God of War Game Review
A huge amount of gameplay
The most gratifying combat system
Depth into the combat via character updates
Excellent father/son narrative
Boss experiences hugely underwhelm
Change of speed certainly will not be for all
Ending falls flat
About The Game
It takes a courageous developer to entirely alter the formulation of a long-running, highly successful show. “If it ain’t broke, do not fix it” rings true for many franchises. To change the essentials of a series risks upsetting a fanbase which may have existed for, occasionally, decades. For Sony Santa Monica to alter the very fabric of God of War is a phenomenal gamble — but one which, for the most part, pays off.
God of War is superb, offering a superbly detailed and lush world constructed with a level of detail which makes it wondrous to research. Additionally, it has space to breath, allowing Kratos and Atreus’ roller-coaster connection to build into something which could almost rival The Last of Us’ Ellie and Joel. Even though a lot has changed for God of War, it holds among the most satisfying and enjoyable combat systems in gambling.
Many give Kratos a rough ride, discarding him as a one-dimensional angry meathead, but this does him a monumental disservice. Kratos is one of the most important characters in video games, and this narrative adds much more depth to an already outstanding character.
Kratos is a man conflicted. Having fled Sparta among all of the death and destruction brought on by his hands but not his heart, Kratos seeks a quieter life. The story begins at the funeral of Kratos’ wife, and we follow him along with his son, Atreus, as they want to lay her ashes in the greatest peak in all of the realms.
Sony Santa Monica does an astounding job of portraying Kratos’ internal battle, despite him saying very little. While Atreus can do most of the talking (and frequently, complaining), it is Kratos’ restraint which speaks volumes.
Opting to conceal his past from everybody, including Atreus, leads to his son feeling unwanted, unloved and unworthy. The cinematography shows Kratos’ internal battle through his face detail; he is stern, downright harsh in actuality, to Atreus as the boy comes up against the fact, giving the story much weight.
The story certainly takes its time to unfold. God of War is much slower paced than its predecessors, which might not sit well with some fans. Give it the time it needs, however, and the payoff is definitely worth it.
None of the storytelling could be half as impactful if it was not for the only astonishing visuals. The level of detail throughout the board is jaw-dropping. Specifically, the facial detail in cut-scenes is amazing, but the difference in visuals involving cutscene and gameplay is negligible.
Moving from Greek into Norse mythology, God of War makes excellent use of this source material, bringing in some terrific characters and animals that are as amusing as they are beautiful to look at.
With the narrative taking Kratos and Atreus into distinct realms, each one takes on its own distinctive character and identity because of a gorgeous use of vibrant color schemes. Without spoiling where you go or what you will see, just know you are going to be capturing loads of shots along the way; a lot of frames look painted, especially on PS4 Pro.
One thing to mention for Professional players is that God of War includes two graphics modes: Performance and Resolution. The former will leave the match at 1080p with an almost rock-solid 60fps, while the latter delivers 4K through 2160p checkerboard plus a variable frame rate targeting 30fps (though it rarely maintains it).
Concerning performance, particular praise ought to be polished on God of War’s complete lack of loading screens. Part clever illusion, part complete wizardry, the group has done a wonderful job of keeping up the game’s flow throughout its entirety. If you decide to play for extended sittings, you won’t be stuck staring at a scrolling wheel or waiting at a lift, even after dying in battle.
On the battlefront, God of War has among the very best in the company. It’s certainly intricate and asks an awful lot of the participant concerning the number of buttons you need to push, things you need to take into account at any one time and degree of challenge from the enemy, but it is incredibly rewarding as soon as you get to grips with it.
The new over-the-shoulder perspective means that everything gets more visceral; we are now much closer to the action than we have ever been before. However, the consequence is that we see much less of this stadium, so today Kratos has a ‘hazard meter’ around him, warning of any impending strikes the player can not see. It works really well, except once the camera gets a little too close and makes it nearly impossible to see all of the threats at the same time, especially those directly behind you.
Then you also have light and heavy attacks, in addition to a shield. Timing blocks give you the chance to counter, but absorbing a lot of blows on the protect leaves you wide open to a follow-up assault. Atreus is also on the battle, helping you with arrow strikes at the push of a button, delaying an enemy’s killing blow to save your skin, or just producing cool combos to finish off the audience.
There is now much more depth to the game, also, due to the update tree and ability to unlock new armor. This is not a simple case of ‘new gear = greater’, either; you need to study what every new bit of kit brings to the table and evaluate whether it benefits how you perform.
There are various stats to think about: protection, strength, runic, energy, cooldown, and fortune. Your three pieces of armor (torso, bracers, and waist) will just improve two or three, so picking the right one is essential. It is a neat touch and adds a layer to the show which didn’t exist earlier.
As superb as the battle is, regrettably, there is one area that is unbelievably bad — especially for a God of War game. Boss fights just don’t have the frequency nor affect the series is famous for. Additionally, the major boss encounters are too short to be memorable, while the ‘B-tier’ big boys ‘ are so insistent they become somewhat dull.
There are two or three kinds of B-tier boss battles, all involving the exact same kind of enemy, all requiring the exact same strategy to beat — and it is so disappointing. God of War has always been famous for its epic bosses, but here they are only a sideshow.
God of War tells a superb tale through a gorgeous spectrum speckled with over a couple drops of the blood of the enemies. It is a shame, then, that boss fights have dropped by the wayside at each level to become horribly monotonous — but if that is the price of what Santa Monica has built, it is definitely a cost worth paying.
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