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Hey, Boys and Girls, LMD here practically combusting with joy for the addition of our new and very special contributor, Mr. Tony YaoTony has graciously deigned to gift our site with his keen insight into the world of video gaming.  So put down your joysticks and enjoy the brilliance, kiddies.

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God of War III

 

ďMy vengeance... ends now.Ē

          And with those words, we are now into the third and final part of one of the most violent video game trilogies in history, God of War III for the Sony PlayStation 3.  Our ash-covered protagonist (and overall badass), Kratos, is at the end of his journey.  He's about to kill the gods of Olympus for all the misery they've brought onto him.  Is it an enjoyable and satisfying conclusion for the trilogy as a whole?  All I can say is yes and it's quite the bloody thrill ride.

          For those who are unfamiliar with the series, God of War revolves around a Spartan warrior named Kratos, who once performed tasks for the Greek gods.  All of these assignments were brutal and violent, perfect for his barbaric nature.  Kratos eventually grows tired of the gods and decides to rebel against them.  The third game picks up right where the ending of God of War II left off:  Kratos and the mighty Titans are climbing Mt. Olympus to end the reign of Zeus and the other gods.  If you're confused about or forgotten what happened beforehand, there is a good recap of the events of God of War I and II that plays before you start the game.

          I'm going to start off with what makes the game (and the series) so good in the first place; the gameplay.  The combat is insane.  It's free-flowing, fluid and smooth.  Here's the gist of the action: you go around slicing enemies left and right with your trusty Blades of Exile.  Enemies will be coming in full force and in numbers.  Your moveset mostly consists of light and heavy attacks and you mix them up to perform combos to build up a hit meter.  The more hits you get, the more red orbs you receive. The red orbs serve as your experience points, which you use to level up your weapons.  When near death, some enemies have mini-games that you press Circle to initiate.  Completing these mini-games result in more red orbs (and lots of blood).  You also have the ability to grapple enemies, throwing them, ripping them apart, and using them as battering rams.  Essentially, you have a wide variety of options at your disposal.  The controls are very responsive and it is a joy to see your moves pulled off.  You also get other weapons and items on your journey, so you have opportunities to mix and match on the fly.

          The God of War series is also known for its puzzles and platforming.  Every now and then, the combat takes a break and you will have to solve puzzles to progress.  They usually range from pushing blocks into specific places, activating certain levers, etc.  God of War III still has them and they're pretty simple for the most part.  I praise one puzzle near the end of the game for being original and unique.  Let's just say, you're going to have to use your brain a bit for that one.  Platforming mostly consists of jumping across gaps, climbing walls, and finding treasure chests to upgrade yourself.  The game also added some new platforming areas where you have to fly through tunnels, avoiding debris and walkways.  They added some differentiation, but it could've been done a little bit better.

          The graphics are just amazing.  Everything looks really, really good.  The details are top-notch and the levels are really well-designed.  The first level really impressed me; you're literally fighting on a Titan as soon as the game starts.  Every character and monster looks great and life-like.  Hell, even the gore is freaking realistic.  You can tell a lot of detail and planning went into the designs.  Sony Santa Monica Studios did a wonderful job in that area because it was like playing an epic movie.  It is a huge progression going from the PlayStation 2 (where the series began) to the PlayStation 3.  The game really showcases the graphical horsepower of the PlayStation 3.

          Of course, God of War III does have a few imperfections.  The story in this one isn't as great as the first two games.  It wasn't consistent.  GOWIII starts off with a bang, then it goes down for a while and only really picks up near the end.  It would have been nice to see more epic moments throughout the whole game.  Another thing that irked me was the writers trying to explain certain characters' behavior.  Without spoiling anything, let's just say you can't always go back to previous games and use their plot themes to address current ones.  It just felt weird and it says to me, ĎOh crap, we're running out of ideas!  What now?  Wait, let's incorporate past plot devices to fill in the story!í  That seriously bugs people who have been fans who actually like a good story in video games.  The gore factor is also a problem for those who are squeamish; God of War III brings gore to a whole other level.  Kratos is almost always covered in blood when fighting and you will be mutilating your enemies in very brutal fashion.  This isn't a game for the kiddies, folks.  I also thought the game could've had a couple more boss battles.  Those in the game are excellent; each requiring a certain strategy to take the bosses down, however, it would have been nice to see a few more gods get spotlighted than the ones currently in the game.

 

          God of War III has been hyped for a while now and I believe that it has lived up to that hype.  Overall, it's one the best action games ever.  It has set the bar for what an epic action video game should be.  If nothing else, itís already set the bar for most violent.  The game is a fitting send-off to one of the most troubled heroes in all of video games, Kratos.  The voice-acting is great (with some great acting by Rip Torn, Malcolm McDowell, and Kevin Sorbo), the presentation is amazing, the music score is phenomenal, and the gameplay is as good as it gets.  God of War III is truly one game that will immerse you into the insane world of Greek mythology until the very end and never has a journey into chaos has never been as entertaining and satisfying or so much fun.

 

~ Tony Yao

April 20th, 2010

 

 

 

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Courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment

 

 

 

 

 

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