God of War III

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God of War III
God of War III cover art.jpg
North American cover art with close-up of protagonist Kratos
Developer(s) SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s) Stig Asmussen[1]
Producer(s) Steve Caterson
Designer(s) Todd Papy
Programmer(s) Vassily Filippov
Artist(s) Ken Feldman
Writer(s) Marianne Krawczyk
Stig Asmussen
Ariel Lawrence
William Weissbaum
Composer(s) Gerard Marino
Cris Velasco
Ron Fish
Mike Reagan
Jeff Rona
Series God of War
Engine Santa Monica's God of War III Engine
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Hack and slash, action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Blu-ray Disc Dual Layer

God of War III is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). Released for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console on March 16, 2010, the game is the fifth installment in the God of War series and the seventh and last chronologically. Loosely based on Greek mythology, the game is set in ancient Greece with vengeance as its central motif. The player controls the protagonist and former God of War Kratos, following betrayal at the hands of his father and King of the Olympian Gods, Zeus. Reigniting the Great War, Kratos ascends Mount Olympus until he is abandoned by the Titan Gaia. Now guided by the spirit of Athena, Kratos battles monsters, gods, and Titans in a search for Pandora, the key to opening Pandora's Box, to defeat Zeus. Successful, Kratos kills Zeus and ends the reign of the Olympian Gods.

The gameplay is similar to the previous installments, and focuses on combo-based combat, achieved through the player's main weapon—the Blades of Exile—and secondary weapons acquired throughout the game. It uses quick time events, where the player completes various game controller actions in timed sequences to defeat stronger enemies and bosses. The player can use up to four magical attacks and a power-enhancing ability as alternative combat options. The game also features puzzles and platforming elements. In comparison to prior installments, God of War III offers a revamped magic system, more onscreen enemies, new camera angles, and downloadable content.

A critical and commercial success, God of War III was described as "simply one of the best games of all time" by PSM3 magazine.[3] IGN asserted that it defines the word "scale" with reference to video games.[4] The game has been highly praised for its graphics, particularly Kratos, of which IGN said "is perhaps the single most impressive-looking character ever in video games".[4] It received several awards, including "Most Anticipated Game of 2010" and "Best PS3 Game" at the 2009 and 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, respectively, and the "Artistic Achievement" award at the 2011 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Video Game Awards. The best-selling game in the God of War series, it sold nearly 5.2 million copies worldwide by June 2012, and it was included in the God of War Saga that was released for the PlayStation 3 on August 28, 2012.

Gameplay[edit]

The gameplay of God of War III is similar to that of its predecessors. It is a third-person single player video game viewed from a fixed camera perspective, and features "first-person kills".[5] The player controls the character Kratos in combo-based combat, platforming, and puzzle game elements, and battles foes who primarily stem from Greek mythology, including centaurs, harpies, chimeras, cyclopes, satyrs, minotaurs, sirens, cerberuses, and Gorgons, while other enemies were created specifically for the game. Platforming elements require the player to climb walls and ladders, jump across chasms, and swing on ropes to proceed through sections of the game. Some puzzles are simple, but others are more complex, such as finding several items across different areas of the game to unlock one door.[6]

Throughout the game, the player finds green, blue, red, or white chests, each containing orbs of the corresponding color. Green orbs replenish the player's health, blue orbs replenish magic allowing further usage, red orbs provide experience for upgrading weapons (and subsequently magic)—which makes new, more powerful attacks available[7]—and white orbs replenish the Rage meter for the Rage of Sparta, allowing further usage of the ability. The player also collects red orbs by killing foes and destroying certain inanimate objects.[8][9] As in the previous games, the player can additionally find Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers in large chests, as well as Minotaur Horns, a new item for the game. The Eyes, Feathers, and Horns increase the length of the Health, Magic, and Item meters respectively, and in turn, the player's power.[9]

Combat[edit]

Kratos (left) battles boss character Hercules (right). The image depicts a QTE sequence: successfully moving the right analog stick in the direction shown by the orange arrow will allow Kratos to continue his attack.

