Some people have God of War down as a button-masher, but the skill is all in isolating the worst threats, mopping up the cannon-fodder and knowing when – just when – to use your various magical powers. Plus, I don’t think any game, even Bayonetta, paces its brawls so perfectly. Considering how repetitive the action in God of War III could be, it’s a tribute to say that it never gets dull for a second.
Nor is God of War III short on new toys to play with. Along with old favourites like the Icarus wings and a new variant of the bow, Kratos gets some rather handy running shoes and the world’s most vicious pair of boxing gloves. And why bother with a torch to light your way when you can use the Sun god’s decapitated head? Does a torch scream when you flick the switch? Exactly. How cool is that?
For puzzles, meanwhile, God of War III sees the series at its best. Sure, we’re still talking variants on old block, lever and portal themes, but they’re combined with real invention and a gruesome dose of dark humour. A later section offers a brilliant puzzle that gives Echochrome a lesson or two in how to mess with perspective, while God of War III’s depiction of the Labyrinth is probably the most imaginative I’ve ever seen (though anyone who has seen Cube will guess where the inspiration probably came from). While we all love God of War for its brawn, the threequel is probably the brainiest of the bunch, and has the best platforming and flying sections to boot.
Is there anything not to like? Well, some of the gods and monsters – with the smith god, Hephaustes the worst example – have an unpleasant rubbery look to their skin. And maybe, towards the later stages, a handful of brawls are a little too protracted to be a lot of fun. All in all, though, this is another defining game for PS3 and a triumphant finale to an awesome saga. Kratos, Kratos, Kratos; you might have a name like a bloodthirsty breakfast cereal, but we don’t care. We know we shouldn’t love you, but we do.
Magnificent, mighty and borderline miraculous, God of War III is everything you dreamt a PS3 God of War could be.