The Good: Mass amounts of improvements, absolutely beatufiul and epic on every scale, excellent boss fights, lots of extras
The Bad: Unbalanced difficulty, story takes a dive towards the end, it ends
Well here it is. After waiting 3 years we finally get the ending to one of the best video game series ever created. The biggest question that people have is if the game is enough to stand on it's own out of the other next generation games. The answer is yes, so let's get down to it.
The game's story picks up right after God of War II with Kratos riding on the back of Gaia climbing Mount Olympus. The game starts out on the back of Gaia with Kratos fighting hordes of monsters (and learning the controls). The game starts out more epic than ever with a epic boss fight with Poseidon. Giant water serpents come up and try to kill Gaia, so not only do you have to kill Poseidon, but you have to protect Gaia as well. The boss fights are bigger and more epic than ever with Titans that are miles high (fighting Cronos is the most epic of all) and you really feel like your taking these beasts down with satisfying results.
I have to first talk about how the game looks. Yes, God of War III is probably the best looking game made to date and it really shows on every aspect. The sweeping camera angles, the high resolution textures and models. The gorgeous lighting effects, and everything just feels updated and like it should on the PS3. You can see the pores and details in every characters, the animation is more fluid, the combat even feels better and more fluid, especially if you just played the God of War Collection. I can't really describe just how beautiful this game is. You can see and feel the passion and detail every artist put into the game from the creatures, levels, and even small things like blood, scrapes and nicks on metal just everything.
The combat is what has the biggest upgrades. No longer are you confined to having all your magic items come from your magic meter. There are a ton more weapons (four in total) to get, and each weapon has it's own magic attack instead of collecting them separately. The Blades of Exile (yes the name has changed again) have the Spartan Army attack, the Nemean Cestus have a pounding attack, Hades Hooks that let you summon different creatures, and a whip type weapon that sends eletric shocks. All the weapons are similar to the Blades of Exile, and the Blade of Olympus is now used during Rage of Sparta mode (yes it's changed and everything turns black). There is now an item meter which is used for your bow, Helios head, and Hermes shoes. All these items sound crazy, but let me explain.
The bow lets you set certain things on fire and is mainly used during the beginning of the game, but not so much later on. The Helios head is used to reveal secrets and blind enemies, and the Hermes shoes are used during wall running sections. The grapple hook still exists, but all of these changes let you use all your items and weapons all the time, and don't rely so much on just magic. Some other changes to combat were made so everything feels more fluid and you never have to stop fighting no matter where you are. You can evade in the air, there is now a grapple attack that pulls you towards your enemy in the air or on the ground. The combat system is just super fun to use now, and all the additions perfect the combat system and make a fitting end to the trilogy.
The QTE's are still in tact, but with a bit of a change. They appear on the edge of the screen according the controller layout so you can now watch what's going on. Using your peripheral vision is see these really helps keep you drawn in, so you don't have to concentrate so much on the buttons. It is a little confusing at first, but after awhile you will get used to it. The QTE's are also better placed especially during boss fights. You really feel like your making the big kill this time around with a new camera angle that lets you see in an POV of the enemy your pummeling or in Kratos' view. This adds to the cinematic excitement and brutality of that game.
Another thing I need to talk about is just how much more brutal and explicit the game is. The gore is more detailed with guts hanging out, cuts being visible where you slashed an enemy, skin stretching when heads are pulled, tendons popping, veins breaking etc. All this is visible thanks to the power of the PS3 and is really makes you wince in sympathy. The game even has a more explicit sex mini-game that is about mid way through with Aphrodite. Instead of just panning over to a table with a vase you see two topless women talking about what Kratos is doing to Aphrodite and it is both hot to watch and funny.
The puzzles in the game are what you would expect from a God of War game: Clever, fun, and unique. Just like all God of War games some puzzles are an entire level with little puzzles within that, and Daedalus's labyrinth is one example. They aren't as confusing as the last two games, and are easier to figure out, but just as clever, and some puzzles are now part of the environment so timing and speed are of the essence.
While there are a lot of game changes like the combat, additional weapons, and even Icarus' Ascension (which is a flying section where you dodge falling debris), the game stays true to the series. Everything is just bigger, badder, and meaner but it does have a few slight flaws. The ending story is cut a bit short, there aren't enough epic boss fights, and the difficulty is highly unbalanced. These are really all I could find, but they aren't necessarily flaws. If the game were a bit longer, and those three issues didn't exist it would get a 10. The game is perfect except that little tic-tac sized piece that you feeling is missing and can never pin it. The game has high replay value to unlock trophies, challenges, costumes, and there are a ton of making-of videos for die hard fans to watch.
I just can't describe the improvements of this game unless you play it yourself. It is probably the best PS3 game out there so far, and is so enjoyable and chalk full of excellence that it's almost too much to contain. The amazing scale, beauty, and vast improvements make the game worth a purchase tenfold. I just wish this weren't the end of Kratos' adventures or is it...
ULTIMATE EDITION: If you pre-ordered a copy or can still find one floating around, and want to shell out an extra $40 you can get the Ultimate Edition. It includes a very detailed Pandora's Box, a code to get the God of War Trilogy OST, the Blood and Metal soundtrack, an hour length making-of video. The package is a bit disappointing since the box is made of hard plastic and not die-cast metal, the soundtracks were a pain to get during launch day since the site was bogged down and wouldn't load half the time. The Blood & Metal OST is pretty disappointing since it's nothing special. It has a couple of big names like Trivium and Killswitch Engage, but only three of the songs on the album were any good. I also wished the soundtracks came in physical CD format, but digital is fine. Is it worth $40? Sure, if your a hardcore fan otherwise pass.