God of War released on the 20th April this year, and received critical acclaim from critics and fans alike. Many already claiming it to be Game Of The Year, and being one of the best games to come out this generation. I have just finished the story and after playing over 25 hours I’m ready to share my thoughts and opinions with you all.
I had never played any of the previous God of War games, so regardless of the change in gameplay and camera angle this was a completely new experience for me. I was aware of who Kratos is and what he has done, so I did have a bit of an idea of what I was getting into playing as the “Ghost of Sparta”. Kratos is much older now, a lot less angry, rocking an awesome beard and now has a son called Atreus
Nicknamed – BOY
The game is set in the world of Norse mythology, which I actually knew nothing about. Until someone told me it is the mythos that includes Thor the God of Thunder. Naturally being a huge Marvel fan, I was excited to see how Thor and the rest of his world would be depicted in this game. The premise for the game is a very simple, Kratos’s wife and Atreus mum has tragically died. Her last wish was for her ashes to be scattered from atop the highest mountains of all the nine realms. From there you embark on an epic journey with Kratos and his son.
This game was very much about the journey and not just the destination
As you play through the game, you watch as the relationship between Kratos and Atreus build and get stronger over time. At the same time you learn more about the Norse lore and the number of God’s in this world. Including Odin, his wife and even Thor’s children. It definitely feels like you are learning about a completely new universe, full of tragedy, betrayal and many many wonders. From Kratos being very blunt and dismissive to Atreus youthful exuberance to learn and understand the world around him. It all just perfectly mixes together to not just keep you engaged with the characters but the world around them.
Now the game is for the most part a linear experience, but each of the realms you travel to (which are essentially the different levels) are like a small open world. There are hidden chests, treasure maps, secret rooms and mini bosses to find in each of them. On top of this there are artefacts to locate and languages to decipher that unlock a couple extra realms too.
Some are locked out completely though, for example Asgard. There are no plans for DLC to be released, so most likely these are being kept for a sequel
Now each realm that you are able to visit, are very much different from one another. You don’t just get different types of enemies, but levels with different environmental design and colours as well as simple puzzles to solve. Some areas require specific abilities and gear to unlock passage to them, so you will find yourself coming back to these realms to un earth these secrets when you have the right equipment. Now a lot of these secrets are not essential for you to improve Kratos and Atreus, but they will come a long way and making them stronger and much more fun to play with. Especially with the bonus enemies you can face off with outside the story, so the game does leave quite a large carrot dangling in front of you, to come back and re visit previous areas.
Now this was biggest change in the game, that essentially gave it that “reboot” title, although really it can be classified as God of War 4. Now as I never played the previous games before, I can’t really say if it works better or not. But what I can say is, it is a lot of fun!
Throwing Kratos’s axe and getting it to come back to you like Thor’s hammer is so satisfying and never gets old!
There is more to just Kratos’s Axe, he can also use his fists, as well as combine the axe to create Rune attacks. You also have “Spartan rage” where for a limited amount of time you recover health while dishing out severe damage. You also have the signature, execution kills, which are very satisfying to pull off. As it requires you using quick attacks and parries to build the meter up to execute them. They are extremely brutal and a visual delight in a sick savage way. Furthermore Atreus, is a very useful companion in combat, he isn’t just there to distract your enemies or be a target for them. He can fire arrows at them that can freeze or paralyse them, he also has a summoning ability where an animal will arrive on the battlefield and either stun, freeze or dish out extra damage to your enemies. Furthermore, he can grapple them and give you an opening for a killer blow and even combines attacks with you.
Additionally, all of the above that I have mentioned. Are not just upgradable via skill trees, but you also unlock different abilities and combination attacks. So you can really vary your attacks that are not only devastating to pull off, but are visually appealing too. It all really makes the combat so much fun, but also strategic and not just a button masher. As mentioned earlier, you get different enemies in each realms. But they all offer different variants in retaliation. Some are immune to your axe, others carry huge shields, there are some that can only be hit in certain areas and so much more. Not only do you have to rely on Kratos’s abilities which are to block, parry and counter but also Atreus’s range abilities with his bow and arrow
It all makes for some serious Father and Son bonding time!
