I was once a pretty conservative teenager, which meant the God of War franchise was certainly not for me! Gore!? Hidden sexy mini-games!?? NO WAY! But now, a few years on (just a few, ok!?), I was ready for whatever God of War could throw at me and if the previous God of War games are anything like this new instalment, then I have been harshly misjudging the games for many years. Sure, there’s gore, but not in excess and it only compliments the overall experience and story.
Kratos may be a killing machine, but he has a lot to learn when it comes to fatherhood, and that is only one of the inspired new dimensions to this reimagining of the franchise. It turns out that bringing Kratos out of the realm of Greek mythology and into Norse mythology is a genius move. It opens up a whole load of new possibilities and epic twists. The plot is completely engrossing. If it was a TV or book series, I would be binging that bad boy like there was no tomorrow. Watching Kratos be a Dad to Atreus and the relationship between them grow is super cute and very well done. It also makes way for some pretty hilarious interactions.
The story centres around the seemingly simple task of scattering the ashes of Atreus’ mother, Faye. Atreus, a 10-ish year old boy with pretty sweet archery skills, is forever frustrated with the lack of confidence Kratos has in him and craves responsibility. His constant questioning and challenging of Kratos forces some very gradual, but very rewarding character development from them both. The bond between them led to some genuinely panic-inducing moments and it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the crafting of the journey you experience in God of War. I was constantly trying to guess where the story was headed, but never once predicted an outcome correctly. Even though at times it felt like the quests were purely there to lengthen the game, rather than add value to the story, the payoff when you got to the next cut-scene always made them worth the trouble. I don’t want to tell you about any other characters, because they all enter in such fun ways, but trust me – they’re all excellent.
No sexy minigames this time guys (or at least none that I discovered), but plenty of puzzles to keep your brain juices flowing. There were at least a couple of times I felt completely stumped and wondering if the game was glitching because things weren’t working the way I assumed they should. But the answer always turned out to be something fairly obvious that I’d over-looked or required a bit of ‘outside the box’ thinking. I know that Jaz particularly enjoyed the puzzle and mini-game elements of God of War, because she said so, a lot.
God of War is a flippin’ stunning game. Just when I would start to get used to the beautiful surroundings in one area, a new visual feast would pop up behind the next door and stop me in my tracks. You can tell how much love has been poured into this game from the team at Santa Monica Studio over the past 5 years, by the impressive attention to detail and imaginative environments. I played this game with 4 different people and many ‘woah’s and ‘wow’s were uttered from each of them as the game progressed (so don’t just take my word for it, guys). The following screen-grabs aren’t great representations of how stunning the game is, I want you to discover those breath-taking moments yourself. These are more… ‘haha preeetttyyyy’ moments (you don’t know what I mean by that? Neither!)
It’s time to talk about the fighting which, let’s be honest, is probably what you’re going to play God of War for. I actually experienced very little of it first-hand, because fighting isn’t my strong suit. I enlisted the services of fellow Pretty Much Geek reviewers Jaz and Nick, as well as my husband Lance, to carry out the majority of the grunt work for me (while I watched on like the lady of leisure that I am). But if you’re like me and you’re in it for the puzzles and the epic plotline, but have no friends to fight for you, do not despair! In story mode, even if you button mash or make very uncoordinated attempts at proper fighting, the unlockable combos and tricks are easy to fluke amidst a panic mash and really do make you feel like a God of war.
You feel a real weight every time you summon Kratos’ Leviathan axe back to his outstretched hand (with that satisfying ‘thud’), every time he throws the full force of his body into an attack. You feel strong. You feel powerful. Atreus also gets involved in the action and as you upgrade him, he actually becomes extremely helpful!
Kratos’ shield is a particularly fun addition to battles and can do a whole lot more than simply block! The skill tree was simple to navigate and exciting to unlock. There were so many new skills and combos available that you were unlocking new things on a regular basis throughout the game. A very rewarding experience ?
The enemies are awesome and varied. There were these beetle-winged dudes who actually made me physically shudder because of the realistic insect noises and movement of their wings. Particular boss battles had me covering my eyes and wincing every time the enemy landed a blow. There was one particular battle where I literally chewed off half my nails (and I don’t usually bite my nails).
God of War is a masterpiece. That’s really all there is to it. It’s beautiful. The plot is captivating. The characters are intriguing. The fighting is epic. The enemies are numerous.
All images were taken from a regular PS4 system