God of War III Hands-On Preview From E3 2009


Posted June 3, 2009 - By Paul Semel

God of War III

Knowing that your time is short, let’s cut to the chase: God of War III — which is the first game in the series for the PS3 — plays like the first two, and it looks like them as well, just a lot better.

Thank you and good night.

What, you want more? You think I don’t have anything better to do than to tell what happened when I got to play the game at E3 a couple hours ago?

Fine. But only for you.

The first thing we realized when, sitting in Sony’s booth, we picked up the controller and started playing the demo, was how the controls not only work the same as they did in the first two Gods, but how they work just as well. We were instantly whirling dervishes of blood and blade, cutting down guys left and right. The game also has all the climbing and puzzles of its forbearers, the same orbs to replenish your health or upgrade your weapons, and the seamless transitions from the action to cool cutscenes and back again.

This is not to say that God of War III doesn’t offer anything new. For starters, Kratos has new weapons; they’re kind of like metal gloves, only they’re shaped like lion heads. And man, do they pack a wallop. You can even do this special attack where you swing them on chains like you do your usual blades, but they’re actually more fun to use when you’re getting up close and personal.

god of war 3

Kratos also, at one point in our demo, got something that…well, we don’t want to spoil what it is, or how he got it, but let’s just say it’s like a magical flashlight that can reveal hidden doors, some of which lead you where you want to go, and others lead you to secret areas.

There is, however, one new mechanic that we had trouble with, though it could just be us. There are these winged naked lady things called harpies in the game, and sometimes you grab them and let them carry you across chasms. Except that while grabbing one is easy enough, and jumping from one to another is easy as well, if you try to steer them, Kratos doesn’t ask nicely, he stabs them (“Hi, my name is Kratos, and I’m a rageaholic…”). And if he stabs them enough, they die, and you get dropped, whether you’re where you want to be, or even anywhere you can drop safely. Which wouldn’t be a problem if the harpies naturally went where you wanted them too, but they don’t, they have minds of their own. Needless to say, we died a lot trying to master this.

God of War 3

We were also a little disappointed, though only slightly, by the graphics. Though III is very good-looking, much more detailed than the previous ones, it didn’t blow us away. There are a bunch of games that do look better (we’re looking at you, with awe, Assassin’s Creed II). Which might be a bummer if you’re a graphics queen, but since it doesn’t distract from the gameplay even slightly, we really don’t care, and are only mentioning it because, quite frankly, Kratos owes us money.

Plus, as one of the developers pointed out, the demo that we saw — the very polished and very fun demo — is only 70% of what the final game will be. Which, when you consider that this was one of the better games we played at E3 this year, says a lot.

God of War III Hands-On Preview From E3 2009


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