God of War Review – A Masterpiece
God of War returns with a first for the franchise as Kratos turns his attention towards the realm of Midgard. Kratos has decimated his way through the worlds of Greek Gods and Olypmus, and now turns his talents to the Nordic pantheons. Does God of War live up to its name, or is this one realm leap too far for Kratos?
God Of War Review
Accompanied by his son Atreus, Kratos sets out on a journey to fulfill the final wish of his lost lover. What follows is a turbulent storyline entangled in a vision of self discovery, divine intervention, and the bond only a father and son can share.
The latest addition to the long-running God of War franchise sees a reinvention of the series’ focal character, Kratos. Christopher Judge takes on the voice acting role for the new Kratos, and while much of his past and Spartan-like tendencies remain, the latest entry to God of War will give fans a look at a much deeper and more refined character.
God of War’s combat system, while initially appearing shallow, quickly expands into one of the most versatile in the genre. Supported by a unique leveling system, players are free to discover and combine attacks in-combat for a near limitless arsenal of onslaught. Kratos earns greater power through a combination of base abilities and gear improvements, doing away with the traditional experience-points based system. Despite the lack of experience rewards from enemies, I never once found myself retreating through boredom. Instead, I intentionally sought out every fight I could find. From the first slash of my blade to my last deadly combination attack, I enjoyed God of War’s combat system every step of the way. I experimented with more combinations of attacks than I could count, but I was still discovering more impressive ways to dismantle my enemies in the final battles of the game.
New combat abilities are learned through the discovery of Runic Attack items. These can be equipped in any number of variations across multiple weapons, giving Kratos access to a completely customizable list of abilities. This, further complimented by Atreus’s bow attacks and ability enhancements, offers players an immersive, impactful, and rewarding combat system that rivals anything released on current generation platforms.
Much to the surprise of my better half and the kids, I happily let out grunts and roars of enjoyment tackling some of the more difficult fights and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t, right? Tell me, someone else did that? Please?
Despite reaching the pinnacle of fluidity in combat, bashing your enemies to a pulp is not God of War’s greatest asset. This comes in the enthralling story, a story of father and son, a story of gods and mythology, a story that will sit with you for many years to come. The focal point of the story is always the goal of fulfilling the wish of Atreus’ mother, to have her ashes scattered on the highest peaks, but never before have I been so happy to be sidetracked from my primary goal.
Slaying nearly an entire pantheon of gods is not usually a trait you would associate with a loving, caring father figure, and while Kratos appears stern and distant at the start of the journey, the bond between father and son grows with every passing event. Seeing Kratos impart wisdom and ideologies to Atreus, only to see him display his own interpretations later down the line – the developers truly mastered the ability to immerse players in a thoughtful and emotional driven tale of the bond shared between father and son.
This immersive and emotionally driven approach to storytelling is further amplified by the magnificent cast of supporting characters. From gods of legend to two dwarven brothers, every individual character felt as deep and unique as Kratos himself has become. I challenge you to find something more entertaining than a dwarf with a foul mouth and another with germophobia in an era where hand sanitizer doesn’t exist. There are as many laugh out loud moments as there are thought provoking ones, without ever feeling exhausted from a barrage of one and not the other.
Exploring the vast open world in a boat with Artreus and another companion was a fantastic insight into the world of Norse mythology, as the trio often shared stories of the gods, their trials and tribulations, their failures and successes. Some you encounter on your travels, others remain antagonists that always seem just out of reach.
God of War is a journey, an experience. As a complete package, I enjoyed every step of the way. The huge amount of side content on offer, the immersive storyline, the stellar cast of supporting characters. Nothing was rushed; there’s a painstaking level of detail to almost every element of the game.
There are countless moments that will bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart, almost as many as the moments that will have the veins on your neck pulsating as you Spartan-like raw at your screen.
Every facet of God of War has been created as a labor of love. Seldom do we see such a complete, whole experience in modern gaming. God of War is nothing short of a modern day masterpiece.
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