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.