When we catch up with him in 2018’s God of War, SIE Santa Monica Studio’s simultaneous sequel and reboot of the beloved PlayStation series, the Spartan warrior has left ancient Greece behind and is now one of the Norse realms of the gods. And living a new life with family. And monsters.
But it’s not just the Norse mythology setting that sets the new God of War apart from previous entries in the series—its action-focused gameplay has been completely deconstructed and reimagined, with a new over-the-shoulder camera perspective offered and is based on an ax. A combat system that keeps Kratos mostly grounded.
He’s also got a companion for his latest adventure, with his young son Atreus providing backup during a battle with his trusty bow and knife, while also helping decipher Norse texts and solve puzzles.
Alas, this father-son relationship is a complicated one, with Kratos’ secrets about his true nature (as well as Atreus’ elevated divinity) keeping the two at odds for the majority of their adventures.
And when you really break it down, this iteration of God of War is about a god learning to be a man and a man learning to be god.
A new beginning
The new game opens with the Norse funeral of Kratos’ late wife, Faye – an event that seems to end his brief period of peace. Now she is left to raise Atreus alone.
The problem, as we alluded to earlier, is that father and son aren’t particularly close – both Kratos and Atreus are resentful of their new living situation, but they’re forced out of the house to fulfill Faye’s last wish. One must travel far, in which his ashes are scattered. The highest peak in all realms.
While he’s still the saddest guy around, it’s safe to say that Kratos is significantly less angry than he was back in ancient Greece—he’s no longer prone to killing everything in sight. is, and when he raises his voice it usually is. Because Atreus has failed to obey his orders.
This father-son duo is bound to draw comparisons to Joel and Ellie from Naughty Dog’s 2013 masterpiece, The Last of Us, in which Kratos and Atreus share a similar dynamic of grieving protector and innocent child that might be his. Will melt the icy heart.
Don’t get us wrong, though – this is a very good thing. It’s this maturation of character and tone that helps propel the series to new emotional levels, making for a deeper, more satisfying experience overall.
You better hit someone with an ax
As Kratos and Son prepare to embark on their journey to the highest point in all the realms, they are met by an alien with god-like powers (whose identity is discovered later in the game), who Kratos Proceeds to give. An unexpected challenge in the physics department.
After one of the most brutal and cinematic battles of the entire God of War series, it becomes clear to Kratos that the Norse gods know all about his past as the Ghost of Sparta, and that His god-killing track record of K is quite dangerous.
This puts the Spartan on the defensive – a position he doesn’t normally find himself in. All of Kratos’ previous adventures cast him in the role of the aggressor, seeking revenge for the wrongs done to him, but now he has only concerns. Fulfilling his late wife’s death wish and protecting his son.
Thankfully, Kratos has inherited Faye’s heavy Leviathan X, a powerful ice-based weapon that can be used in close combat and thrown for ranged attacks. You’ll spend most of the game wielding it, though you’ll get to play with an alternate fire-based weapon later on.
Time to throw down
Perhaps inspired by the likes of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, the new combat system’s quick and heavy attacks are mapped to the R1 and R2 shoulder buttons, providing additional functionality while holding down the aim button (L2). Is.
This will throw your ax around the world at enemies or interactive puzzle elements. Sometimes, this means strapping it into a tooth that holds up a platform while fighting with your fists and a trusty shield, which is raised by pressing L1 (that is, at the right time). Hitting will block the enemy’s attack, leaving them open. Countermeasure). Pressing the triangle button will cause Leviathan X to return you to Mjölnir in a Thor-like fashion.
Aiming at an enemy and pressing the square button will cause Atreus to fire an arrow for you – an invaluable tactic later in the game when the bow is powered up with multiple magical abilities.
Like FromSoftware’s aforementioned titles, combat in God of War typically involves you dodging enemy attacks with timed rolls by holding down the right stick (R3) and double tapping the X button to attack one enemy at a time. It forces
Thankfully, the combat, while stiff at times, is much more accessible than it is in the Souls games. It is still God of War at heart. As you level up and upgrade your abilities (spending XP gives you new attacks, just like previous games in the series), weapons, and armor (planting rune stones gives you the ability to cast magical attacks Spending gy and hex silver will buy and upgrade Kratos and Atreus’ armor, axes and bows), making you more powerful, able to take on multiple enemies at once.
An open world
In stark contrast to the mostly linear nature of previous God of War games, this iteration takes a page out of the Tomb Raider reboot playbook, giving you a huge environment to delve into without ever venturing into sandbox territory.
In true Metroidvania fashion, certain areas, items, and paths are initially closed to Kratos and son, only opening up when you unlock a desired new ability or weapon that you’ve previously encountered unbreakable barriers. Allows breaking.
Yes, this means that the game’s nearly 30-hour length involves a fair amount of backtracking, and if you stray from your mission and start doing the occasional side quest or decide to track down If there are, this playtime will be extended further. Certain items are scattered around the various circles.
Yes, you read that right—this new battle journey will take you through multiple Norse realms, each with a distinct look and feel. One, in particular, is one of the most beautiful environments we’ve ever visited in a video game.
An encounter with a friendly witch early in the game grants you a ‘Witch Compass’ — an invaluable item that will always point you in the direction of your current objective, meaning you’ll never get lost on this epic adventure. . This compass becomes especially useful when traveling by canoe to different areas within each circle.
In fact, despite his generally sour demeanor, Kratos makes many helpful friends throughout the game’s campaign. This includes a pair of bickering dwarf brothers, a knowing talking head (just go with it), and the aforementioned witch. Although he is always melodramatic, Kratos is always respectful of his allies, which shows how calm he is in the years following the end of God of War III.
Visuals worthy of Odin’s approval
With amazing art direction and incredibly detailed graphics, God of War is one of the best-looking games on PlayStation 4 — in fact, we’d go so far as to say it’s the best since the visually stunning Horizons. The beautiful PS4 game is Zero Dawn by Gorilla Games.
Its vast scope is aided by unparalleled lighting effects and a remarkable level of detail in costumes, faces, and environments – all of which are dialed up to new heights when played on the PlayStation 4 Pro console.
The PS4 Pro version of God of War offers two graphics modes: one that favors a resolution, displaying the game at a checkerboard 2160p (or 4K), and another that favors performance, dropping the resolution down to 1080p. does but displays at framerates that are close to 60fps (but never actually locked to it).
Which one you choose will obviously come down to your personal preference. Camera movement is much, much smoother in Performance mode, although the loss of visual detail is noticeable — especially in games, where the level of detail is much higher at 4K.
Of course, HDR is also available for those with TVs that support the format, and we can say that it definitely adds to the experience, especially when it comes to highlights and shadows.
Verdict: Play it now
The new God of War is not the best game in the series to date due to its redesigned combat system, updated camera, epic scope, and incredible visuals. Like its characters, it reaches such incredible new heights because of its inclusion that none of the previous titles in the series really had a heart for.
This version of Kratos finally feels like a fully developed character — less of a one-dimensional rage monster and more of a deep, thoughtful soul who’s still enduring a lot of pain and suffering.
Along with Atreus, the game constantly gives you hope that Kratos will finally leave behind the baggage that still haunts him (and we mean that literally – Kratos is haunted by the ghosts of his past. seen on more than one occasion).
While it was once hatred and anger that fueled Kratos’ desire to fight, he now fights with love, which is a huge departure for the series – and ultimately transforms him into something more powerful, poignant, and unforgettable.