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God of War III

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God of War III is an action-adventure video game for PlayStation 3, developed by Sony Santa Monica, published by Sony Computer Entertainment and released worldwide in March 2010. It is the fifth and final chapter in the current story arc, chronologically after God of War: Chains of Olympus, God of War, God of War: Betrayal, and God of War II. God of War III, however, will not be the last God of War game of the series.

God of War III has been met with universal critical acclaim with a score of 93% and 94% on review aggregators Metacritic and GameStats respectively. It is hailed by many critics as the best God of War game and one of the best PlayStation 3 games. According to GameRankings the game is currently the second best reviewed game of 2010, behind Mass Effect 2, but it the top rated PS3 game for 2010.

Gameplay

God of War III features gameplay similar to that of previous installments. The player controls Kratos in a combination of combat, platforming, and puzzle game elements. Kratos’s main weapons are the Blades of Exile (notwithstanding the short period at the beginning where Kratos wields the Blades of Athena). Other new weapons include the Claws of Hades, the Nemesis Whip (made from the Omphalos Stone by Hephaestus), and the Nemean Cestus (a pair of fist gauntlets shaped like lion heads acquired from Hercules). This new weapon has the ability to smash through solid objects made of onyx and to plow through enemy shields, but has a slightly smaller range than the extending chains on the Blades of Exile. The Claws of Hades and Nemesis Whip are similar to the Blades of Exile, both being used in the same fashion as the Blades of Exile, but with their own combos and magic abilities.

Unlike the previous games in the series, the use of magic is limited to the weapon that is equipped. For example, the Army of Sparta is only available to use when Kratos is equipped with the Blades of Exile. The Army of Sparta is also where the blades get their name because they let Kratos summon his exiled Spartan brothers. Each weapon has its own magic ability. The Golden Fleece, Icarus Wings, and Poseidon’s Trident are kept from Kratos’ adventure in God of War II. Kratos also gains Hades’ Soul which allows him to swim through the River Styx safely. The Blade of Olympus, rather than being used as a regular weapon like the Blades of Exile, is used with the ability “The Rage of Sparta.” The Rage of Sparta replaces Rage of the Titans from God of War II and Rage of the Gods from God of War. When The Rage of Sparta is activated, the screen has a red glow around it and Kratos wields the Blade of Olympus becoming momentarily invincible. The Blade of Olympus is also sometimes used in the ending battle sequence when Kratos is about to kill a god or titan. A new feature to God of War III is the use of items. These items act similarly to magic from the previous installments, but when they are used, the item bar is depleted (as opposed to the magic bar). Furthermore, although the use of items is limited by the length of the item bar, the bar refills automatically, which is in heavy contrast to the previous games. Items that Kratos uses in God of War III include the Bow of Apollo, the Head of Helios, and the Boots of Hermes. Unlike God of War 2; when you finish the game, you do not have the option of starting a new game with your upgraded weapons.

Combos from previous titles also make a return as well as new combos; in addition, Kratos gains the ability to rapidly switch between weapons mid-battle, changing weapons with an attack and allowing the combo to continue. Another new feature of the game is the combat grapple, a ranged grab maneuver that either pulls Kratos towards his enemies or pushes them away, depending on which weapon is equipped. The number of enemies onscreen has been increased to 50 as opposed to the maximum of 15 in previous God of War installments. Also making a return from the previous games are the Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers which are used to increase the length of the health and magic bar respectively. In addition, Minotaur Horns have been added to increase the length of the items bar. As opposed to the previous games where six of these items were needed to be found (five in Chains of Olympus), only three of each are needed to be found. These items are also placed in a different styled chest, as opposed to the previous games where these items were placed in similar chest to all other chests, except without having a glowing color. During the leviathan This fight can be seen at the end of the “Vengeance” trailer. The sex mini-game also returns from previous installments, but in this game, it links into the story rather than just being in the game with no real connection to the story. With this game, instead of Kratos sleeping with two random girls, he sleeps with the goddess Aphrodite while two of her female servants watch. The player, however, does have the choice to not sleep with her. It should also be noted that Aphrodite is the only god in the game that Kratos does not kill. fight, the camera pans out away from the fight sequence, however, the player can still control Kratos while the camera is panning out adding a new level of gameplay to the fight sequences.