Kratos' main weapon is the Blades of Exile (initially the Blades of Athena): a pair of blades attached to chains that are wrapped around the character's wrists and forearms. In gameplay, the blades can be swung offensively in various maneuvers. As the game progresses, Kratos acquires new weapons—the Claws of Hades, the Nemean Cestus, and the Nemesis Whip—offering alternative combat options. The Nemean Cestus (a pair of fist gauntlets) and the Nemesis Whip (similar to the main blades) are required to advance in certain stages of the game. For example, the Nemean Cestus is required to break through objects composed of onyx.[6]

Unlike previous games, magical abilities are learned with the acquisition of a new weapon, giving each weapon its own magic attack (e.g., the Army of Sparta ability may only be used when the Blades of Exile is equipped). The use of magic offers Kratos a variety of ways to attack and kill enemies (e.g., the Claws of Hades' Soul Summon ability conjures souls to attack enemies). While Kratos has four primary weapons, he acquires three secondary weapons, called "Items", which have limited use before needing recharged (which occurs automatically).[6] These include the Bow of Apollo, the Head of Helios, and the Boots of Hermes. All three are required to advance in certain stages of the game (e.g., the Head of Helios acts as a lantern in dark areas and can reveal hidden doorways).[8]

The relics Poseidon's Trident, Golden Fleece, and Icarus' Wings (acquired in previous games) are automatically retained and are used to overcome environmental obstacles, while the Golden Fleece is also used to deflect enemy attacks. Kratos acquires a new relic called Hades' Soul, which allows him to safely swim in the River Styx. Although used as a primary weapon in God of War II, the Blade of Olympus is now used in conjunction with the special ability, the Rage of Sparta, and provides temporary invulnerability and increased attack damage.[6]

Many familiar combination attacks reappear with new additions. These include the combat grapple—a ranged-grab maneuver which, depending on the weapon, can pull Kratos towards foes or force them away (necessary at certain points in the game, with Kratos riding harpies across chasms)—and a simple grab-with-bare-hands, which allows Kratos to use a weak foe as a battering ram. Kratos can also rapidly switch among all four primary weapons in battle and continue the same attack combination. In combat, a quick time event (QTE) feature, also called context sensitive attacks, is initiated when the player has weakened a strong foe. The player performs a sequence of actions on the game controller shortly after an image of its circle button appears as an on-screen prompt. This allows for limited control of Kratos during a QTE cinematic sequence, which, if successful, ends the battle; failure usually results in damage to the protagonist.[6]

As in the previous installments, the game features a quick-time sex mini-game, similar in function to the QTE feature, in the form of an encounter with the goddess Aphrodite.[10] Other extra features include the addition of ten Godly Possessions, which are often hidden near defeated foes and provide additional abilities during bonus play (e.g., unlimited magic).[9] The challenge mode reappears from previous games—the Challenge of Olympus (seven trials)—and is unlocked after completing the game. The challenge mode requires players to complete a series of specific tasks (e.g., kill all enemies without using weapons before the time runs out). The player may unlock additional rewards (such as bonus costumes for Kratos, behind-the-scenes videos, and concept art of the characters and environments) by completing the game's difficulty levels and the challenge mode. A new mode, the Combat Arena, is included—this allows players to set difficulty levels and choose their opponents to improve their skills.[11]

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

As with the previous games in the God of War franchise, God of War III is set in an alternate version of ancient Greece populated by the Olympian Gods, Titans, heroes, and other beings from Greek mythology. The game features several locations across the fictional Mount Olympus, including the Tomb of Ares, the ancient city of Olympia, the Path of Eos, the Labyrinth, various locations within the Palace of the Gods, such as the Forum and Hera's Gardens, and scenes in the Underworld and Tartarus.

Mount Olympus is the home of the Olympian Gods. The Tomb of Ares, holding the former God of War's remains, and the city of Olympia are located on the sides of the mountain. Just beyond the city is the Path of Eos: a hidden cavern near the foot of Mount Olympus. The Palace of the Gods is the massive home of the Olympians, and features the Forum (a small coliseum), Hera's Gardens, and the chambers of Aphrodite and Poseidon, respectively. The Labyrinth is a massive, aerial puzzle constructed by the architect Daedalus to imprison Pandora and is located in the Caverns of Olympus, which is home to the creature Skorpius and its spawn. The Underworld, divided by the River Styx, is the realm of the dead and is ruled over by the god Hades. Hades' palace holds the remains of wife and goddess Persephone. The Underworld is also home to the statues of the three Judges of the Underworld, who hold the Chain of Balance that connects the Underworld to Olympus. Tartarus is the prison of the dead and the Titan Cronos—banished when Kratos retrieved Pandora's Box from Pandora's Temple, which is still chained to Cronos' back.

