Masterpiece doesn’t even begin to describe God of War, a truly gripping experience from start to finish, I can’t remember the last time I found it so difficult to put my controller down! God of War had me hooked immediately from the opening scene, I couldn’t look away nor did I want to. We all knew this was going to be a game to be reckoned with this, it was always going to be firm contender for some game of the year awards, now that I have completed my journey with Kratos and his Atreus I can safely say that the pair of them will be sweeping those awards. As always A SPOILER ALERT is in effect.
Let me begin by stating how undeniably beautiful the world is, aesthetically appealing from the moment you first lay eyes on the beloved God of War cutting down a tree, the various environments were breath taking to say the least. Many different surroundings for you to take in as you journey through Midgard and its surrounding realms. All have their own beauty to offer, their own challenges and lore for you to sink your teeth into, for you see this game is just easy on the eye, no there is much more to this newest entry to Kratos’ life. I would also like to take a moment to appreciate the soundtrack from this game, wonderful to listen to, excellently placed, some of the best music I have heard in a game for a while.
Perhaps the biggest change apart from moving into the wonders of Norse Mythology is that Kratos has entered an entirely new journey that I never expected him to take back when he was slaying gods and destroying Olympus. Kratos has taken on fatherhood, a huge change that has caused a change somewhat to his character as he tries to teach his son to be better than him, to not let Atreus’ rage control him. That is part of why I love this game so much, the story is incredible, honestly a real joy to play, be prepared to have your emotions played with as father and son set of on a journey that will show them both things they never expected to see, as they take on the beings in these Norse lands. Kratos and Atreus must travel to the highest point in all the realms to spread Fayes ashes, the wife of Kratos and the mother of Atreus, the highest point happen to be in the land of the giants known as jotunheim a place that nobody has visited for a long time, a key point to the entire story as you will discover over the course of your journey.
There are 18 chapters to the journey all of which progress the story nicely, all throughout we see Atreus trying to impress his father, we learn that he never knew of his heritage at least not until Kratos was forced to tell him after the lad fell sick, changing the young boy for a time, finding out that you are really a god would change you for sure, becoming an almighty being with one badass dad would do wonders for your ego. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bond between father and son develop, it is clear that Atreus loved his mother dearly and spent a great deal of time with her but he never spent time with Kratos, honestly I think he felt intimidated by him for a time. But their relationship grows into something strong, when they finally get to scatter Fayes ashes you realise just how far they have both come as people, as family, I just look forward to seeing what the newest family revelations will mean for them in the future.
The characters of this world were great to meet, fight or interact with, such as Freya, I guessed very early on that the witch was her, she plays an interictal role in the story since she is the ex wife of Odin and the mother of Baldur (some major family drama there!), she is one of the few nice gods in this world, it is such a shame we break that trust with her through some unfortunate actions. For much of the journey we have the head of Mimir he is said to be the most intelligent being in all the realms (he is great to listen to). While on your travels in the lake of nine might I recommend paying attention to the conversations between the trusty Mimir and Atreus as you might learn some valuable information or more likely some fun facts about the world, the characters and the legends that reside within it. I wouldn’t be being very fair if I didn’t mention two of my favourite characters from the entire game, Brok and Sindri a pair of dwarven brothers who happen to be blacksmith and happen to be the guys behind the creation of the Leviathan axe. Talk to these two, complete their quests for some decent rewards.
I highly recommend exploring at least a little, if for nothing else do it for the nice armour you could earn yourself by unlocking entry to certain realms by finding the different pieces that form a cipher to it. You will always be rewarded for your troubles, more often than not at the minimum you will find a chest containing a rune, a piece of armour or hacksilver. Plus a world as beautiful as this deserves to be explored, several side quests for you to embark on with their own rewards, or perhaps you will find the nine legendary Valkyrie, take them on if you dare.
In true God of War fashion the combat is amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed the use of the Leviathan axe, but of course the true love came when I was reunited with the Blades of Chaos. Having to switch in between the two weapons later in the game to best suit whatever foe I was facing was good, I liked the challenge of needing to figure out the best way to brutalise those who stood in my way. The skill trees, weapon upgrades, runes and armour were well done, I really liked being able to change the runic attacks attached to my weapon or better yet upgrade them with my experience points. I wasted no time in acquiring as many skills as I could with the blades upon obtaining them. There are plenty of highlights in this game, one of them being the first time I wielded those legendary blades, my enemies didn’t stand a chance, before they were fighting Kratos but now they were fighting the God of War.
One of the defining parts of any God of War game is its boss fights, I have no shame in admitting that this is where I felt the game lacked but not because the fights were a poor quality or unenjoyable, I killed precisely three gods in this instalment and technically I didn’t kill one of them more bested him in combat. They were the sons of Thor, Magni and Modi then their uncle Baldur who serves as the main on screen antagonist for the entire game. Of course there were other boss fights of a good calibre but there wasn’t enough god slaying for me, having said that I view this game as a setup, I believe that we are going to being slaying the higher archy of Norse gods in the game to come. My reason for this is simple, our actions throughout this journey have had some very serious consequences for the Norse gods, particularly Odin, and that is we have brought Ragnarok forward by one hundred winters. Upon finishing the game we are three winters away from the event that is set to wipe out the Norse gods, I’d say this lays some solid ground for some more god slaying for Kratos, especially his son who many will recognise as being an important person in Norse Mythology upon completing their journey.
Baldur was a fantastic antagonist, a constant pain in the arse throughout the adventure from attacking us at home to kidnapping Atreus, our final fight with him was thrilling, the emotions of a mothers cries as she begged for you to spare her son despite him wanting her dead as redemption for her actions. Tackling his nephews, the sons of Thor was also a highlight, a great fight and a highpoint for the game, such a shame that one of them proved to be a coward, Thor could never have a cowardly son, there was some unforeseen consequences for the pitiful gods abandonment of his brother.
If you haven’t played this game yet then I have to ask why!? Well you know, unless you have an Xbox one… this is one to add to this list of any PlayStation player, I guarantee game of the year awards for this one. So far this is one of the best games so far this year hands down and I can’t see anything that will really match it for a while.
Oh and one more thing, after you are done with all your exploration after completing the main events of the game don’t forget to go home and rest. You will receive a visit from someone we all know very well.