God of War III Hands-On Impressions

Kratos' quest for bloody vengeance continues as we get some hands-on time with his new weapons and abilities.

Fans of the God of War games know that Kratos rarely needs a good reason to dish out some of the most brutal onscreen lashings ever seen, but it just so happens that this time around our less-than-affable hero has found the perfect reason to justify his rage: revenge. With E3 2009 tapering off on its final day, we managed a sneak attack on the Sony Europe lounge, where we got our dirty little hands on God of War III and experienced the combat prowess of what could possibly be the angriest man in games.

We began the demo a minute or two into the same demo played on our stage show--on the balcony of a large temple in a battle with the skeletal army of Zeus. In the background, a massive molten Titan hung onto the building with one hand as Helios, the Sun God, played with its patience from atop his great burning chariot. Kratos’ Blades of Chaos remain the hero’s default weapon, and combo attacks have remained largely unchanged since previous games, with triangle and square still used for heavy and light attacks, and circle used to grab enemies. During the demo we witnessed one of Kratos’ new weapons--the Cestus gauntlets, which are giant metal gloves resembling lion heads--as well as his new ability to switch between weapons on the fly. We also got to play another of Kratos’ new, and rather fun, abilities: using an enemy as a battering ram. To achieve this, you simply hold down the square button in the midst of a fight, and Kratos will grab the nearest enemy and use him to ram the rest. Once this is over, pressing circle will allow Kratos to do what he does best: smash the enemy against the nearest wall until his blood and guts spill out.

After eliminating all the riffraff in the area, the huge door at the end of the hall burst open to admit a rather angry centaur general and a fresh wave of undead soldiers. We tore through the troops with the Blades of Chaos and occasionally switched to the Cestus gauntlets, which seem efficient in eliminating smaller groups of tougher enemies and inflicting heavy damage at a short range. The centaur required a mix of heavy and light attacks in order to be taken down, culminating in a very satisfying and gory quick-time sequence that saw Kratos slicing the creature’s belly from navel to nose before pulling out its intestines. This is Kratos in all his high-definition glory, and the squeamish should beware.

After a few empty threats from Helios, Kratos was required to use a nearby ballista to shoot his chariot out of the sky. At this point, God of War III art director Sean Cunningham from SCE Santa Monica explained to us that his dev team is thinking of extending the window of time in which players can do this, since it really is only a matter of seconds. With Helios down but not out, we had to make our way over to the crash site to finish the job. Kratos used a passing flock of harpies fleeing the scene to jump from one to the other (grabbing onto their feet and using his Blades to stab them) in order to cross the deep chasm separating him from the crash site. The cutscene that ensues after Kratos lands really shows off what the SCE Santa Monica team has been doing: Kratos not only fights better than ever, but he also looks the part--wrinkles and scars stand out on his war-torn skin, while his face and body muscles visibly stretch and bulge as he moves.

As we made our way over to the broken body of Helios, we were treated to what Cunningham told us was the game's homage to the film 300: two dozen or so of Zeus' skeletons interlocking their shields and forming an impenetrable dome over Helios. While Kratos was contemplating what to do, a wary cyclops made his way onto the scene, and we were able to finally make use of one of the game’s main features: we rode the beast around, bending it to our will. It was here that we noticed that the quick-time events seem to come much faster than in previous games. Kratos had lashed at the beast only a seemingly small number of times before the familiar circle appeared on the left corner of the screen, signaling the beginning of the quick-time sequence. We’re not sure if this will happen with all enemies in the final game or if this was just the way the demo played. Cunningham also told us that his team has changed the appearance and location of the buttons as they appear onscreen during quick-time events; they are brighter and will appear next to the exact location where they must be applied.

After mounting the cyclops, Kratos stabbed the beast and forced it to lumber across the battlefield, shattering Helios' guardians and paving the way for us to finish him off. In typical fashion, once the cyclops outlived its usefulness Kratos tore out its eye, revealing the optic nerve and vein. Finally alone with Helios, we climbed on his back and used a quick-time event to rip off his head, spilling forth his vocal cords and adding a gruesome new item to our inventory. Helios' head can be used like a flashlight, and it causes the controller to rumble when its light falls over a secret area. In the demo, we used the right analog stick to paint the light over a hidden door in the mountainside, which we used to move into a pitch-black cavern. Inside, we continued to use the macabre light to find our way, and it could even blind and tag our enemies, causing them to glow in the dark long enough for us to slaughter them.

Once we worked our way through the mountain, we found a rising current of air that Kratos soared through using his Icarus wings. The hero moved up and up, over falling fireballs and through narrow openings to emerge near the Titan that we saw at the beginning of the demo. The demo ended with Kratos leaping straight into the burning giant's grill, leaving us with a burning desire to play more.

God of War III will be released exclusively on the PlayStation 3 in March 2010. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more coverage of this game in the coming months.

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Discussion

269 comments
davidgh97
davidgh97

Guys this is an awsome that that makes me cry becouse it can't be played on PC!!!!!.... Why the producers made it for PS3 only!!??? They could made it for PSP as well but they didn't wanted.!!!!

enke86
enke86

Im probably gonna cry when I get my hands on this. Two more weeks people!!

Kubilius
Kubilius

Guys, anyone can tell me why I downloaded demo and I have a super strong feeling I have seen it already?! I'm not saying "oh, this game is so similar to previous", i'm saying I have seen identical beginning, with fight scene on the mountain road, then flying harpies, then the stone giant ... Or is just a dejavu feeling ? My GF says the same "Are you sure it's not God of War II you downloaded?"

artemis1990
artemis1990

when the 'GOD OF WAR' is out the 'CHIEF' will poop in his high tech pants!!

ilovejaydee
ilovejaydee

Pre-ordered ultimate edition, this game is gonna be retarded.

