First Exams
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God of War 3 Demo Impressions

Henceforth, let no school child gaze upon the splendor and majesty of antiquity and question “Where did the gods go?” The answer will forever be “Kratos killed them.” With his allegiance pledged to the Titans and his vendetta set against Olympus, Kratos is up against his most challenging foes yet. As the gods fear for their lives, all creation seems to be thrown against him in their defense. For anyone who has played the games or even seen a trailer, you will know that won’t be nearly enough. There’s no two ways about it, Kratos is one pissed off dude. It’s bad enough what happened in the first two games – tragic really, but this dude really is just looking for an excuse to kick ass and take names. Like a drunk dad at a Soccer game, he’s got his eyes set on some chump who thinks he and his kids are all that. Except in this case, that chump calls himself the King of the Gods.

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The demo starts off in Olympia where its citizens find themselves at the forefront of the betrayal of the gods. The dead of Hades walk the streets willing to ward off all who attempt to ascend Mt. Olympus. The first thing I tried to do was my standard and most basic combo: square, square, triangle. The game was quick to tell me “try this.” I’m unsure how deep the game is into the main game, but Kratos is highly advanced in his repertoire of attacks. Although (as always) you can button mash your way to certain victory, it’s more rewarding to try things out instead of placing the controller on the floor and jamming your foot against the face buttons. Making the most of his strength, Kratos can perform a variety of grab moves from using his victim as a ram to splitting them in half. Who ever is on the ESRB panel will have a “good time” marking off their check marks for this game. They’ll be especially thrilled with the sagging old breasts of the harpy women. You’ll be just as thrilled trying to ride them to new areas of the level. If you have trouble doing it the first few times, get ready to have more issues during later sections.

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In the background you see a fiery Titan battling with the god Apollo. It’s instantly obvious that the Titan needs some help, as crazy as that match up would seem. But before Kratos can get up there to help the demo treats you to the first mini-boss fight. It is a small skirmish with a Centaur which is surrounded by a small army of undead skeletons. I found the fortune of stumbling onto one cool animation in the game. I was instantly dog piled by twenty or so skeletons, but with a few shakes of the thumbstick they were blown apart Hercules style. Concentrating on the horse/human abomination, I struggled to remember Kratos’ aerial combos. They haven’t changed, but I really have forgotten them. Some may complain that QTEs in the game are so common, but I for one enjoyed them. There’s nothing wrong with them when they are done right, and it was wholly satisfying to remove the bowels of the Centaur after a slight tussle.

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You’ll get the chance to launch an arrow straight in the chariot of the sun god, but before that happens you must contend with a Chimera. For those who don’t know, it’s three beasts all mashed together. Snake, goat, and a lion. Where and why all these creatures are coming from all over the mythological world to fight Kratos I’ll never know, but it’s nice to have so much awesomeness packed into a small taste. This is the first time you’re introduced to Kratos’ new weapon the Cestus. They allow him to pretty much pound and mash his way through any fight, but I found them to be a bit more cumbersome than they’re effects were worth. They seemed to be getting the job done, the boss fight was rather quick, but I felt like I was chasing this thing around an arena against its will. Sure, he provoked me first, but after I chopped off its tale and broke its neck, I felt guilty just beating a poor firebreathing goat to a pulp.

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I’m generally pleased with their additions so far to the game, however few they may be and more or less cosmetic. Corey Balrog and David Jaffe both departed the series, proving that I guess being lead game designer for this series is just more than someone should ever commit to. The unique style changes do seem to give each game a distinctive style, and while I believe God of War 2 was better than the first, there are just some additions I can’t pin all the blame on one person on one team. The pace of the demo is set at one speed, and although it attempts to switch things up with platforming, it doesn’t really provide much of a distraction. Perhaps it’s just that Uncharted 2 provided far more depth to this than can be expected, but it was more of a hindrance than a bonus.

The third and final mini-boss in the demo is a Cyclops. After inflicting a bit of damage and a QTE segment, you’ll ride him into battle against the defenders of Apollo’s crashed chariot. The mechanic works well and is a good addition although over quickly. Once the enemies are gone, you’ll witness a morbid scene with Kratos ripping the head off of Apollo and using it for his latest item. Like the Medusa head, Apollo’s has a unique effect on enemies as well as the ability to reveal hidden paths. When you’re in the pitch dark of a cavern cliff face, Apollo provides more usefulness in death than he did in life. He blinds and lights enemies, allowing you to take advantage over their already brittle and defenseless bones.

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The final and undoubtedly coolest section of the demo features Kratos using the wings of Icarus to ascend through the core masonry of Olympia. Rubble and debris from the mountain is crashing all around you, and steering clear of falling objects is a necessity. Once the passageway opens, you witness the Titan “friend” you had just fought a Centaur and a Chimera to help has been knocking flaming rocks on your head for the past minute or so. The demo ends with Kratos understandably lunging at his stony jugular. It leaves you wanting more, badly. At the very least you’re going to go right back into it for another shot.

More teaser than demo, it’s all around awesome. The build is older than anything you can expect in March so there’s a good chance noticeable changes will be made to the final product. For those who already found the series to be shallow and uninspired, they can go home knowing that there’s probably nothing for them in this game. It’s more or less the first couple of games in a new skin, but whoever said a new skin couldn’t make a world of difference? *cough Killzone 2* For everyone who has come to love the series and already couldn’t wait, fear not. Whoever is in charge this time (I really can’t and won’t keep track, they’re just going to leave too) is doing a good job. I hope the best to them in their future efforts after this game has shipped.

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5 comments
Phaethon
Phaethon

@Rachel You raise a good point. I do wish more games would finish out their runs on the consoles they started on. God of War 2 was almost going to be a PS3 game but they decided against that decision.

Rachel
Rachel

This game just looks and sounds flat out amazing. I loved the first two, and wanna play the 3rd but its for the PS3 alone, which I don't have. I understand they need to release it on the new system for money or whatever but I wish the did it like Nintendo did it. Twilight Princess was also an anticipated game, plus it was the last Game cube game to be released, so I wish God of War III was the PS2s last game, that way I wouldn't have to work doubles to save up for the PS3.

Chris
Chris

Well said... I'm excited to play it, even more after reading this (I haven't seen the demo yet)... I need a break from shooters for a few days :)

Avillian
Avillian

This will for sure be game of the year in 2010. Ultimate Edition has been pre-ordered. Now March cant get here quick enough!

deftangel
deftangel

I played this on Friday but having not spent extended time with the first two you've better context than me upon which to comment. I thought it was fun and the QTE's are QTE's done right (take note, Heavy Rain). The graphics had a distinct "sharpness" about them. Very clean looking lines. I don't think it stands up to Jaffe's painting quip or even that it looks amazing graphically but the visual style is nice. Ultimately though, it's more of the same. Which is not a bad thing.