God of War.
God of War is an action-adventure title created by Sony Santa Monica. Released for the PlayStation 4, in May 2018, it’s fourth mainline title in Sony’s hallmark series. The title takes place in the world of Norse Mythology while carrying the story forward from the original trilogy. Starring Kratos, the tale takes him and his son, Atreus, on an epic journey through the different realms in Norse Mythology.
To call it God of War 4 isn’t an untrue statement. It’s a fitting name, as the game will make multiple, crucial references to Kratos’ battles with the Greek gods. Those who played God of War I-III will immediately identify with the story and Kratos’ character. Players new to the series will find new ground to cover in their first adventure as Kratos. Note that the game is not a reboot, but a sort of reimagining for the series.
In the original titles, God of War played similarly to the Devil May Cry series. Featuring fixed camera angles, the original trilogy featured Kratos unleashing powerful combos. The game would count the combo hits as the numbers racked up. The God of War titles supplied Kratos with Red Orbs which functioned as currency. Despite the similarities, God of War created its own identity in combat. For instance, you could execute your enemies with the Circle button, or even grab them for different attacks. Also, in God of War, dungeons involved solving puzzles as well.
God of War cues homage from the Dark Souls series. It features an over-the-shoulder camera perspective with a more controllable camera. Moreover, the action involves switching through multiple weapons, to include Kratos’ bare fists. Choosing the weapon is crucial to your fights. Do you want to use the Leviathan Axe, which features ice runic attacks? Or do you prefer to use your bare fists to inflict stun damage and execute your opponent? You have even more choices later in the game. God of War also borrows RPG elements, such as skill trees, elemental weaknesses, upgrading armor, and inflicting status ailments.
Kratos will sail across the Lake of Nine to explore the realm. You’ll discover chests that contain lootand interact with your son while you adventure. While the changes signify a new pace for the series, it’s one filled with exploration and deep storytelling. While it definitely marks a new formula, it’s still true to the God of War series to its very core.
The story of a vicious cycle.
The game starts with the death of Kratos’ wife, Faye. After moving on from Greece, he sought refuge and found a new life north of his homelands. Marrying a new love and having a son, the two enjoyed life together until her untimely death. Before she died, Faye’s wished for two things. One was for Kratos to cut down the marked trees around their home. The other was for Kratos and Atreus to scatter her ashes across the highest peak in all the realms. Kratos and Atreus embark on an adventure. As Kratos teaches Atreus how to survive, Atreus becomes a stronger warrior.
Later in the game, you’ll discover fierce bosses and gods. You’ll learn their role in the story as you progress and meet new characters, like the Witch of the Woods. Another crucial character you’ll meet is the sage, Mimir. Despite his knack for rambling, he offers sound lore with his intricate story telling. Exploring the land uncovers substories, some of which come with their own deep tale. You’ll learn more about the Jotunheim giants and the Asgardian gods, even challenging the impressions of some you may be familiar with. Perhaps a certain God of Thunder comes to mind.
As mentioned earlier, God of War features differences from the original titles. However, the combat is every bit as fierce, aggressive, and fast-paced as you would expect. New mechanics, such as throwing the Leviathan Axe, keep you at a distance. On the other hand, the close-combat elements of this game are dynamite. They’re faster than Dark Souls and roughly as aggressive as Nioh or even the original God of War titles. The stronger you get, the more satisfying combat becomes. I’m personally fond of barehanded combat, which built up the stun meter faster than bladed weapons. Building up the stun meter enabled execution attacks. Plus it was important to strategize with Atreus’ ability with the bow, which you control manually.
The RPG elements include crafting and forging armor. You meet two dwarves who can craft and upgrade your armor and weapons. You can build armor, some of which include favoring Strength, Runic, or other stats. The Talismans you get enable super moves. These super moves come with cooldown, but deal a ton of damage quickly. Moreover, your puzzle elements involve shooting switches, destroying runics, and block puzzles. Atreus becomes heavily intimate with puzzle solving, as his arrows will be your key forward.
God of War is known for its vicious, satisfying combat. In addition to the hack-and-slash combat, you can also command Atreus to cover you by firing at enemies. Given a wide variety of enemy types, you’ll fight enemies that range from burrowing, slithering snake enemies to powerful wolf creatures called Wulvers. Some are incredibly fast, such as the Dark Elves and the Valkyries. Others will summon poison to attack you from afar and teleport away. You’ll face plenty of enemy mobs as well. Luckily, Atreus has your back with his bow. While he can automatically attack enemies, pressing Square allows him to fire a bow in your direction. The best part is he’ll automatically target the enemy you’re facing.
