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God of War 3 is more Return of the Jedi than Return of the King. For returning gamers like me, who remember Athenian games on the Spectrum, this is a wonderfully up-scaled version of those ambitious little titles.
Bayonetta, a darling of critics everywhere, left me cold. I was pinning my hopes on God of War 3 to re-ignite my thirst for the visceral hack and slash genre popularised by Dungeons and Dragons, Golden Axe and Devil May Cry.
It maybe worth pointing out that I've never played PlayStation exclusive God of War or its first sequel - something I plan to redress once the re-mastered God of War: Collection is released. To use a filmic analogy: I was about to watch Return of the Jedi without ever seeing Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back. However, I had it on good authority that God of War 3 could be played without any prior knowledge.
Olympian video games have enthralled me since Gift from the Gods graced the ZX Spectrum in 1984. Despite the generation gap, both Gift from the Gods and God of War 3 are epic revenge fantasies wrapped in the trappings of Greek mythology.
The player is plunged into the action as Kratos battles the undead to defend a female titan scaling Mount Olympus - much to the chagrin of the Gods. The frenetic pace, sweeping camera angles, aping Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and surround sound, induced a migraine and I was forced to put down the controller after only a few minutes of game play! This isn't a negative. It's symptomatic of an overwhelming opening sequence that the Clash of the Titans reboot would be envious of.
Death dealing has never looked more picturesque than it does in God of War 3. The game's aesthetic is most reminiscent of BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic. To be honest I had, incorrectly, assumed that it was a BioWare release. It doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to see Kratos, himself, as a Sith Lord.
It's mostly operatic in nature and didn't disturb me as much as Resident Evil.
Much has been made of the visceral violence in God of War 3: from decapitating limbs to beheadings, in all of which you play a pivotal part. But, it's mostly operatic in nature and didn't disturb me as much as Resident Evil Code: Veronica - that game was the stuff of nightmares.
However, it's not exactly 'family friendly' and I'd politely suggest thinking twice about playing this alongside a family game of Wii Sport Resorts! It's worth pointing out that amongst this melee, there's sexual content too. The camera doesn't pan away, and you could find yourself fielding awkward questions from younger gamers.
I can't imagine that the franchise will end here. It's too lucrative.
This is the third act and has a satisfying conclusion unlike most trilogies. For those of us who haven't played the previous instalments, there's now a compelling motivation to do so. But I can't imagine that the franchise will end here. It's too lucrative and the PlayStation needs exclusives. However, I hope that the developers will allow Kratos to retire with dignity and serve up something fresh, exciting and worthy of the mantle.
By turns breathtaking and awe inspiring, I was still left wondering if there could have been more imagination and less regurgitation applied to the development of such an auspicious title.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: