Once I complete the game, I will update this review to reflect that.
PSEUDO-OPEN WORLD. The structure of the game is a lot less linear than previous games, allowing for more freedom in exploring attractive locales such as the “Lake of Light” featured here.
There has been a particular focus on the way the game looks. When the game was first announced back in E3 2016, the first thing I noticed was how different the game’s environment and atmosphere felt. What’s more is that choosing the performance mode doesn’t result in screen tearing or judders in our experience, making it the smoothest way to play thus far.
What God of War exemplifies is a series that is not afraid to stray from its established roots.
If you have ever played God of War before, you are initially going to be out of your element when you start playing this sequel/reboot. And the rewards of doing so are quite worth it. There’s no flashback to explain what he is thinking – everything you need to know is right there in his face: he has left the Ghost of Sparta, and the Blades of Chaos, behind. The change in voice actor to Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1) and push towards forcing him to open up, even a little, with is son was a smart one.
When it was revealed at E3 2016 that Kratos wasn’t just a daddy, bur rather a father, my eyebrows raised because everything we saw screamed of glorified escort quest. And most of all, it made me feel personally invested in God of War in a way I never could have expected. Atreus is far from the irritating sidekick he might have been, complementing Kratos’s gruff and humourless dialogue with quips and endearing observations, turning his father’s intense seriousness and inability to find humour in anything into a running joke. The combat has changed drastically, the tone isn’t quite as oppressively dark, the story takes center stage and even the perspective has shifted to bring the player closer to the action as battles and conversations unfold. You’ll learn more about that during the game too and it plays into the progression systems where players can upgrade and add mods to this weapon and Atreus’ bow, but can also upgrade the pair’s armor pieces.
The game isn’t open world, but still offers plenty of large expanses – to help draw you in.
When not fighting, you are exploring the reaches of Midgard on foot or by boat, finding temples and ruins that take inspiration from Norse mythology. The new God of War isn’t just the best game in the series to date because of its redesigned combat system, updated camera, epic scope and incredible visuals.
But is it still violent? Yes.
And what heft! There is an immensely satisfying weight to God of War.
The original “God of War” features one heck of a good background story. What is surprising, however, is how well it all works, not just the change in setting but the ambitious writing and more involved combat. And if you get to stun the enemy and press the appropriate button, you get to witness a brutal takedown worthy of a Mortal Kombat fatality screen. Atreus, then, is the ideal companion. Sure, the game has to continue to load somehow – especially with fast travel being an option – but that’s done by admirably seamless video transitions and other clever uses of misdirection. While you control Kratos, you can still order your son to shoot arrows and use other skills. You can tell him which enemy to target with his arrows. It could make you feel like a god. There is a rich RPG-style character progression here that gives you a tangible sense of evolution as you conquer your way through the myriad planes of this frozen Norse land you now find yourself in.
As you’d expect, the axe is capable of light and heavy attacks, the latter of which launches enemies in the air. The novelty of killing a god, which served as the finale of the first game, degraded into routine by the time of “God of War 3” (2010). The game has also learned a lot from fellow PS4 exclusive The Last of Us. Judging by these scores and how the gameplay is different from past games, the reboot looks to be the most popular game of the year.
With reviews being out from today, it’s clear that God of War is going to be an awesome game we’ll all be willing to play as soon as it releases later this month exclusively on PlayStation 4.