At around 2.6GB in size, the God of War III E3 demo is one of the meatiest sampler downloads we've yet experienced, but the lengthy wait is worth it bearing in mind the length and breadth of the content on offer. Indeed, there's so much to show that we've cut the video analysis into two parts with only minor edits.

The first effectively covers what was shown in the Sony press conference at E3, the second shows what comes afterwards, and it's here that the demo really comes into its own - becoming that much more of a technical showcase. If you've already eagerly consumed the E3 press materials, skipping ahead to the second vid is probably worthwile.

So, part one then. Our initial technical analysis of the E3 demo remains relevant (it is the same code after all), but what is noteworthy is just how clean God of War III is. It's not really so self-evident on compressed internet video assets.

The texture work is of an outstanding quality throughout, special effects are used in a subtle and reserved manner, lighting is exemplary. The code appears to be using 2x multisamping anti-aliasing, but similar to Killzone 2, the choice of colour palette helps in adding to the edge-smoothing effect.

Into part two and the Sony Santa Monica studio's range of effects comes to the fore a touch more prominently. The per-pixel lighting in combination with the high-quality texture work produces some uncanny effects (for example, on the marble). The depth-of-field effect isn't "in your face", it just works and looks superb. The texture filtering employed is of an excellent quality. The only downers are a few low-poly edges and the reduced alpha buffers, but the impact on overall image quality isn't really a problem at all.

So, the frame-rate. Yes, it's E3 code. Yes, there's obviously a better-than-usual chance that the final code will improve over what we see in the demo. However, the performance level in the sampler is intriguing. This rendition of God of War III is v-synced (so no tearing), and based on our playthrough across the two videos, we have an average of 36.81FPS, a low of 24FPS and a high of 56FPS.

Average frame rates aren't usually that much of a useful stat, but here it's a pretty decent indication of overall performance throughout - which is curious. Locking the game at 30FPS would have produced a more visually consistent look, as well as a more predictable, "reliable" feel from the controls - plus less judder on-screen in panning shots and the like.

Overall though, small quibbles aside, this demo is great stuff, and the timing of its release just weeks before the US demo is released as part of the God of War Collection is curious. Will this self-same E3 demo be the same sampler included as a PSN redeem code within the package? Has Europe actually had the "exclusive" here?

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Jump to comments (79)

About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

More articles by Richard Leadbetter

Comments (79)

Comments for this article are now closed, but please feel free to continue chatting on the forum!

Hide low-scoring comments


Like what we do at Digital Foundry? Support us!

Subscribe for only $5 and get access to our entire library of 4K videos.

Digital Foundry

Digital FoundryMetro Exodus: a vision for the future of graphics technology

Impressive on consoles, but PC is a genuine game-changer.

Digital FoundryBest graphics cards 2019: every major Nvidia and AMD GPU tested

The DF guide to the fastest and best value video cards on the market.

Digital FoundryGrab Logitech gaming gear at the best prices since Black Friday

Amazon UK's Daily Deal includes discounted mice, headsets, keyboards and racing wheels.