Characters[edit]

The protagonist of the game is Kratos (voiced by Terrence C. Carson), a Spartan warrior and demigod who became the God of War after killing the god Ares, and now seeks revenge against Zeus for his betrayal. Other characters include a host of Greek gods, such as Athena (Erin Torpey), the Goddess of Wisdom and Kratos' mentor and ally; Zeus (Corey Burton), the King of the Gods and main antagonist; Poseidon (Gideon Emery), the God of the Sea; Hades (Clancy Brown), the God of the Underworld; Hephaestus (Rip Torn), the Smith God; Hermes (Greg Ellis), the Messenger of the Gods and the God of Speed and Commerce; Helios (Crispin Freeman), the Sun God; Hera (Adrienne Barbeau), the Queen of the Gods; and Aphrodite (April Stewart), the Goddess of Love and Sexuality. Several Titans are featured, including Gaia (Susan Blakeslee), Cronos (George Ball), Epimetheus, Oceanus, and Perses. Other characters include the demigod and half-brother of Kratos, Hercules (Kevin Sorbo); the architect Daedalus (Malcolm McDowell), father of Icarus; and Pandora (Natalie Lander), the created daughter of Hephaestus. Minor characters include the three Judges of the Underworld: King Minos (Mark Moseley), King Rhadamanthus, and King Aeacus; Peirithous (Simon Templeman), a prisoner in the Underworld who is in love with Persephone, and Kratos' wife and child, Lysandra (Gwendoline Yeo) and Calliope (Debi Derryberry), who appear during the psyche sequence.[12]

Story[edit]

Continuing immediately on from God of War II, Kratos, Gaia, and the other Titans ascend Mount Olympus to destroy the Olympian Gods. Launching a counter-assault against the Titans, Poseidon is killed by the combined efforts of Kratos and Gaia which results in the world being flooded. Reaching Olympus' peak, Kratos and Gaia attempt to attack Zeus, but are driven back with Zeus' lightning bolt and fall from the mountain. Gaia clings to the side of the mountain and refuses to save Kratos, saying he was nothing more than a pawn.

Falling into the Underworld and losing the Blade of Olympus, Kratos lands in the River Styx as the souls of the Underworld weaken him and ruin the Blades of Athena. After leaving the river, he is confronted by the revived spirit of Athena (who provides him with the Blades of Exile) and says that to destroy Zeus, he must quench the Flame of Olympus. Eventually finding the three Judges of the Underworld and the Chain of Balance that maintains the equilibrium between the Underworld and Olympus, Kratos briefly encounters the spirit of Pandora, who he mistook as his deceased daughter Calliope. Refusing to aide the child, he continues his quest. Soon after encountering the Olympian blacksmith Hephaestus and recovering the Blade of Olympus, he fights and kills Hades resulting in the souls of the underworld being released to the surface. Reminded of his quest by Athena, Kratos leaves the Underworld and arrives at Olympia, where he finds the wounded Gaia. Ignoring Gaia's call for help, he severs her arm, causing her to fall from Mount Olympus to her apparent death.

As Kratos continues his ascent, he overcomes various foes, including the Titan Perses and the god Helios causing the sun to disappear as the world is plunged into darkness. Encountering Hermes, who mocks Kratos, the Spartan chases after the god, which leads him to the Chamber of the Flame, where he learns that Pandora's Box is again key to the success of his quest. Here, Athena informs Kratos that the Flame of Olympus surrounding the box can only be quelled by its namesake. Continuing his pursuit of Hermes, Kratos catches him and kills the overconfident god which ends with Hermes' corpse releasing a plague onto mankind. Entering the Forum, Kratos has an audience with the drunken goddess Hera, who disregards Kratos' request for Pandora's location. She then calls upon the demigod Hercules, who discusses his jealousy of his half-brother. Hercules then attacks Kratos, but is killed. Using the teleportation device, the Hyperion Gate, Kratos travels to Tartarus, where he is forced to kill Cronos and later Hephaestus after he turns on Kratos claiming he was trying to protect his daughter Pandora. Reusing the Hyperion Gate, the Spartan travels through Hera's Gardens, where he kills the taunting goddess, causing the world's plant life to die with her. He then makes his way to the Labyrinth to find Pandora.

