It's Good to be A God
God of War III is coming, and we got to see it. Got to see how it plays, got to see what's new and, yes, we finally got to see what it looks like. Want to know what we know? Step inside, let's chat, shall we?
Published: February 13, 2009
Back? Gooood, because this is the part where we start to talk about why this isn't just God of War II in HD.
As you'll see in the trailer (it's downloading now, right?), Sony is eager to play around with two very important things: scale and perspective. The Titans that are helping him make his assault of Olympus are big. No, scratch that, they're huge. No, wait, better word: colossal. They are mountains, and they're climbing another, bigger mountain, which should hopefully give you a sense of what the game is going after. Moreover, though, they're moving mountains, but on a combat scale they may as well be a complete, static level for Kratos to run around and suss out the odd puzzle in, just as the series has done in the past. The problem with a giant arm that serves as an entire level, though, is that arms tend to move -- especially when their being used to propel the rest of the body up an incline or swatting away at a pest that, to Kratos, looks like a giant all on its own.
This presents some interesting scenarios where Kratos might start fighting out on what appears to be flat land, but as the arm comes up to grab or flick at something, suddenly everything is vertical, and it's a mad scramble to just find footing. Things move again and in an instant what the ground is now the ceiling -- and the only difference between a precipitous drop to one's doom (or at least a meeting with Hades) and revenge against Dear Ol' Dad.
So things aren't quite as basic as one would think from even just looking at the screenshots that Sony has provided. This goes double for the game's new approach to combat, which maintains the same pick-up-and-play, button mashy feel of the first two iterations, but expands upon it in a couple of key ways. The first is that Kratos is a multi-weapon kinda guy now. He had other ways to bring the pain in previous entries, but this time around, he's open to swap between said weapons at any time -- even mid-combo -- and Sony was careful to balance the new weapons so they don't feel any less fun or terribly different from the vanilla Blades of Chaos that everyone ended up just upgrading to their max anyway.
We were shown just one possibility: the Cestus, a pair of gauntlets in the shape of two huge solid metal roaring lion's maws, and backed up by a couple extremely heavy rings that could slide up Kratos' arms and then slam into the back of the gauntlets, creating a massive concussive force good for, say, creating a ground pound that could clear an area of enemies -- or at the very least hit a bunch of them at once. The Cestus can also telescope like the Blades, and in one slick little example Kratos slammed them outward into the ground and then, with a giant heaving motion, clapped them together right on an enemy's head.
The second area of combat advancement is in what Angsty McRagepants can do once he ditches his weapons and gets his hands on an enemy. In previous games, tapping Circle was effectively an instant kill (or at least a few blows and then he'd tear them apart). This time around, it opens up a branching serious of choices where the face buttons all do something different. Triangle turns them into a battering ram, literally picking up the enemies and running them into others; Square will beat on them; tapping Circle again while near an object will slam that enemy's head into, say, a wall and X will throw them into other enemies.
All of these concepts were demonstrated within seconds of starting the actual demo of the game -- a demo that we're willing to bet will likely make a repeat appearance at E3 and, very likely, will be the same one that consumers can get their hands on when it finally goes public. In it, Kratos is making his way up Olympus on the back of Gaia, the massive Titan seen in the ending cinematic of God of War II. He needs to find his way into the heart of Olympus by revealing the hidden Door of Eos, which can only be seen by Helios. Fortunately enough, the battle between the Gods and Titans is raging all around Kratos, and in particular a little squabble between a molten Titan and, wouldn't you know it, Helios himself is taking place in the background.