How do you follow the conclusion of God of War III? You make a prequel, in the form of God of War: Ascension. But there hasn’t been a new God of War on the PlayStation 4 yet. Instead we have the just-launched God of War III Remastered, a shined-up and gorgeous remake of the third game in the Sony-exclusive series.
It’s pretty. I could use a better word here but it fits – God of War III Remastered does look better than the original game’s PlayStation 3 release. But is that enough justification to pick it up for PlayStation 4?
For those just tuning in, and who may have somehow missed the three original games when they launched on PlayStation 2 and PS3 (and the PSP side-games, back in the day), our hero – for lack of a better word – is Kratos. Kratos is a Spartan in the time of Greek mythology and was once favoured by his father Zeus. He rose to the position of the God of War, displacing Ares by the simple expedient of killing the deity. But his rise was not permanent and a series of betrayals, which had been a long time in the making, have pitted the Ghost of Sparta against the might of the Olympians.
Kratos isn’t alone in his fight. The events of God of War II saw Kratos recruit the Titans into his fight (or the other way around), which brings us up to the beginning of God of War III Remastered, with Kratos ascending Olympus on the back of the Titan Gaia, about to put foot-to-throat in his quest for revenge against Zeus.
If you’ve played the previous titles this information is pointless but if you somehow missed it… Anyway, moving on.
Fit For The Gods
What God of War III Remastered‘s rampage though every surviving member of Greek mythology up to this point really means is that Sony have given the game a fresh coat of paint, with some newer textures and a new frame rate for player to marvel at.
Kratos’ tale of revenge now runs at 60 frames per second, which is noticeable but not massively so. Onscreen action moves a tad more smoothly than it did before. Where you will see a difference is with Kratos’ character model in particular and with enemy models as well as the various locations. The vistas and close-up sections have a better sheen to them than the previous game and there’s more detail than before, no matter wher you look. Particle and lighting effects have undergone an update as well.
The original God of War III was quite the good-looking game when it launched. The result is that even these visual updates don’t look that impressive in comparison to the PlayStation 3 title. To be fair that was a tough act to follow, even on a new generation console.
Sony have also included their Photo Mode, which lets you snap pics of gameplay. A nice touch, but ultimately not enough.
A Slight Heresy
You see, the above are the only changes in evidence. The core gameplay remains unchanged, as does the storyline and the available content. Even the trophies and that strange glitch in the Hades Room that launches the player outside have stuck around. Which shouldn’t be an issue but God of War III is five years old now. The lack of any further updates means that Remastered is a tough sell.
Remastered remains just as good as the original was, Kratos’ finale (chronologically speaking) has aged extremely well. Everything is intact, with only the visual upgrades distinguishing between this release and the original. Even that isn’t complete though, Sony looks to have opted to leave the cut-scenes alone. In-engine gameplay looks better than video interludes and players will easily be able to tell whether a section was created with the engine or pre-rendered – there’s that much of a difference now.
It’s extremely difficult to recommend God of War III Remastered to anyone other than those who somehow skipped out on the series up till now. If you played it on the PlayStation 3, you won’t seem much of a different in terms of visuals. The main experience, that’ll be identical to the first time around. If you didn’t see the conclusion of the original God of War trilogy then you absolutely have to play it – but you could get the same experience on the PS3. Remastered looks good but it’s not essential, and that’s its biggest downfall.