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The new God of War is an extraordinary game and it represents a seismic shift for one of Sony’s most beloved first-party franchises, but with more than a week to go until the title tosses its axe at retailers around the world, you should fill the time with one of Kratos’ previous adventures. God of War III was quietly remastered for the PlayStation 4 a few years ago, and it’s well worth playing in preparation for the latest title.

One of the sentiments that I’ve seen echoed around the web in the wake of yesterday’s barnstorming reviews is that many of you have never played a God of War game before. This can probably be attributed to the series starting life fairly late in the PlayStation 2 era, and then being shackled to the less popular PlayStation 3 in the previous generation. Still, it's genuinely surprising to see just how many overlooked the Greek trilogy, but it’s time to put that right.

God of War III Remastered is the perfect title to prepare you for the series' acclaimed new entry for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s short. Play it on the standard difficulty setting and you’ll be watching the credits roll within around 10 hours, which means you’ve got plenty of time to finish it before 20th April. It also “concludes” Kratos’ story in the Greek mythology, so you’ll get crucial context for your journey through the Norse realms.

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But most importantly, it’s so different. This isn’t a situation like Uncharted, where playing the previous entries prior to the latest one will burn you out on the formula – there’s nothing else quite like God of War III Remastered on the PS4, and it’s wildly different to its narrative successor. While the two titles share a similar penchant for cinematic action, God of War III Remastered leverages fixed camera angles to frame the action completely differently.

This allows for some moments of outrageous scale – particularly in the opening moments of the campaign. Those of you who have played the game will be nodding along enthusiastically when I reveal that you fight Poseidon on the back of Gaia who’s climbing Mount Olympus – all in the first 30 minutes. It’s one of the greatest set-pieces in gaming history, and it still holds up today – running at a rock-solid 60 frames-per-second on the PS4, of course.

The rest of the campaign arguably fails to hit the same highs, but there are a few other moments that stick out. One particular QTE sees you ripping the thumbnail off the giant Titan named Cronos, while the final battle with Zeus adopts an almost Street Fighter-esque perspective. It’s really good stuff that’s immaculately presented; there are even some brilliant puzzle sequences, including a hedge maze in Hera’s Garden which plays with perspective.

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And the combat, of course, is knock-out stuff. Using fixed camera angles, it’s more about enemy management, as you leverage the wide reach of the Blades of Chaos to juggle baddies and keep them at bay. Other weapons, including the giant Nemean Cestus fists, add depth to the system and facilitate some devastating combos. It’s all wildly different to the more grounded combat of the new God of War, which still has the same spectacle but in a different way.

To be honest, I don’t think time has been entirely fair on God of War III. Because it was the third game in a trilogy that also received numerous spin-offs, I feel like it isn’t remembered quite as fondly as other past PlayStation exclusives. But it is a great game which is well worth playing on the PS4, and because of its short-running time and unique gameplay, it’s actually a wonderful warm up for the new God of War. Personally, I think it’ll enhance your enjoyment of the latest and greatest release.

Are you planning to play God of War III Remastered in preparation for God of War? Are you new to the franchise? What’s taken you so long to give the series a try? Rip Helios’ head off in the comments section below.