I haven't played a whole lot of GoW 1 and 2 - basicly just played through them prior to GoW 3.. I found it quite nicely tuned, actually.. there were some times were I sat neck-deep in trouble i.e. when I have no Rage of the spartans before a giant battle, where it would be really spot on to use it, but eventually I managed to get through all those situations. You can change the difficulty - but only down, as far as I know.. If you die a lot of times at one particular encounter, the game will offer you to turn to easy difficulty.