Seen Kratos battling the screen-size spider-horse boss - made out of gurgling, real-time, water - while riding on the back of a titan in God of War 3 yet? Truth is, no one has - unless you're a) One of a select group of journalists, or b) Inexplicably in possession of a top secret video, whose content was teased as being "PlayStation 4 quality" by forthright US journalist HipHopGamer after a private showing in New York last December. Click here for more. We've seen it, and - as of 5pm today - are allowed to talk about the stunning new footage...
Is it "PlayStation 4" quality? It's a hypothetical question but, er, 'no'. It's merely one of, if not the, best-looking boss battle(s) you've ever seen, easily rivaling Uncharted 2 and - in flashes - eclipsing it.
Crime against nature
Kratos tears his way across a largely barren, lightly foliage-streaked, stony landscape - which is, mysteriously(ish) swaying back and forth - before lifting a fallen tree (by tapping circle, we presume) blocking his path and encountering the huge boss, best described as a 'spider-horse', with a stony horse's head, but multiple insectoid arms.
It's huge, naturally, and its torso is made of swirling, bright blue, water; cursing through its body like ungodly blood. The effect looks real-time, the water gurgling and swishing as Kratos unleases his Blades of Chaos. The boss unleashes a series of pincer attacks, and occasional, screen-filling, giant water drill attacks, which Kratos largely dodges with ease: either by leaping left and right, or hiding under the boss's belly and slicing its flashing underside.
Suddenly, the screen lurches, and the boss digs its limbs into the ground... as the camera pans out to reveal - bang - that you're fighting on the forearm of a frankly enormous stone titan, his face recoiling in pain, who's trying his best to climb Mount Olympus. As the titan recoils his arm, and the game zooms out super smoothly with no hint of a frame rate drop, you realise that Kratos is about ten times smaller than the spider-horse, who in turn, barely covers a tiny cross section of the titan's arm (so the huge boss is about 20 times smaller than the titan. Gulp).
Kratos now fights upside down, hanging on for dear life, and swiping at the boss - as the titan's outstretched hand writhes in the background. The titan suddenly regains its grip, and lurches toward the side of Mount Olympus, flipping Kratos the right way - leading to an amazing camera pan-out tracking shot as the action follows the titan's arm length.
After loads more scrapping, Kratos unleashes a special spinning blade attack or two, and the Spider-horse eventually droops, leaving its head exposed on the floor. The huge circle button prompt appears, and Kratos can swing onto its head for the killer blow. He swings onto the arms, and after some momentum-whipping swings, violently yanks off the boss's jaw. The screen fades to the God of War 3 logo, with the sub line 'March 2010'.
Impressive? Graphically, hugely. There's no frame drops, the resolution is incredible and the camera pans are astonishing. Being pedantic - as one Scottish, notoriously GOW-hating PSM3 team member typically was - you don't actually do much, bar shift left and right a bit, and constantly mash the square button. But, frankly, who cares. It looks incredible; a real adrenaline rush - and that's the point. We're loathe to over-sell it, but keep your hopes realistic, and the visuals have the power to gently astonish; teasing at PS3's previously unseen, untapped power.