Friday, March 19, 2010

GOD OF WAR 3 - A BADASS VIDEO GAME REVIEW PART 1

GOD OF WAR 3 - A BADASS VIDEO GAME REVIEW PART 1



It has been a few years since I shook with rage, belting profanities at the television while trying to complete the Challenge of the Titans in GOD OF WAR 2. It has been so long, actually, that I now think of the emotional trauma with pleasant thoughts. That all happened back in the days of the PS2. At the time, I knew that the PLAYSTATION 3 would be the platform for GOD OF WAR 3, and I have patiently waited for both.

GOD OF WAR 3 is now here, and I am currently making my way through it. Kratos, the tormented, mysterious bastard son of Zeus, is on a serious mission. He is out to kill all of the gods of Olympus, and from what I have seen so far, he just might do it. Kratos still sports the battle wound in his sucked up stomach from GOW2. The ghost of Sparta is a buffed-out, snarling man whose method of dispatching his opponents has gotten even more violent in this incarnation. His all-out street brawling and bare-handed decapitation and disembowelment of his opponents are now amped to a constant roid-rage assault. Kratos doesn’t smile and has no time for small talk. The gods need to run and hide because this man who has mastered time itself is out to kick some serious god-ass. I am nowhere near done with this thing, but what I have accomplished so far is worth writing about.

I am barely in the first leg of the story, but while I work my way through the game, I will post plot highlights. But before that happens, some really cool aspects of the game should be explained, the very first one being the overall look of the game, which is on some grand-scale, epic-sauce. The world that Kratos inhabits is huge, intricate, and beautifully sculpted. At times, the horizon appears to go as far as the eye can see, and it is covered with all of the details of an ancient land. The GOD OF WAR series has always pushed the hardware to its graphic limits, and the beauty presented in GOD OF WAR 3 is definitely up to speed with the PS3. The biggest steps that GOW3 makes in its adjustment to the PS3 are the easily presented jumps from cinematic cut scenes to actual gameplay. This brings a new, powerfully theatrical element to the game. And it should be noted that controlling Kratos is just as fluid as it ever was. One can mash through this incarnation or time attacks and finish enemies with finesse. It is pretty to watch, exciting to participate in, and the blood, intestines, and gore are nothing shy of absolute, chaotic beauty.

Between GOW3 and TEKKEN 6, my left hand has started to cramp up a little bit in the center of the palm. If this continues, I will have to pull a Roy Baty (BLADE RUNNER) and jam a nail through my hand. “Not…yet!” (More on BLADE RUNNER in a bit.)

GOW3 starts in the thick of battle, right after GOW2. Kratos has beaten the Fate Sisters into submission and has brought the titans forward to storm Mount Olympus. Zeus and his buddies are looking over the edge and see the chaos coming. Kratos is riding on the titan Gaia’s arm, looking to straighten Zeus out once and for all. He did get his hands on Zeus the last time around and put an unholy beating to the god. Kratos was about to finish the job when Athena stepped in and took the death blow. With the death of Athena, Kratos lost his only decent connection with the Olympians. His complete focus on toppling the gods that have toyed with him his entire life has consumed him. All Kratos wanted was a break from his nightmarish past. He’d formally requested a memory wipe. So the gods gave him a few tasks, implying that they would grant his request. But in the end, Kratos was tricked and saddled with even more hellish memories. His comprehension of the gods is correct: they are power-hungry liars with no real concern for human suffering. In GOW3 Kratos is presented as one seriously pissed off, undead Spartan cleaning house.

The gods, while looking like silly, second-rate Whitman Comics superheroes, are actually rather formidable. Titans are getting tossed off of Mount Olympus rather easily. A human-sized Poseidon dives straight into one titan’s chest and pulls him down into the ocean. Poseidon is no joke. If you know your mythology, he is the brother of both Hades and Zeus. His father is Cronos. He is the dude that runs the ocean. But, like his slutty brother Zeus, Poseidon has a history of running buck-wild with human women. One of the products of such conquests is Theseus. Kratos handed Theseus his ass in GOW2, so it makes sense that Poseidon is first up to bat.

What Poseidon unleashes upon Gaia and Kratos is really rather cool. The game is barely ten minutes in, and suddenly, stuff gets biblical. The attack of the Leviathan is an interesting one. Leviathan is a horse-headed, crab-legged sea-serpent. It digs into Gaia with its crab legs, and Kratos has to go head-to-head with it. This is reminiscent of the Hydra that Kratos has to tame with spikes to the head in GOW1. This reference to GOW1 is all that there is though. Gameplay against the Leviathan is heavy duty. Kratos is required to rip its ribcage open and attack its heart. It is an action-packed showdown with water, crab legs, and noise in all directions. The platform is Gaia, and there is even an upside down sequence in it all.

After the Leviathan is dropped, the war with Poseidon is on. Kratos’ beatdown of Poseidon may be one of the most violent cut/action scenes ever committed to a mainstream video game. There is a headbutt, multiple fists and boots to the face, and a general slamming of Poseidon’s head into all rock formations in the area. The smoothest thing about it all is that the beating is shown from Poseidon’s POV. The end of Poseidon is an “I want more life f*cker” eyeball poke straight outta BLADE RUNNER, followed by a snapped neck. Poseidon’s tossed body lands in the water and generates a Tsunami. Epic? Absolutely.

Kratos can’t quite get his hands on Zeus though. As Gaia reaches the top of Olympus, Zeus topples her and sends her falling down the mountain with a horribly severed forearm. She is no longer working with Kratos and in fact, tells him that he was just a pawn. The games of the gods and the titans are afoot. And with that, Kratos falls into Hades again. However, it is apparent that this time around, he is finally going to get his hands on the god of the underworld and hopefully administer a Poseidon-status beating to this guy.

In all of this, Athena has appeared in her post-goddess form, still eager to assist Kratos, even though he killed her. Like I said, the games of the gods and the titans are afoot. I will post another update on the storyline as I get further along. What I can say at this point is that GOW3 is delivering as much and more of a punch than its predecessors. This is the must-have game for the PS3, period.


-Mediasaurus Rex

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