God of War III - game review
"Zeus, your son is back!" - with these words Kratos said goodbye to us the second part of God of War . It was three years ago. Three years, during which frustration overwhelmed me with every memory of this vile cliffhanger. But this is the end, the story of the fallen god of war is finally crowned. And this time there will be no more "continuation". Only chaos will remain.
Action God of War III begins exactly where the second part ended. So if someone did not play, then it would be good to catch up, or at least the authors of the game seem to say so. So Kratos leads the Titans who are trying to cross Mount Olympus and kill Zeus himself. As you can easily guess, the assault will not be a complete success, which will be the starting point for the proper history of this game.
It is difficult to count on fictional surprises here. Kratos wants to kill all the remaining gods - it is their tracking and elimination that we will mainly deal with. This is a much simpler assumption than in the previous parts of the series, where we could not be sure where we are basically (story) going. Fortunately, the basic skeleton is twisted with a whole bunch of mythological references and motifs.
In its very essence, God of War remained unchanged. The combat system is practically identical to the previous parts of the series: so we have two buttons responsible for blows (square and triangle), grip / finish (circle), dodges on the right knob and various spells and skills hidden under the other controller buttons. A new element is the separation of these skills from spells - now they have been assigned a new, self-regenerating energy bar. This means that using the bow or the dazzling power of Helios' head (somewhat a substitute for the jellyfish's head) will no longer deplete valuable magic points. Another curiosity is taking Kratos from invulnerability during the animation of some finishes - we find this out hard during fights with larger groups of enemies.
The biggest drawback of this series has always been for me poorly balanced types of weapons - it was great to pick up the hammer of the barbarian king, but its practical use was already in the background, giving way to the default Ares / Chaos / Atena Blades (their name has changed over the course of the series, now it is still other). In GoW III, for the first time, we have at our disposal several really useful extermination tools. The authors got on the way, because three of the four weapon sets are simply variations on the theme of Kratos chains. Some are electric and very fast (with the possibility of extending each blow by holding the button - something a la Bayonetta), others specialize in slow, short and powerful combinations, and the third are somewhere between speed and strength. The fourth type of weapon are great Nemean Gloves, which after maximum improvement can soften even the biggest tough guy with a few hits. Interestingly, spells are permanently integrated here with individual types of weapons - the currently selected weapon determines the effect of pressing the R2 button.
A great improvement is to allow players to change weapons efficiently during combat - this is not done within one combos (as in Devil May Cry ), but it is still much more practical than before. It matters because some types of opponents are simply more comfortable fighting with a given technique. Olympus Challenges available after finishing the game are particularly convincing - a few short levels on which we have to perform unusual tasks (e.g. to be turned into stone 10 times and not die at the same time), cleverly using the game's mechanics. Cool, although there were more Mjolnirs in Bayonetta and they were more ingenious. Here, all the bonus content can be completed in two hours (a matter of coming up with a good idea).
The authors of the game announced some time ago that in God of War III there will be less boss fights than in the previous part. It saddened me a lot then, but in the end it turns out that it's not bad - maybe there are a few less bosses, but you don't feel it. Generally, few fights here that would be boring and repetitive, so almost every battle is treated and remembered separately. A lot of "ordinary" opponents set the bar quite high - Chimeras, Minotaurs, Centaurs and other mythological beasts dance with us for a long time before they let themselves bow the guts. Well, and the bosses themselves are not enough that they appear regularly (interestingly, in the first half of the game much more often than in the second), each of them is completely different and those "classic" ones can even feel hungry. Here we will come across a compilation of quick time events, here a god will give up almost without a fight, here he will focus on summoning subordinates, and here his defeat will be more a puzzle than an element of dexterity. And the whole world is suffering somewhere in the background, enduring floods, diseases and cataclysms that turn out to be the result of Kratos's bloody harvest.
We come to the greatest advantage of God of War III, i.e. designing levels. The pace of the game is simply lethal and built in a way unusual for slashers. The environment is changing all the time - locations that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to create appear before our eyes for a few minutes, and then they disappear forever. The enormity of work, time and money just pours out of GoW III, because these 10 hours of gameplay are not deceived in any way (maybe a little at the end) and theoretically you could stretch this content three times as much. Sometimes it is sad to leave a beautiful location: we want to fight a little more in it - but right before our eyes something even more beautiful and interesting is before us. And so almost all the time, just a masterpiece in the design of the pace of the game. Even puzzles, although still present, have been better integrated into the course of action than before. We do not have clearly distinctive "thinking" breaks here: everything mixes and permeates, not for a moment knocking us out of the trance.
God of War III is a very, very brutal game. In a satisfying way! Finishing scenes are obviously bent, but not glaring - they are perceived as quite matching the character of Kratos and mythological realities. When we tear out the eye of a cyclopian, we can clearly see the line bursting behind it. Picking up the head, crushing the skull, scratching the eyes, massaging the head straight from the Irreversible with Monica Belucci - get ready for a shocking trip to the world of blood and tripe, at which the "terrible" Dante's Inferno looks like Brutal Legend . A certain complement to the image of GoW as an adult game is the obligatory sex scene for the series. Nice done, with nicely modeled breasts and sharp dialogue.
Dialogues are a strong point of the game in general, because the script - though simple - is written efficiently and rarely gives riders the opportunity to grin. For us Poles, the reception of all this is also impacted by the Polish language version. The native branch of Sony took on an almost impossible task - when it was announced that Kratos would speak to ours, hardly anyone believed in success (I did not). And here it turns out that Bogusław Linda did basically everything he could. Let's make an appointment - any language version of God of War is Kratos in 95%. The Polish Spirit of Sparta has a good sound, the tone is filled with bitterness, and the lyrics - as for the national version of the game - are not very vivid. So I encourage you to go through this production with Polish dubbing, the original can always be checked when re-passing the game "on the horde". To which, by the way, I also encourage you, being alone.
This position looks great and although technologically it is at a lower level than Uncharted 2 , the impression leaves, in my opinion, better. There is more diversity and an inserted heart, more dynamism and imagination. Scenes such as the initial assault on Olympus, climbing the giant body of Kronos or finally the amazing ending will definitely remain in the minds of players forever. But seriously - the last shots are a total surprise with the form, artistic top of the series and a glorious reference to some elements of Maks Payne . You must see this. And the sound? The sound of this series is very clear: epic, powerful and overwhelming. And these assumptions have never been as close as in the third part.
God of War III is a great success. It is hard to break away from this production: it is dynamic, varied and satisfying. Brutal, dark, in Polish. Perhaps in retrospect it turns out that the second part of the series was the best, but if we ask ourselves "what is worth playing in March 2010", the answer is simple. The story of Kratos simply needs to be brought to an end.
Krzysztof "Lordareon" Gonciarz