The 'God of War' series, for me has been a truly exciting journey through makeshift mythology. While it doesn't exactly stay true to it's Greek origin stories it does give us history buffs plenty to enjoy as we help the protagonist, 'Kratos' exact his revenge, and tear the foundations of Olympus asunder. The combo based gameplay, and brutally unforgiving boss battles help to set the proper mood for this story of vengeance, and and the Spartan soldier who was done wrong. In the beginning (aka, "God of War") we learn of Kratos being tricked into killing his beloved wife, and daughter by the Gods themselves. This act of betrayal sets into motion the ultimate fall of Ares, the original "God of War". After Ares is slain in the first game Kratos assumes his place, and identity amongst the Gods of Olympus. Not satisfied with Are's fall though Kratos takes his war mongering through the Olympian hierarchy, and sets his sight on Zeus who was the mastermind behind his betrayal. He ends up nearly defeating Zeus only to kill Athena instead. Of course Zeus retreats, and Kratos pursues him up Mount Olympus with the aid of Gaia, and the Titans who have been trying to get at Zeus themselves. Thus enters the third portion of the ongoing 'God of War' saga ...
In "God of War III" we pick up where we left of in the previous game. Kratos is hitching a ride on the back of Gaia in hopes that he can reach the top of Olympus, and kill the God of Gods. Not counting on Gaia betraying him as well Kratos once again falls into realm of Hades, and has to make his way out in order to return to Olympus. Along the way he encounters a few helpful souls who seemingly want to assist him in his God ending mission. Athena's soul returns to guide him as does Hephaestus (the Olympian blacksmith), and the youthful spirit of Pandora. Kratos finds through hints, and tips that Pandora's box once again houses the means to end a God's life, namely that of Zeus. This in itself is the driving force behind most of Kratos' in-game actions as he ascends upward to Mount Olympus.
As he ascends from the depths of Hade's realm Kratos is once again met with mind bending platforming puzzles, oppressive waves of enemies, and even Gods and Goddesses who would dare to stand in his way. In order to pass most of said trials you (the gamer) will have to button mash through contextual sequences that now include the face buttons as well as motion inputs. In the way of enemies you'll find mythological beasts of varying sorts that have taken on a new visual design that is reminiscent of the more recent console generation offerings. Each enemy also must be dealt with in their own unique ways making the mixed battles all the more challenging. Of course you will find the occasional new enemy type every now, and then, but for the most part you will recognize the beasts, undead, and Gods/Goddesses who cross your path.
In order to deal with those who would dare stand in your way Kratos is once again armed with the necessary, and upgradeable tools of demise. After falling back into the depths of Hade's realm Athena gifts Kratos a pair of new chain blades that she claims will help him to achieve his goal. These new chain blades are known as the, "Blades of Exile". The name is definitely fitting considering Kratos' new predicament. As he makes his way upward, and defeats the Gods that aim to end his efforts Kratos will earn new weapons of destruction, and tools/items that will help him get past the more difficult to traverse areas. Amongst the new weapons you'll find Hade's hooks which act slightly like Kratos' chain blades. The only difference being that when used/equipped Kratos can summon various unlockable souls onto the battlefield to assist him. After facing Hercules later on into your journey you'll also pick up the Nemian Gauntlets which can break through barriers, destroy certain objects, and dispatch enemies with little effort. In the way of items you'll find that Helios' (The Sun God) head acts as a beacon of light which can be used to blind enemies, shine the light into dark areas, or even uncover secrets. Hermes, who boasts about his speed ends up losing his boots to Kratos enabling the God of war to run up, and along walls as well as dash into enemies. There are other items, and weapons to be found as well, but some of them can only be used in a "New Game+". Be sure to thoroughly check the areas in which the boss Gods have been defeated for those secret items.
When it comes to upgrading your weaponry, and gained items you will find that the red orbs which fly forth from downed enemies, and that pour forth from certain chests will afford you the upgrade currency that you need to upgrade with. Most of the main weapons you obtain can be upgraded five times before being maxed out. Other items can only be upgraded a few times. Choosing which weapons, and items to fully upgrade will be up to you, but choosing wisely is still imperative. You'll find that red orbs aren't all that plentiful in your journey, and that by the final boss fight you still may not have everything in your inventory maxed out. This is perfectly alright as not everything is needed at a maxed level. I'd suggest trying to max out the main weapons before everything else as well as Apollo's bow for those ranged encounters that require a distance from your enemy/s.
In "God of War III" as in the previous two games you'll find that chests come in a select variety. One chest type, which I mentioned in the paragraph before this one affords you the essential upgrade currency in the form of red orbs. The other three chests, however tie-in with Kratos' three governing meters. At the top of the screen you will notice three bars of different colors. The green bar represents Kratos' life, the blue bar his magic, and the yellow bar his item energy. In accordance with the these three governing bars you'll also find chests that are color-coded in a like manner. Opening up a green chest will give you health while opening up a blue chest will refill your magic meter. The third chest type isn't exactly color coordinated though, and is more of a luminescent white. This chest type will offer up item meter orbs, and smaller health orbs. There are even chests that alternate between blue, and green. These chests must be opened at the right time/color in order to reap the type of refill that you are aiming for. Chests, surprisingly are not all that plentiful so using them when needed is definitely in your best interest, save for the red orb chests.
