Sunday, 22 July, 2018

'God of War' review: Keeping it in the family

SIE Santa Monica Studio  Sony Interactive Entertainment SIE Santa Monica Studio Sony Interactive Entertainment
Theresa Hayes | 13 April, 2018, 06:54

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. All the changes to old school God of War gameplay, settings, and story mix well with the more traditional video-gamey elements.

Unsurprisingly, the Nordic gods aren't best pleased and are doing what they can to remove Kratos from the equation. This time around, Kratos has left Greece behind for the land of Norse mythology, which comes with a host of nasty new enemies for him to face. A fast-moving wraith dodges Kratos' swings but a fast shot arrow from Atreus stuns it long enough for you to get up close and personal. When he rows, the controller quivers. With sprawling vistas, screen-filling bosses, and visceral combat, you will want every pixel of processing power available to you to enjoy God of War in its fullest glory. In its review, Game Informer scored God of War at 9.75 out of 10, saying Kratos shows up on the PS4 "quieter and more deliberate, affected by his history but not constrained by it". God of War is a standard-setter both technologically and narratively.

This God of War is an absolute must-play. You can, for example, hurl the axe onto a target and call it back to you right after, hitting whatever it goes through. The result is frenetic, especially when combined with special "runic" attacks that might freeze everyone in your vicinity or see you diving shield-first into a wall of enemies.

All of this applies to your son, Atreus, too. What may surprise you is how mature its storytelling has become. The arc of their story seems created to mirror the player's relationship to Atreus. In our God of War review, Peter Brown awarded the action-adventure title a 9/10, saying it's a "spectacular action game with epic set pieces, big-budget production values, and hard-hitting combat". This sense continues into the newest God of War, with richly detailed environments that encompass vast lakes, forests, mountains and more than a few otherworldly landscapes. We can upgrade weapons and unlock new skills.

Perhaps most surprising, and welcome, is the depth of exploration that the game invites. In true Metroidvania style, there are many times on your adventure when paths can be opened only with tools acquired later on. "A more measured, nuanced character, a great supporting cast, excellent combat, and some of the best graphics in a PlayStation 4 game to-date, add up to a victor". Seriously. The man can kill a troll but he can't climb a moderately sized boulder.

Defeating enemies will earn you XP which you can used to upgrade and craft items.

Not that the previous system was broken, by any means.

The good news for players is that regardless of which difficulty level they select, they will still be allowed to roam the world and examine every little detail of it once they are finished with the main storyline, according to a recent article from Glixel.

Technically the game is truly majestic, with a powerful visual rendering, and on the console scene it knows few equals. Numerous issues reviewers have are on the technical side of thing, as God of War seems to push PS4 hardware to its limit. Many reviews lavish praise on God of War's combat system, and DualShockers' Giuseppe Nelva spends some time talking about the great mechanics surrounding Kratos' new axe in his 10/10 review.