Meeting the imprisoned Daedalus, the architect instructs Kratos to unite the Labyrinth. Completing this task, Kratos fights his way through the aerial puzzle and rescues Pandora. She then instructs him to break the Chain of Balance, so the Labyrinth can be raised and she can reach Pandora's Box. Neutralizing the three Judges and breaking the chain, Kratos raises the Labyrinth and Pandora tries to enter the Flame of Olympus. Zeus intervenes, but after a brief battle, Pandora sacrifices herself, despite Kratos' protests, and quenches the flame. The Spartan discovers Pandora's Box is empty, and attacks the mocking Zeus. Gaia returns and tries to kill the pair—both escape through a gaping wound in her chest from the battle with Poseidon earlier, where they continue their battle. Gaia is killed when Kratos impales Zeus against the Titan's heart with the Blade of Olympus, an act which apparently also kills Zeus. Kratos recovers the blade and starts to leave, but is then attacked by Zeus' spirit. Losing consciousness, he is saved by Pandora during a journey into his own psyche. With the help of his wife Lysandra and daughter Calliope, Kratos forgives himself for his past sins. After revealing the power within himself, he regains consciousness, and beats Zeus to death.

Athena reappears, demanding that Kratos return what he apparently took from Pandora's Box. Kratos says the box was empty, which Athena refuses to believe. She explains that when Zeus sealed the evils of the world—greed, fear, and hate—in the box, she foresaw that it would eventually be opened and placed her own power—hope—in the box. Athena then realizes that when Kratos opened the box to defeat Ares, the evils escaped and infected the Olympian gods resulting in their obsession of eliminating Kratos, while Kratos was imbued with hope and used it to kill them. The goddess demands that Kratos return her power, saying that she knows how to use it to rebuild the world. Not trusting Athena, Kratos refuses, saying that his vengeance has ended and impales himself with the Blade of Olympus, releasing hope's power for all mankind. An angry Athena pulls the sword from Kratos, saying that he has disappointed her. Kratos, near death, collapses as Athena departs.

In a post-credits scene, a trail of blood is shown leading away from an abandoned Blade of Olympus, leaving Kratos' final fate unknown.

Development[edit]

Early development[edit]

In 2007, God of War creator and Game Director David Jaffe explained his original idea for the series. He stated that it would be "hell on earth" as the gods and Titans battle each other for domination and "God of War explains, or ultimately will explain, why there are no more Greek myths". Jaffe envisaged a different end to the series (as opposed to the actual ending of God of War III), involving other mythological pantheons when Kratos killed Zeus and the other Greek gods. The result would have been that mankind no longer believed in the gods, which according to Jaffe is the only way a deity can truly die.[13] God of War III was first discussed by God of War II's Game Director, Cory Barlog at a God of War II launch event.[14] Barlog stated that the game would have full 1080p HD resolution and support Sixaxis tilt and vibration functions.[15] This was announced before the DualShock 3 controller was introduced, causing confusion since the Sixaxis controller does not support rumble. Barlog also expressed an interest in a cooperative mode "if we can do something unique with it".[16] The first teaser for God of War III appeared as an image (the original PlayStation 3 logo, surrounded by the Greek omega) at the end of the instruction manual for the retail version of God of War: Chains of Olympus.[17] On July 15, 2008, a teaser trailer was screened at Sony's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) press conference.[18] On December 14, a second trailer premiered at the Spike Video Game Awards.[19] The dubbed "official" God of War III trailer was released on February 13, 2009.[20]

During the 2009 Game Developers Conference (GDC), the creative team noted that the Sixaxis capability had been removed due to the fact that they "could not find a suitable situation to use Sixaxis in the game effectively".[21] On December 8, Game Director Stig Asmussen (previously lead environment artist and art director on God of War and God of War II, respectively) told IGN that Cory Barlog "was with the team as Game Director for the first eight months of development," and that he "had a major impact on the game"; Asmussen became Game Director after Barlog's departure. Asmussen mentioned that although Barlog had left the team, they spoke several times and "bounced a few ideas off him," but there was not a formal collaboration. He also mentioned that David Jaffe "[had] been around the studio a few times" and that they "[had] gone over some high level stuff with him to get his observations and feedback."[22]