The accompanying meters in the game tie-in with Kratos' health, and gained abilities. Magic attacks that run on the blue meter are limited to the amount of meter that you have, but can afford you screen clearing options for those encounters when you are surrounded by multiple enemies. The yellow item gauge/meter usually refills on it's own, and will afford Kratos the use of the support items that are geared more towards the puzzle solving aspects of gameplay. Some yellow gauge items are, however utilized in battle, and can help you gain the upper hand on the situation. Apollo's Bow, and Helios' head being two of said items.
I should also mention that the meters themselves can be upgraded by finding hidden chests which contain one of three relics. You'll find that obtaining three 'Gorgon Eyes' will increase your health. Finding, and collecting three 'Minotaur' horns will increase your item meter, and finding/collecting three 'Phoenix Feathers' will increase your magic meter. It helps tremendously to collect these relics. As such searching for them is a must if you aim to make it through the more difficult fights later on.
When it comes to the visuals, and the soundtrack of the newly remastered "God of War III" experience things are definitely noticeable in some situations while not so much in others. It's pretty much a given that this remastering holds an HD appearance throughout. It looks amazing down to the smallest detail, and plays well without too many issues. The only complaint I do have in accordance with the visual display is that camera angles are kept tight, and have little room for movement in the game's mostly linear setting. This lack of camera angle adjustment sometimes gets in the way of what you are attempting to do. As far as the soundtrack goes I noticed at certain times the sound would lower significantly while at other times it could be heard more clearly, and loudly. This is definitely something that could use improvement. For those of you who are curious about the "Camera Mode" it's basically an on/off switch that allows the gamer to use the PS4's screen capture function. To me that's not really something that should have been an add-on feature unless you are trying to keep your children from sharing the game's more naughty bits.
Speaking of "naughty bits" the game does include a sex mini-game for all the guys out there. It comes in the form of a side option that's made available when you enter Aphrodite's bed chamber later on into your playthrough. All I can say is that you will see plenty of exposed breasts, and hear plenty of suggestive moans, and talk as Kratos is doing his thing with the Goddess of love. If I were to be honest the breast physics in this game are the most realistic I've ever seen in a video game, so kudos to Sony Santa Monica for including that, and pulling it off like never before!
In the way of extras "God of War III" does have some for those who play through the entirety of the game. At the start menu you will find in place a "Treasures" menu listing that houses said extras. Amongst the listings are unlockable GoWIII videos, costumes, and two additional modes of play. As far as the extra modes go you'll find that the "Challenges (aka, Challenges of Olympus") will be the first extra mode that you unlock. In the 'Challenges of Olympus' Kratos will be placed into an enclosed arena, and will be made to meet certain criteria as he deals death to the minions of Olympus. Time, kill count, and kill type are all taken into account within these Olympian trials. When it comes to the "Combat Arena' that you unlock by completing all of the 'Challenges of Olympus' you'll find that it is a mode in which you can test your mettle as the famed "God of War". The "Combat arena", as it were is a settings based arena mode in which you can tweak things like meter, enemy types, difficulty, and enemy actions. Of course you can get by with 'Infinite' meters, but that wouldn't be near as impressive as having standard meters in place.
The Verdict ...
Having played through "God of War III" for the very first time I have to say that I was mostly satisfied with the adventure laid out before me. Kratos was as badass as ever, and had the Gods, and Goddesses of Olympus cowering before him as he went about his plan for revenge. The puzzles were also improved upon with newly mind bending creations that would have you stop, and think for a while before moving on to completing them. The developer even incorporated some action sequences that involved flying through obstacle obstructed tunnel-like structures using the Wings of Icarus. Aside from all the grandeur that is "God of War III" (sex mini-games FTW!!!) I did run into some issues with certain puzzles, and camera angles.
At times the given camera angles left little room for movement, or a proper view, and caused for some rather unfortunate deaths. In the way of area traversing I also found instances where the Harpies would go off the intended flight path causing my Kratos to plummet to his doom. This was made further annoying by the pop-up after death option to switch to "Easy Mode" to make the battles more easier. This was misplaced in that I was simply trying to make it from point "A" to point "B" using Harpies as my mode of transportation. The Wings of Icarus tunnel flight areas were also made more difficult than they should have been. These action sequences incorporated the use of both thumbsticks, and inverted the aerial controls which in itself overly complicated things. I barely did get past that one flight zone area.
As far as the soundtrack goes it's about as epic as it has every been with the exception of the character dialogue interactions that would go unusually quiet for some odd reason. This made for a proper annoyance in that I ended up missing some of what Kratos was saying along the way. I just couldn't reach my TV remote in time to correct the sound issue. Other than those issues I think the game did well for itself. In the remastered version it definitely looked better.
For those of you wondering about my verdict. I'd say definitely get this game if you are like me, and never did get around to playing it back when it was on the PS3. It's worth a playthrough to see where Kratos stands in the third installment in the saga. Also the trophies you earn aren't all that hard to get. That in itself could be a plus for all of you trophy hounds out there!