I remember getting the demo for the first God of War off some kid in my grade 10 math class. I had never heard of it (granted I grew up a Nintendo kid so while everyone was moving onto the Xbox and PS2, I was quite content with a Gamecube) but he was going on about it like it was biggest deal. So I gave it a try and I was floored by it. It was gritty, it had an amazing fantasy element, the combat was smooth, fast-paced and brutal, it was unlike anything I had ever played…and then for some reason I never played it. I sort of skipped over it during my PS2 era even though I was aware of them, and I only really officially beat the first one a few years ago.
That being said, there’s no denying the series set the standard for the genre and many games went on to mimic its style.
I was really excited for God of War 3 back in 2010, unfortunately that was during the time my game expenditures were being financed by yours truly, and I could never justify the PS3’s ludicrous price tag so I skipped it for the more affordable 360 and Wii. It was a real shame, because I never got a chance to play it.
Well thank the Ninja gods for remasterings then! In one of the few instances where remastering a game that came out only a few years ago doesn’t annoy me, God of War 3: Remastered is an amazing experience, one that has the benefit of taking a great looking game and polishing it for HD (not unlike Wind Waker HD), running at a cool 60fps for even more fluid looking cutscenes and combat. It’s the same basic game, but since I never got a chance to talk about it when it came out, I’m going to review this like it’s new. Because it is! For me.
Directly following the ending of God of War 2, the story finds our angry, broody protagonist storming Mount Olympus on the backs of the titans. They are all super pissed at Zeus, and revenge is afoot. Unfortunately Zeus proves to be too powerful and ends up killing Kratos, sending him back down to Hades so he can climb back out again. The game becomes an all-god takedown as Kratos journeys to remove the flame of Mount Olympus and end the rein of Zeus and any god who gets in his way. Kratos still acts like the world’s biggest dick, so it’s hard to be sympathetic to his cause, but the sheer scope of a man singlehandedly killing every god in Greek mythology really is so cool, that it doesn’t really matter.
God of War hasn’t changed much over the years, and that’s ok. A good sequel builds upon the foundation of its predecessors, but it doesn’t always have to fix what isn’t broken. The combat is smooth as always giving you an incredible amount of range in your attacks, and a good sense of weight. There’s a real satisfaction to those crushing blows. And even though you’re given a great amount of control on the battlefield, it doesn’t make fights easier as enemies vary and bigger enemies can close the distance quickly and deal a fair bit of damage. It requires you to be aware of the fight, while being a super powered badass.
In between the combat there is a bit of puzzle solving and platforming. The puzzles aren’t exactly Professor Layton, but they do a good job of delivering puzzles that require more wits than brawn, while also nicely merging combat into some puzzles.
The platform sections are more or less the same (climb up wall, climb across ceiling, slide along ridge, climb across rope…) These sections aren’t particularly arduous and offer a small break from combat, I can see how they were trying to capture that slight feeling of tension and vulnerability that one misstep could send you careening to your death. But you’re such a super powered badass that even when ghouls are trying to knock you off, you just give them mighty lashings with your powerful chains.
Making some of those big jumps can be a little annoying too. Typically, I try to jump as close to the edge as possible, but I think doing that puts you’re off the edge before you can jump and you lose a double jump and fall to your death. I dunno, the jumping just feels a little janky. But it’s not exactly game breaking so that’s really just a nit-pick.
God of War 3: Remastered looks in-friggen-credible. Like I said before, God of War 3 already had the benefit of being built for a powerful system, and in doing so ended up looking amazing. Honestly, I remember seeing the first trailer and I couldn’t believe how good it looked in motion (granted that was pre-Aliens: Colonial Marines, so I wasn’t cynical and jaded towards trailers). Giving an already amazing looking game the 1080p treatment and an adult framerate continues to show the limitless potential games have to simulate new realities.
The God of War games have consistently had great music. Big booming scores to match the epic scale of the whole production. More somber, bitter music to compliment the macabre tone, and excellent battle and boss fight themes to better capture the feeling of utter destruction.
I’m really happy I finally got the chance to play this game without having to buy a PS3 (seriously Sony, no backwards compatibility? Why is Nintendo the only one whose gotten this right?), although I don’t totally understand why the original didn’t just come out for PS Now. But at a 40 dollar price tag I’m not really complaining. If you’re like me and haven’t played it but for some reason got a PS4, I’d say it’s worth it.