I have played one game almost all the way through three times off three separate discs—2010’s “God of War III.” I really admired the game on its initial release, played a lot of it again on “God of War Saga” in 2012, and expected just to casually take a look at the remastered version out this week for the PS4. Before I knew it, I was near the end, having plugged hours into one of the most addictive and fun games of the half-decade (in fact, noticing that I put it in the runner-ups on this list makes me wonder if I should have found space for it in the top ten).
That’s one of the most remarkable things about “God of War III”—it is a masterpiece of momentum. It carries the gamer away as it pushes through a story that’s difficult to disengage from. The pace is relentless and remarkable, clearly influencing games we’re seeing five years later. Playing it a third time, it’s easier to appreciate how games like “Arkham Knight” and even “Bloodborne” have taken elements of it over the years. From the intense violence (which still has the ability to shock) to the marriage of narrative within the action (instead of the old-fashioned cut-scene/action division of the ‘90s and ‘00s), “God of War III” seems to become more essential to the history of gaming every year. And now you can play “God of War III: Remastered” in full 1080p and with photo mode on your PS4. There are a LOT of remastered games on the PS4 (arguably too many), but this is one of the best.First things first—“God of War III: Remastered” doesn’t look that notably different from the version you played on the PS3.
Visually, it’s an issue of depth. There’s a bit more shading around Kratos’ arms and legs, giving a field of vision that looks deeper than on the PS3. As so much of “God of War III” takes place in the distance—whether it be giant enemies crushing cities or chains that seem to rise to the heavens—the visual polish is impressive but you won’t notice too much of an upgrade in the basic combat of the game. From minute to minute, “God of War III” looks basically the same on the PS4 as it did on the PS3. If you want a game that’s REALLY been remastered play “The Last of Us” or “Tomb Raider.”
If you’re one of those rare people who hasn’t played “God of War III,” it is one of the most impressive action games in terms of scale. Just the prologue alone is mind-blowing as giant Gods battle for dominance and Kratos, one of the most legendary characters in gaming history, literally clings to their side. Kratos climbs Mount Olympus, defeats Poseidon, challenges Hades himself, meets Pandora, and even confronts Zeus, his father. It is a game that is constantly impressing with its scale, and its notable violence. You will gouge out eyes and rip off heads. And it’s not a game with a moral core that allows you to choose not to be an ultra-violent maniac. You are. You will be. It’s called “God of War” for a reason.
Technically, “God of War III” was the seventh game chronologically in this breakthrough, influential series. “God of War” and its sequel were released for the PS2 in 2005 and 2007. The same year as the sequel, “God of War: Betrayal” was released as a mobile game. You may not have heard of it. You don’t need to. It’s unessential. On the other end of the spectrum, the best two games EVER released for the PSP are 2008’s “God of War: Chains of Olympus” and 2010’s “God of War: Ghost of Sparta,” which came out the same year as “God of War III.” 2013 saw the highly-anticipated but kinda disappointing “God of War: Ascension.”
Where does Kratos go from here? At the PlayStation Experience last Winter, Sony revealed that another game in the series is in very early development. What does that mean? It could be 2017 or even 2018 before the inevitable “God of War IV.” Based on how the last five years have gone, it seems likely I’ll play “God of War III” again before that day finally comes.