Written by Micah Messer
Greetings friends! With the recent announcement of the new PS3 exclusive, God of War: Ascension, being developed by Sony Santa Monica Studios, I made the decision to play through God of War 3 again. In my opinion, the game is a total mixed bag, but despite its flaws, I enjoy it quite a bit. With a new installment in the God of War series on the way, I thought I might give my thoughts on what I feel they got right, and what they can improve on.
What they did wrong:
When God of War 3 was first announced, I was a total God of War noob. I hadn’t played any of the previous games and I had no idea what the story was really about. Immediately, the Greek mythology setting hooked me in. The thought of God of War 3 opening with Kratos and the titans storming Mt. Olympus sounded awesome to me. However, after playing through the majority of the God of War games, I realized that the story was an afterthought. It was little more than an excuse to go from mythological figure to figure, slaughtering them brutally. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome, bloody and epic, but it Isn’t what I was looking for. Not to mention, Kratos is an absolutely abysmal character. There’s never a single moment where he isn’t absurdly angry. I understand that he is THE God of War and he wants revenge, but playing as a character who screams all of his lines gets old pretty fast. The God of War: Ascension footage that has been shown hints that the story will take place before Kratos became the God of War, before he became the Ghost of Sparta, and (hopefully) before he became the hollow, one-dimensional character that he is now.
Lighten up, Kratos.
There’s no denying it, God of War 3 is a beautiful game. There are some sections of the game that look absolutely mind-blowing. But that’s the problem, it’s only SOME of the game. In other parts of the game, textures are muddy, animations are stiff, and edges are rigid. Compare it to a game series like Uncharted that looks amazing all around, and it’s a bit disappointing. I’d like to see Sony Santa Monica take a more balanced approach next time. Make sure everything looks good before you go all out in specific sections.
There are few things in gaming that are as boring and as frustrating as poorly designed puzzles. I loved Portal 1 and 2, I was a big fan of the recently released Escape plan for Playstation Vita (look for a review soon), so after experiencing these games that do puzzles so well, coming back to God of War 3’s bland puzzles just left a bad taste in my mouth. They never really emerged past “move this block over here and then pull this lever.” Admittedly, the previously mentioned games are specifically designed for puzzle solving, whereas God of War is a brutal action game, but maybe that’s a sign that they shouldn’t be included at all. I found that they just detracted from the experience. All I wanted to do was get back to fighting things.
What they got right:
God of War 3 is worth a playthrough for the boss fights alone. They’re brutal, epic and truly satisfying. Some of the bosses’ sense of scale will blow you away. Sony Santa Monica, keep doing what you’re doing.
Combat (sort of)
Combat is really in a grey area. I love God of War 3’s combat. They’ve polished the crap out of it over the past games, and it’s in a great place right now. However, as much as I love this refined combat system that involves challenging maneuvers and timing, it’s largely been the same since the first God of War, with the exception of a few tiny adjustments here and there. Ultimately, God of War 3’s combat is the best it’s ever been in the series, but I feel like there’s still room for innovation. So I’m going to put this under what they got right, even though I want them to improve upon it. There’s a chance that God of War: Ascension might take place before Kratos gets his godly powers, so we could potentially see a drastic change in combat. This is doubtful, however, as Sony Santa Monica seems to have really latched onto the current combat system.
With all the single player games coming out with multiplayer that feels like it was shoehorned in, I commend Sony Santa Monica for not going in this direction with the God of War franchise. Wait…. wait a minute…. OH GOD DAMNIT. http://blog.us.playstation.com/2012/04/30/god-of-war-ascension-multiplayer-announcement-live-from-santa-monica-studio/