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God Of War 3: Disappointing?

Warning: Spoilers.

I’ll start by saying that I am a fan of the God of War series. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two God of War video games. It was a well made hack n’ slash, presenting a new anti-hero, the likes the video game world had yet to see. I bought a PSP primarily to have access to the game Chains of Olympus. So when God of War 3 was announced I was thrilled. I quickly got my copy of GoW3 and eagerly began playing my way through the game, impatient to see how the story ended.

I loved the God of War story line. Kratos was a monster, a bad-ass, but a monster nonetheless. Did he have reason for being the way he was? For seeking his revenge? Absolutely. However, up until GoW3 we had always been able to relate to Kratos struggle in one way or another. We had been led to believe that Kratos was justified, that Zeus deserved everything he had coming and more. All of that changed for me in GoW3.

From the very beginning of the game, all the way to the ending credits, the game designers were working hard at sponging away any possible connection I had had with ex-god Kratos.

The disillusionment started just 15 minutes into the game.

Kratos had just brutally beaten and killed the god Poseidon, throwing him from the cliff face of Olympus. As Poseidon dies, the sea’s rise, flooding the earth, killing the majority of the worlds population in one cataclysmic flood. Wow. I mean, I knew Kratos was out for revenge and all, but I would think that killing most of the earths population in one fell swoop would make him worse then Zeus by default. This is just the start. Throughout the game Kratos continues to knock off the lesser gods of Olympus with ease, killing everyone, even gods who had surrendered after being defeated. Each boss kill becomes more and more brutal, with Kratos reveling in sadistic glee at the slow and violent end of his victims, and with each god that Kratos knocks off there are horrifying ramifications. Hades dies and the souls of the underworld are released. Helios is killed, and the sun is blotted out. Hermes suffers an agonizing death and a plague is unleashed upon the world. Hera’s neck is broken, which finally shuts her up, and all plant life on the earth dies.

Alright, so this a revenge story. Like most revenge stories the man seeking vengeance cares not for what suffering he causes. I understand that. If the whole story was simply a soulless tale of murderous revenge I could have understood, but that isn’t the case.

The last third of the game is an almost insulting effort to make Kratos out to be the good guy. Upon the realization that he needs the child Pandora to sacrifice herself to open up Pandora’s Box, in order to gain the power to kill Zeus, Kratos suddenly remembers he left his soul in his back pocket and refuses Pandora’s offer, saying “there must be another way.” How cute. You just murdered Pandora’s father, and taunted the dying blacksmith about how you were going to sacrifice his daughter. Alright, whatever, I can try to overlook that. This annoying trend continues, however. In the final fight with Zeus, Pandora throws herself into the “Flame Of Olympus” (the fire protecting Pandora’s Box) despite Kratos protests, and dies in the fire. Upon her death it is discovered that the box was empty all along and her death was, in fact, pointless. The battle with Zeus continues and Kratos is forced into a fight with his own psyche, in which the now deceased Pandora willing helps him discover that the power supposedly held by the box, the power of hope, was in Kratos all along.

After this revelation Kratos uses the power of hope to beat Zeus to death with his bare hands.

With Zeus dead, Athena comes and demands the power, saying she can use it to rebuilt the world. However, Kratos won’t allow her to complete her selfish goal and heroically stabs himself in the chest with the Blade of Olympus, releasing the power of hope for all of mankind. Athena despairs upon the powers release into the world, yelling that “They won’t know what to do with it!”

Whoa, slow down for just one second: WHO IS THEY? Who is left? The whole world and everything living in it with the exception of Aphrodite and her two female slaves are DEAD! The world flooded! The sun died! All plant life is gone! A horrible plague killed any last remaining survivors who might have been clinging to the mountain tops! The only other remaining souls in this destroyed world is the ghost of Athena and the spirits from the underworld.

At this point I was considering feeding the Blu-Ray disc to the shredder, just to watch something else choke on it, but with one final, heroic effort, I managed to watch all the way through the credits only to be rewarded with the final scene being a blood trail leading from the cliff face of Kratos heroic sacrifice and into the tossing sea. I figured I was going to have to beat the game on hard mode to get the real ending, so I went and checked YouTube to see what I had missed. Which turned out to be nothing. That was the real ending. The comments on the video were all along the lines of “zomg, Kratos lives! He is so bad-ass! I can’t wait for a sequel.”

