Following on right from the end of God of War 2, we once again follow Kratos (AKA the angriest man in all of Greece) as he makes one final push towards Mount Olympus, all so he can finally get his vengeance against Zeus. It’s the epic culmination of the series… God of War 2018? What’s that, never heard of it. Joking aside, yes, the existence of God of War 2018 (or as I call it: Norse Boogaloo) kind of nullifies the finality of this. But if we’re allowed to ignore it for a minute, how does God of War 3‘s story stack up as a finale to this trilogy?
I’d say pretty damn well. It doesn’t quite have the personal stakes of the first game, but I feel like it doesn’t need to either. We’ve gone from the personal revenge mission of one man taking on the monstrous god who wronged him in the past, to taking on the remaining pantheon of Greek gods. It’s a natural escalation of Kratos’ big, bloody tale. And as a finale, God of War 3‘s story satisfies.
The gameplay of this one basically remains unchanged from what’s come before, bar a few new toys to play around with, and the continued smoothing out of any remaining minor kinks… which I’d argue it’s the bet it’s ever been. Ripping enemies in half or smacking them to bloody pulps with your blades has always been satisfying. But with the minor tweaks that God of War 3 brings, it is somehow even more so. Even platforming feels a bit better. Now I don’t know if that’s them dumbing it down for idiots like me, or if I somehow got better at games, but either way, there were fewer platforming frustrations.
There were even a few more contextual traversal methods throughout that I thought were kind of cute. And the puzzles, while not the most difficult, are pretty fun too. Basically the gameplay here is made to perfection.
This franchise has never been a slouch when it comes to presentation. The first two games pushed the PS2 to its breaking point with its visuals. But since God of War 3 was powered by the PS3, the lovely people at Santa Monica Studio could push the visuals even further. Now, it should be said that I played the PS4 remaster of the game, but even with some of those upgrades, one can easily tell that the base game was no slouch either. The amount of detail you get is insane, which also means that the kills in this are extra gory and brutal (which apparently sparked some controversy, but that’s neither here nor there). The amount of blood, guts, and other nasty things that these graphics allows the player to see is absolutely insane. And while blood and gore doesn’t necessarily make or break a game, I think the supercharging of those details in this are a vital part of showing how far Kratos has come, from violent anti-hero to borderline villain. So if you are very squeamish, then this game’s visuals aren’t for you. Unless you like really amazing vistas and ginormous, epic set pieces, then maybe you might tolerate the visuals here.
The music is also absolutely spectacular in this. That isn’t necessarily news to me, as the previous two games had great music too. But with the increased budget and such for this third installment, they were able to go all out on it, with large-sounding and epic brass, woodwind, strings, and choirs. You can tell that this is the big one just from listening to the music.
So to Gerard Marino, Cris Velasco, Ron Fish, Mike Reagan, and Jeff Rona (the composers) I say WELL DONE! Speaking of sound, the voice cast is (like in previous titles) absolutely terrific. T.C. Carson still delivers the perfect level of anger as Kratos, Corey Burton is spot on as Zeus, the ever reliant Clancy Brown makes for a really intimidating Hades, and so on. But I also want to mention some of the bigger names they got in for this.
This franchise has always been pretty good with getting big name actors in for some supporting roles, and they once again killed it here, getting in talent such as Rip Torn (may he rest in peace), Malcolm McDowell, Kevin Sorbo, and Adrienne Barbeau. Yeah, this game’s cast is great.
God of War 3 delivers on every front as a highly exciting action game and as a satisfying end to Kratos’ saga… and as a good way of testing how much brutality your stomach can take. It’s the best in terms of gameplay, music, and presentation, and I would highly recommend picking it up. And with the remaster easily available on current-gen, you should have no trouble playing it. God of War 3 is my favorite entry in the franchise.
It just does everything right for me.