Review: God of War III Remastered (PS4)

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Title: God of War III Remastered
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (39.5 GB)
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Santa Monica Studio
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: M
God of War III is also available on PlayStation 3.
The PlayStation 4 disc version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Editor’s Note:
Portions of this review also appear in our PS3 coverage of God of War III.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 431 of the podcast at 153:46.

Gameplay:
As I’ve said on the show before, I always appreciated the God of War series but it’s never been my top choice for an action game. My fear with God of War III was, as it’s been in the first two, that I would get to a section that was so immensely frustrating that I would just quit and never return to it. I’ve never been a fan of the pure action titles in the past, so my expectations for God of War III from a gameplay perspective were pretty low.

Boy, was I wrong.

God of War III is nothing short of perfection, and is the best looking game on any platform, ever. Trust me, I can’t believe that I wrote that either.

Where do I begin? The first thing you’ll notice is the reported “new type of Anti-Aliasing”, and it is insanely impressive. Nothing shows jaggies nor is any shimmering evident either. The lighting is the best I’ve ever seen, and all of the shadows are real – no tricks or cheats are noticeable at all.

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I guess if you have to “ding” anything, on a couple of occasions the camera going around a corner didn’t catch-up right away but it in no way took away from the game. Using the fixed camera as they always have in this series they obviously have a lot more control over what’s on the screen, and when you see the depth of the visuals, your jaw will hit the floor.

This game is all about scale. If you think that God of War II had huge set pieces and huge boss fights, God of War III exceeds it greatly. I still can’t believe some of the boss battles I went through.

… visuals haven’t simply been upconverted …
The game still relies on quick time events and some button mashing but the mechanics have definitely been improved. Controls are spot-on throughout the entire game and definitely feel better than the first two in the series. The mixture of cutscene and gameplay is well done and the pacing is excellent. Load Times are almost non-existent, as the entire game streams from the disc.

The story, while not A Tale of Two Cities, is actually pretty cool and continues down the path that the first two games started. The dialogue is enjoyable and helps with the pacing of the rest of the experience. There’s some pretty messed-up stuff going on here and they obviously don’t pull any punches. Even a favorite minigame from the series makes a comeback, but it actually becomes a necessity this time around.

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Visuals:
Obviously, this is the biggest change for the PS4 version of the game and it’s not a wasted effort at all. The visuals haven’t simply been upconverted. Instead they’ve been remastered fully, except for the cutscenes.

The cutscenes have definitely been upconverted and are very close to the quality of the in-game graphics, so it’s not as much of a jolt as the remastered PS2 games. Everything runs at a fluid 60FPS without ever faltering and the additional detail and resolution make it feel very close to a first generation PS4 game.

In my eye, God of War III was one of the best looking games of the last generation, so if you’re new to the PlayStation this is definitely one you’ll want to see.

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Every character has an immense amount of detail, including rippling muscles under the skin, and the skin actually glistens in direct light. One of the most amazing lighting techniques is when there’s a powerful light-source behind an object in the distance. If you move to the right or left, the light blazes into the screen in all of its HDR glory.

Textures are detailed and I never saw any texture popping or de-resolution, even for things far in the distance. Animation is great and the little details are all there, including facial expressions and interaction between objects.

… God of War III is THAT good …
Audio:
The soundtrack is truly epic and it fits the game perfectly. All of the voice acting is superb and the cast is a very recognizable list of well-known Hollywood talent. I mean, come on, they got Kevin Sorbo to play Hercules!!!! They also thank Elijah Wood in the credits without actually revealing
(Click to reveal spoiler)
.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
I can’t stress this enough, God of War III is THAT good. It was a system-seller on the PS3 and is a game that just about everybody should at least rent, unless you’re too young to play it because they don’t pull any punches. It ties the story up very nicely and is definitely a game that I plan to play through again.

If you haven’t played any of the games in the series yet, you may want to consider playing the first two games on PlayStation Now so you can track the story. For those that played this before, it’s really up to you since the only change is in the visuals, but for me, it was a blast playing through it again. On the PS3 I gave this game was a 9.5 and there’s no reason to change that, it’s just gotten even prettier, which is a sweet bonus.

Score:
9.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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