The boss battles are amazing in every way. Whether you’re fighting a powerful god, a Valkyrie, or a huge dragon, there’s always careful planning and strategic crafting involved in your fights. Given the variety of battles, I will say it has some of the best boss battles of any game I’ve ever played.
You can select difficulty modes. Also, for those who want a true challenge, God of War delivers. For instance, you can enter Muspelheim to enter a gauntlet challenge. These play similarly to the Trials in the original trilogy. Fight off hordes of enemies set with a condition. There’s also Niflheim, which is a mist-covered maze that randomly generates dungeons and awards some amazing treasure.
Travel and Replay Factor.
The main story should take players roughly 30 hours to beat. This is much longer than previous God of War titles, which could be beaten in under 20 hours. The world of God of War is massive. Featuring multiple islands, dungeons, and several realms to explore, the story covers many bases. And yet, despite the amount of travel you do, not once does it feel like boring padding. For starters, Kratos’ movement speed is quite fast. He can sprint without a stamina meter and row through the Lake of Nine fairly quickly. But what separates this from other games is the storytelling. On side-quests and longer travels, Kratos and Atreus will converse. They’ll discuss Faye, the Giants, Kratos’ history, and much more. Later on, the sage, Mimir, will also offer his scholarly knowledge to add to the game’s story.
In addition, you’ll encounter plenty of side-quests. Clearing them will net you powerful armor or weapon upgrades. Moreover, you can hunt for Valkyries, which consist of nine powerful and difficult boss fights. As mentioned earlier, Muspelheim and Niflheim offer a serious challenge for players. Lastly, you can continue exploring the world to your heart’s content while seeking out Trophies along the way
When you’re not questing, you can explore the islands. Sometimes, Atreus will ask Kratos why they’re doing a side-quest. Kratos will answer it’s to procure supplies and prepare. There’s a reason behind their motives. Compared to simply saying, “yes,” in most RPGs, Kratos will inquire the motive of the side-quest before accepting it. Little bits of dialogue keep the game fresh and entertaining. Plus there’s much to learn about the game’s world. But moreover, the storytelling itself offers some noteworthy dialogue.
The game is full of Easter Eggs and little extras here and there. In fact, one particular Talisman takes cues from the Marvel movies. As Thor is from Norse Mythology, the developers found a fitting relic to include as an unlockable Talisman. Between that and references to the past titles, there are many Easter Eggs to the game you can learn from exploring.
To be quite frank, I spent the entire game loving nearly every minute of it. It’s honestly difficult to say any part of this game is flawed. And that’s because it hardly is. Any flaws that come to this game are miniscule The combat, the music, the gorgeous visuals and animation, and the deep storytelling all come together. In addition to the exploration and customization elements, the whole game comes together as worth more than the sum of its parts. In games like this, I worry about the pacing. I was afraid traveling would be a slog, but it’s not. It flows quite well and respects the player’s time. Santa Monica has created an epic masterpiece. Also, the soundtrack is one of the most epic of any game I’ve heard. Composed by Bear McCreary, this game’s music is perhaps the most enthralled I’ve ever been by a video game score.
While I’ve beaten the original trilogy, I’ve never loved God of War as much as I do now. Kratos was quite one-track minded. Much of the action felt too similar to Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden as well. But this new God of War title writes a new history. It quickly became one of my favorite games and one of the most awe-inspiring experiences I have ever played. Kratos has matured and still continues to develop throughout the game. The boss battles, lore, and even the dungeons all come with their own unique feature. With the wealth of side-content the game has, it can take 30-50 hours to finish it completely. Despite no New Game Plus, Sony has already confirmed it’s on the way.
I’m completely impressed by this game and I recommend it to everyone who has a PS4. God of War is an accessible title for newcomers and perfect for veteran players. You’ll learn many combat skills, learn about this world full of life (and death), and fight some of the most memorable boss battles of any game in history. Get God of War now if you haven’t already.
Thank you for reading our God of War review! What was your favorite part of the game? Do you plan on getting the game this year? Let us know in the comments below!