GAME PREVIEW – God Of War 3 Demo Impressions (PlayStation 3)

By Marty Mulrooney

GodOfWar3Poster

The God Of War 3 demo hits the UK PSN today, so I thought it would be a good idea to let Alternative Magazine Online’s readers know my thoughts so far! Please bare in mind that this is a preview of the demo shown at E3 2009. Therefore, it is an earlier build and there could very well be some changes/improvements by the time the game goes on sale next month.

  • The demo shows a small section of the game (around 20 minutes if you take your time), with Kratos battling upon the cliffs of Mount Olympus against various bad guys whilst a giant Titan (Perses) plods around in the distance. The sense of scale is incredible. This is definitely not the very beginning of the game as several weapons and abilities are already available and the overall story is still a mystery even after playing.
  • From the outset, the power of the PS3 is on full display. Apart from the initial load time at the beginning, the demo is seamless: there are no further load times at all. The main menu shows Kratos’ angry face in an insane amount of detail, you can literally see the pores of his skin. Pressing X to begin the demo, the camera swoops back behind Kratos as Helios the Sun God flies overhead on fire. The sudden switch to gameplay is seamless. I can therefore only assume that nearly all cutscenes use in-game assets. It seems the CGI movies of the past two games in the series are history, which in this case can only be a good thing: the graphics are outstanding both in-game and during cinematics.
  • The controls are largely unchanged which should please long time fans of the series. I was actually really surprised at how many Blades Of Athena combos I remembered straight off the bat: I was a swirling blur of death and destruction within seconds of taking control, enemies flying in every direction. There are even some cool new moves as well, such as grabbing an enemy with Circle before tapping Square to use them as a battering ram American football-style, smashing into nearby foes. Brutal, powerful and very satisfying.
  • Orbs are still plentiful in GOW3. Red orbs act as currency from slain enemies, and green orbs are of course for health (usually from chests). The demo doesn’t feature any blue orbs at all: firing the bow and arrow does deplete the yellow meter underneath the health one, but it refills automatically.
  • One new mechanic I noticed is Harpy jumping. Sounds a bit mad but once you get the hang of it, it works rather well. You shoot an arrow at a nearby Harpy to get its attention, then grab onto it with your blades. The analogue stick forces the Harpy forward, with a tap of X letting you leap onto to the next Harpy and then the next. Useful for traversing large gaps!
  • You can also do something similar later on with the huge Cyclops enemy. You can’t really attack the smaller enemies at one point because they have shields, so instead after some well-timed QTE’s you can actually ride a nearby Cyclops enemy and use his power against them, pressing square or triangle for light/heavy attacks. Sure it feels slightly sluggish but then again it adds to the feeling that the creature is resisting being driven and it is a lot of fun! This was already done in Batman: Arkham Asylum last year but it arguably works better here: it will be interesting to see how often this mechanic crops up in the full game.
  • QTE’s are still here and they offer some of the most brutal moments in the demo. At first I found them slightly annoying because instead of being in the scene (like in Heavy Rain) they instead pop up at the sides of the screen, which is rather distracting at first. Then I realised that the side a button prompt appeared on matched its position on the pad, so for example Circle will appear on the far right side of the screen. This then allowed me to focus on the action in the middle and hit the buttons based on their position at the sides as seen from the corners of my eyes: again it works rather well, but it could perhaps be slightly improved in the final build.
  • One amazingly cool/gory moment occurs when you obtain Helios’ head (don’t want to reveal too much, although it has been shown before now). Your new toy works a treat, lighting up dark areas and vibrating when close to secret doors. Again, it will be interesting to see how this comes into play throughout the full game, as it is only used once in the demo. The dark areas look amazing though, with Helios’ head lighting up enemies momentarily and shadows dancing wildly from Kratos’ flaming blades. It all looks really atmospheric and real: this wouldn’t have been possible on PS2, even at a lower res.
  • The final section brings the Wings of Icarus into play, with Kratos jumping into a massive vertical shaft full of blasting air. As he flies up towards the surface, you use the left analogue stick to avoid obstacles such as beams, falling debris and even flaming boulders. This is a very tense section and you really do feel completely involved, the speed is insane! The demo ends as you reach the surface, the Titan Perses looking mighty pissed as Kratos draws his blades and flies towards his face… to a black screen with the release date. What a money shot!
  • Special mention must also be made about the sound effects and music. They are suitably loud and the soundtrack sounds as epic as ever. Of course, the game will be fully voice acted but sadly we don’t hear much of this in the demo. Kratos is still sounding really badass though so that bodes well and I am sure when the full game comes out and the true extent of the story is revealed, we will be treated to some grade-A vocal performances throughout.
  • Overall, God Of War 3 is looking incredible. Keeping in mind that this is a build from 2009 (shown at E3), the final release next month should be a total knock-out. I am still unsure just how much the gameplay is going to differ from the last two (I am thinking it will perhaps be the epic set pieces and unparalleled sense of scale that sets this game apart from its predecessors) but technology-wise, this is polished to perfection. Between this and Heavy Rain, the PlayStation 3 is finally hitting its stride. I actually think this early build of God Of War 3 surpasses the much-heralded Uncharted 2, which is very impressive. High praise indeed, but don’t just take my word for it… go download the demo yourself!
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3 Comments

Filed under Alternative Musings, Games

3 responses to “GAME PREVIEW – God Of War 3 Demo Impressions (PlayStation 3)

  1. Fantastic preview, I think I’ll wait for the full game to arrive rather than download the demo and spoil things though.

    This will be my first GOW game so am really looking forward to the next 3 weeks passing quickly.

    10/10 for the preview.

    • lenfred

      hey Daddycee, you may as well get the demo as it doesnt reveal anything of the storyline. What i don’t get though, is how Kratos kills the Gods in the game!?

  2. Sloppy

    I played GOW Chains of Olympus on the PSP and loved it which is why i was looking forward to this on my PS3.

    Yes this review just about sums the GOW 3 demo up. To be honest i have just put the game controller down and i am still awe struck.

    Brother was sat in the same room and when i completed the demo i looked round and he was sat there with his jaw wide open. I hope that what they packed into the demo is also crammed into the full version indeed there are fantastic moments just about round every corner. My only criticism about this games is that its not out NOOOOOOOOOOOOW! lol

    I normally buy pre-owened games but i have to say i will certainly splash out for the full new version.

    I big thanks to everybody involved in the making of this truly awesome game.

    Nice review btw Marty Mulrooney, thanks.

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