God Of War III – “You Are Dead”

Picture this.  I would be siting on the sofa manhandling my gaming controller with such vengeance and ferocity; Cynthia would be siting on the floor reading newspapers or doing her own thing.  Often when she looked at our plasma television, she would see the words in font size one million that said: You are dead.  Cynthia would look at me in puzzlement, on every occasion, and asked, “What kind of god are you?  You are dead again.”  Soon, query became mockery.  Too bad.  Cynthia was not at home when I smashed Zeus’s face until my plasma television was literally painted in blood.  What a vindication it would have been.

I was Kratos – a Spartan, a protagonist, and a demigod.  It just happens that I suck at action and platform type of game.  But with such a highly acclaiming rating, as a proud owner of a Sony PS3, I have got to give “God of War 3” a try.

The Story

Some say “God of War 3” has a story.  I am not so sure about that.  “Final Fantasy” has a story; “Heavy Rain” has a story; as for “God of War 3”, the story is merely taking down one god or titan after another till you face Zeus.  I have not played the previous installments and am a bit lost as the story develops.  I suppose this game would mean a lot more to those who know who is who and what is what.  Cut scenes are short and minimal (which could appeal to the mass public?) except the last set of cut scenes, which manage to tell a rather moving story.  But I was not attached to the characters.  I wanted to cry but I couldn’t.

Maybe “God of War 3” does have a good storyline, as an action game.  It does prompt me to research into Greek Mythology.  It is a typical story of a demigod against the titans and the gods of Olympus.  It is a journey from the Mount Olympus to Hell and back to Mount Olympus.  It can be epic, seeing from that angle.

The Sex

Sex sells.  And the sex episode in “God of War 3” could easily be the most artistically done, exceeding the “Mass Effect” or “Dragon Age” franchises.  Aphrodite – the goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality – is beautifully rendered.  The action requires ‘participation’ using the game controller, which if your timing and accuracy is off, you could screw up the scene.  The Smith God – Hephaestus – who has fallen from the grace of Olympus, who is the husband of Aphrodite and creator of Pandora’s Box and Pandora herself, as the story goes, unable to be with Aphrodite.  That is why the goddess has to pleasure herself with two chamber maids.  And that is why you – Kratos – come into the picture.

The best part is, you can do it as many times as you like.

The Action

Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of action.  Fighting against the humongous titans is insanely epic.  That involves quick thinking and good timing of special moves as prompted on screen.  Fighting against the bosses and special enemies is insanely frustrating.  This got me thinking.  Game designers could either repeat the similar encounters many times throughout the game (like “Final Fantasy” or “Dragon Age”) or create unique and difficult encounters that require some gamers to keep trying.  The third kind of action tests gamers’ reaction time and precision in executing platform type of maneuver.  Such as flying through a tunnel full of obstacles that have to be avoided.  The tolerance of error can be so low that it can be equally frustrating.

Fortunately, there are plenty of save points.  And there are plenty of auto-saves.  The game play is about 15 to 20 hours.  I have seen “You Are Dead” for close to 300 times at God level (average difficulty).  Yes, I am an idiot.

The Puzzle and Treasure

Most of the puzzles are straightforward.  Some can be pretty hard.  All the jumping and puzzle solving reminds me of “Tomb Raider”.  There are items to be collected within the game to upgrade Kratos’s ability.  Some require venturing a little bit out of the main path or line of sight.  Some require a special technique to retrieve their locations.  Some are rewarded as and when puzzles are solved.

Wait a Minute, This Game Reminds Me Of …

This game reminds me of “Tomb Raider”, “Portal”, and “Guitar Hero”.  “God Of War 3″ only has one main quest.  The weapon and item acquisition path is fixed by the storyline.  There is only one way to solve any given puzzle, with the same set of rewards.  Not that I am complaining.  Does it mean that “God of War 3” is linear?  (On the record, I am OK with linear games, whatever linear means.)

Most Memorable Moment?

Graphically, the game is pretty stunning (running at 720p) and the battle scenes are bloody and epic in scale.  The cut scene and the environment is still not as beautiful as “Final Fantasy” but I reckon it is better than many games out there.  The most memorable moment of the game, for me, is when Kratos teams up with Pandora.  I felt less ‘solo’ and more with a ‘purpose’.  Too bad, that moment is relatively short.  The entire game seems relatively short (between 15 to 20 hours).  Perhaps that is the norm for this genre?