Let me see if I have got this straight: Despite his best attempt at suicide which included the removal of all the major internal organs at sword point, then falling off a cliff and into the raging sea, Kratos still failed at ending his life. Bravo. Well, can’t say he didn’t give it his best shot.

I almost want to see a sequel put into production, just to know what it might include: Fight your way through the raging ocean, choked with the bodies of the dead, in the quest to recover your missing midsection! Fight off madness brought on by the millions of angry dead souls as they try to claim your sanity! Build your home atop the tallest mountain peak using only flotsam left after the flood!

I’ll stop now, but you get the idea. What happened to the story? Why did they flip-flop with the final chapter? Why did they try to redeem nearly 12 hours worth of soulless carnage in the last lap?

Who knows. I was sorely disappointed by GoW3. The series is still something to be enjoyed however. If you haven’t, be sure to try the PSP games, they are some of the best hand-held games you will play, period. Just pray we won’t be seeing God of War 4 anytime soon.

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  • http://Website Sean

    i don’t remember anyone saying the entire world’s population was dead. haven’t played it since it released, but, i think it’s safe to assume there were some survivors.

    i loved it, but, i can see why some people had a hard time playing him. i think it was ambitious, honestly, for them to make you kind of not like Kratos anymore. what he did was absolutely brutal. he wasn’t a necessarily good man before the events of GoW1. and, as you said, everything was strictly for his revenge, and, basically, fuck everyone else. i don’t think honor was ever really part of the goal. and of all of them, GoW3 made you see that more than the other games.

    i didn’t mind the last minute attempt to redeem him. the game would have been kind of disturbing if it just ended with his final victory against Zeus with no mental repurcussions for Kratos.

  • http://Website t

    even evil men find love sometimes. Pandora reminded him as his daughter… like u saw earlier in the game he mistook her for his daughter. He finally got to the point where he would kill her but couldnt and felt greif. Even evil men feel love and pain. Kratos wasnt a good guy, but he cared for the little girl.

    What? Do you think the whole world is good vs evil. Good men do bad thigns and bad men do good things. Its all grey

  • http://Website hobonateor

    I actually think that God of War 4 will have Kratos realizing how blinded he was by rage and he will some how find a way to restore humanity, restoring the depth to Kratos’s character that I loved o so much

  • http://Website Dave

    You seem to write the last paragraph from the point of view that Kratos is still alive, but nowhere in the ending does it show this.
    My view of the ending was that Kratos had killed himself by throwing himself off the cliff, this is the very last scene of the final(?)game and was a reference to the first scene of the first game when Kratos had also tried to kill himself by jumping off the cliff but was stopped by the Gods of olympus. So IMO this was Kratos’ last act of defiance against t Gods of Olympus.

    And regarding the fact that Kratos kills alot of humans, I think you have to view this from the point of view of greek mythology where humans and human lives realy don’t matter- they were just playthings for the gods. This may also explain the “They won’t know what to do with it!” line as killing Greek gods would only kill the inhabitants of Greece.

    I agree with you about the whole Pandora/Hope thing though, it really seems like they shoehorned that part in to make Kratos more ‘human’.

  • http://blackxino.blogspot.com xino

    you do know that Altas is still alive holding both hell and earth together.

    Aphrodite’s ass is till fresh.

    they could be referring to ghost hovering the empty sky

  • http://Website An

    This idiot is veryyyyyyyy late to the party

  • http://Website Harkins1721

    If you guys had payed attention to what was inside Pandora’s box then you would understand. Kratos said he would kill all the Gods and he did..somewhat. If Athena was given Pandora’s power who knows what shed do with it? She also played around with his mind in GoW1. There was 2 powers within the Box. Hope is something people use when all else is lost. Kratos and Zesus were always using fear and hatred so Kratos used Hope. Its not saying Hope in a good way like to save humanity But instead for his Vengeance. It can be used in many ways.

    Athena even said that the power of fear spread among the world and infected the Gods. It was not what i expected at all! But i still loved the game.

  • http://Website tarbis

    IMO, Kratos died when he stabbed himself with the sword. The trail of blood you saw is Kratos being dragged towards the cliff.

  • hitman

    The writer of this article is a fag what the fuck. If you wanted to be a girl about games you should stop playing them what a load of crap.

