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God of War III

God of War III is the long awaited sequel to, well, God of War and God of War II. For those of you just tuning in, the God of War saga is the epic tale of Kratos, a former captain in the Spartan army, who had some real bad times in one of his battles against a barbarian horde. The battle ended with Kratos about to get his skull crushed in by the Barbarian Chieftain. He avoided this fate by swearing his life to Ares, the Greek God of War, in exchange for not dying that day.

Ares accepts Kratos' offer and sends him out into the world to destroy and take everything over. This culminates in Ares tricking Kratos into killing his wife and child, at which point Kratos quits, and goes off to do the other Greek Gods' bidding until such time as he has atoned, and the memories of what he has done are taken from his brain. The first game ends with Kratos (still mortal at this point) killing Ares, and being forgiven his sins.

Unfortunately, they do not take the memories from him, and he goes off to kill himself. However, the gods being the omnipotent jackasses they are, decide to stop him and make him the new God of War. The second game begins with Kratos demonstrating that he is much better at the job than Ares was, and he gets fired and killed for being such a bad ass, and the plot of God of War 2 ends with Kratos killing the Fates and going back to kill Zeus, missing and killing Athena, then going back way too far and grabbing the Titans and bringing them back to go mess up Zeus.
God of War III picks up immediately after the end of the second game (God of War II), with Kratos, the series "protagonist" (I'll come back to this later) riding on the Titan Gaia's shoulder as she climbs up Mt Olympus with her fellow Titans, as they ready themselves to make war upon the Olympian Gods. For those unfamiliar with Greek mythology, the Titans were originally in charge of the world, until Zeus and his Olympians defeated them. So they were just itching for a rematch.
The Gods begin their counterattack, and then the tutorial begins. I don't wish to ruin any of the game, but the tutorial ends with Kratos killing Poseidon. allow me to repeat that. The tutorial ends with Kratos killing Poseidon.
And with that, I think I've laid out just how epic this game sets itself up to be. After Poseidon dies, there is a cut scene wherein we see that there are repercussions for Kratos's  actions. Apparently, if you kill the God of Ocean, the unbridled rage of the sea will cause worldwide flooding. Who knew? However, being as Kratos is, in the words of another reviewer, the World's Most Devoted Atheist, this has absolutely no effect on his decision to kill Zeus, the King of Gods, and he presses on.
As for my comment on Kratos being the game's "protagonist", well, he is, as he is the character you actually play  in the game, but he's hardly a hero. Kratos essentially dooms the world more and more as the game progresses. For example, as I stated earlier, after killing Poseidon, much of the world is flooded, as the seas are now completely out of control.
Further examples are the death of Hades, the God of Dead, which releases all spirits back to Earth to cause all sorts of problems that the game never really seems to mention, and the death of Helios, the God of the Sun, which plunges the world into darkness. And, despite the horrible things it does to the earth, and its inhabitants, Kratos just presses on, killing everything and everyone that gets in the way of his quest for vengeance against Zeus.
As a quick aside, i would like to comment on what a handy flashlight Helios's head is. Pick yours up today! 
As for which Gods, Titans, and mythic heroes and creatures actually fall to Kratos's blades, the simple answer is: everyone. By the end of the game, there are about three Gods left, by my count. Two of them, Apollo and Artemis only survive because they (wisely) don't appear in the game, at least that's my theory. Aphrodite survives because she does the logical thing and, despite the murder and chaos around her, has sex with Kratos, which makes for a very good mini game, by the way.
Sony Computer Entertainment America has gone above and beyond to create another outstanding game in the God of War saga. As always, the controls seem intuitive, combat is virtually seamless, and the story never really feels forced. Naturally, with advances being made in the video game industry all the time, the controls do get tweaked slightly  from sequel to sequel. However, the tweaks in this game go almost unnoticed as the controls are so easy to learn and master, which brings me to combat.
The moves you start with stay the same throughout the game, and you can go through the entirety of it with almost no need to learn how to do a new combo. It took me almost to the last boss fight to realize that when I had previously leveled up one of my weapons, i had unlocked the ability to simply hold down a button and Kratos would go into a flurry of blades and death.
The legendary puzzles of the God of War series are back as well, and they manage to stay as challenging as ever, without crossing into the realm of annoying. While there were a few moments where I wanted to shut off the game take a breather, and maybe throw the game out the window, they were few and far between. They stayed challenging enough that, when you completed them, you got a sense of accomplishment that you were smarter than the pixels on the screen thought you were. Smug bastards though they may be, I have defeated them again.
