Kratos may be the biggest asshole in games. There’s more straight-up evil out there, certainly, but in terms of just being a straight-up, unabashed JERK, Kratos has probably got ’em all beat! He’s just so angry all the time! He’s just gotta get out those chain blades and murderize some guys! He’s all about murderin’ gods and bangin’ goddesses, and if you think that’s crass, well… that’s kinda the point. God of War is all about sex and violence, this kind of just glorious, unrestrained spectacle.
Greek mythology is already pretty spectacularly horrific, and this is the most populist, pulp-y rendition you could imagine. There’s something a little embarrassing, maybe a little bit adolescent about it all, like maybe this is all really just for fourteen-year-old boys, and maybe if God of War wasn’t as well made as it is, Kratos would seem just as sad and pitiful as Duke Nukem did a few years ago.
But it is very well made. The scale is just so grandiose, and these sweeping vistas and massive set-piece moments are done on a level you don’t really see in other games. This was my first time playing God of War 3, and even five years and a console generation later, the spectacle is still incredibly impressive. Now I’m climbing the hand of a titan as it punches a giant boss which I’m also fighting! That’s great! And ridiculous! And dumb! And great! And here, in a video game, there’s just this sense of good god how did they even do that on a technical level.
If you’re not familiar with how the series plays, it’s a somewhat similar to a Devil May Cry or Bayonetta, but much simpler. You’ve got light and heavy attacks on Square and Triangle, and most of your time is gonna be spent just kinda mashing those two buttons until your enemies are dead. You’ve got grabs, launchers, dodges, and parries, but it never really achieves the depth of a more traditional character action game. It’s attack until you see somebody attacking you, dodge or parry, and get back to attacking. I’m not terribly deep into the game at this point, though it’s clear that additional weapons and moves will unlock over the course of the story, and hopefully add a bit more depth and variety.
But whatever, there are about a million and one reviews of God of War 3 out there. This is about the brand new Remaster for PS4! It’s… new! And remaster-y! And it’s an incredibly barebones package. It runs at 60FPS rather than the original game’s 30. And… that’s it. It looks nice, certainly, but for forty bucks, that’s a bad deal. The God of War Saga Collection for PS3 contains this game and four others and is $20. That paints this minor upgrade in a pretty bad light. This game doesn’t even have DLC to collect in a single package or multiplayer to update on modern consoles. It’s just a slightly-smoother running version of it.
This is a pretty good version of a pretty good game, but the price just isn’t right. There are already way too many HD Remasters and so-called Ultimate Editions coming out for these platforms, and this kind of barebones repackaging just isn’t worthwhile.