God of War III Remastered Review

By Blair Nokes on July 22, 2015

Unlike my latest review which focused on how a remastering of an older seventh generation title could really revitalize the game in new and improved ways, Sony Santa Monica almost intended to prove the opposite and simply cash in on the growing trend of "HD remasters" "“ games already in high definition, that are made in higher definition thanks to better hardware. In the midst of companies that are releasing compilations, entire series, and full blown remakes of older games on newer hardware, strictly choosing God of War 3 "“ the climax of the game's canonical story arc "“ seems rather odd. For newcomers, they're starting at the very end, and for those looking to replay the series, you can find new copies of the God of War Saga and play all five games before Ascension for twenty dollars. So taking an objective look at God of War 3 Remastered as a product is rather perplexing to see exactly who the target demographic is aimed at. It doesn't incite a very savvy purchase at forty dollars, it adds very little outside of the standard remastering: doubling the resolution and attempting to achieve a solid 60 frames per second, and once again those looking to get into the series can do so for half the price and walk away with four extra titles. Where other studios sought their HD remaster as an opportunity to deliver a director's cut of the game, whereby more content was added to the overall package or parts of the main story may be altered or amended to add what they might not have been able to due to hardware or time constraints, God of War 3 just seems like an expensive solution for a lack of backwards compatibility. As much as I dislike the intention of this rerelease, I would be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy God of War 3 back when it came out, and would undoubtedly enjoy it more if it would look and performed better. Since the game has been out for five years, the purpose of this review will be split, covering its quality as a game, and also as a product for the consumer.

The game itself is the same game from five years ago. Continuing directly after the events of God of War 2, Kratos is riding on the back of Gaia who, with the aide of the other Titans, were climbing Mount Olympus in an attempt to rid the world of the Greek Gods, led by Zeus. After taking down Poseidon in an incredibly introduction, Kratos faces off against his godly father; Zeus, angered by his son's insolence and blind wrath, sent a supercharged lightning bolt directed at Kratos. Gaia intervened, sending both backwards. Holding on with her one hand, Gaia informs Kratos that she and the rest of the Titans would take over from here and finish the task of destroying the Gods. Kratos tried to resist but plummeted into River Styx, back into the realm of Hades to escape once again. Of course, as you wash ashore, you lose half your health, all your magic, weapons and upgrades and are left to start off from scratch in a typical fashion. The central plot of God of War 3 is actually quite interesting, even if the story itself is rather muddled and messy at times. Destruction is one of the central themes the game revolves around, and Kratos is at the centre. He is so sure that so long as the world is run by the Gods and Zeus reigns supreme, humanity has no hope. In fact, Athena, previously dead from the events of God of War 2, advises Kratos to kill Zeus for this very reason. What's interesting is seeing the world devolve with every removal of every god. Killing Poseidon in the beginning causes the oceans to flood the world. Killing the Sun God Helios causes the world to be shrouded in eternal darkness, and so on "“ without giving too much of the game away. The dynamic of restoring the world by destroying its order shaped by the gods gives way too many philosophical discussions that could draw many parallels to modern civilizations; we meddle with the environment in places where nature occurring naturally and untouched may be the best course of order. It's great to see Sony Santa Monica utilize a good number of Greek Mythological characters woven into this chaotic storyline, and especially in terms of a game's design, everything structurally makes sense from start to finish; you very rarely ask how you ended up somewhere, when the journey does a good job explaining that you're at these certain points of interest for good reason and they transition well into the next location.

The story itself unfortunately isn't that great, and focuses very heavily on uncovering Pandora's Box "“ again, retreading familiar ground. Unfortunately, this newer story in the God of War series brings many confusing questions to the first game's story. In God of War, Kratos was asked by the Gods to find Pandora's Box. In God of War 3, we learn that the Gods knew that Pandora's Box was sealed away containing all the evils in the world. We also learn that Athena also sealed her power of hope within the box as well, just because. Somehow when Kratos broke the seal, he infected the Gods in the worst possible way, and he in turn gets imbued with the power of hope that helped him kill Ares and basically aide him to where he is now. So why would any of the gods willingly let Kratos anywhere near Pandora's Box if this was even a slight option? In trying to tie up many loose ends, Sony Santa Monica seemed to raise more questions. Nevertheless, if you remember the game from 2010 or are interested in trying it for the first time, God of War 3 definitely sets the bar for action set pieces, and really has you witnessing and participating in wonderful spectacles. In short, it's a great ride with an interesting premise, but the actual story falls short.

The gameplay is the tried and true formula we have all been accustomed to. In a nutshell it's square, square, triangle to beat the game. The developer knows full well that God of War was never meant to compare to more combo heavy action games like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, but rather be a title that focus on delivering a story and have the gameplay be secondary or complimentary to that. With God of War 3, they at least manage to offer many different weapons you obtain throughout the course of the game that all have different gameplay styles to keep combat fresh.

God of War 3 was and still is one of PS3's showstopper titles. It's a game that many used to show just how pretty PS3 exclusives can look, and it was quite easy to do since one of the prettiest sections is the very tutorial against Poseidon. The PS4 remaster is a great visual bump up from what was on the PS4, basically offering double the resolution from 720p to 1080p, and just about double the framerate from 30 to 60 with minor hiccups. Textures all received more detail though you may find the odd muddled texture here and there. Still levels look fantastic, and as a game it still manages to rival some PS4 titles.

Final Thoughts

In the end, I still find it tough to recommend God of War 3 Remastered. Those who've played it and know what they're getting into absolutely feel free to try it out; you're not getting a different experience but at least you can check out the remastered comparisons. Those new to the series should probably stay away unless the want to spoil themselves by starting the series at the very end. I feel that everyone should probably wait until a significant price drop happens, though. $40 is just too high for one title, especially one that ultimately does little outside the bare minimum of enhancing the resolution and framerate. Similar games like Devil May Cry 4 not only offer a considerable amount of additional content, but do so at a more sensible price point. When you also consider that Sony is releasing the Uncharted Trilogy for $75 dollars, forty for a single remaster just doesn't make sense when Sony's also charging $25 for three games. And finally, if they were putting the time and effort to rereleasing one of their champion first party franchises, releasing the games as a collection would have been far more enticing for consumers "“ especially when such a compilation already exists.

Fantastic upgraded visuals.
Wonderful dynamic of order versus chaos.
The opening level still remains one of the greatest introductions and tutorials to a video game.
Price is way too high.
Story leaves more questions than answers.
Missed opportunity to release (or rerelease) the God of War saga for fans and consumers.
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