Sunday, February 14, 2010

GOD OF WAR III: First Look

By Doug Norris
The long-awaited fourth installment of the immensely popular and highly acclaimed GOD OF WAR franchise hits stores next month, but fans can get a sneak peek by purchasing either the GOD OF WAR COLLECTION for PlayStation 3 or DISTRICT 9 on Blu-ray. Albeit brief, the demo is packed with enough hack-’n’-slash bloodshed to leave both casual and die-hard fans salivating for the game’s impending release.

The demo joins everyone’s favorite morally maladjusted, revenge-driven mythological warlord Kratos in his latest journey to spill as much blood and organs across ancient Greece as possible. As far as what’s revealed in the demo, not a lot has changed gamewise since the PS2 days; you still have the same combat skills with your Blades of Chaos, laying waste to hordes of enemy peons by executing combos, utilizing the minigames or just simply button-mashing your way to blood-spattered bliss.

What has changed since the Ghost of Sparta’s previous-gen days are the graphics and the gore, making this installment a must-purchase come March. After laying waste to dozens of enemy pawns early in the demo, Kratos encounters one of the newly designed creatures, an armored centaur that can be defeated through the familiar minigame button sequence. The GOD OF WAR tradition is to provide bloodlust-quenching death scenes, and the next-gen installment doesn’t fail to deliver. Causing and watching the centaur’s disembowelment in HD quality should remind owners why they bought a PS3 in the first place, if not send them to regularly meetings with a therapist. Later, the demo treats us to the decapitation of the latest god in Kratos’ path, Helios. Watching Kratos rip and then dangle Helios’ lifeless, hollow-eyed head from his wartorn body puts the PS3’s capabilities to good work, bestowing enough graphic realism to make players think they’re looking at crime-scene photos from LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL MYTHOLOGICAL UNIT.

If the demo holds true to the final product, the excessive release-date postponements will have been worth the wait for GOD OF WAR III. It’s everything you would expect from a next-gen release in an already successful franchise: a prettier, louder and faster continuation of a journey with an old friend, even if that old friend is a bloodthirsty war machine who wants nothing more than to watch Greece burn beneath him.


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