Review: God of War 3 Remastered (PS4)
Depending on who you ask, remasters are either a great way to recapture fond memories of an excellent game or they are the very embodiment of corporate greed. In my case, it depends on the game. Games are definitely not cheap so in order for me to hand over the cash for a second copy of a game that I already own, there has to be more to a remaster than a new coat of paint. The remastered version of The Last of Us offered players additional multiplayer maps and the Left Behind DLC, GTA V introduced a First-Person mode and Dark Souls 2 added extra content with the Scholar of the First Sin edition as well as all 3 DLCs. God of War 3’s remaster, however, offers very little in the way of new content but it’s now pretty enough to sit at the popular kids’ table.
I feel pretty. Oh, so pretty
From the get-go, you can’t help but marvel at how spectacular everything looks. The monumental size of the titans climbing up Olympus at the start of the game impressed the hell out of me when it was first released and with improvements to the resolution and textures, the remaster had me utterly gobsmacked for my first hour of playing. Every rock on Gaia’s back, every tree on her head and every crevice on her face is clearly defined and sharp as a razor. Zeus’s hair and beard flows more naturally when he moves and the flame-trails from Hermes’ head look more realistic than ever before. Blood sprays from enemies are darker and look similar to those we saw on the PS4 version of Shadow of Mordor. This leaves Kratos looking even more terrifying when he’s covered in it by the end of a fight. Facial features have been greatly improved and even outside of cut-scenes, you can see every pore on Kratos’ face and every wrinkle he makes when he contorts it in fury.
Lighting has also seen a major improvement. Reflections off water look almost photo-realistic, the Golden Fleece reflects light dynamically and changes as Kratos moves.The dancing and flickering of the flames, as well as the moving shadows they cause, shows good use of the PS4 architecture. In addition, we see a lot of objects flying towards the screen, which weren’t there before, and it looks like it may have been developed with 3D support in mind. Certain set-pieces have been slightly altered from the original in order to make full use of this.
With all that said though, the visuals still don’t quite measure up to games developed specifically for the current generation of consoles.
That sweet 60 FPS though…
Framerate is a funny thing. When DVD players first came out, I could barely tell the difference when compared to video. After years of watching DVDs though, trying to watch VHS feels like I’m watching a movie from the ’50s. I have a similar issue with framerate as I don’t really notice an increase but when dropping back down, it becomes glaringly obvious that something isn’t quite right. The original now feels choppy and reaction times feel slower, even if it’s actually not, and the bump up to 60 FPS in the remaster just makes the whole experience feel much smoother.
So what’s new?
As I said, there are normally a few little extras thrown in with a remaster to entice people to buy the game again. The Photo Mode is one such feature in God of War 3 Remastered. This mode gives you the opportunity to freeze the game at any time in order to edit and create the perfect screenshot. By pressing on the left side of the touch pad (It took me a little while to figure this out as there are no prompts telling you how to access it), you can bring up a menu which will allow you to customise the image in a number of ways. You can zoom in on any part of the image and pan left or right but there’s no free camera option for if you would like to get the shot from a different angle. If you are hoping to give Kratos the Instagram treatment, there are 12 filters and 12 borders to choose from and a setting called “bloom” which changes the lighting.
The DLC included with God of War 3 Remastered is all the additional costumes which all have their own individual attributes. There are 7 in total: Fear Kratos (Fear Kratos and enemies do quadruple attack damage), Apollo (Apollo and enemies do half attack damage), Morpheus Armour (All orbs are worth double their value), Phantom of Chaos (Red orbs are worth 5 times their value), Forgotten Warrior (Enemies do quarter attack damage), Dominus (Dominus does double attack damage, enemies do half attack damage, all orbs are worth double) and Deimos (Health, magic and gold orbs are worth quadruple but red orbs have no value).
The developers decided to use some of the features of the Dualshock 4 that they didn’t have at their disposal when the game originally released. The light on your controller will change to correspond with whichever weapon you have equipped, a sound of clashing steel rings out from the speakers when you perform an upgrade to a item and, as I said before, the left side of the touch pad is pressed to bring up Photo Mode. What I found a bit odd was that the right side of the touch pad is used to pause the game while the options button is used to bring up the upgrade menu, rather than the other way around, which seems to be the norm in other games.
When God of War (and the sequel) was first released it was the swansong the PS2 deserved. It was a brutally fun game and it set the standard for all future hack ‘n slash titles to follow. Looking back at the earlier entries, character models look very dated and rough around the edges, but God of War 3 looked stunning when it came out in 2010. I could understand giving God of War 1 or 2 a remaster as they are fairly old, but God of War 3 was released near the middle of the last generation so many people may not even notice a lot of the graphical changes. It’s still a fantastic game and I really enjoyed playing it again, but an improvement to visuals, Photo Mode and a few costumes don’t really warrant buying it again. If, however, you have never played God of War 3, the remastered version would definitely be the way to go.