These newly-released screen shots from Sony’s eagerly anticipated finale to the God of War series only helps reinforce one thing: this bad boy’s going to be absolutely epic.

Games this big, expectations this palpable — moments like these come by far and few in between.

When the first two games in the series were released, I was heavy into my college career and had very little time to focus on games.

Sad, but true.  The real world, unfortunately, got in the way.  I missed a lot of great franchises between 2005 and 2007.  One of which was this.

Luckily, Sony re-released the first two in the saga with HD makeovers.  This past November, I was able to experience what many consider the greatest series the PS2 offered — all in beautifully-rendered HD goodness.  I’m almost glad I waited — even though these were PS2 ports — the visuals were crisp, the gameplay astounding, the action fast-paced and the gore?  Excruciating.

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When I purchased the God of War Collection, it came with a special PSN code — the GOWIII E3 demo.  Before even playing the first game, I began downloading the demo.  I knew I was in for something special, but the joy of hacking and slashing my way through skeletons, minions and harpies in full HD is far too difficult to grasp in writing.  This must be experienced first-hand to truly comprehend the magnitude of this game.

Although the developers at Sony Santa Monica have been fortunate enough to have a solid staff of artists, programmers and designers — the road GOW has traveled has been turbulent and troubled.

I’ve been following their story for quite some time now.  For reasons unknown to the public, the game’s creator, David Jaffe left early on in the development of the sequel.  The game’s second game designer, Cory Barlog, also left after completing the sequel.  The third and final installment in the saga now has a third game designer.  It’s been said, however, that David Jaffe originally intended the series to be a trilogy, so a lot of the story lends itself incredibly well to cliffhangers and missed opportunities.

In the screenshot above, if you look close enough, you can spot Krator climbing the arm of Gaia, or Mother Earth to use mere mortals.  The GOW series has been known for its colossal set-pieces — but the third game in the series is taking it to a whole new level.  With the PS3’s raw horsepower now finally starting to outshine the competition (Uncharted 2, anyone?), the game looks absolutely exquisite.  GOWIII will not even be compared to the anything on the 360 — it’s going to be making direct, head-to-head comparisons to PC titles.  Yes, it’s that graphically-intense and that graphically mind-blowing.

There’s a lot riding for Sony on the final installment in the series.  First, there’s the fact that they need to push a lot more hardware in 2010 than any other year of the PS3’s existence.  And two, it’s the perfect time to capitalize on exclusive titles coming to the console in 2010.

With less than two months away from this monumental release (March 31st, mark your calendars); the anticipation could not be any higher.  This is gaming at its finest.

My pre-order is in.  Is yours?

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