  • http://Website house

    the story was not for those who have not played all the god of war games even those for the psp when ghost of Sparta came out you find out why hes so angered in god of war 2 and 3,

    and as far as the ending it wanted to show you that kartos was a man that he wasn’t a monster like many saw him that the only reason he was there was because of everything the gods did to him he found his heart again and was returned hope when he meet Pandora

    happy new years!!

  • http://Website Tony

    Just pray we won’t be seeing God of War 4 anytime soon.???????? its more like just pray we wont be seeing another shitty gay article of yours

  • http://Website Tom Ato

    The entire Earth’s population wasn’t dead, what an idiot. The natural disasters (Floods, earthquakes, plant life dead, etc) only affected Olympus and the surrounding areas, so at worse he killed all of Greece, but the rest of the world was fine. Also, the plague that was released by Hermes only affected the servants of Olympus (Also known as the bad guys), so that’s not so bad either.

    The whole point of the second and third games was for Kratos to bring Olympus down, this meant killing the gods, GODS! Did you really think you could just destroy the gods without consequences? Once he has his revenge and earns redemption, Kratos gives his life to restore the lives of the innocents who died when Olympus crumbled, so in the end he did die a hero.

    As far as Kratos coming back from the dead…….did you play any of the games? Kratos dies in EVERY main GOW game, get’s taken to Hades and crawls his way out every time. By now you should know that Kratos is above death.

  • http://Website nil

    dude really??
    how the hell did u want him to be? all nice and stuff? i dont think taking down gods would get favorable results.

    and you DONT want a sequel???!? then why did u even play the game. true fans will always want a sequel.

  • http://Website GrantL

    I think this is a pretty drastic misunderstanding of the entire GOW story to date.

    Your first mistake is to say that Kratos was “justified” and that the gods deserved what they had coming, Zeus in particular.

    Firstly, GOW1 makes it VERY clear that Kratos had an unbridled thirst for power. He’d destroy anyone who got in his way and the only glimmer of humanity was his wife and child. Its only his wife who had the nerve to say “when will it be enough?”

    When Kratos becomes a servant of Ares, he does so willing and kills and destroys with great pleasure. He isn’t really even tricked into killing his family. Ares sets the stage, but its Kratos who plays the part. he could have chosen not to enter that temple to Athena, or not to kill everyone inside. His choice killed them, not Ares. Kratos, however guilty and horrible he might feel, ultimately refuses to accept personality responsibility for what he had done. His lust for power turned into a lust for revenge against Ares, and then against the gods and anything in path.

    Your criticism of GOW 3 fails to ask “why did Kratos continue to destroy without cause after he become a god?” Ares was dead. There was no more revenge to be had…except against himself. He tried to kill himself, but was prevented by Athena. So he stews because the person most responsible for his family’s murder was still alive.

    Yes, Kratos is manipulated by Zeus from the start, but again, Kratos CHOSE to follow the path Zeus laid out. Zeus wanted Ares out of the way, and wanted Kratos to be his sword, but he did not and could not force Kratos to do it.

    Yes, Kratos is manipulated by the Titans. But the same condition applies. He is a dupe most of the time, with the Titans and Gods trying to direct his rage for their purpose. And this is all because, as he says when he tries to kill himself in GOW, “there is no hope.”

    His hope, the only piece of humanity he had, died with his wife. There was nothing left to restrain him or even guide him. This is why he is manipulated by Zeus and the Titans.

    So in GOW3, Kratos does not become a “hero” as you suggest. Instead he become a truly catastrophic force of destruction, and the world itself suffers for it as he kills gods without regard for what happens to them. He truly doesn’t care about them. Why would he? To him, humanity is as petty as the gods. All that matters is his revenge.

    So at the end, is he a hero when he attempts – and apparently fails – at suicide a second time? NO. He is not, and could never be, a hero. But what you miss is that he reclaims that little bit of humanity that was lost when he killed his wife. Whereas when he first tried to kill himself he had no hope at all, now he has found it again. And because he does, he kills himself in a final act of defiance of the god. He refuses to be manipulated by Athena. He could have killed her like the others, but instead he makes a human choice. To live and die on his own will, not on the will of the gods. He takes responsibility for the first time for what he has done.

    This doesn’t make him a hero,and the game isn’t an attempt to make him one. Its about Kratos coming full circle and reclaiming the humanity he had lost.

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