God of War III was easily one of the best looking games to ever grace the PlayStation 3. It was one of the console’s best games period. When Sony announced its plan to remaster the game for PlayStation 4 without any of the other games in the series, a few were left scratching their heads. Though we still don’t know any details on what the future holds for God of War, we do know that God of War III makes a smooth transition to the current generation without losing much to age.
Though God of War II is likely at the top of most fans’ lists, there is little doubt that the third entry was the pinnacle of gameplay. This still holds true more than five years after its original release. The fast paced, combo heavy gameplay still satisfies and has aged surprisingly well. Though it can be difficult to readjust to the lack of camera control, the series has always done a great job of having a cooperative camera, sometimes more so than games with camera control. While spamming buttons is always an option, applying the right combo for the situation, or the correct weapon, makes things much easier, if only in the sense that you’ll stand a better chance.
Story and Modes:
Kratos, anti-hero and god slayer extraordinaire, launches a full assault on Mount Olympus, riding the backs of Titans like horses into battle. Of course, the Titans betray him at their first opportunity, making his quest to kill the Gods a tad more complicated as he now has to kill the Gods and Titans. The narrative isn’t as strong as the stand-out second entry in the series, but is still an excellent tale. Unlike its follow-up, Ascension, God of War III remains a solo only affair, and that’s probably for the best.
Visuals and Sound:
The big change here is the smooth 60 FPS that makes things a little bit cleaner and a little more exciting. Being the kind of game it is, the jump isn’t as noticeable, especially if you haven’t played the game in a while or at all, but it is appreciated. Textures have received a nice once over, making that game that little bit better looking, but many would be hard pressed to notice the differences when they’re too busy killing countless bad guys. God of War III already looks phenomenal so I imagine the task of making it look better was especially difficult. Lighting is much improved, but that may be the only thing you notice unless you are actively checking every little detail in the environment. The soundtrack is still aggressive as hell and does a nice job of fitting the tone of the game and building on the impressive visual scale.
Being a remaster, there really is nothing original about it. If you played God of War III on PS3, you’ve played this, albeit at a lower frame rate and slightly reduced technical prowess. The game still stands on its own in terms of how it manages to be great at pretty much everything it tries to do and, frankly, few games have matched its quality even to this day.
The Big Question:
Why remaster God of War III and only God of War III? That second part might be easy, Ascension was clearly an attempt to not waste the engine the GOW III team spent years making and all the money that went into it. As the lowest rated game in the series (by a wide margin), it’s not unlikely that Sony wants to put that mistake behind them. The issue now is we have a five year old game and no idea who the target audience is. PS3 players have had plenty of time to play it and new PS4 owners have more recent remasters like The Last of Us which received ever greater acclaim. Obviously the intent is to generate some buzz for something new in the God of War universe, but announcing a new game and then the remaster might have been a better way to go about it.
Again, this is a five year old game. It’s is an excellent five year old game, but five years old nonetheless. At $40, it’s a bit of a tough sell being single player and with its improvements so negligible to most players. If you never played the first time around, shame on you, but at least now you can play a “prefect” version of the game. If you, like me, are returning to the game after a long time away, there is still some fun to be had, but the price is a tad steep. Anyone else, well, maybe someday during a PSN sale you’ll have the urge to play for $5 because you absolutely don’t want to hook up your PS3 again, only to regret your purchase five minutes later because you really don’t want to play a five year old game again when you have a current gen backlog 10 games deep. I feel for you.