God of War 3 Remastered tells the story of Kratos, the God of War, and his attempt to get revenge on the Greek God Zeus. The game does a pretty good job of explaining why this is Kratos’ goal, so playing the first two games isn’t required to understand what is happening. But God of War 3 Remastered isn’t really about the story, even though it tries to present it as a main feature. The game weaves a narrative between Kratos and the Greek Gods, but ultimately it falls flat. The reason being that the characters are awful and one-dimensional. Kratos is simply a terrible protagonist. He has no character depth whatsoever and the only emotion he demonstrates is anger. While anti-heroes can usually be compelling choices for protagonists, Kratos is unsympathetic, and even though it’s easy to see what drives him to do things, it’s annoying and bland. The other characters are also never around long enough to elicit any sort of emotional response from the player. So, when the game attempts to construct moments of big emotional payoff using those characters, they completely fail. You simply won’t care, and you’ll only want to continue onto the next gameplay section.
Back in 2010, God of War 3 was one of the prettiest games you could come across. While the Remastered version isn’t quite that, it still looks good, but with one caveat. While all of the object textures look great, some of the models, especially those of characters, don’t mesh well with the new textures, making certain areas of the game look odd and out of place. This effect can lead to a less immersive experience.
All the environments, however, from the depths of Hell to the peaks of Olympus, are magnificent. They do an excellent job of portraying the epic scope of the game. What may be most impressive about these environments are how they’re variety. Some are extremely vertical and have you traverse fast landscapes while other are more linear with narrow pathways and arenas. They are also incredibly well connected. You’ll find yourself travelling from Hades to Olympus multiple times without loading screens and areas of the game will interact with others you haven’t seen in hours. Each area is also incredibly balanced featuring combat, traversal and puzzle solving. The spacing between each of these gameplay sections contribute to what is a masterfully paced game.
Speaking of good level design many of the are are built within giant puzzles. Places like the Labyrinth for example are simply one giant rubix cube and in order to work your way through it you have to solve smaller puzzles. Others like the Garden on Olympus are areas filled with enemies but zoomed out are actually puzzles in and of themselves. While all the game’s puzzles aren’t too difficult they are challenging enough to provide a feeling of accomplishment once solved.
The highlight of God of War 3 Remastered and where it makes a lasting impression is the combat. The game’s third-person action combat is full of blood, guts and gore. You’ll find yourself snapping the necks Minotaurs, eviscerating Sirens and pulling out the eyes of Cyclops. In order to do this you need to complete a series of combos to trigger quicktime events to kill your more menacing foes. Executing a perfect combo or quicktime event is truly satisfying. All enemy animations and are incredibly eye-popping and entertaining. In addition, the variety of enemies you’ll encounter keeps things fresh and exciting. Topping all these encounters off are the boss battles, which are unique in as well as inventive and challenging. Some feature enemies that are incredibly fast while others have you fighting enemies a thousand times your size. While some are better than others all are memorable for their own reasons. Many are accompanied by epic set pieces, which have Kratos pulling off an epic deathblow to emerge triumphant. These set pieces are a spectacle in and of themselves. All of these battles are epic and overcoming them is oh-so-satisfying.
Kratos wields a variety of weapons that can be used to combo your way to glorious victory. Most of the weapons are very similar, with their main difference being animations. Some of them are needed for certain enemies however, with the cestas needed to defeat shielded enemies. That being said its actually still fun to mix them up and see what combos you can create. Each one can be upgraded using experience to unlock new combo moves and more damage. There’s also the secondary weapons, which can be used in and out of combat. Sometimes they are needed to discover the secret areas hidden around the environment. Searching for these areas is addicting and doing so gives you items that upgrade Kratos.
God of War 3 Remastered does have some parts of the game that show their age. The story and characters are really poor in comparison to what we see in games today. While the combat is the highlight, it does have its problems. Unlike a game like Batman: Arkham Knight dodging and countering feels imprecise. A lot of the time I felt like I was running around just mashing the same buttons. The game does try its best it introduce enemies that require specific combos but they are few and far between. Speaking of button mashing, the game constantly requires you to mash the same button to open a door or slay some enemies. This type of gameplay feels antiquated and annoying. Other issues include save points and an instance where the PlayStation buttons were actually objects in the environment a choice that can completely take the player of the the world.
Despite showing age in these areas, God of War 3 Remastered holds up. The parts that are poor are not the core of the game. You spend most of your time in combat, solving puzzles or traversing levels. You won’t care about the story or the characters but that doesn’t matter because the game doesn’t shove them down your throat. Ultimately, God of War 3 Remastered is an incredibly fun and satisfying game worth experiencing.