God Of War is a series that hasn’t really had to change the formula much since its inception in 2005. Button-mashing and quick-time events mixed with brutal, over-the-top action make up the very soul of this series and the main protagonist Kratos is known as one of the most violent main characters in gaming.
But by the beard of Zeus when they change it up it becomes magic!
The newest iteration of God Of War is one of those special gaming experiences that you and your friends will be talking about for years to come.
God of War has mostly been about Kratos and his god-murdering rage boner. Seriously, the previous four God of War games originally started with Kratos, a Spartan warrior, getting tricked into murdering his family and the ashes of his dead wife and kids are fused to his skin, turning it white. Dark, right? You see most of this in flashbacks and exposition with no real story in the older games. This iteration starts with more story, emotion, and drama in its first half hour than the entirety of the series to this point.
Kratos is older and having a relatively quiet life with his son(!) Atreus. Kratos’ wife has died and it’s up to the pair to take her ashes to her final resting place on top of a mountain. Kratos isn’t the same rage-fueled monster he used to be. In a weird sense he reminds me of Wolverine from 2017s “Logan”; some old guy attempting to bottle his red-hot anger and be a teacher for his young son. Atreus isn’t just a plot device, he’s like Elizabeth from Bioshock or Ellie from The Last of Us. He’s the focus of most of the humor in the game and changes up the combat in fun ways like distracting foes or even summoning creatures to help out.
God of War has usually been more focused on the combat but I was stunned at how everything looked. This game rivals Horizon Zero Dawn in just how beautiful things can get in a video game world. There are a lost of vista shots where Kratos and his son are looking off a cliff or are on the top of a mountain and it is jawdroppingly beautiful each time. The director and rendering team have showed up almost every game that has come before it not just the previous God of War titles.
This new iteration of the series changes the combat up to the point where its unrecognizable as a God of War game, and that is exactly what this series needed to evolve with the times. The setting has changed from the Greek theology its been mired in to a brand new Norse setting. Lovingly copying such gems as Resident Evil 4‘s camera angle to The Last of Us and its walking narrative and mixed in with some surprisingly cerebral combat which is a first for the series. Gone is the button mashing and the new controls add a new challenge to the God Of War formula. Instead of his iconic Chains of Olympus, Kratos has an axe that resembles Thors hammer that he throws and it can dish out some brutal damage as it comes back.
I was only able to play 2 hours of God of War and I cant wait to dive in for more.
God of War is available now for Playstation 4.
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