Sunday 18 March 2018

Digital Life: Return of a brutal, bloody hack'n'slash

God of War III, PS3: Kratos is a lover and a fighter. But mostly a fighter. He makes Gerard Butler in the movie 300 look like a wimp.

As in the previous two brilliant chapters of this Grecian saga, the Spartan warrior dispenses justice via a pair of vicious blades as he pursues revenge on Zeus, the god of gods.

Just because we're on familiar territory doesn't mean God of War III is bereft of the power to stun.

The hack'n'slash combat system, dripfeed of upgrades and puzzles, returns basically unchanged from the last instalment three years ago.

But everything from the non-stop bloodletting to the apocalyptic, shuddering landscapes bathes in a high-res sheen.

The epic spectacles of the screen-filling bosses rarely loses their punch, except when the fixed camera occasionally fails to keep pace with the action.

With echoes of Shadow of the Colossus and even Mario Galaxy, God of War III introduces a handful of fresh ideas to the franchise. But its core of a brutal, bloody hack-'em-up never falters.

Rating: 9/10

SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3, PSP

Another title reaching its third episode shows that standing still is sometimes not enough. You're back in control of a four-man anti-terrorist squad, this time rooting out WMDs in the fictional republic of Korotvia.

With far too many obligingly stupid soldiers to shoot and acres of drab warehouses and street to traverse, it's a shame that more thought wasn't applied to the strategic squad options. SOCOM: Tactical Strike, another strand in the franchise, showed how engrossing squad play could be. But SFB3's story mode relies too heavily on its cycle of run-shoot-run to prove anything more than a short distraction.

Online multiplayer raises a bar at notch, but the pickings are slim.

Rating: 6.5/10

Revenge of the Wounded Dragons, PS3

Well, hello there 1980s, welcome back. RotWD makes no bones about its nostalgic reheat of side-scrolling beat-em-ups.

Fans of arcade classics such as Double Dragon will feel instantly at home with the simple, but addictive, brawling, especially as it's just a cheap download away.

The bad guys have your girl -- go get her back by kicking and punching seven shades out of an endless progression of henchmen. Fast, furious and with a wicked sense of humour, RotWD is a refreshing blast from the past.

Rating: 8/10

Irish Independent

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