Also available on PlayStation 3
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 01/07/2021 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
God of War III is the peak of the series so far. Obviously playing the PS4 remaster makes the game prettier and smoother than its original PS3 iteration. Even with that, though, this game is pretty. More than that, though, it’s smooth as silk. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s on PS4 or just the progression of the series’s mechanics, but everything about this game just felt better and more polished than any entry before it.
God of War III takes place right after God of War II. Kratos’s war with the Olympian gods is in full swing with the Titans fighting alongside him as an ally. Then, out of nowhere, it turns out that the Titans were just using him to get their shot at a rematch with the Olympians. What, Greek gods were using Kratos as a pawn for their own purposes? Who could have EVER seen that coming? So Kratos basically says, “Screw it, every god dies.” And he then proceeds to kill almost every god in the Greek pantheon. I gotta say, though, the story feels way more central to the experience this time. Part of that is definitely the better character animations although some of the faces definitely fall into the uncanny valley, but there seemed to be more emphasis on intercharacter dialogue and exposition than in previous games, and that’s something I absolutely appreciated.
The game’s visuals are fantastic. Like the HD remasters of the original games, you can tell from some of the character models that the base game wasn’t designed for PS4, but the remaster work done here is impressive especially with lighting effects, frame rate, and overall clarity. Frame rate is SUPER important to me, and that’s the main reason I played on PS4 rather than PS3, but I have to admit that I was impressed by just how much improvement there was to the game’s visuals considering that this remaster was done relatively early in the PS4’s life. It’s definitely not going to be mistaken for a remake, but it’s a nice polish, for sure. The sound design is also the best of the series so far. The soundtrack, while a little out of place feeling at times with the specific music choices, was really good, and the audio balance between background music, sound effects, and dialogue was finally adjustable.
The level design took it to the next level, too, but what especially stuck out to me about that was the puzzle design. There were a couple of puzzles that frustrated me as I’m exceptionally oblivious with puzzles, but a few of those puzzles were ridiculously fun to work out and solve, far more so than any puzzle in any of the previous games. This game came the closest to giving me (admittedly only very slight) Zelda vibes with its puzzle designs. The side weapon selection was my only major source of disappointment; three of your four weapon choices control extremely similarly, so it ends up feeling like you’ve only got two real choices. That’s a relatively minor gripe, though, all things considered.
God of War III definitely took the series to a new peak, and while I played on PS4, even on PS3, this is a game well worth playing. I was a little more reserved in my praise for the previous games, and while Ghost of Sparta certainly impressed me, God of War III was an outright treat to play. It’s certainly not a masterpiece, and there was room for improvement in many aspects of the game, but it’s a rock-solid game nonetheless and a key piece of any PS3 collection.