Wednesday, April 14, 2010
GOD OF WAR 3: RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
I know it's old news by now, but God damn! How good is God of War 3? I just kicked Zeus' ass from here to Mount Olympus, and he didn't even see it coming. In a lot of ways, as always, the story's an extremely bloody and pretty straightforward third-person hack through Ancient Greece. But the thing that separates God of War from rivals like Dante's Inferno, Bayonetta and Devil May Cry is its bombastic sense of epicness, its engaging personality and its sheer scale: from memorably towering villains, landscapes and cinematics, to Kratos' unparalleled brutality and the idea that you're building a legend. The guy's a God killer...
When I look at my dangerously leaning tower of games, titles like John Woo's Stranglehold, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Gears of War, Brütal Legend and GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony bring back the fondest memories. Memories of a few intense nights spent addicted to clocking them. And now God of War 3 joins the ranks. It's kind of sad really, that it's all over. Boo-hoo!
The story picks up where God of War 2 left off, with Kratos riding Earth Titan Gaia up Mount Olympus, hell-bent on killing dear old dad Zeus. When he gets there, after a quick battle with Poseidon (and a crazy part horse, part spider, part water creature), Zeus blasts Gaia with a lightning bolt and sends Kratos tumbling down to the Underworld. To make things worse Kratos is stripped of his powers and weapons by the lost souls swimming around the River Styx. Using Pandora's Box - and committing multiple deicide along the way - the rest of the game turns into an epic revenge quest to get back at Zeus and fulfill Kratos' lustful Oedipal complex.
The puzzles are just about simple enough to make you feel really smart when you finally crack them, especially working your way through the Labyrinth. But the boss battles are what God of War 3 is all about. Looking back, one villain stands out decapitated head and sliced up shoulders above the rest: Hades (above). What a character. Most memorable God of War 3 boss battle by far. Other memorable battles include the three headed Cerebus Breeder (spent about three, hand-cramping hours on that bastard), the bludgeoning of Kratos' brother Hercules (it's quite an incestuous place, Ancient Greece), and the scenicly gargantuan takedown of Cronos.
Overall, the game's surprisingly long. I tore through it but it seemed to go on forever - which is great. According to the experts, the file size is a staggering 35GB, which makes God of War 3 one of the biggest console games ever made. And according to game director Stig Asmussen, it was meant to be even longer. "It was too big and it wasn't as tight as it could possibly be. We had to cut some things out, just to make sure that we got the quality across the board," Asmussen told gaming website Destructoid.com. He went on to describe a cut boss named Argus with "a hundred eyes," who you were meant to kill using the decapitated head-come-torch of sun God Helios. Expansion pack anyone?
Judging by the figures, I'm not the only one freaking out. At the end of week one, God of War 3 had sold more than a million copies worldwide (400,000 more than its predecessor). And in total, the God of War series has now sold a titanic 11.5 million units. That's crazy! Critical reception-wise, God of War 3 currently has a 93% aggregate (based on 95 critic reviews) on review megasite metacritic.com (and a fan rating of 83% - based on 1092 votes). Long may the legend of Kratos continue...
On a side note, don't you think it's a bit weird that Microsoft's biggest exclusive title is called Gears of War and Sony's is God of War. Spooky...