I played the new God of War game so you don’t have to! But based on my review, there’s a big possibility that I think you should.
Easily one of the hottest games to be released this year (so far) is the new Sony exclusive God of War.
With the game being rated between an 8 to 10 out of a possible 10, people clamored to pre-order and get their hands on a copy of this PS4 exclusive. But is it worth dropping $60 of your hard earned cash? Be aware, I went into this never having played a God of War game in my life (why not start with the 4th one I say!). So, even though I was familiar with the story before starting, the control style, gameplay and intricacies of the game were all new to me.
If you haven’t played a God of War game, it is an action-adventure developed by SIE Santa Monica Studio, Ready at Dawn and Javaground and published by Sony Interactive. The story follows Kratos, a Spartan soldier outnumbered during a war. Just before he was to be killed, he called out to Ares, the god of war, saying he would proclaim himself to him if he dispatched of the enemy and won the war. Ares listened and obliged seeing potential in Kratos. As a minion for Ares, Kratos was forced to do awful things including that time he killed his wife and daughter.
Kratos. Image courtesy of Sony.
As punishment, their ashes were forever burned into his skin, giving him the signature white skin with a red tattoo. One thing led to another and Kratos became the god of war with a mission to dispatch any and all gods on Olympus. I’ll leave the rest unknown in case you want to go back and play the story from the beginning.
This installment shows an aged Kratos with his young son, Atreus. His mother has just died and Kratos is now teaching Atreus to be a warrior so he is strong enough to carry his mother’s ashes to the top of the mountain. But when a stranger shows up, it sends them on a journey they didn’t expect. Where Kratos fought in Greece for the previous installments, this one faces him against Norse gods.
The Witch of the Woods and Atreus. Image courtesy of Sony.
This game is gorgeous. For such dark and heavy themes, the colors are bright and vibrant with each area looking vastly different from one another. The game starts you slow but only for a short time and then it’s difficult fight after difficult fight with a boss peppered in. During the first large battle, the combat mechanics seemed slow and clunky until I finally figured out Kratos will sprint if you hold down L3 (they didn’t include that in the tutorial, unless I missed it). It took several hours of gameplay before I really got into the fighting and began to enjoy the fighting. There are some “Dark Souls difficult” moments in there so prepare yourselves.
Otherwise, the movement is smooth and creamy with the player having complete camera control. One thing that really sticks in my craw is the way Kratos heals. He just stomps a green stone when it’s available. Sounds easy and it would be EXCEPT when he’s rushing around getting his ass handed to him by a bunch of Draugrs or worse and the O button won’t initiate the damn rock stomp and then BOOM, dead Kratos. It happens more often than I’d like and it’s very irritating.
Image courtesy of Sony.
Something I really enjoy is Atreus’s documentation of the goings-on. For every new ability and translation you discover, he notates the ability and adds to the lore. For every creature, he draws a picture in the bestiary and includes an observation as well as any weaknesses and strengths noticed. It’s like your very own Viking Pokedex. While I’m not normally a fan of AI that follows you around (most of the time they get more in the way than anything) Atreus is helpful, entertaining and a tiny bad ass. You are rooting for him the whole time. As the game progresses, his personality shines and you enjoy listening to the conversations between father and son.
An odd effect in the game are the voices. The voice acting is great and the dialogue gets better and better, but Kratos is louder than everyone else in the game. It’s as if every character’s voice is IN the game but his is OVER the game. It’s strange and I can’t get used to it. Speaking of dialogue: when I first started the game, I thought the dialogue was pretty boring. Kratos has that stiff personality like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, but as the game progresses, that stiffness ads to the humor of the conversation and I found myself laughing out loud several times (especially at Brok, Sindri and Mimir).
Kratos and the World Serpent. Image courtesy of Sony.
The movement and climbing mechanics are very reminiscent of Uncharted 1-3. Sometimes the controls are a little clunky or don’t initiate when you want them to (no matter how much you scream at the TV “Just stomp the ^%$&ing ROCK!!!!”) but you end up getting kind of used to it after a while.
So, TL:DR….is it worth it? Yeah. It’s kind of open world since you do have the ability to backtrack once you develop certain abilities and the environments are truly gorgeous, the story is funny and very emotional and the game isn’t an easy quick pass through. With all the secrets and collectibles, you can easily put in 50 hours on this game and still not be finished. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, in my opinion, God of War is definitely worth the time and money.
God of War is now available for purchase exclusively on the PS4. Have you tried it yet? Looking to pick it up? Let us hear about it in the comments below.