Game director Stig Asmussen claimed that the hardware capabilities of the PlayStation 3 allow more flexibility in creating the characters of God of War III and allow for further interaction with the environment. Christer Ericson of SCE Santa Monica Studio announced on his Twitter page that God of War III has seamless loading. Meaning there are No Loading screens and No HDD installation requirement. The game features 36 Trophies, which upon obtaining the platinum trophy, players are linked to the website, spartansstandtall.com.

Like the previous installments, the game features a challenge mode called the “Challenge of Olympus”, with seven challenges. There is also a bonus challenge mode that was included in both the Ultimate and Ultimate Trilogy Editions of the game called the “Challenge of Exile”, with seven more challenges. In addition to the challenge mode, a new mode has been added called the “Combat Arena”. Here, players have the options to set up their own battles with several different enemies. Stig Asmussen has said that more challenges might be added as downloadable content to keep the series going.

Plot

God of War III picks up immediately where God of War II ended, with Kratos riding on Gaia as she and the other TitansMount Olympus to assault the Gods. Atop the mountain, Hermes, Poseidon, Hades, and Helios mount a defensive, taking out a few of the Titans. After defeating and killing Poseidon, Kratos and Gaia reach Zeus, only to be knocked off Mt. Olympus by Zeus’ lightning bolt. As Gaia tries to climb back up, Kratos begins to slip off her back. Gaia states that she cannot help him and that the Titans war with the gods is more important than Kratos’ revenge. Kratos falls off Gaia as she continues upward. climb

During the fall Kratos and the Blade of Olympus are separated, with Kratos landing in the River Styx. As he swims to shore, the souls of the underworld take away all of Kratos’ power and health, except for the Golden Fleece and IcarusAthena’s ghost, who gives him the Blades of Exile in return for his trust. Later, Kratos recovers the Blade of Olympus, and with Athena to once again guide him, he sets out to find Zeus. Wings. Kratos’ Blades of Athena are also ruined in the river. Emerging from the river, Kratos encounters

Along the way, Kratos eliminates many of the remaining gods and their servants including Hades, Helios, Hermes, Hercules, Hera, and Hephaestus. Upon death, the god’s bodies unleash fatal calamities across the world, including floods and plagues. Kratos also encounters Gaia, whose hand he severes, sending her plummeting off Mount Olympus.

Kratos eventually learns that Pandora’s Box still exists after his encounter with Ares. Protected by the Flame of Olympus, its contents are said to still be able to slay a god. Kratos travels to various locations to find the key to opening Pandora’s Box, learning later that Pandora herself is the key and that only she can pacify the Flame of Olympus. After killing several foes, including Cronos, Kratos makes his way to where Pandora is being held, the Labyrinth.

Kratos and Pandora return to the room where her box is being held. There, they encounter Zeus, and Kratos attacks him as he tries to stop Pandora. After Kratos knocks down Zeus, Pandora is able to sacrifice herself, thereby quenching the flame. Kratos opens Pandora’s Box, only to discover that it is empty. Enraged, Kratos finds Zeus at a nearby balcony, where they once again engage in battle. Suddenly, Gaia returns and attacks them both. To avoid her assault, they jump inside Gaia via a hole near her neck. Inside of Gaia, Kratos and Zeus battle, ending with Kratos stabbing both Zeus and Gaia’s heart with the Blade of Olympus, killing them both.

Near where Gaia attacked Kratos and Zeus, Kratos awakens, taking the Blade of Olympus out of Zeus’s body. With Zeus’s physical form defeated, his spirit attacks Kratos, rendering him weaponless. As Zeus’s spirit is about to kill Kratos, Kratos retreats inside of his own psyche. There, Kratos finally forgives himself for his past sins, and learns that hope is his most powerful weapon. Coming to, Kratos breaks free and kills Zeus.

Athena’s spirit appears, demanding Kratos give her the weapon he took out of Pandora’s Box. He replies that it was empty, a fact Athena cannot believe. Athena explains that when Zeus imprisoned the world’s evil within the Box, she feared what may happen should it ever be opened, and placed her own power within the Box, hope. Athena realizes that when Kratos opened the Box to defeat Ares, the evil escaped and infected the gods, while Kratos was endowed with Athena’s power. Athena again demands Kratos return her power, believing she knows how best to use it to rebuild the world. Instead, Kratos takes his own life with the Blade of Olympus, releasing the power for all of mankind to use. Enraged, Athena states that the world won’t know what to do with hope, and that she is disappointed with Kratos’ actions. On the ground, in a pool of his own blood, Kratos is still slowly breathing as Athena walks away, the camera fading to black as the credits begin.

