Your move set and abilities are added to as you work through the game by using red orbs. These series mainstays are collected from defeated enemies and chests located throughout the game's environments, and then pumped into upgrades via the pause menu. As such, combat becomes increasingly exciting as you progress, and enemies more diverse, with many requiring you use certain attack strategies to defeat them. New to Kratos' move set are a superbly useful grapple (used to latch onto enemies and drag to the centre of battle) and a fun ramming move that sees him use an enemy as a battering ram. Add to this the core block, counter, and dodge mechanics seen in previous God of War titles, and the ultra powerful Rage of Sparta attack mode, and it's impossible to grow tired of taking out enemies.
God of War 3 is a brutal, blood-soaked experience. Whether you're simply taking on a group of skeletal soldiers, a cyclops or one of the main boss characters, there's blood spewing all over the place, limbs being ripped off, heads removed and bowels gutted. At times you can get trapped into using the same attacks over and over again (which makes the game hugely accessible to newcomers when played on standard or easy difficulty), but there's huge scope for variety if you look for it, or are forced to find it when playing on the harder difficulty settings.
It's impossible to talk about the core combat mechanics without also mentioning the locations, so integral are they to the overall experience and epic feel the game exudes. The colossal Greek titans play a huge part in the game's story and also serve as gameplay environments, with Kratos both fighting atop them, traversing along them, and directly attacking them. You're not aboard these behemoths all the time, with Kratos moving throughout many other beautiful indoor and outdoor locations, but they are the real highlight. There's just something incredibly special about unleashing hell on a group of grunt-like soldiers while running along the arm of such a massive creature. Sure, the final encounters are often ended with quick time events (another staple of the series), but these moments are phenomenally good looking and superbly choreographed.
Revealing the many memorable encounters will spoil what is an experience that everyone should discover themselves. The game does, understandably, feature lengthy periods of arena-like combat (where walls are placed around Kratos until he defeats all the enemies), but only once did this feel like it dragged on for too long, with the pace generally being spot on. There's a great sense of building towards the next showpiece encounter, and the game's story does its job linking up the numerous characters and locations. There are a few quieter periods, too, in which Kratos has to solve environmental puzzles. These, while certainly more taxing and better designed than what we saw in the recent Dante's Inferno, aren't brain benders by any stretch of the imagination, but they work well in the context of the game and generally make sense rather than seemingly randomly placed to give players something else to do.