As we fought a giant scorpion in God of War III, we couldn't help but remember PS3's first software demonstration, when a similar crab-like foe in Genji: Days of the Blade did "massive damage" to Sony's reputation. If it was THIS that Sony had shown back in 2006, the massive damage would have been to people's wallets as PS3 took over the world.
God of War III is PS3's balls-out blockbuster. And these are some giant set of balls. In fact, we've had to consciously limit our uses of the words 'giant', 'huge', 'massive' and the like in this review because that's what absolutely everything in GoW III is - spectacularly huge. There are enormous chasms, buildings, statues and all manner of enormous beasts. We're talking huge to point of truly awe-inspiring.
The Titans are at the top of the big-list; gi-freaking-normous creatures that could pick up the colossi from Shadow of the Colossus and use them as toothpicks. Seeing the sheer size of these guys conjures up one white wee-wee-inducing thought: This is what a Shadow of the Colossus game on PS3 could be like.
It takes more than a few stabs to the head to take them down too, but as videogaming's lead mentalist, Kratos finds all manner of savage ways to kill his enemies - even those that have nose hairs bigger than him.
The torso of one of these beasts plays host to the first breath-taking moments of the game, picking up right where GoW II left off with Kratos scaling Mount Olympus on the back of the Titan Gaia. The boss fight in the opening moments of GoW III are seriously some of the most incredible we've experienced in games.
You do battle with a water-formed horse. You guessed it - he's ENORMOUS, and he's ripping his way through Gaia. You batter it in the face before swinging spectacularly through the air, slicing chunks out of your foe in the usual GoW-style QTE fashion, landing the final satisfying blow as Kratos screams with rage.
We've seriously never seen videogame visuals so incredible. It's shocking. This is what you've been waiting for, PS3 fans. This is the one you console-war-ranting forum guys can bring up every time. The demo doesn't even come CLOSE to doing the game justice in the visual department, and we don't know what Sony was thinking with some of the god-awful pre-launch screenshots. You've just got to see it in video (right below, chaps).
As you'll have worked out from the demo though, if you've played GoW II the gameplay here is pretty much cut-and-paste stuff; Button-mashing sections are interspersed with spectacular QTE action scenes that usually end with the death of a large critter.
All parts of the gameplay are pretty much identical - you have your standard blades to start with, and gain new weapons as you go - including the awesome Nemean Cestus fists you saw in earlier screenshots (a really awesome weapon) we add. These weapons can then be upgraded with the red orbs you gather, giving you new moves and combos.
You swing weapons around with the Square and Triangle buttons for normal and heavy attacks respectively. Grab moves are on Circle and blocking is executed with L1. However many attacks can't be deflected, in which case a flick of the right analogue stick rolls Kratos out of the way.
Carefully timing your blocks, rolls and attacks are crucial to survival which, as before, adds a hugely strategic element to a game that (especially with the now quadrupled enemy count) looks like thoughtless carnage.
As early screens revealed, you can now take control of certain enemies, commanding large ogres to batter through groups of foes before ripping your temporary helper's eyeball out.