God of War 3

I loved the previous two God of War titles on the Playstation 2, so it was a sure thing that I’d buy the third one for the PS3 on release day.  It’s a true sequel to the series, continuing the story of Kratos in his quest for revenge against Olympus and, more specifically, Zeus.
The graphics of this game are just awesome.  Playing a God of War title in high-definition is a real treat.  The voice acting is WAY over the top, but it actually fits the game.  In a world where you’re swinging swords attached to chains and ripping heads off of people, bathing yourself in blood, I guess you could say that everything is actually over the top.  And that brings me to the violence.
This series has always featured unadulterated violence, so I expected it.  But they really raised the bar in this title.  If you don’t want to know about certain scenes, stop reading now and skip to the next bold sentence, because I’m about to give two specifics which could spoil your surprise.  Within the first ten minutes of play, you fight, and kill, Poseidon.  While killing a god is nothing new (after all, you killed Ares and Athena earlier in the series), you finish this fight with your bare hands, while the game perspective shifts to first-person from Poseidon’s eyes!  So you get to see what it would be like to be physically beat to death.  It was a little disturbing.  The second most disturbing fight scene in the game is the fight with Helios, where you kill him by ripping his head from his shoulders with your bare hands… and then proceed to use his severed head for the remainder of the game as a lantern.  While it might be a practical use of the sun-god’s head, it just seems to be gratuitous.  There’s also a rather gruesome use of a princess you free from Poseidon’s Palace that I found disturbing.  (And it isn’t even sexual, which surprised me.)
Okay, I’m done spoiling.
Another aspect of the God of War series that’s come to be expected is the sex.  There are a lot of bared breasts bouncing around through the game, but it looked like there was only one actual sex mini-game, which I passed up.  (And I’m rather upset that I didn’t get a trophy for that!)  I’ve always thought this facet of the series caters to a gamer of a different sort.
The story is my favorite aspect of the game, by far.  I’ve always liked the writing in this series, and this final installment in the trilogy does not disappoint.  By the end, Kratos revisits many of the same people he encountered along the way in the first and second games, and he neatly wraps up all loose ends before the final act.  The end of the game was slightly disappointing, but I don’t really think it would’ve been as good to end it any other way.  Be sure to sit through the credits for a small cut-scene at the very end, too.
Once complete, the game unlocks some challenge mini-games as well as the ability to use several godly items you picked up through your play-through of story mode.  (Using the items disables gaining trophies while they’re active, so don’t think you’ll have an easy time of trophy-hunting once you’ve got them.)  I’m not sure that the story is worth playing through a second time.  I already know how it ends, after all.  The mini-games, though, might take me another few days to finish up.
If I could change the game, I’m not sure that I would.  While the violence is extreme, I also think it’s in-character.  Kratos is, after all, really, really pissed off and he has nothing to lose in his quest to avenge the death of his wife and child.  I’d love to see the game have some sort of co-op play (because I’d much rather play with friends than solo) but how would you work that into the story?  So, no, I think I’d leave the game the way it is.
All in all, I think the game was worth the price.  To any fan of the series, I’d say it’s a definite buy.  If violence really doesn’t suit your style, then by all means avoid this game.  If you’re thinking about getting this game for a younger relative, I want to make this very clear:  The game is rated M for a reason. I would not allow a child under 16 to play this game at all.  I wouldn’t want them in the room watching.  In fact, I’d probably save play sessions for when they weren’t in the house, or asleep.

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