God of War III: The First 30 Minutes

This is from the demo... not the opening. But still...

This is from the demo... not the opening. But still...

I got the opportunity to go to a God of War III launch event today and play the first 30 minutes of the game. Not a demo, not a controlled environment, but a PS3 hooked up to a TV with the final copy of the disc inside the console. So let’s not waste any time, but get right to it while trying to stay relatively spoiler-free, but read on at your own risk.

First off, I need to say that the game is stunning visually. I mentioned this to a member of the Santa Monica studio who happened to be there. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch his name, but he worked on God of War II and III, and when I mentioned how good the game looked, he instantly told me how much more that they could do on the PS3. He almost seemed to apologize for the graphics. Let me re-iterate that, at least from these 30 minutes, this ranks in the top 3 best looking games I’ve seen on the PS3. This includes the Uncharted games. What’s even more impressive is that everything is in-engine. All cutscenes, everything. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s all real time, but nothing is CG and believe me when I tell you that that fact will surprise you during some moments.

Also from the demo. Shut up.

Also from the demo. Shut up.

The opening is, as expected, extremely epic. The first boss battle blows the Hydra and Colossus out of the water. Pun intended (you’ll see). Otherwise, this is still God of War. Magic powers seemed to be mapped to specific weapons this time which opens up interesting possibilities as way to trigger magic is also mapped to a different button, so things seem to be a bit more mixed up from a gameplay standpoint. But that’s mostly speculation at this point as I had no way to upgrade or collect new abilities or weapons from the section I played.

Still, there were a few improvements I could immediately pick up on. The Quick-Time Events that I just spent a Sunday Soapbox tearing to pieces aren’t as excruciatingly bad. The cues take place on the four corners of the screen representing the placement of the Playstation’s signature shape buttons. This makes it easier to actually watch the animation and use the peripheral to cue your fingers. It’s still a dumb mechanic, but it’s admittedly more bearable than before. The leap to the PS3 is noticeable. New animations, grander scope, more going on, and absolutely beautiful boss fights.

It was just a little taste, but while it really just is more God of War, the pretty new packaging has got me excited.

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8 Responses to “God of War III: The First 30 Minutes”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    You know … I don’t think those screens came from the demo …

  2. Ethos says:

    Yeah man. The E3 demo!

  3. SiliconNooB says:

    Ah, thought you meant from the demo you played …

  4. Ethos says:

    Like I mentioned, I didn’t play a demo. I literally got to play the opening half hour.

  5. Riddles says:

    Even in the E3 demo, I was drooling over the graphics. I can only imagine how much better they look now. Santa Monica knows how to squeeze Sony hardware for all it’s worth, that’s for sure – I mean hell, they managed to make 1+2 look ALMOST next-gen. I can’t wait to see what visual delights GoWIII has to offer.

    Is it bad that that’s actually the most exciting aspect of the game for me?

    Anyway. Of course they couldn’t get rid of the QTEs. It’s a staple. A very stupid staple, but a staple nonetheless. I blame Alex Navarro of GameSpot. He sealed our fates all those years ago when he reviewed the original God of War:

    “…There are loads of these different contextual actions in the game, and they’re all fantastic. They truly do a wonderful job of making you feel like you’re right in the thick of the action, rather than just having you sit through a cutscene of your character doing something cool.”

    No, Alex. No, no, no.

  6. abe80 says:

    J-E-A-L-O-U-S

  7. SiliconNooB says:

    The way that I look at this is that in the time it has taken for GoW3 to be made two Uncharted games have already been released. I’m hoping this is an indication as to the size and substance of its campaign.

  8. Ethos says:

    Graphics are better than the E3 demo. At least from what I can tell. I had no side-by-side, and maybe it was the scale and awesomeness of the opening scene, but they just seemed to be noticeably better.
    Erm, well, I’d never compare God of War to Uncharted in any way except for visually… but we’ll see.

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