(http://www.godofwar.com) Rated Mature by ESRB. The God of War series is known to all gamers as a brutal, sadistic, and most of all, very fun experience that features vast battlegrounds, and chaotic action. God of War 3 is the third entry of the God of War series and the first debut on Playstation 3. Santa Monica studios’ masterpiece is a must-play of the next-gen systems.  If you aren’t familiar with the God of War series, Sony has also published the God of War collection for PS3 which contains both God of War 1 and 2. Although it isn’t necessary to play the first two, since God of War 3 provides a small cut-scene refresher at the beginning.

(http://www.godofwar.com) Rated Mature by ESRB. The God of War series is known to all gamers as a brutal, sadistic, and most of all, very fun experience that features vast battlegrounds, and chaotic action. God of War 3 is the third entry of the God of War series and the first debut on Playstation 3. Santa Monica studios’ masterpiece is a must-play of the next-gen systems.  If you aren’t familiar with the God of War series, Sony has also published the God of War collection for PS3 which contains both God of War 1 and 2. Although it isn’t necessary to play the first two, since God of War 3 provides a small cut-scene refresher at the beginning.

**WARNING** The following video may contain content inappropriate for children**

Presentation:
You play as Kratos, a Spartan warrior seeking revenge on the gods of Olympus. The game starts off exactly at the same point God if War 2 ended. In the previous title, Kratos has already defeated Athena, the Sisters of Fate, and has joined together with the Titans in order to bring the downfall of Olympus.  Classic greek mythology surrounds the story and is presented through remarkable set-pieces and environments. One scene has you doing battle while on the back of a living earth-like creature, Gaia, while climbing the side of a Mount Olympus. The game occasionally zooms out to give the player a sense of scale of what Kratos is doing. It isn’t uncommon for Kratos to fight with a creature one hundred times his size. The plot is engaging, but the real show pieces of the game are the battle sequences and the graphics. One cannot help but drawn into the world of God of War because the music and sound make the game feel like watching a big budget blockbuster movie.

       

Graphics:
The graphics are top-notch and players will find themselves wishing they had someone around to show the game to. The graphics have taken a noticeable step up from the previous installment, and they’ve increased the amount of detail and facial expressions to give a more realistic presence to the game. Kratos is highly detailed and becomes more grizzled and blood stained as he battles. The monsters and enemies he fights in the game can also be appreciated in detail during camera angle close-ups. It is obvious Santa Monica Studios put a lot of work into the environments, textures, and character designs. The visual representations of Greek mythology are better than what I imagined during my own high-school studies of mythology. The camera angle cannot be controlled by the player, unlike other similar games, but I found this to be a positive, since I was able to spend more time worrying about the action than mess with a finicky camera. The game is an action game at heart and God of War 3 truly delivers.

Sounds:
Each rip-roaring crunch of your enemy’s bones, and slice from the Blades of Exile make the user feel the pain that rushes through each enemy as they do battle with Kratos. The music adds to the intensity of the battles and you will feel your blood pumping while cutting your way through each successive boss and field challenge.

       

Gameplay:
Followers of the trilogy will feel right at home with the simple combo system that doesn’t overcomplicate things. The larger monsters are finished off with a rewarding quick time event sequence as Kratos dishes out extremely brutal final blows. Boss fights are fought in a similar manner, with a conclusion to each fight that makes you feel accomplished as you witness Kratos literally tears limbs and organs off of the towering monstrosity.

Kratos’ standard weapons are the Blades of Exile, which are large blades connected by a chain to Kratos’ arms. Kratos throws out and controls the blades with deadly precision and accuracy. Kratos has fast attacks, strong attacks, air-attacks, and magic to use in his combo strings. It is deviously fun to strike an enemy upward into the air and Kratos will automatically jump and follow up with aerial combo attacks. For all these intense actions, the controls feel very tight and responsive. The left analog stick controls Kratos’ movement and the right stick is used for the occasional dodging. Cleverly, the game allows you to switch weapons in the middle of your fighting, and even in the middle of your attack combos. Attack combos are an addicting element to the game play since chaining your attacks into a long sequence rewards you with more red orbs. It’s not uncommon for the player to try to see how large they can build up their combo meter with Krato’s vicious attacks.

Kratos will find several new weapons, and discover the spell associated with each of them along his journey. These weapons and spells can be strengthened and upgraded using red orbs found while playing. Unlike the previous God of War games, your magic abilities are now tied to which specific weapon you have equipped at the moment. For example, you can only use the Army of Sparta magic when you have the Blades of Exile equipped.

If the player is not so skilled in action games or pressing buttons under pressure, not to worry since there are plenty of check points and even mid-fight checkpoints. Some boss battles can be epic in length and I was very glad that I did not have to start very far from where I died.

       

Innovation:
The puzzles and platforming sections do make their return, including some new types added into the mix to give a bit more variety. Another interesting found is the flying sequences in game. While they aren’t so difficult that you’ll break your brain playing it, they make for good interludes that come before the next battle.

Longevity:
The game will take between 7 to 10 hours long depending on how familiar the player to the genre. As you play the game the first time through, you discover items that grant new abilities that can only be used on the second play through. There are also mini-games that become unlocked after beating the game once. These mini-games, new items/abilities, and new difficulty levels add much to the longevity of the game.

Conclusion:
While God of War 3 is not genre-innovating due to the similarities to the other God of War games; it still sets the standard for how action games should be. When analyzing and comparing the components of the game to other games, God of War 3 may not be the “best” at a certain aspect; for example, Bayonetta has a much deeper combat system. However, as a singular cohesive experience, God of War 3 earns top marks in story, gameplay, presentation, and overall FUN. This is a must buy for any PlayStation 3 owner. So go buy this game, invite your friends over and let them “ooh and ahh” – over the game’s inviting cinematic quality – as you play.

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