Kratos is pissed.
Totally honestly, I’m not entirely sure why Kratos is pissed because I’ve previously played only maybe half of the first game, like, about a million years ago and missed everything else between that and this, but I’m also not sure it even matters. The thing is that Kratos is pissed, and everybody is going to die because of it.
God of War III Remastered is a Now-With-1000%-Bloodier-Blood! revamp of the 2010 threequel, featuring full 1080p resolution and 60 frames-per-second animation, plus some reworked textures and lighting and razzle-dazzle. That’s the marketing blurb, at least – in reality, the makeover is a bit inconsistent in parts. The texture quality on some characters, specifically, is not quite so… uh, remastered as it is on others, but there’s plenty of gloriously gratuitous gore to make up for it.
In fact, this game is mostly about gloriously gratuitous gore. There’s some sort of plot trying desperately to be relevant but it’s stuck between the terrible writing and even more terrible voice acting, and from one moment to the next, yanking out some guy’s fingernails and pulling some other guy’s legs off and ripping this other guy’s apparently-not-so-immortal soul from his body is obviously much more important.
As the game goes on, you’ll find new weapons with new ways to host your very own apocalypse, although some of these seem superfluous – the Bow of Apollo, for example, is almost completely useless in combat, the Claws of Hades are basically a palette-swap of the Blades of Exile you start with, and what exactly is the point of the Nemesis Whip? I don’t know either. And once you get the Nemean Cestus, you probably won’t want to use anything else, anyway. You can also upgrade your weapons and unlock new combos with the XP orbs that drop from vanquished enemies and treasure chests, so there’s always something to look forward to even if Kratos is too stroppy to admit it.
“It’s poetry in motion, if poetry were more about sanguine clots of viscera dribbling from the stony cavern walls than stupid unrequited love or whatever.”
The combat itself is simply superb, a danse macabre of consummate elegance and unrestrained brutality with loads and loads of blood. It’s poetry in motion, if poetry were more about sanguine clots of viscera dribbling from the stony cavern walls than stupid unrequited love or whatever. Precision timing and reflexes are absolutely everything here, and the multiple boss encounters have their own unique challenges to work out. If that sounds intimidating, the game’s checkpoint system is super magnanimous, and getting yourself turned into Olympian souvlaki is seldom a real catastrophe.
From time to time, you’ll have to puzzle your way out of places, using sequences of levers and other props to “solve” obstacles around you like locked gates or traps. It’s nothing excessively complicated, but it’s a nice break from the otherwise relentless murder. Except when it involves more relentless murder. This game is consistent like that.
You can also do the sex with Aphrodite if you want. It’s about as erotic as a quick-time event gets, even if the implications of “quick-time event” are somewhat embarrassing for a demigod.
Not having played the original version of the game, it’s hard to say how much this one improves on it – but on its own merits, God of War III Remastered explodes fun stuff all over the carpets. And the curtains. And the cat. It might lack the subtle, sophisticated ingenuity of other PlayStation exclusives like The Last of Us, maybe, but it’s a game about killing gods. It doesn’t need subtle, sophisticated ingenuity, just something to stab them with.