A decade after his first appearance, everybody’s favourite angry albino has made his way to the PlayStation 4 in all his remastered high definition glory. God of War III Remastered plays identically to the 2010 PlayStation 3 release, which remains one of the most visually-impressive and downright entertaining titles of the last generation.
The game opens with Kratos assaulting Mount Olympus with the assistance of Gaia and the other Titans – a reprisal for Zeus’s betrayal in God of War II. Ultimately defeated by Zeus and abandoned by Gaia, the goateed one is cast down into the Underworld. From there, Kratos is tasked by the goddess Athena with finding the Flame of Olympus, as it will grant him the power to wreak his final revenge on the king of the gods.
As in the original release, Remastered is an action-packed extravaganza of violence, gore, epic boss fights, and spectacular scene-chewing by Terrance Carson as Kratos. Combat is the core of the God of War experience, and it has been expertly and flawlessly ported to the PlayStation 4 by hired guns Wholesale Algorithms. It’s fast, responsive, epic, and bloody as hell.
As Kratos tears his way through beasts and gods on his way to Zeus, his health, combos, and special abilities can be upgraded, along with his arsenal of god-tier weapons. While God of War III lacks the nuance of other spectacle fighters, it excels at providing a pulse-pounding visceral experience. The only downside is that anyone who has played the original has seen it all before, and for these folk, repetition will diminish the game’s epic storyline.
The resolution upgrade to 1080p – while appreciated – doesn’t make as massive a difference as some might expect. In fact, at first glance the differences between the PlayStation 3 release and the remastered version are quite subtle. The textures are sharper and the effects more impressive, and the higher resolution does help eliminate the some of the jaggies found in the original. However, at no point was I awestruck by how good the game looks.
This is not to say Wholesale Algorithms has not done a great job in updating the game for the PlayStation 4, but rather that God of War III Remastered is merely on par with what you would expect from this new generation of hardware, whereas the 2010 release wowed players by pushed the boundaries of what the PlayStation 3 could deliver. Perhaps this is an unfair comparison, but it is an unavoidable one.
Other improvements come thanks to Wholesale aiming for a smooth 60 frames per second play experience. It’s a testament to the quality of PlayStation 3 version that Remastered does not feel different, even with the improved responsiveness a higher frame rate should bring. The higher frame rate does immensely improve the smoothness of panning shots and fast camera movements though, and while it does dip from time to time, it’s never enough to detract from the spectacle.
So, God of War III Remastered delivers exactly what it promises on the box. It’s the same game that earned critical acclaim in 2010, polished and re-released. But for all of the hard work that’s obviously been put in, and as enjoyable as it is inhabiting the loincloth of the Ghost of Sparta, the game simply doesn’t land with the same impact the second time round. It seems that old adage is true; you can only make a first impression once.