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Kratos back for more fun in ‘God of War III’

Just a few moments passed at the start of “God of War III” before I remembered how much fun the series has been since it began in 2005.

The series’ protagonist, Kratos, is climbing up a titan who is simultaneously climbing up Mount Olympus at the beginning of a war against the gods of Greek mythology. The cinematics are brilliant, and the size and scope of the battle are grand. The combat system is familiar and the voice acting is tremendous. It’s that early moment where I remembered the “God of War” series is the best combination of pure fun and execution in the gaming world.

“God of War III” — available now for PlayStation 3 — doesn’t have the best plot or graphics. It isn’t the most fun game ever. But it’s the combination of all those elements and more that create magic every few years when the franchise is dusted off and Kratos returns to his journey.

We found out at the end of the second installment in the main series that Kratos is the son of Zeus. The gods have a relationship that Jerry Springer would be proud to see. Kratos is seeking revenge on the gods for what he feels is betrayal, and the gods want Kratos eliminated because he has been quite the pest.

The gameplay is the highlight here, with the developers making Kratos’ ability to fight through hordes of enemies fairly easy to grasp. As with all entries in the series, the enemies range from the average foot soldier to colossal bosses.

In those first few minutes of the game, Kratos is already doing battle with Poseidon and his sea creatures. The battle with the god of the sea is just one of many epic fights during the adventure. The puzzle-solving elements from past games also return.

One of the biggest advantages for “God of War III” is its release date.

Most companies save their biggest franchise releases for the holiday season.

But Sony has always found a way to churn out big hits in the earlier parts of the year. The company usually has a big-name franchise ready for release in the first few months every year. And March has been the month of choice for this series, with all three main games of the series getting March releases.

Getting a strong release this early means gamers will be longing for something new to escape playing the same games they got during the holidays. Although this winter and spring have more big-name releases than usual, gamers will still have more time to focus on “God of War III” than they would have had if it was released this past November or December.

Gamers will want to spend as much time as possible with this gem of a game. It’s an early contender for best game of 2010.

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