God of War III Remastered Review
Sony PlayStation 4
If there’s one word that encapsulates God of War III Remastered, it’s epic. The third outing in the series begins where the last one left off, with Kratos launching all out war on Olympus. It is a bombastic action adventure game that caps off the series’ story magnificently with incredible vocal performances and extravagant fights to be enjoyed. If by some miracle you missed out on the game when it originally launched on PlayStation 3, this remastered edition provides the grand solution to your problem.
Throwing the player into the heat of the battle, God of War III Remastered wastes no time getting to the action. Assuming the role of the Spartan warrior Kratos, your quest is to climb to the summit of Mount Olympus and seek your final revenge on Zeus, the King of the Gods. Along the way, you will happen across several other key mythical figures. These include the likes of Hera, the goddess of marriage; Hermes, the messenger of the gods; and Poseidon, the god of the seas. These are brought to life by an excellent cast that provide the right amount of gravitas to their roles. Standout performances include the likes of Terrence C. Carson as the stubborn warmonger Kratos, Corey Burton as Zeus, and Erin Torpey as Athena. Each of these actors brings a level of nuance to proceedings, injecting pathos into their flawed and often unlikeable characters.
The gameplay is a mix of gruesome combat and head-scratching puzzle segments. Combat in the game is divided between action-orientated hack n’ slash moments and intuitive quick time events that land devastating and often fatal blows to those that dare stand in your way. The controls are slick and responsive during the entirety of the game, meaning that building up combos and delivering a finishing strike needn’t be a pain for the player. Puzzles in the game are also satisfying to solve. They require thought and inspection, but are not too challenging to be considered rage-inducing. One exemplary puzzle is a scenario late in the game that requires players to rearrange a set of platforms to form a pathway using a perspective trick. This section flawlessly illustrates the development team’s immense creativity and their prowess in regards to level design.
If you are at all squeamish it can’t be stated enough that this is not the game for you. God of War III Remastered is a bloody affair, which involves decapitation, mutilation, and other twisted and torturous events. This is part of the game’s appeal, with battles often receiving unflinchingly brutal resolutions, but it is understandably not for everyone and will leave some players cold.
Music in the game is also an important aspect worth mentioning. The composers have developed a fitting score that helps elevate the game. Brooding tracks and the more sombre sounding elements of the score perform the function of an emotional map for the player, guiding them through the story and establishing the tone. Another appealing aspect of the game is its visual style. This achieves a quality befitting its dramatic premise. Light and shadow is utilized to great effect, emphasizing the desolation of the world and the few glimpses of hope that are still left in it. Mythical heroes and villains are brought to life marvellously. Each character is brimming with personality and has an appearance that is completely in sync with their behaviour. For example, the character Hermes is a much less physically imposing figure than the other gods matching his playful nature, and Hephaestus has a visibly weakened frame that has been reduced by his past torment.
This attention to detail can also be seen extended to the environments. The underworld is arguably one of the most remarkable locations to appear in the game. It contains such areas as the River Styx, an appropriately gloomy setting filled with the dead, and the Pit of Tartarus, a barren wasteland of scorched earth. These two areas are equally foreboding and are complementary to the core experience of the game. They help to immerse the player in the world due to their combination of perilous paths and wondrous climates. The sheer scale of these areas is also deserving of praise. Areas appear to stretch off far into the distance, giving them a sense of astonishing realism and overwhelming depth.
This time around the visuals in the game are noticeably crisper and there a few minute tweaks to lighting and shadow in order to better emphasize the original art and animation. Gameplay is also markedly smoother, as it is no longer locked at 30FPS. The game performs at a steady 60FPS with few drops. This makes cutscenes and in-game footage flow much better than in the original release and gives it that current-gen sheen.
Character models and locations remain untouched elsewhere in the game, with the focus being on upscaling the resolution rather than changing any particular assets. Those responsible for this remastered edition have assumed a role that is similar to those who restore a piece of art, with the intention being to bring out the finer details of the original piece for a new generation to enjoy. No doubt, they have been successful in doing this.
There is also a new photo mode included in the new release, which allows players to frame the action on-screen before snapping a shot to share with friends. There is some fun to be had with this mode. Revisiting a boss to grab that perfect picture is a tempting proposition, given the new layer of polish. However, the inclusion of this mode feels more like an afterthought than a fully formed and executed feature. All of the above suggests the game might not appeal to those who happen to already own a copy of the original game on PS3.
There are very few changes to God of War III Remastered except for the alterations to the resolution and the frame rate. That being said, the game is still a significant benchmark in gaming and can definitely stand toe to toe with other more modern releases. This makes it a must-own title for PlayStation fans.