Not an hour ago, I just finished playing through God of War 3 for the first time. I know I’m a little behind the times on this one, but I feel like it’s still worth talking about.

First of all, this was the game that finally put me over the edge to get a PS3. It wasn’t Modern Warfare 2, nor was it Final Fantasy 13, Blur, Uncharted 2, Metal Gear Solid 4, or a multitude of other excellent games, some of which I picked ¬†up with others still sitting in my ongoing Amazon cart. No, I went to PAX East in Boston, waited a while for one of the scarce PS3s, and played through about 30 minutes of God of War 3 (the Poseiden sequence) before I was sold. That first half hour is truly among the most epic opening sequences of any video game that I have ever played; it was then and I still think that now that I’ve finished the game.

Now from here on out, there be spoilers a lurkin, so avert your eyes if you actually care about being surprised by the game’s events and story.

Everyone gone that wants to be gone for spoilers? Good.

Now the only thing that I really winced in that first sequence was the quick action button sequence thing, or whatever the kids are calling those things these days (I remember when they were still Quick Time Events in Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube) at the end of the fight. You know, the one where you bash Poseiden’s head against the wall/ground/nearest hard surface, head butt him several times, and then ultimately gouge his eyes out with a click of the L3/R3 thumb stick buttons before snapping his neck and throwing him off the cliff. I mean, there’s violence, there’s Grand Theft Auto violence, there’s Thrill Kill violence (remember that game?) and then there’s God of War 3. I mean, this is out-there stuff.

At one point, you get a guy who’s trapped behind flammable briars and he’s all, “Yeah dude, I’ll totally help you out and even give you my bow if you get me out of this death trap.” Seriously, a guy who’s fully on your side and just wants to be free from a prison of mostly indestructible spiked vines. Is that really so much to ask? So what do you do? Set the dude and his entire prison cell on fire, then take the bow from his smoldering corpse.

I mean, some of it is justified. Hades was kind of a prick and Hercules was a bit of a pompous douche, but most of the killing is so unnecessary and it’s all in the name of Kratos just being an angry, jacked, armed-to-the-teeth bitch who single-mindedly wants to obliterate the entire pantheon of gods to destroy Zeus. And this is all because he was tricked into killing his wife and daughter by Ares, a god who, mind you, was killed in God of War 1. He only seeks revenge on Zeus because Zeus wouldn’t relieve him of his nightmares of reliving the whole killing his family thing, which really sounds like a job for a therapist and not the god of lightning if you ask me. Only when Kratos goes on a power trip rampage with his army does the rest of the pantheon really turn on him, but I honestly think that’s totally understandable of him. I mean, in the process of killing these gods in GoW3 Kratos ends up unleashing the worst evils of Pandora’s Box (floods, storms, and plagues, to name a few) on the entirety of humanity. All because of some nightmares that he couldn’t shake? Yeesh.

So I guess what I’m saying is that a great deal of this killing just feels completely unnecessary, even more so when you think about how brutal some of it ends up being. I mean, I can be pretty sadistic when I play some of these ultra violent games (one of my favorite things to do in GTA is drive down the sidewalk, for instance), but I even felt put off by the extremeness of God of War 3. I honestly think that it’s an excellent action game that shows off a ton of polish, but when the action deviates into gut-wrenching button push sequences that pound very human gods into all sorts of pulp it really loses its momentum.

Just my two cents.

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