At the end of the credits, Kratos is no longer at the spot where he collapsed next to the Blade of Olympus, with only a trail of blood leading over the edge of the nearby cliff.

Voice cast

  • TC Carson – Kratos
  • Corey Burton – Zeus
  • Susan Blakeslee – Gaia
  • April Stewart – Aphrodite
  • Erin Torpey – Athena
  • Debi Derryberry – Calliope
  • George Ball – Cronos
  • Malcolm McDowell – Daedalus
  • Clancy Brown – Hades
  • Crispin Freeman – Helios
  • Adrienne Barbeau – Hera
  • Kevin Sorbo – Hercules
  • Greg Ellis – Hermes
  • Rip Torn – Hephaestus
  • Natalie Lander – Pandora
  • Gideon Emery – Poseidon
  • Gwendoline Yeo – Kratos’ Wife
  • Linda Hunt – Narrator (opening credits)

Development

God of War III was first discussed by Cory Barlog at a God of War II launch event. He said that the game would run at full 1080p HD resolution, and the game would support Sixaxis tilt and vibration functions. This was stated before the DualShock 3 controller was announced; therefore causing confusion as the Sixaxis controller did not support rumble. Barlog also expressed an interest in adding a cooperative mode “if we can do something unique with it”. In November 2009, Stig Asmussen, Game Director for God of War III, told GamePro that multi-player wouldn’t work in God of War III. He said that “with God of War 3, there’s a story we want to tell and an experience we want to deliver, and multiplayer doesn’t fit into that.” However, he did mention that there were conversations about multi-player and that there were a lot of things for them to think about. When the game went gold on February 20, 2010, it was confirmed that multiplayer was not included. In March 2009 during the Game Developers Conference, the developers stated that the Sixaxis capabilities have been removed, due to the fact that the developers “could not find a suitable situation to use Sixaxis in the game effectively”, and have decided to scrap the idea altogether rather than put it in and have it working poorly. In November 2009, however, Stig Asmussen told GamePro that they were not completely done with the Sixaxis support. He said they weren’t currently using it, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t get something for it by the time the game ships, which the game went gold on February 20, 2010 and did not include Sixaxis support.[1] In contrast to Cory Barlog saying God of War III would support full 1080p HD resolution, the game’s native resolution is 720p with support for 1080i.

In 2007, God of War director David Jaffe stated that, “God of War explains, or ultimately will explain, why there are no more Greek myths.” He has also stated that it will be “hell on earth” as the gods and the titans battle each other for domination. Though Jaffe and Barlog left Sony for other opportunities, they are still credited for the series. On December 8, 2009, Stig Asmussen told IGN that Cory Barlog “was with the team as Game Director for the first eight months of development,” and that “he has had a major impact on the game.” He also mentioned that even though Cory left the team, they spoke several times and “bounced a few ideas off him,” but there was no formal collaboration. He also mentioned that David Jaffe “has been around the studio a few times” and that they’ve spoken as well and “have gone over some high level stuff with him to get his observations and feedback” on a few occasions.

In November 2009, Stig Asmussen told GamePro that one of the biggest challenges in developing God of War III on the PlayStation 3 was the “complexity of everything.” He said that with the previous games, it would only take a few months to do one thing, now it took them to about a year to do that one thing because the “level of detail that’s expected is so high and intricate, it crosses multiple departments.” He also mentioned that the game should fall in between 10 to 20 hours, “depending on how good of a gamer you are.” John Hight, studio director at Santa Monica, reassured that God of War III lasts longer than 10 hours. “We’ve done a lot of play testing on it,” Hight said. “We know, for a really hardcore player, it’ll take them longer than it took them to play either of the previous God of War games.” In December 2009, Asmussen told IGN that they were in the final stages of development. “The entire game is together from start to finish and we’re working our butts off putting on the finishing touches.”

The first teaser for God of War III appeared on the back of the instruction manual of the retail version of God of War: Chains of Olympus, depicting the then PlayStation 3 logo surrounded by the omega logo and stating below that the game is ‘coming soon’. On July 15, 2008, a teaser trailer was shown at SCE’s E3 press conference. It involves a monologue by Zeus regarding the rise to power of the Olympians and how their rule is now threatened. As Zeus urges his fellow gods to war, the scene cuts from the burning countryside around Mount Olympus to a ruined temple, upon which a shadowed Kratos stands. Zeus concludes his speech, saying “In the end, he will suffer! In the end, we will triumph! In the end…” at which point, Kratos cuts in with the game’s tagline “There will be only Chaos!”