Hitsuhide
Hitsuhide

PS3 the console of supreme graphics

game-on-man
game-on-man

@vasot your such an idiot......We get it tha your a 360 troll. I got news for you pal. The 360 sucks,and its a piece of junk. I always see you on the ps3 site bashing all its games, just because your jealous.......your pathetic.........and no one likes you either

game-on-man
game-on-man

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

game-on-man
game-on-man

@usmanthegreat The ps3 is a great console.Your comment was very lame. The PS3 has the best games. THE 360 IS A PEICE OF S@IT. REALLY MAN I DONT MEAN TO BE MEAN, BUT WHAT A STUPID COMMENT

TAAAHAA
TAAAHAA

cant wait foe this game....its my favourite

ruffles4
ruffles4

Some of these concepts are over 3000 years old...And yeah, Im so proud to be Greek. This game looks magnificent btw, good job by the developers cant wait to get my hands on it...

usmanthegreat
usmanthegreat

Why cant march come early. man i am dying to play this game. if it is already finished why sony isnt publishing it right now. plz sony plz. i have kept your junk (ps3) for more than 2 yrs just to play that game. i hate that machine. its loading times. frame rate issues. but i love gow. i have waiting for it for three years since 2007. plz my wait is pushing its limits. release HELL now.

game-on-man
game-on-man

121978= YEAH AND YOUR A FREAKIN IDIOT

02050muh
02050muh

this game gonna be a best-selling game of 2010...i bet $100 on it! trust me!

02050muh
02050muh

when is this gonna come out!! I'M BLOODTHIRSTY!!

shriraamprabu
shriraamprabu

ive played 1 and 2 but gow 3 will be the best

akz_chris
akz_chris

i buy ps3 just for god of war3 i played gow 1 and 2 in ps2 over and over again and still i enjoy from playing this two great game of times

akz_chris
akz_chris

cant wait...i love this game

Benzo396
Benzo396

@ Perti - You're going to want to go and pick up the Collection and play that first, cous. My first God of War experience was on the PSP and I was kicking myself for having not played the first two on PS2. I picked up the God of War Collection and I'm officially hooked on the game series. Easily on my Top 10 List. I beat them and I'm on my second run through of one of them. Pick up the Collection I promise it'll be the best money you've ever spent.

perti
perti

got the demo as a bonus on a blu-ray I bought last week (district 9). I didn't play the first two, but this one plays really well and looks great. I'll definitely be picking this one up, and probably the fist two as well.

Raghall
Raghall

Hail Mary! Its time to whoop some a@@.

Leefx
Leefx

guess who got his playstation store redeem code and now has the full E3 stage demo on his ps3..................and f'k me its awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! cant wait for the full game its gonna be insane!

xXpainXx123
xXpainXx123

dam so long until it comes out, cant wait this game is gonna be insane

02050muh
02050muh

what's that in the beginning? joking around? WTF

Sarophie
Sarophie

I personally think this game is going to be amazing. If the GoW Team continues their tradition of pushing the console to the breaking point, then this should be heavenly eye candy not to mention the fact that Kratos spends most of his time beating everything that moves into a bloody pulp. I say rock on Kratos, feck off 360 fanturds!

121978
121978

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

coolmbn
coolmbn

awesome !!..epicness in its heavenly level....!!..i jus wish i had ps3...buh 4 now i hav to be satisfied with chains of olympus in ma psp....:(..:(

EvanDeWickeD
EvanDeWickeD

@Vasot lol.... hating wat u aint got and cannot have is cliche :P

slipknotcrazy10
slipknotcrazy10

what if theyre tricking us i am a big fan of god of war and it gets better and better part 2 was way more evolved than part 1 so part 3 oh my god THIS IS NOT 300. LOL. BUT IN THE END THERE WILL ONLY BE CHAOS AND THIS GAME IS NOT ENOUGH CHAOS SO THERE WILL PROBABLY BE A FOUR I AM HOPING. but i still havent figured out the name of them but the lion gloves are going to be CRAZY! i mean the last one before this the ending dropped my friggin gaw so this will drop my gaw too i hope AT LEAST I HOPE.

EvanDeWickeD
EvanDeWickeD

God of war was awesome.... God of War 2 was Amazing........ God of war 3 (Crossing Fingers) should be OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! I dont care if i sound biased! I am a fan :B

Vasot
Vasot

Mehhhh overhyped much and nothing new. Only the PS3 owners find this as special... Darksiders: Wrath of War looks better from this. Check that out !!

thrasher510
thrasher510

best game ever, well-balanced, has violence, puzzles, and sex. violent puzzles. sexy puzzles. and puzzling puzzles, what's there not to love?!? (unless your one of them 360 fanboys).

The_Game_Jr
The_Game_Jr

They said this will be the last game in the series..... Yeah right like they're gonna kill the series so quick.

LordRaymond
LordRaymond

This game will push the PS3 to the next level then in the end their will only be chaos.

linkman3
linkman3

this game will be awesome and I know it

kirigha
kirigha

I think everyone has heard that KRATOS is the angriest man in the gaming industry. So why can't some people just accept the greatness of god of war? Alltime best game I say.

frazzle00
frazzle00

So basically this is just a high resolution version of the older God Of War titles, which means this is pretty much a meh for me. LOL at the crash :D.

xTriviumx
xTriviumx

Its all linear levels and button mashing, it can't be that good..

xTriviumx
xTriviumx

these games aren't even that good

Maqda7
Maqda7

March can't come too soon.

cpmember
cpmember

Even though I am a PC gamer this is one of those games that you just can not resist