God of War III Hands-On Preview
God of War III box art
System: PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: SONY Santa Monica 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SONY 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Mar. 16, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Mythology’s Darkest Moments
by Maria Montoro

June 8, 2009 - Although Kratos is not part of Greek mythology, he’s an important part of our own version of it. God of War returns in an impressive new format, complete with HD visuals and amazing surround sound that will wow players right from the start.

God of War III screenshot

At this year’s E3, we had the opportunity to check out God of War III not once, but twice. First, we attended a breakout session where they gave us all the info there’s to know about the upcoming chapter in the trilogy. Then, I got to experience it on my own next to one of the developers of the game, at the Sony booth.

This demo puts you about a quarter into the game, in the outskirts of the city of Olympia. The whole city is under attack, and there’s no way out. Luckily, Kratos is back with his double blades, the Blades of Athena, ready to fight anything and anyone on his way, always seeking for revenge against the gods who betrayed him.

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He starts by fighting a few foot soldiers, and right then we realized they’re not all the same, like in previous God of War installments and many other games. The developers explained their new engine randomly mixes body parts, therefore generating different kinds of enemies, and not just a bunch of clones. This is, without a doubt, a step in the right direction, and if you also consider the vast improvement in textures, the higher amount of details (like mice running around, blood sticking to Kratos during fights, etc.), and of course, the high-def visuals, it looks like we’re in for a real treat this time around. In addition, the camera system and the wall mechanics have been completely revamped, promising a frustration-free experience.

God of War III screenshot

In the demo, the challenge gradually increases as we fight other creatures such as the Centaur (commander of troops), the Chimera (half goat / half lion / half snake), and a Cyclops later on. You can ride this later one almost like a tank in order to get through obstacles, bridge gaps, and attack other foes, and he won’t be the only creature you can ride in the game.

As far as standard weapons, the Blades are the way to go most of the time, but the demo also includes another weapon, the Cestus. This is basically a pair of heavy-duty gloves that smashes enemies with ease, especially if they’re weak. These heavy gauntlets slow you down a little bit, so they’re not always the right choice, but they do come in handy against tough enemies.

Like before, you can also shoot arrows, and in one occasion we used it to draw a harpy’s attention. There was a big gap, so we couldn’t reach it otherwise. Once the harpy came to us, we clung from it and pretty much ripped it apart, but before it was dead, we jumped and grabbed the next harpy, and so on. By dispatching about six of them while in the air, we were able to reach the other side of the gap. This was a neat way to overcome the obstacle, and probably just an “appetizer” that shows what we’ll be able to do in God of War III.

God of War III screenshot

There was also a huge titan in the demo, but he wasn’t too disturbing yet. While he threw fireballs at Kratos, we simply reached the ballista and knocked him away. When we finally reached Helios, the god of the sun and light, he was already half-dead from all the fighting and chaos. As brutal and visceral as this series always is, finishing him up was as simple as ripping his head off, which we were then able to use as a flashlight as well as some sort of radar that detects hidden secrets; gold flakes and vibrations point you in the right direction.

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