the developers have been able to create levels as much as four times larger than their counterparts in the second game
As the final part in the trilogy, God of War III picks up where the second game in the sequel left off. After failing to destroy his father Zeus, anti-hero Kratos finds himself consumed with the urge for revenge on the ruler of the Gods, and he’s going to absolutely everything in his power to ensure he gets it. With the mythical Titans on his side, Kratos sets his sights on scaling Mount Olympus and a final showdown with Zeus. In the words of project director Stig Asmussen 'Essentially what Kratos is doing is reigniting this legendary Great War between the Gods and the Titans.'
And the Titans have a huge part to play in not only the storyline, but the overall structure of the game this time around. Thanks to the advances in technology since the days of the PS2, the developers have been able to create levels as much as four times larger than their counterparts in the second game – and just to make things a little more interesting, many of them take part entirely on the backs of the mammoth Titans. This means that their movements and reactions to the action taking place atop them will play an integral part in the progression of the game.
To give you an idea of the sense of scale we’re talking about here, Sony are claiming that (in terms of on screen comparisons) the Titans are comparable to the height of the real world Empire State Building in comparison to Kratos. In other words, they’re bloody big!
Fortunately, Santa Monica Studio haven’t gotten carried away with the technology at hand, and have instead built upon the fantastic foundations laid by the previous two titles. Rather than trying to shoe-horn in lots of unnecessary additions and features, they’ve focussed on introducing some smaller (but extremely effective) facets to the gameplay.
As with any hack and slash adventure the weapons are of paramount importance and God of War III doesn’t look set to disappoint. Kratos’ old reliable, the Blades of Athena, are present as ever and they are joined by his trusty bow (complete with flaming arrows), Cestus – a huge pair of iron gauntlets in the shape of great lions’ heads, and a final as yet undisclosed weapon. Switching between the various weapons promises to be straightforward, with the D-Pad providing on-the-fly selection even in the heat of battle.
New combat dynamics have also been introduced to tie in with the increase of onscreen enemies from approximately 15 in the previous games to as many as 50 this time around. Rather than having to simply slash your way past them as you would with smaller numbers you can now pick an enemy up and use him to barge into an oncoming groups, utilise the brand new wall climb manoeuvre to escape from tight scrapes, hop onto Cyclops’s and steer them into your foes, using their flailing limbs as improvised battering rams, and even take to the skies with the aid of an unsuspecting Harpy.
On top of the increased scale, new weapons and tweaked combat system, the visuals have been given a lick of paint too. The environments are stunningly detailed, depicting highly detailed backdrops right out to the horizon (often supplemented with the occasional Titan smashing his way around the place), and the character animations are a step above anything else we’ve seen to date.
We had a play with some early code back in September, but with just over a month to go until we get to grips with the final product it’s fair to say that we really can’t wait. This is shaping up to be one of the greatest adventures ever made.