God of War III Final Hands-On PreviewBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Mar 01, 2010
I was so close, guys. I could have played God of War III from start to finish, but it would have required turning to physical violence...and I'm hoping to keep my job a little longer. See, a full version of God of War III was inside the PlayStation 3 in front of me at a God of War III event on Thursday, but a nearby member of the God of War III team pulled the controller out of my hands after finishing the first boss encounter in Kratos' possibly final adventure.
Before the machine was powered on however, I'd spent a palm-sweating 20 minutes with the opening to God of War III. There are few words that summarize God of War III besides an unfortunate but fitting cliche: epic. The scope of the third installment is terribly ambitious. The game opens with massive Titans crawling up Mt. Olympus, intent on taking down the gods.
What's so impressive about God of War III, however, is not that everything's done in real-time, it's that so much is happening all at once in real-time. Every few seconds, there are moments that could have easily been implemented by the team without much pain and suffering using pre-rendered video; instead, it's all happening in-engine. You'll be running forward on the backs of these gigantic creatures, fighting off enemies, leaping from platform-to-platform, while other Titans are scaling the same mountain to the left and right of you. Often times, these Titans will reach over and interact with you. It's a supremely impressive technical feat.
Really, though, it's better to let a video do the talking for me.
It also served as a powerful reminder to games profoundly influenced by God of War, such as the recent Dante's Inferno (a game I reviewed and quite liked, actually): we were here first.
The game itself plays like you'd expect: God of War. It's hard to argue that's a bad thing. God of War III looks and plays like the God of War series, but taken to the Nth degree by a development team acutely aware of its strengths. Sometimes the amount of action happening in the background can prove distracting from the action, but that's pretty much complaining about the game being too good looking. I'll deal.
I have to put my foot down, though. Why do I have to hold a shoulder button to open every chest in God of War? I can take down gods, but I need to muster strength for a chest?!
Okay, okay, I'm nitpicking.
Soon, I won't have to complain about not being able to check out the rest of God of War III. In just a few weeks, we'll finally see how Kratos' story plays out. It can't come soon enough.