When game developers decide to reimagine a franchise it usually goes poorly. We’ve seen it happen to a lot of games and they tend not to be well received by fans. That, however, cannot be said for the latest installment in the God of War series. The franchise has seen great success in the past but this is by far their best entry to date.In this epic father-son adventure we’ll get to see a side of Kratos that we haven’t seen before. And with a totally revamped combat system, we get to slaughter enemies in brutal fashion. Now be warned, there will be some spoilery information in this review (is spoilery even a word?), so I suggest finishing the game before reading this.
This game takes place after the events of God of War III. Kratos left the greek world and now lives secluded in ancient Norway, in the realm of Midgard. The game starts some time after the death of Kratos’ second wife, Faye. Her final wish was for her ashes to be spread from the highest peak in all the nine realms. Now, Kratos and his young son, Atreus, must embark on a great journey that will be a personal one but will also set in motion much bigger events. Before they do though they encounter a stranger with godlike abilities. Kratos seemingly kills him and he and the BOY (sorry, couldn’t help it) set out.
After a while, they find out that the highest peak in all the realms is not in Midgard but is actually in Jotunheimr, home of the giants. Luckily, our boys will have the help of Mimir, Odin’s great advisor. He’ll serve as a guide and give you some backstory about the world while you travel. Mimir is not the only one who will help Kratos and Atreus. You’ll also have Brok and Sindri, dwarven brothers and the creators of the legendary hammer Mjolnir (and Kratos’ new axe). They’ll serve as your personal blacksmiths and the games comic relief (I love these guys). I won’t spoil too much about the story but be sure that it’s amazing. Cory Barlog (creative director), along with writers Matt Sophos and Richard Zangrande Gaubert have managed to transform Kratos from a one-note, kill everything type of guy to a much more complex and deep character.
Let’s start with the new and I believe improved combat system. It’s comparable to the combat in The Witcher 3. You have your light and heavy attacks which are no longer on the square and triangle button. The devs decided to bind them to the R1 and R2 buttons, and I gotta say I support that. For those of you who are more used to the old controls you can change them back but I urge you to give the new button mapping a try, it feels great when throwing the axe.
We also have a much better dodge mechanic than in previous games. I only played God of War 3 for a little and that dodge was garbage. Here we have a Witcher 3-like dodge where you can execute a small side-step or a larger dodge roll. Kratos also has a retractable shield that is attached to his left bracer. You’ll be able to block, parry, and bash enemies, plus it looks so cool when Kratos deploys it.
And those are just a couple of moves. With God of War taking a more RPG approach there’s a skill tree. You’ll be able to purchase skills for each branch of combat, so to speak. You have your shield abilities (unarmed combat), axe abilities and Atreus’ abilities. And while we’re on the subject, Atreus won’t be one of those annoying companions who are completely incompetent in a fight. You won’t have to babysit him, he’ll even climb and choke enemies with his bow. There are also some abilities in his skill tree which will allow him to pull off some sweet combos with his old man.
As I said this is more of an RPG and that reflects most on the armor. First, you’ll have to gather resources for the armor you want to craft. After you take those to Brok and Sindri and craft the armor you’ll be able to upgrade it, which will boost its’ stats. And on top of that, you can socket a plethora of enchantments into the armor which will give it some more stat boosts.
The only bad thing I can say about the gameplay is that the execution moves could have had some more variety. The ones present aren’t bad at all but Kratos does them all unarmed. I personally would have liked to see some axe finishers, maybe even some father-son combo finishers.
God of War couldn’t have gotten a better reboot/reimagining than this. The game looks absolutely gorgeous and with a rich world full of lore it truly is a joy to play. With one of the best and most compelling stories I've experienced, and with smooth gameplay and fantastic combat I gladly give God of War a 10/10. For more game-related news and reviews stay tuned to GameBuz.