In November 2009, Asmussen told GamePro that although a multi-player option had been discussed, it was unsuitable for God of War III: "There's a story we want to tell and an experience we want to deliver, and multi-player doesn't fit into that." He noted that one of the biggest challenges in developing God of War III for the PlayStation 3 was the "complexity of everything", and that individual tasks could take a year because the "level of detail that's expected is so high and intricate, it crosses multiple departments." Asmussen claimed that the hardware capabilities of the PlayStation 3 allowed more flexibility in creating the characters of God of War III and allowed for further interaction with the environment, noting that overall game length was 10 to 20 hours "depending on how good of a gamer you are."[1] John Hight, studio director at Santa Monica, reassured players that God of War III lasts longer than 10 hours: "We've done a lot of play testing on it ... We know, for a really hardcore player, it'll take them longer than it took them to play either of the previous God of War games."[23] By December 2009, the game was in the final stages of development.[22]

Pre-launch[edit]

On December 16, 2008, Sony claimed that God of War III would be the last in the franchise.[24] In January 2010, however, John Hight told Joystiq that "while God of War III will conclude the trilogy, it won't spell the end of the franchise ... We're going to be really careful about what we do next".[25] Asmussen mentioned the possibility of downloadable content, noting that the game would be shipped with the regular challenge mode and they might release new challenges as downloadable content to maintain the series.[1] On March 23, 2009, it was revealed that Sony was seeking opinions about a Collector's Edition from current PlayStation 3 owners.[26] In October 2009, an "Ultimate Edition" was revealed for the North American release. An "Ultimate Trilogy Edition" was announced in December 2009 for a limited European, Australian, and New Zealand release. A "Trilogy Edition" was announced soon afterwards for Japan, where the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) gave the game an adults-only Z rating, after the previous two installments were considered suitable for teenagers aged 17.[27]

The finished game script was approximately 120 pages.[28] The amount of onscreen enemies increased from 15 (in previous installments) to a maximum of 50.[29] To light the game, Turtle (by Illuminate Labs) was used.[30] Christer Ericson of SCE Santa Monica Studio announced on his Twitter page that God of War III has seamless loading (no loading screens and no hard disk drive installation requirement).[31] In January 2010, it was confirmed that God of War III would have a native resolution of 720p instead of the originally announced 1080p.[32] On February 16, 2010, it was revealed that there are no true computer-generated imagery (CGI) cinematics in God of War III. SCE America animator Bruno Velazquez stated "that while the first two God of War titles certainly boasted CGI cinematics, there will actually be no true CGI in the third and final installment...Everything you see is 100% in-game."[33] Velazquez later clarified his statement: "When I mentioned that GOW3 has no CG, I was referring to the fact that we do not have pre-rendered scenes that were created outside of the game engine," instead, "all the cutscenes are created using our in-game engine; however, some scenes were just too epic to run real-time and thus are recorded videos."[34] New camera angles were added; during some major battles, the camera pans away from the fight sequence and the player can still control Kratos while the camera is panning. A first-person camera view was also used for the final portion of the Poseidon and Zeus boss fights.[35] According to Sony Santa Monica director of technology Tim Moss, God of War III used 35 gigabytes (GB) of Blu-ray Disc.[36] God of War III's budget was $44 million USD and the staff size was 132 at the end of the development.[37]

An exclusive God of War III game trailer debuted on Spike's GameTrailers TV on February 11, 2010.[38] On the US PlayStation.Blog, Asmussen confirmed that all footage from the trailer "is pulled straight from the game – there is no trickery, etc. Everything is running in 'real time.'" He also stated that "there are no 'cinematic' sequences here, meaning this is all gameplay".[39] A new trailer debuted at the launch of God of War III on March 16, 2010.[40] The game features 36 trophies, awarded for player achievements (e.g., "Releasing the Floodgates" for killing Poseidon). Upon receiving the platinum trophy, players are linked to the website spartansstandtall.com. On May 4, 2010, it was revealed that the site was a teaser (and the official website) for the second PlayStation Portable title in the franchise, God of War: Ghost of Sparta.[41]

