God of War is an action-adventure game and is available this month on PS Plus. While the previous entries were loosely based on Greek mythology, this game is based on Norse mythology where Kratos and his son Atreus go on a quest to scatter his wife’s ashes at the highest peak of the nine realms. Having played the original trilogy there were 3 things that completely came out of left field for me.
Number 1 is the father and son storyline. The last thing I ever would’ve expected to work is a storyline that humanizes a monster like Kratos. I initially found the idea kind of silly but it worked out great. Number 2, God of War is traditionally a linear action game but the open-world fits perfectly with this game. Number 3, is the change to the over-the-shoulder POV.
I’ve seen this POV often from shooters but for God of War, I just didn’t know how to feel about it. Despite my doubts, these changes have elevated the series to heavenly heights. The story is fairly simple, Kratos must journey to the highest peak of the 9 realms to spread his dead wife’s ashes. Yes 9 realms, we’re in Norse mythology now so there’s a whole new slew of gods to murder. We see an older more mature Kratos seeking to bury his demons.
Atreus is the perfect foil to him and shows us sides of him I never thought I’d see. He also provides most of the exposition since Kratos is illiterate. Kratos and his son don’t have the best relationship and Kratos cares about him but he doesn’t know how to show it and Atreus basically behaves like a typical kid who asks a lot of questions and is curious about his father and what he knows.
The writing and voice acting are excellent, especially from Christopher Judge who plays Kratos. Just listening to the deep baritone voice makes you feel like an inferior man. God of War has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen and it runs like a dream. I never experienced any frame drops. The sense of scope and massiveness is startling and the orchestral score hits those same epic notes of previous titles. The entire presentation here is just incredible.
I was initially skeptical about the new combat system until I hit my first brutal axe kill. Combat is fun and each hit adds major weight and impact to every strike. The Leviathan axe is a welcome change and having it return to you like Thor’s hammer never gets old. Remember those lazy quick-time events from previous games, they are no more. Now you’ve got Uncharted-like set pieces and a cool scenario where you circle around Atreus to protect him.
Speaking of Atreus, I was worried he’d be this liability that you have to constantly save from danger but no he can fend for himself. Atreus can assist you in combat by using his bow or stunning enemies from behind. Supplemented with special magic attacks, Sparking Rage, and amazing finishing moves from Kratos, the combat always felt fun. God of War is surprisingly challenging, unlike previous games where you can basically just button mash through the games.
You feel quite weak early on and I was regularly killed. I had to constantly witness Kratos’s death animation where he goes stiff as a board. As you defeat enemies and complete quests you will gain experience which can be used to upgrade your attacks and skills giving this game a more RPG aspect to it. The explorative aspect of this game for me was probably the most shocking change.
Instead of a linear adventure, you’ve got an open world riddled with hidden paths and chests. The world map is vague and the compass only points to the main quest so you’re kind of forced to really observe and explore your surroundings. As if Midgard wasn’t big enough there are 8 other realms but you can’t travel to all of them. The side quests are admittedly not as interesting as the main quest but some of them are fun and there’s a whole bunch of collectibles and chests to discover around the realms that add to the lore and overall story of the world.
The only bad thing about exploration is the limited fast travel as I could easily have shaved off an additional hour or two of gameplay with those extra minutes I spent in limbo between portals. It took me over 35 hours to beat God of War, which is longer than the first 3 God of War games combined. Overall God of War is one of the best games ever made and fans or newcomers to the series will definitely enjoy it.
God of war will be available to PlayStation Plus members until Monday, July 04.
God of War has drastically changed compared to the previous games of the series but for the better. The open-world exploration aspect is amazing. The graphics are stunning and crisp and the combat has been vastly changed to the over-the-top shoulder view and delves more into the RPG genre. One of the best games of this generation that everyone should at least try out.