God of War Review
God of War is a semi-open world third-person action-adventure game released exclusively on the PS4. Previously, the God of War franchise was more hack-and-slash style, however with the newest installment on the PS4, Sony Santa Monica decided to take the series into a new direction, while still keeping the roots of the franchise intact.
God of War is one of, if not the, best-looking game ever made. Everything about the graphics is outstanding. There is an impressive amount of color palette variety, from forested areas to ice covered tundras there isn't a lack of distinction between regions throughout the game. There are also quite a few massive set-pieces you will experience, and each one was jaw-dropping.
God of War also has an outstanding orchestral soundtrack. Orchestral tracks can very quickly become too over-the-top and negatively impact the moment, however, in God of War, it never took away from the experience.
Both the graphics and soundtrack combine to make one of the best looking and sounding games that have ever been made.
Since God of War is a very narrative driven game, no details of the story will be discussed, outside of the central premise.
God of War takes place many years after the events of God of War III. Kratos has now traveled to Midgard in attempt to move on from his past. During this time, Kratos gets married to a woman named Faye and has a son with her named Atrius. Unfortunately, Faye passes away from an undisclosed reason. Her last wish is for her ashes to be spread from the highest peak in the nine-realms. That is where the game starts, and Kratos and Atrius' adventure begins. Throughout this adventure, there will be many twists and turns, and several other characters will be introduced.
The several side-characters that Kratos and Atrius will encounter are all very well developed and play a role in the narrative. There is also a lot of variety regarding the types of characters that will be met, from serious to humorous to even tragic.
Overall, the story in God of War is fantastic, and it kept me hooked from the opening all the way through the credit roll and beyond.
Although there was a departure from God of War's traditional hack-and-slash gameplay, that change was perfectly implemented.
In this installment, you are now using the frost infused Leviathan Axe instead of the Blades of Chaos. The Leviathan Axe allows for a much more strategic approach to combat when combined with the ability to throw/retrieve the axe. The way controller vibrations are implemented into the act of throwing and recovering the axe, and even just regular hits give an incredible sense of weight to the combat, that is very satisfying to perform. That ability adds a ton of depth to the number of ways you can approach each encounter. You can hit one enemy a few times, throw the axe at another enemy to stagger them, and then use your fists to beat another. The possibilities are nearly endless and allowed for the combat to remain interesting throughout the entire game.
There are also some customization elements with the axe. Over the course of the game, you will find many equipable runic attacks to add the axe. These runic attacks usually some form of an advanced axe throw or an elemental attack such as a shockwave that pushes enemies backward. There are two slots for these runics. You will also find axe pommels that add attack and defense boosts along with some passive ability such as a chance at gaining health upon a successful axe throw.
As you are fighting enemies, there is a meter that will fill with each hit, which gives you the special ability called spartan rage. When you activate this, Kratos will become invincible and use his fists to beat enemies quickly for a short period. Using the axe fills the meter up slower than using your fists.
Along with the axe and its capabilities, you also can use Atrius and his bow to shoot enemies to stagger them. He also has several different runic attacks he can perform with his bow. For example, one of the first runic attacks you get for Atrius is his bow spawns a wolf to attack enemies. You can only have one runic attack equipped at a time, unlike the axe where you can have two. Atrius' AI never got in the way and made it chore to have a partner in combat with you.
When you are not in combat, you will be traversing the world to your next point of interest. Along the way, you will encounter many puzzles and collectibles. The puzzles in God of War were never incredibly tricky, but if you do happen to get stuck, Atrius will make a comment along the lines of "Hey, doesn't this look interesting?" The puzzles also make use of your axe and its ability to freeze things. There are also some puzzles that require you to either destroy three targets or hit them all within a short time-frame, which grant you health and spartan rage upgrades. The collectibles you find have no purpose other than to be sold for gold.
Not only will you be following the adventure of Kratos and Atruis' journey to the highest peak in the nine-realms, but there are also quite a few side quests to complete along the way. The side quests are mostly just ways to obtain more armors, runic attacks, and pommels. Most of them are simple quests such as travel to this area, clear out the enemies, retrieve an item, bring it back to the person you got the quest from, and receive your reward. There are a few side quests that are deeper and more involved, but most were relatively simple.
One of the very few areas that God of War could have improvement in was the enemy variety and bosses. There are not very many different types of enemies you will encounter throughout the game. By my count, there are roughly only 13 different enemies you face, which over the course of a 25-30 hour game can become repetitive. Along with very few enemy types, there are very few actual boss fights too, which many will consider a negative since the bosses are the staple of the series. Several of the boss fights are also very similar to each other, which makes it feel like there are even fewer bosses than the minimal number that is there. With that being said, a several of the boss fights are stellar and make for gratifying and challenging experiences.
Overall, the gameplay in God of War is fantastic. Even after completing the game, I still felt compelled to continue playing the game solely for the fact that I found the combat to be incredibly satisfying.
God of War is an amazing experience start to finish. It has some of the most impressive graphics I have ever witnessed, a story that kept me engaged from start to finish, and incredibly satisfying gameplay that kept me playing for hours after the credits rolled. Even with its lack of enemy variety and bosses, every PS4 owner owes it to themselves to play this game.