Sony hasn't spoken in huge depth about other tools, but by triple-jumping it's possible to deploy Icarus' wings from the game's predecessor, and the Golden Fleece is evident in screenshots. Given that previous games could only handle around 15 enemies on-screen and God of War III can manage 50, we can also speculate on attacks that accommodate larger parties - although some of the initial special attacks already go some way towards this, like a heavy special with the Cestus which spreads the gauntlets wide on chains and then brings them together in a devastating clap.
Weaker in execution are the platform and puzzle elements, which are neither that exotic to look at nor to navigate. Helios' head is used to locate a secret door, but it's the only bare surface within range anyway, and leaping to handholds, sidling along narrow ledges and waiting for repeating bursts of fire to subside so you don't get torched are all a bit - for want of a better phrase - last gen. No doubt we can expect more from GOWIII in these areas than we're seeing in this brief demo, but considering Sony Santa Monica's close relationship with Uncharted 2 developer Naughty Dog, it's surprising to see anything this basic make it anywhere near the game, let alone into such an otherwise-accomplished demo.
Whether the God of War studio matches the efforts of its illustrious counterparts in the technical department, meanwhile, is probably best left to our own illustrious counterparts at Digital Foundry to assess (DF's E3 analysis is a good starting point), but there's no question that the gameworld is slick, the frame-rate consistent and the sense of scale occasionally outstanding. The final ascent through an Icarus vent, climaxing in a mouth-watering head-to-head with the lava Titan that remains unsettled as the demo ends, hints at what Sony has in store, and like Uncharted 2 there's a self-conscious attention to detail, keeping the visual surprises in direct line with the gameplay to stress the absence of recorded cut sequences, that momentarily paralyses your critical faculties.
It's a heck of a marker, in fact, reminiscent of the colossus demo that preceded the generation-topping God of War II for the last PlayStation console. It's a bit early in PS3's projected 10-year lifecycle to be talking about topping anything, of course (Helios excepted), but in the increasingly fierce battle for multi-platform dollars, we'd be excited if we had Kratos in our corner - and if this demo, which has been showcased to the press since as early as April in a less polished format, is what Sony Santa Monica is happy to wear on its sleeve, it certainly bodes well for what it still has left up it. Expect it to turn heads at the Expo this week, whenever it's not tearing them off.
God of War III is due out exclusively for PlayStation 3 in March 2010.