On December 14, 2008, another trailer premiered at the Spike Video Game Awards. It opens with Kratos saying “My vengeance is everything.” The trailer proceeds with scenes of Kratos attacking groups of undead, harpies, a cyclops, and a centaur. The trailer shows Kratos wielding two massive, fiery gauntlet weapons called the Cestus. Kratos’ final words are “Everything must come to an end!” The dubbed “official” God of War III trailer was released on February 13, 2009, entitled Fear Nothing. This trailer is an expansion of the last one, featuring Kratos running through a forest-like terrain of Gaia’s back, fighting several enemies, including a centaur and the final enemy, a cyclops, while destroying a chain that was keeping Gaia from advancing towards Olympus. While this occurs, Kratos monologues on who he is and how it all came down to this, with the final line being “I fear nothing.”  A new God of War III game trailer debuted exclusively on Spike’s GameTrailers TV on February 11, 2010. The new trailer, called “Vengeance”, showed new gameplay footage in a Hollywood movie style. The footage showed the Blade of Olympus which it’s whereabouts were previously unknown and a short scene in which Zeus grapples Kratos. The footage also showed a scene where Kratos is on Gaia’s back when a leviathan attacks her arm in which Kratos must fight. On the US PlayStation Blog, Stig Asmussen confirmed that all footage from the trailer “is pulled straight from the game – there is no trickery, etc. Everything is running in ‘real time.'” He also said that “there are no ‘cinematic’ sequences here, meaning this is all gameplay.” All four trailers, in addition to three wallpapers for the PS3, are currently available to download and view in 720p or 1080pPlayStation Store. A new trailer was released alongside the launch of from the God of War III on March 16, 2010 titled “Chaos”.

On December 16, 2008, Sony claimed that God of War III will be the last in the franchise. In January 2010, however, John Hight told Joystiq that “while God of War III will conclude the trilogy, it won’t spell the end of the franchise”. With the third game “capping off what we started with God of War,” Hight says we should expect more God of War games to follow, but the decision on where to take the franchise after the initial trilogy (and portable prequel) won’t be taken lightly. “We’re going to be really careful about what we do next,” he assures.

The script for the game is approximately 120 pages long. In a February 2009 interview, God of War III director Stig Asmussen mentioned the possibility of downloadable content. In November 2009, he told GamePro that the game might be shipped with a certain amount of challenges, and that they might put out a download pack with new challenges to keep the series going. In the development of lighting the game, Illuminate Labs product Turtle was used. On March 23, 2009, it emerged that Sony was asking current PlayStation 3 owners what type of content they’d like in a Collector’s Edition. From this, God of War Collection was made. In October 2009, an “Ultimate Edition” was revealed for the North American release. An “Ultimate Trilogy Edition” was announced in December 2009 for a limited European, Australian, and New Zealand release. A “Trilogy Edition” was announced soon after for Japan, where CERO, after the previous two were considered suitable for teenagers. gave the game an adults-only Z rating

On February 16, 2010, it was revealed that there are no true CGI cinematics in God of War III. SCEA says their in-game PS3 engine is plenty capable of blending the non-interactive sequences with the interactive, so there’s basically no difference between the two. SCEA animator Bruno Velazquez said “that while the first two God of War titles certainly boasted CGI cinematics, there will actually be no true CGI in the third and final installment.” He continues to say that “Everything you see is 100% in-game. All camera features, including motion blur, run real-time in the cinematics and in-game. For this game we decided to try and blend in the cinematic sequences with the in-game sequences, so all models and assets are used for cinematics and for in-game.”

Later, he clarified that not all cutscenes are realtime and some were pre-rendered earlier. “When I mentioned that GOW3 has no CG, I was referring to the fact that we do not have pre-rendered scenes that were created outside of the game engine, like GOW 1 and 2. In GOW3 all the cutscenes are created using our in-game engine, however some scenes were just too epic to run real time and thus are recorded videos.” Therefore all of the in-game graphics are created using the God of War III engine, however, not all cutscenes are rendered in real-time. The God of War III engine is a new game engine that Sony Santa Monica has built from the ground up. According to Sony Santa Monica’s director of technology Tim Moss, God of War III takes up 35 gigabytes on the Blu-ray disc it ships on.

In an interview with Giant Bomb Sony Santa Monica’s director of product development John Hight stated that the game cost $44 million dollars to make and came in under budget. The game went gold on February 20, 2010.