God of War III Remastered Review – Vengeance at 60FPS

God of War III was a big hit back in 2010, and it did a lot to boost the PlayStation’s reputation. For its time it was a technical feat, achieving things we hadn’t seen before at that point.

While the story is the weakest of the original trilogy, and the ending met with mixed reactions, the gameplay in God of War III is the main draw. Now, confusingly for some, God of War III has been remastered for the PlayStation 4. This presents a lot of opportunities to make what was already considered a masterpiece even better.

First let’s talk graphics. You’d think that a remaster would be full of retouched textures that the PlayStation 3 was incapable of displaying. However, the textures are pretty much the same. Not much work has been done to visually enhance God of War III.

The resolution has been set to 1080p natively, and of course they’re using the highest version of the textures they used in the game previously, but rarely will you notice any difference. I will give them props on the lighting effects as that’s where I really noticed the difference in visual quality. Besides that, you’d have to be extremely particular about visuals to notice a major difference.

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But let’s not write off God of War III Remastered because of the lack of visual enhancement. There is one key upgrade that makes replaying this game worth it alone: the near-solid 60fps frame-rate.

Give or take a few frames, God of War III Remastered seems to run at a solid 60 throughout the experience. When you consider that the original ran at around 35fps at its height, that’s a significant difference to a game centered around button inputs.

I’d bet that if you were to play God of War III Remastered for a few hours before returning to the original PS3 version, you would struggle with the original. The frame rate makes all the difference in the world in this game, and for that reason it’s much less frustrating than I remember it being at certain parts.

One feature that is completely new to the God of War III remaster is the photo mode. Unfortunately this falls flat due to the fact that God of War III doesn’t give you full control of the camera. One of the biggest complaints of the game is that you can’t freely pan the camera around to where you desire, and this pretty much renders photo mode useless because you can only snap what you’re seeing on screen at that moment, without rotating to a specific angle. Once you’ve taken a photo you’re able to add filters and zoom, but ultimately there’s not many Mona Lisa moments to be had in God of War III.

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While the God of War formula isn’t exactly tired, playing this game in 2015 does make you see how linear it is. It’s a rinse and repeat formula that offers you small doses of gratification along the way.

You’ll fight your way through numerous arenas, separated by platform and puzzle sequences, then you’ll fight a major boss and watch Kratos progress before the repetition occurs. Much of the boss fights and puzzles are presented in creative ways, so the experience isn’t always bland. But we live in an era of gaming where open worlds and player choice are in abundance, so it’s easy to tire of God of War III after a certain point.

When it comes to the issue of value, we get that Sony Santa Monica wanted to remaster their baby from last-gen and have it be available at its highest potential on the powerful PlayStation 4. But £30/$40 is a lot to ask for a five year old game that hasn’t had much in terms of enhancement. This price would have been more justified if they threw in God of War: Ascension. Heck, throwing in the already remastered God of War I and God of War II on the disc would have better justified the price.

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Either way, whether you decide you want to play God of War III now, or wait for a discount, it’s still a solid game that holds up even five years later. Sure the visuals don’t look that souped-up, but experiencing it in 60fps delivers a much smoother experience than before. Its slapped on photo mode falls short, and compared to games of today, the God of War formula may wear thin, but this is still a game that was a masterpiece in its time. Who would we be to tell you not to play God of War III again? Especially given that it’s now at its full potential.

This review of God of War III Remastered was based on a retail copy for the PlayStation 4 which was provided by SCEE.

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