Several voice actors returned to reprise their roles from previous installments, including Terrence C. Carson, Erin Torpey, Corey Burton, Debi Derryberry, and Gwendoline Yeo, who voiced Kratos, Athena, Zeus, Calliope, and Lysandra, respectively. Susan Blakeslee, who had voiced a couple of characters in the original installment, assumed the role of Gaia, who was previously voiced by Linda Hunt—though narrator throughout the previous installments, Hunt only provided an introductory narration. Actors such as Rip Torn, Natalie Lander, and Malcolm McDowell joined the cast of voice actors. Lloyd Sherr and Nolan North, who previously voiced Cronos and Hades, did not return to reprise those roles, and were replaced by George Ball and Clancy Brown, respectively. Actor Kevin Sorbo was chosen to voice Hercules because of his previous portrayal of the same character in the television series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.[42] Actor Elijah Wood also provided his voice in a minor role, and both Josh Keaton and Fred Tatasciore, who voiced characters in previous installments, voiced minor roles.[12]

Release[edit]

At E3 2009, the God of War III demo was revealed. Kratos was featured on the cliffs of Mount Olympus battling monsters (Olympian Legionnaires, a centaur, a chimera, and a cyclops). He decapitates the god Helios and encounters the Titan Perses, engages in "harpy riding", and uses the Blades of Athena and new weapons (the Nemean Cestus and Bow of Apollo). On October 28, 2009, SCE Europe sent emails to PlayStation Network members with an activation code for the demo. On October 30, GameStop began providing voucher codes for customers who pre-ordered the game.[43] Early copies of God of War Collection contained a voucher code to download the demo.[44][45]

On October 28, 2009, it was announced that all copies of the Blu-ray version of the feature film District 9 will have a copy of the God of War III demo and a "making of" featurette pre-loaded on the disc.[46][47] The Blu-ray version of District 9 was released on December 22, and the demo was made available to all current Qore subscribers on February 4, 2010.[48] On February 25, Sony Computer Entertainment released the demo for download on the PlayStation Store in Europe and North America.[49] On March 9, Eurogamer published an article comparing the graphics in the God of War III demo to those in the final game, showing improved lighting and motion blur in the final release.[50]

God of War III was first released in North America on March 16, 2010.[2] It was released on March 18 in Australia, March 19 in Europe, and March 25 in Japan. God of War III outsold its predecessor by nearly 400,000 units in its first week.[51] According to retail tracker NPD Group, God of War III sold approximately 1.1 million copies in the United States by the end of March 2010. It was the best-selling game on any console; its opening-month sales were 32 percent higher than those of its predecessor, God of War II.[52] By June 2012, God of War III had sold almost 5.2 million copies worldwide—approximately 2.8 million in North America, 2 million in PAL regions, and 417,866 in Japan and Asia—making it the best-selling game in the series.[53] The game is also available in the PlayStation 3's lineup of Greatest Hits.[54] On August 28, 2012, God of War III—along with the remastered versions of God of War, God of War II, God of War: Chains of Olympus, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta—was released as part of the God of War Saga under Sony's new line of PlayStation Collections for the PlayStation 3 in North America.[55]

Marketing[edit]

God of War III featured an extensive marketing campaign leading up to its release. In October 2009, SCE Santa Monica Studio announced the God of War III Ultimate Edition, available exclusively by pre-order in North America. The package included a sculpted replica of Pandora's Box, an exclusive limited-edition The Art of God of War III book, and downloadable content available via the PlayStation Network (PSN). The downloadable content included the "Challenge of Exile" mode, the "Dominus" costume for Kratos, the God of War: Unearthing the Legend documentary, the God of War Trilogy Soundtrack, and the God of War: Blood & Metal EP.[43] An Ultimate Trilogy Edition was released in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in limited quantities, containing all the contents of the Ultimate Edition, plus God of War Collection, four Kratos costumes, and God of War postcards.[56] A special God of War III PS3 bundle, including a 250 GB PS3 and a copy of God of War III, was also available in Europe.[23] A God of War III: Media Kit (with special packaging and content) was distributed to a limited number of journalists in the PAL regions, and several were given away as prizes on PlayStation Europe's website during the week of March 22, 2010.[57] In Japan, God of War III was released in two packages: a standalone version and a God of War Trilogy Edition—the latter included God of War III, God of War Collection, an art book, and a premium Kratos skin.[58]

