A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This game is meant to deliver a mature, fantasy revenge epic to action fans. Consequently, it does not teach positive, real life skills and doesn't contain any positive messages. Kratos advances through the story only by killing creatures en masse.
Positive Role Models
Kratos, the main protagonist in the game, is not a good role model because he uses brute violence to exact revenge. The game isn't about talking issues through, it's about slicing away at creatures into bloody bits so Kratos can move onto the next location. However, he does manage to find some small bit of compassion within himself at the end. It doesn't make up for all of his previous actions, but it shows he hasn't lost all of his humanity.
Ease of Play
As with past games in this series, Kratos is easy to control using the PS3 controller. That, and if you die multiple times, the game asks if you'd like to try an easier difficulty level. While some creatures take some practice to destroy, the game is quite easy to play -- especially for seasoned gamers.
Violence & Scariness
Gameplay is composed primarily of extreme violence. Kratos uses swinging chain blades, swords, claws, and mallet-like fists to slice, dice, and pound his enemies, sometimes dismembering their limbs or decapitating them in the process. He also uses his bare hands to kill enemies, crushing their skulls and ramming heads into walls. Examples of some more extreme scenes of violence include: repeatedly punching an enemy's face until it is completely caved in, ripping a character's head off with his hands, gutting a creature to let its innards spill over the ground, and pulling out enemy eyes. In one scene the perspective shifts to that of a god Kratos is killing, forcing the player to watch from a first-person point of view as Kratos beats and eventually blinds him -- very disturbing. All kills are depicted with plenty of blood. Some larger "boss" creatures shriek in pain while they're being killed. While our primary foes are mythological, players will also kill many humans, on purpose or by accident, as well as several gods in human form.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
As with the previous God of War games, this sequel features many topless women and female creatures. There is also an off-screen mini-game that has Kratos pleasuring women. The player must press the correct button at the right time (based on onscreen instructions) to bring the women to orgasm. Note: the game doesn't show the act but the sounds imply sexual intercourse.
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The disc includes some unlockable behind-the-scenes material in which people use words including "f--k" and "s--t." These words aren't heard during the game itself. Other profanity is audible, however, including "damn," "hell" and "bitch."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that God of War III is a breath-takingly violent and gory action game. In fact, it's one of the most violent videogames we have ever reviewed. Where some parents allow teens to play M-rated games, this is one that we do not recommend at all in any way for teens. As with its predecessors, you play as Kratos who uses all kinds of weapons to destroy creatures big and small in a number of creatively violent ways, such as pulling out eyes and slicing open bellies to spill innards across the ground. Kratos can use his chained, wrist-mounted blades to chop his enemies, as well as a bow, magic, or fists to snap the necks of creatures. Blood sprays out of enemies' wounds, limbs and heads can be torn off, and creatures cry in pain. Mythological beasts make up most of Kratos' victims, but he also kills humans (on purpose or by accident) as well as gods in human form. The game also has a sex-based mini-game, scores of bare-breasted women and female creatures, and some strong profanity.
Is It Any Good?
Yes, absolutely -- but only for those 17 years of age or older, as the over-the-top gratuitous violence, sexual themes and strong language means this game is most definitely not for kids. However, for those who crave visceral action, God of War III delivers the goods, and the controls are just as tight and responsive as the previous God of War games for the PS2 and PSP.
Kratos also has access to new weapons, such as a bow and fiery arrows. Plus, he can pick up enemies and decide whether to throw them or put them on his shoulder like a linebacker and run into walls to bash their heads, use them as meaty shields, or drop them into crowds and set off a bomb to blow all the baddies into the air. PS3 gamers anxiously awaiting this mature sequel won't be disappointed with the experience.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.