Another note on controls: one of my biggest pet peeves in games, and a reason I believe game developers hate players, is Quicktime Events. A Quicktime Event, as many of you know, is when the game will present, generally near the center of the screen, a symbol representing one of the buttons on the controller, and you have a short amount of time to press the button. The results of these random button presses can be anything from narrowly avoiding death, engaging in epic battle to the death with one of the big bosses, cutting off Hermes's legs, decapitate Medusa, disembowel a centaur ("And i thought they smelled bad on the outside!") bang Aphrodite, bang two chicks in a hot tub, bang two chicks on a sinking ship, help Kratos do his taxes, win the big game against Cal-Tech, feed your cat, wash your car, get married and settle down, fly through space fighting aliens, and stop Peter Molyneux from over-hyping Fable 3.
The God of War series is notorious for Quicktime Events, culminating in the final boss fight at the end of God of War II, but there's a few problems with these creatures from hell. First off, the difficulty of these generally goes up near exponentially as the game progresses, so, if you could barely do the first one, you're completely boned later on when they're 80 times as fast. Second, it's essentially an interactive cut scene, so you're sitting there thinking "man, I wish I were that cool when I play the game", well, you're sitting there thinking that if you're not staring at the spot where the symbol will appear so you don't miss it.
Meanwhile all kinds of crazy stuff is happening that you can't pay attention to, and, as far as you're concerned, is only happening to distract you from watching for the symbol. Then, as soon as you finish the Quicktime Event, you notice the screen's covered in gore or something, and you can't help but feel you've just missed something important... Finally, as the symbol usually appears in the center of the screen, I have to try to visualize the controller to figure out where the button is. I never have a problem with this in standard game play, as I don't have to think about which button does, I just sort of know after a while. It's when the player is put on the spot that it gets confusing.
I know I'm not the only person who gripes about the Quicktime Events, because after watching my roommate get gutted by Zeus at the end of the second game, over and over again, over the span of an hour, I could see he was contemplating suicide, murder, or both. Needless to say, this is when I chose to leave the room.
But I digress. In God of War III, the developers still threw dozens of Quicktime Events into the game, but they placed the symbol on the side of the screen corresponding to the placement of the button on the controller. I played the game on the PS3, so for me it was Top = Triangle, Left = Square, Bottom = X, and Right = Circle. Also, they had that side of the screen light up!. This almost removed my split second confusion completely. It still remained in spirit, for as long as the Quicktime Event walks this land, I will be confused every time we meet.
I have nothing really bad to say about the story. Unlike most sequel games, God of War III feels like it was written at the time the first two games stories were written. it flows quite well and wraps up most all of the loose ends left by the first two games. Most sequel games seem like the creators of the first game were so surprised that it did well that they decided to pump out another one, and make up some hackneyed excuse why the first game wasn't really over and done with. OK, my assessment isn't entirely accurate. the first God of War ended with a nice wrap up to the effect of "and Kratos lived happily ever after, as the God of War, with nightmares about his past," with little flashes of future wars, all the way up to Desert Storm, and him smiling in the background, and the second game essentially starts with "never mind". The end of God of War III does do a fairly good job of tying all three games together, it does feel a little forced, but not so much that I didn't enjoy it. In fact, I just started my second playthrough today, and if I don't like the storyline on a game, I can't bring myself to play it again. It would feel like watching a bad movie over again because I liked one of the character's outfits. 
God of War III was an impressive game, and was exactly as I've come to expect from the series that made me believe again. Incidentally, what it made me believe again was that it IS possible to kill everyone on the planet AND the planet itself in your quest for bloody revenge against the Deity that sired you, but again, I digress. This masterpiece of genocide earned a High Rating from me. I'm on my second playthrough, and I'm still finding new hidden content and unlockable fun. The unlockables, by the way, take the form of the god's toys that function as cheats for your second and later playthroughs, and a new costume you earn by beating the game. While watching my roommate playing through on his first time, he was discovering things I missed on my first AND second plays. There's enough hidden goodies that, while the game isn't incredibly long, it will still be good for another few tries. And besides that, it'll definitely be great to bust out this game after a bad day, and release some aggression. The story's finally over, but I can't help but hope they find a way to make a fourth game. Maybe Kratos could discover the Norse or Egyptian Pantheon, and decide that they've soiled his breakfast cereal. OK, maybe not, but a girl can dream...

And there you have it, my first review for the site. I hope you all enjoyed it. If not, i'm prepared to recieve your hate-mail at LordEsdawgusReviews@live.com. Bring it, Suckas. Don't worry if you don't have any hate mail for me yet, you will soon.


Next Up: Final Fantasy XIII!!!

Reviewer's Overall Rating: 
Average: 8 (1 vote)

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