As a pre-order bonus, some retailers included a premium costume for Kratos: the "Apollo" skin, the "Forgotten Warrior" skin, and the "Phantom of Chaos" skin, from Amazon.com, Game Crazy/Play.com, and GameStop, respectively. Additionally, pre-orders from GameStop included a 17 by 24 inches (43 cm × 61 cm) poster signed by Andy Park, concept artist for God of War III.[38] GameStop also held a "Be the Envy of the Gods" sweepstakes for all pre-order customers, with a number of prizes.[59] 7-Eleven accepted pre-orders with a God of War III poster as a bonus.[60] 7-Eleven also sold a special Slurpee drink called "Kratos' Fury" available in special God of War III Slurpee cups. The cups featured codes which could be used on the Slurpee website for God of War III downloadable content, such as a God of War III behind-the-scenes video, wallpapers, and an in-game Kratos skin (the Morpheus Armor).[61][62]

In December 2009, Santa Monica accepted video submissions from players to determine the "Ultimate God of War fan." The top 18 submissions are included in the ending credits of God of War: Unearthing the Legend, and all winners received a copy of the God of War III Ultimate Edition signed by the development team.[63][64] Sony and Spike TV hosted a "Last Titan Standing" competition, in which fans 21 years of age or older could win a chance to play God of War III before its mainstream release.[65][66] Spike's GameTrailers TV presented the God of War III: Last Titan Standing on March 15, 2010, and the winner received a specially-made God of War III PS3.[67] A week before God of War III's release, the developers released an exclusive feature called the "Path to Olympus" on the God of War website with backstory on Kratos.[68]

On March 20, 2010, a NASCAR vehicle driven by Joey Logano during the Scotts Turf Builder 300 had a God of War III and GameStop-themed paint design.[69] In April, Machinima.com released five "Art of the Game" videos for God of War III on the PlayStation Store, featuring exclusive interviews with team developers.[70] A line of action figures based on God of War III was produced by DC Unlimited.[71] For a brief time, early copies of God of War: Ghost of Sparta included a voucher to download the Deimos costume (Kratos' brother) for use in God of War III.[72] To commemorate God of War III entering Sony's library of Greatest Hits, Santa Monica hosted a sweepstakes from March 4 to April 1, 2011. Fans had the opportunity to submit an original design of their own "Ultimate God of War Monster" for one of three prizes: a limited folio edition, a special edition, and a paperback edition of The Art of God of War III book (each signed by the development team).[54]

Downloadable content[edit]

On November 2, 2010, the Dominus character skin and Challenge of Exile mode were released as a bundle on the PlayStation Store. The bundle is free for PlayStation Plus subscribers, who could (for a limited time) receive the Phantom of Chaos and Forgotten Warrior skins when purchasing God of War and God of War II respectively. All previous pre-order bonus costumes and the Morpheus Armor from the 7-Eleven promotion were later released on the PlayStation Store. The God of War III PlayStation Home t-shirts from the 7-Eleven promotion are also available.[73]

Soundtrack[edit]

God of War III: Original Soundtrack from the Video Game
Soundtrack album by Various composers
Released March 30, 2010 (2010-03-30)
Genre Contemporary classical music
Length 58:42
Label Sony Computer Entertainment

In March and April 2010, God of War III: Original Soundtrack from the Video Game—composed by Gerard K. Marino, Ron Fish, Mike Reagan, Jeff Rona, and Cris Velasco—was released as downloadable content through the God of War III Ultimate Edition and Ultimate Trilogy Edition by Sony Computer Entertainment.[43] It was released on CD on March 30.[74] A review from Square Enix Music Online (9/10) praised the soundtrack as an orchestral success, and the best score in the series to date.[75] G4 praised the soundtrack for outstanding quality, stating that it features strong compositions and that it was "fantastic" as a standalone listen.[76] At the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, the score was nominated for "Best Original Score".[77]


Reception[edit]

God of War III
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 92.63%[84]
Metacritic 92/100[83]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com A[78]
Eurogamer 9/10[79]
Game Informer 10/10[85]
GameSpot 9.0/10[80]
GameTrailers 9.2/10[86]
IGN 9.3/10[4]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 9/10[81]
PlayStation 3 Magazine 20/20[3]
X-Play 5/5[82]
Gamestyle 9/10[87]

