In a year of sequels and follow-ups, few PS3 titles have been as anticipated as this third instalment in Sony’s God of War saga. A master class in design and bombastic spectacle, God of War III once more pits Kratos - PlayStation’s angriest man - against the gods of ancient Greece, this time around in a blood-drenched quest to claim the head of Zeus, king of all Olympus.
The frantic, combo-popping gameplay is back in force, placing Kratos amid a sea of undead minions and beasts of myth, while stringing attacks together in a symphony of classical destruction. To help him on his bloody way, Kratos lays hands on an almighty arsenal of weaponry, from his stalwart blades on chains setup to the all-new Cestus: a pair of steel gauntlets moulded in the shape of lion heads and prized for pummelling Zeus and his minions alike. Like the God of War Collection before it, GoW III benefits greatly from the high-definition treatment, the Grecian carnage unfolding against a vibrant, crisp palette of burning cities and lavishly-drawn scenery. But as beautiful as it undoubtedly is to behold, it’s the gameplay that sets God of War apart from its peers. While titles such as Dante’s Inferno and Darksiders take a decent stab at replicating the formula, GoW III shows the master at work – intuitive combinations flowing together with practised ease, while the deadly dance of endless combat never turning into a grind.
With towering bosses that dwarf those in similar games, levels that live, breathe and move, plus a flurry of combos, upgrades and magical attacks to unlock, there’s plenty here to revisit once the story has reached its end, as well as a series of challenges and additional costumes providing yet more graft for completists to sink their teeth into. All-in-all the best god-slaying saga to date. Richard Dawkins would be proud.
Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson