God of War III is a spectacular triumph but it's by no means perfect. Sony Santa Monica have succeeded in bringing Kratos to the new generation with grace and flair, it's just a shame they weren't brave enough to shake up the formula and try something new.
The appeal of God Of War III as a successful sequel is evident in the little incidental moments of story and gameplay. That barnstorming opener is a killer and the final battle is awe inspiring. Elsewhere, a protracted chase with Hermes is a great example of cinematic gaming narrative. Even Kratos shielding his eyes from the brightness of Helios is constructed as a neat little interactive touch.
It's usually a bad thing when gameplay takes a back seat to looks and story, but with God Of War that's exactly the point. The reason Sony hasn't changed the template is because this franchise doesn't get by on innovation, it gets by on the grand spectacle of blockbuster gaming.
But what of the competition? Bayonetta offers hardcore Japanese brawler gaming while Darksiders and Dante's Inferno seek to beat Kratos at his own game. These newcomers threw their hat into the ring just as the hype for GOWIII was reaching fever pitch and it's a testament to Sony and it's bald Spartan mascot that it has survived the onslaught.
Bayonetta is certainly more imaginative with its effortless combat system and bonkers story, but it lacks the wow factor of Sony's behemoth. As for the other two? Well, Darksiders is a strange mix of different genres masquerading as an original epic, while Dante's Inferno is a shameless rip off that hasnt the courage to even try to be different, shooting for dizzy heights but falling flat on its face.
There are franchises hidden in all of these pretenders, but they have yet to prove as consistently awe inspiring as Kratos' grand tale.