Now you all may have already heard and read a lot about this. But I just cannot emphasise enough, how pivotal the camera is, in making the God of War experience such a unique and memorable one.
No loading screens!
Honestly. you need to give Santa Monica Studios a huge amount of credit for pulling this off. From the very second you start your journey, the camera will follow Kratos and never stop once. It really feels like your watching a documentary of the journey with Kratos and Atreus, but then being reminded you are actually playing a video game when it is time to fight in combat and solve puzzles. I’ve never had such an an immersive experience playing a video game like this in my life before. You really have to play it, to really understand how incredible that camera experience really is. The cinematography is also on point too, from when you are fighting a dragon to smashing through rocks in boss fights, to climbing mountain tops. You really do get a sense of adventure in this journey and the large scope of the Norse world.
Having said all that, this game definitely isn’t perfect. I’ve seen all over it getting 10 out of 10s, and for all the things this game does well. I do think that some may have given it a little too much acclaim without addressing some of its shortcomings, starting with…
Now I mentioned earlier, that there will be areas that you will want to revisit when you have the relevant gear to unlock secrets and bonuses. Which I am all for, but not when it is part of the main quest or story. There are a number of times, where you reach a point somewhere. Then you will find yourself with an obstacle in front of you or a character will remind you that you need something else to progress further. So you find yourself, all of a sudden going backwards and re treading old paths and then having to go back to that point you reached earlier. It happens one too many times for me, its doesn’t severely affect the experience. But it does sometimes feel like a bit of a drag..
`Fighting endless hordes of enemies
The game does sometimes rely on you just fighting a large group of enemies to unlock the next session or path. It doesn’t help when it will be the same type of enemies or there aren’t many bosses to finish off with. There are a few to speak of, but not nearly enough. Don’t get me wrong the combat is very fun, but sometimes you will find yourself fighting the same type of enemies for more than five minutes and it starts to get a bit repetitive as a result
In one realm, you go through trials. That consist of.. Defeating 100 enemies, defeating enemies without getting a hit, defeating enemies without Atreus getting captured, defeating enemies with quicker recover rates and so on…
I think if there was an inclusion of more boss fights or environments affecting the way you fight your enemies, it would have helped with the repetition.
PS4 gets loud!
Now I was playing it on a PS4 Pro, which does also give you some extra options in how you want to play the game. You get the option to play the game in 4K checkerboard locked at 30fps. Or at 1080p with un capped from rate. I chose to play it in 4K, as I’d rather have a steady and consistent frame rate. Regardless of which option you would pick, the PS4 really does start to make noise! At times it feels like it is about to burn out or that it gets so loud you need to increase the volume of the TV to hear the game. Now I know ultimately that is out of the games control, but I thought I’d mention it, just incase your hoping to play this game in a quiet zone!
Having said all that though, they were ultimately small negatives to an otherwise marvellous game. It is a visual treat, full of rich lore and history, Kratos and Atreus are both fun characters to take part in a journey with and the game nicely sets itself up for further sequels without withholding too much information from you. There is definitely much more to come with Kratos in the Norse mythology and there is genuine intrigue in what the other realms are going to be like and facing with the other Gods.
I forgot to mention, how the opening couple hours of this game is one of the best ever from any video game, including an awesome boss fight. The two dwarves you meet that not only offer weapon and armour crafting and upgrades, but side quests and great banter too! Oh and also Dragons to free and valkyries to find and battle with. There really is a ton of things to do in this game outside of just the main story so many more additional hours of game time to be found here.
If you own a PS4 and love single player games, than I highly recommend you pick this game up, it a long and fun one one with plenty of things to do, and you will not be disappointed one bit. Even if you haven’t played and of the previous God of War games, you can pick this one up and not feel like you’ve missed out on a single thing. It is definitely a Game of the Year contender, my hats go off Santa Monica Studios for delivering an excellent title.
So those are my thoughts on God Of War, and now I would love to hear some of yours! What did you think of the game, is it worth the hype? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Sound off Below, and lets have a discussion about this!