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 Gamezone Preview

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PostSubject: Gamezone Preview   Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:06 am

When expectations run high and then are either met or exceeded, not only is that a rare attribute, but it is a joyful moment. God of War III is the final chapter in the story of Kratos, the Spartan commander turned pawn of the ancient Greek gods. But even more so, GoW III is the first time that Kratos has appeared in a game built for the PlayStation 3 console system.

The result, as witnessed during an SCEA event in Los Angeles at the start of the week, is nothing short of jaw-dropping wonderment.

SCEA showed off a trailer, built from in-game assets, and a bit of a level at the Clarity Theater in Beverly Hills. Game Director Stig Asmussen hosted the event and it was made very clear that no release date would be forthcoming until the E3 event in June.

While the storyline itself was not totally revealed, what was mentioned was that Kratos, tired of being used, is bent on killing his father, Zeus. To that end, the world is embroiled in a Great War and the titans have sided with Kratos. Titan gameplay elements are central to the game. Much of the action either takes place with titans battling the gods in the background (which can quickly become the foreground) or it actually can take place on a titan.

Imagine Kratos running through a forest before charging head-long it an enemy army of undead with a Cyclops behind it. The battle seemingly takes place within a valley, and Kratos mounts the Cyclops and uses it to help smash the enemies (ride able mounts are just one of the new gameplay elements being introduced). Just as it seems the battle is well in hand, the ground goes from horizontal to vertical. The battlefield, you see, was not on terra firma, but rather on a titan.

Those who remember the massive size of Medusa’s Lair from GoW II may be surprised to know that the entire lair would fit into the palm of a titan’s hand.

But to further give an idea of the size of GoW III, the character model of Kratos – replete with muscle tone that moves as the Spartan demi-god moves, and texturing that reflects lighting – would not fit onto a PS2 system … that’s just the model of Kratos alone.

“We couldn’t have set the bar any higher,” Asmussen said. The team worked to draw from the “franchise experience” and used “PS3 technology to create ground-breaking gameplay moments.”

“And it’s all about scale. I can promise you we are working on a scale and scope that I’ve never seen done.”

“When we started off writing the script for God of War, these are the factors we used: the first was bridging the series,” Asmussen said. “Key moments and things that were relevant in the first two games are profound in this game. We are making a story that is a refresher course for fans of the series but serves as an introduction for the new players.

“Expect God of War III to not only be a violent, physical struggle, but a violent and emotional battle as well.”

Some of the core elements to GoW III include:

The titan gameplay elements


Ride-able enemy characters. Kratos can subdue and mount creatures

New weapon system: we wanted to come up with weapons that were as deep as the blades (players always went back to the blades). You can shift on the fly with the weapons, all seamless and feels natural

Large-scale battles: we’ve integrated a bunch of new grab moves and attacks that do evolve when more creatures appear on the screen.

As with all previous God of War titles, III will be a streaming game experience, which means no loads. And while the audio should be the best yet, there is little doubt that the GoW III visual experience is one of the, if not THE, most visceral titles to ever grace a PS3 console.

In one of the levels shown, Kratos had grabbed the head of Helios, the god of the sun, and was pulling on the head in an effort to tear it off. Not only could you see the muscles knotting and straining on Kratos, but you could see Helio’s eyes bulging, the anguish contorting his face and then the tendons in his neck starting to tear.

The game, obviously, will not be for the squeamish. And while brutal it was all within the confines of the game and the character of Kratos.

By any standard, GoW III, even in the stage presented during the Los Angeles event, is a monumental achievement.

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