God of War Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for review.
When people think of PlayStation, they think of games like God of War. Since 2005, the franchise is responsible for giving us addicting action packed gameplay, a protagonist that’s on the violent side and a tale that spans several games. After the release of God of War Ascension in 2013, the franchise went dormant until E3 2016 when Sony showed a young boy and a much older Kratos. It confirms that a new God of War is on the horizon and after two years of hype & anticipation, God of War would arrive. A game set in a new land with a new story to tell, does this game hold true to what the rest of the franchise would abide by?
Set years after the events of God of War III, Kratos finds himself in Norway, in the realm of Midgard. He would marry and have a son named Atreus. After the passing of his wife Faye, Kratos goes on a journey with his son to spread Faye’s ashes on the highest peak of the nine realms. Along the way, they would meet many people that either help them or bring harm. Their journey will soon culminate into one filled with secrets, revelations and a desire to be better.
The game is treated as a soft reboot for the series but personally it is a continuation set in a new land with the same protagonist that we all know. Only difference is that Kratos has gotten older with a child and is able to keep his anger in check. Its story is very well done with the focus being on Kratos and his son. This has enough twists and turns that you really want to see how it all ends. Not only that but the game delivers on exposition detailing Midgard, the realms, the people that you encounter and it’s history. So for anyone that is interested in this stuff, there you go.
The God of War series has always been known as an action game where you beat down enemies, solve puzzles and tackle tough bosses. This game however decides to turn it on its head. It’s a 3rd person action game with puzzle solving and a bit of RPG elements mixed in. Like in previous games, you play as Kratos except the camera is always set behind him. It does give a good view of what’s in front of you but at times in battle, you can get overwhelmed and you have no idea who will strike at you next. Kratos isn’t limited in combat this time. He has access to a brand new weapon, the Leviathan Axe. The Leviathan Axe is your go-to weapon for most of the game, not to mention versatile. It’s used as both an offensive weapon and can help in puzzle solving. Plus being an ice-based weapon, it can freeze many things in its tracks. Kratos also has access to his fists and like previous games can go into a Spartan Rage. The Spartan Rage lets him go full on with either his fists or throw boulders, and it can also help restore his health. It offers a LOT of versatility opinions and how you go about it depends on you.
In addition to Kratos, there’s also his son Atreus and he serves as a secondary gameplay style. He serves as the eyes and ears for his dad providing him warnings and at times can offer assistance. Armed with a bow and arrow, he can fire arrows to stun enemies allowing Kratos to deliver added hits. They can also be enchanted to add additional effects. He even can use magic to summon some added help too. Whereas Kratos is more brawn, Atreus is the brain of the two and he helps when it comes to solving puzzles. One can’t exist without the other and how they implement the two is just well done.
God of War is still an action game but SIE Santa Monica decides to add a bit of RPG into this. There’s a leveling system in place where Kratos can get stronger in one of six different stats: Strength, Runic, Defense, Vitality, Luck and Cooldown. They determine a variety of factors and they can also be improved by having Kratos equip armor. Armor that you collect and equip can improve your stats and as you play, you’ll get access to better gear. They can also be upgraded by means of trading in hacksilver, the currency and specific items. Upgrading them improves the gear and with it your stats. There are also enchantments that add additional boosts to your stats while giving Kratos bonuses that can help in battle. Your axe can also be equipped with hilts that offer perks and even your weapons can be armed with talismans that either offer either active or passive effects. It doesn’t end there. Atreus can also be customized as well with different garbs and enchantments. There are also skill trees for both of them that offer new moves and advantages. You use experience to unlock perks on the tree and also, they are used to improve your runic attacks, special moves that allow your weapons to do all sorts of insane stuff. A lot to take in yes but it becomes second nature as you play.
God of War is a long game, taking players roughly 20 hours to complete with an additional 8-10 hours if they plan to 100% the game. With New Game+ recently included in, the length is extended further. There is a ton of content for you to do such as side quests that offer rewards, challenge areas to test your skills and even optional bosses that will push players to their limits. All the while, the game is a technical marvel. Running at 60 fps, the game is just outright awesome. It not only looks awesome but even plays awesome too. Sometimes things go from quiet one second to intense the next. There are boss fights and some are without a doubt the best ever seen. It does offer a balance in terms of action, puzzles and platforming and I’m happy they achieved it. Voice acting is well done though Christopher Judge as an older Kratos started growing on me. It makes sense since Kratos has matured from his Spartan days but it serves to remind Atreus to be a better person.
If there are any negatives, it’s that the game can at times spike up the difficulty in some instances. Things go well at some points but then a spike comes in and makes it a tough challenge. Being that the game has four difficulty settings, you have the option to change it at anytime… unless you are doing it at the hardest setting where you can’t. It’s the only negative in a game that is otherwise so amazing.
2018 has been a stellar year for Sony with their exclusives and God of War is no exception. Taking the series in a different direction may have been a big risk but it paid off big time. The game looks awesome and it plays awesome too. It offers a story that grips you from start to finish, with gameplay that is truly addicting and offers so much to do in the game that… what more needs to be said? If you have a PlayStation 4 right now, this game is worth your money. It really is. There’s a reason why God of War is known as one of Sony’s best franchises. It’s no exception. Get it. Now.
I give God of War a solid 9.5 out of 10. It is worth the full purchase and it earns my personal seal of approval. No questions asked.