the cons with this game and the series as a whole. The increased quality of the graphics, sound, and gameplay intertwined with the continuation of the story (and even a smooth and ambiguous segway into the next chapter of God of War- canonically speaking) was done masterfully and has withstood the test of time and gamer patience.
One con I came across in this game was the forced Rock Band tie-in within the temple of the flame of Olympus. To this day it is the bane of my existence and why I rarely, if EVER, play drums or guitar. Any other cons present were either too small to mention, not that distracting, or were improved upon in the prequel GoW Ascension. Even the second time around, what made me fall in love with this series and with the game as a standalone was recaptured once again.
With that being said, it should come as no surprise that I give this game a solid 5/5 rating. It is warranted and earned by a game series solidified for the traits mentioned in this article. Tune in next time where we take a trip to the tall evergreens of Nordic Mythology to catch up with Kratos and Atreus in the next Chapter simply called God Of War. Though I cannot delve into the game just yet, explaining the mythos, stores, and creatures shown to us so far will be an adventure in itself.
Until then keep gaming and raging.