The God of War series has been one of Sony's strongest over the last decade, and it took the brilliant The Last of Us to knock God of War III off our top spot for favourite PS3 game - until then Kratos had towered over even the Helghast, Nathan Drake and Yamauchi.
This third entry offered some of the best boss fights and weapons of the series up to that point. It was also the most polished, most responsive and most satisfying of the three titles. It offered an obscene amount of violence and blood filtered through a fantasy epic as gods duelled. It's a thoroughly entertaining journey that's almost primal in the way it satisfies, and so good were the twists and turns that took us round each and every corner, it was hard to put down the controller. It's Devil May Cry's stylish combat overlaid with cinematic fervour and Clash of the Titans-infused magnificence.
And it is perhaps that grandeur that has become the series' hallmark, it's what the fans responded strongly to and expect every time Kratos starts a new bloody crusade. The series has become synonymous with the word "epic" and rightly so. GoWIII starts with Kratos climbing Mount Olympus, riding on the back of the titan Gaia, to dispose of the gods he swore revenge on. On its peak stands Zeus, Hades and Poseidon ready to counterattack.
It's a glorious opener, though difficult at times to keep track of what's happening as you fight on Gaia's shoulders and the gods clash in the background, with the scene climaxing in a one on one with the sea god Poseidon, a first boss battle that easily matches the Hydra clash from the original game.
And the bosses, one of this franchise's highlights, are exceptional here, marrying epic scale with great mechanics. Personal favourites include the battle with Hades, which feels kinetic and meaty, or Cronos, a boss bigger than any that's come before yet the studio manages to make a workable fight out of it.
Shame then that the same cannot be said for the final battle with Zeus, as the creative fire that burned so bright for the game's first two acts fizzles out in its third. While the fight with Zeus doesn't measure up to what's come before, it's also crippled by the need to hammer home the message that justifies Kratos' rage and anger.
The first game had classic Greek tragedy stylings, a general who goes on the warpath after suffering great personal loss only to be gripped by repentance when he realises peace of mind will never be found. A touching story deftly executed amid the violence. It's tossed aside for the sequels, and while there's entertainment in the violence and spectacle, the story lacks heart, so when the writing turns to touching on forgiveness and hope, it clashes badly with the previous hours of slaughter.
But: entertainment. Poor story beats aside, God of War III is still lavish in its offerings of engaging spectacle and extravagant excitement, and that's something that hasn't diminished in the intervening years between the original release and this Remastered version.
However, this PS4 package is rather sparse, stingy even. You've got a Photo Mode, but little else. The 1080p, 60FPS upgrade is nothing to scoff at, given the PS3 version jumped between 30 and 60 constantly, but the game looks little different from how we remember - though the original is still impressive even today. That said, it doesn't compare to the quality of the GTAV and The Last of Us ports.
When compared to the likes of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which contained the entire four games plus their respective multiplayer modes (and now also Halo 3: ODST), and with Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on the horizon, it's hard to be impressed with a single God of War title being republished when you're aware the other entries could have made the leap as well. Anyone who missed God of War during the last generation has most likely missed the entire series. A complete collection would have been much more enticing, or even bundling in God of War: Ascension.
There's little reason for anyone that's previously owned and played through the game to buy it again. Newcomers entering the story a third of the way through will be confused as to what's happening, although a quick Wiki read will get you roughly up to speed and you'll be good to enjoy the absurdly entertaining theatrics on offer. Those that owned a PS2 back in the day and enjoyed the first two titles but missed the third are in for a fantastic return to an action adventure epic of impressive scale.