God of War III received universal critical acclaim (games receiving a score ranging from 90 to 100 as aggregated by Metacritic[88]). According to PSM3, it is "simply one of the best games of all time."[3] Adam Sessler of X-Play stated that the game "finishes the trilogy on an exceptionally high note", and it "blends all of its best attributes into a stellar experience."[82] IGN's Chris Roper praised the game, stating that God of War III "practically redefines" the word "scale" regarding video games; they praised the way the Titans are larger than entire levels in other games.[4] Gamestyle's Garry Webber praised the title, stating "There's so much right with the game" that it is a "must-have exclusive" for the console.[87] Mike Jackson of Official PlayStation Magazine UK said that it is the biggest God of War game yet and if it were the last game in the series, "God of War III gives PlayStation's toughest hero the send-off he deserves."[81]

In regards to gameplay, Matt Leone of 1UP said that the game has "variety ... You seemingly see, acquire, and participate in something new around every corner". He said each weapon has unique abilities that it "adds a lot of depth to the combat system."[78] Christian Donlan of Eurogamer said that the "combat system, level flow and pacing of bosses and puzzles remains largely untouched. But everything's bigger, grander and more elaborate." He praised how accessible the weapons are because it is "so easy to switch between them on the fly".[79] Tom McShea of GameSpot said that the combat and scale "have been pushed further than ever before ... creating an experience so focused and explosively fun that it's hard to put down, and even harder to forget." He also said that regardless of repetition, "the brutality of combat is one of the most satisfying aspects of God of War III."[80] Joe Juba of Game Informer said that the words "visceral" and "brutal" are represented fully, and said that Kratos is "the undisputed king of the genre."[85]

The story received some praise, but a good bit of criticism. GameTrailers stated that God of War III "is some next level stuff" and praised the storyline, saying that God of War III makes Greek mythology more interesting.[86] Webber criticized the script, claiming that it "gets downright hokey at times".[87] GameFront's Phil Hornshaw criticized it for having an overly cruel antagonist, as well as making the assumption that the players themselves were reveling in the misery and violence as much as Kratos.[89] Donlan said that the story "couldn't be simpler".[79] McShea said that it does not pick up until near the end, but said it "becomes powerful and moving in unexpected ways, peaking in a thrilling conclusion that successfully touches on many different emotions and provides closure for this epic tale."[80] Juba, however, said the plot "doesn't have any standout revelations or developments".[85]

Praising the graphics, Jackson noted that they are as good (if not better) than those in Killzone 2 and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.[81] Juba also said that the "cinematic camera work [is] even more impressive than Naughty Dog's feats with Uncharted 2."[85] Roper said that "God of War III presents some of the most impressive visuals that I've ever seen in a game. Kratos in particular looks phenomenal, and is perhaps the single most impressive-looking character ever in videogames."[4] GameTrailers stated that "the levels are expertly designed" and the game's scale is "its most outstanding visual achievement."[86]

Of its complaints, Jackson said the familiarity of the core gameplay "makes it feel less than the very, very best."[81] Roper's only complaint was that two of the three additional weapons are similar to the main blades, noting that they "have unique powers and slightly different moves, but by and large they're more of the same."[4] Sessler felt that one puzzle was "particularly inappropriate."[82] McShea felt that it was not as diverse as God of War II.[80]

Awards and accolades[edit]

God of War III was the "Most Anticipated Game of 2010" at the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards,[90] and GameTrailers awarded it their "GameTrailers Diamond Award" for exceeding ten million views.[91] At the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, it was awarded "Best PS3 Game" and "Best Graphics", and Kratos received the "Biggest Badass" award. It was also a nominee for "Game of the Year", "Best Action Adventure Game", "Best Original Score", and "Character of the Year" (Kratos).[92] PS3 Attitude named it their "Game of the Year".[93] Other individual awards include "Best Action/Adventure Game" (Game Trailers),[94] "Best Action Game" (GameSpy),[95] "Best PS3 Game" (Game Revolution),[96] and "Best PS3 Exclusive" (Shacknews).[97] At the 2011 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Video Game Awards, God of War III received the "Artistic Achievement" award.[98] It was also a nominee for "Action" and "Gameplay".[99]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Notes[edit]

SCE Santa Monica Studio, ed. (2010). God of War III (Instruction manual). Sony Computer Entertainment. 

External links[edit]