Kratos will grace our consoles once more in just a week and I’m here to tell you that this is MY God of War. Despite the whole revamp, be it mythology, location, mechanics or direction, this new entry to the series is just as much of a God of War game as all the previous titles. I played my review copy on a regular Playstation 4 but it definitely did not deter my immersion into this new world.
Being fortunate enough to be invited to the game’s preview event, and there was so much feels packed within the first three hours that I knew that this game was going to hit me harder further along the way. How right I was. Without saying much (to avoid any spoilers) and without rehashing that previous article, here’s a number of differences in the game that I have come to love.
Although I’ve already played those three hours, when I played it again from the start, I still felt the emotion and the pain and the sadness that loomed around Kratos and Atreus with the death of the significant other/mother. Kratos avoids showing Atreus any emotion, refusing to look him in the eye and when the game starts off, he’s stern and unloving. But as the game progresses, he becomes less and less a raging god of Sparta and more a father to Atreus. This depth in the story is very well implemented and I love this whole new dimension given to Krato
Atreus is a new gameplay mechanic added to the game. He is your companion throughout your journey to the highest peak in the Norse realm and thankfully, he is not in anyway a nuisance. He can distract enemies when you’re in a tough spot and even subdue them by getting them in a chokehold with his bowstring. There is a scene after defeating the first troll where you see the rage that we know very well boiling up inside Atreus, Kratos’ godly rage. You can see the fear in Kratos, he wants his son to be different, to be better. “Don’t be sorry, be better”.
A major visual change made to the series is the camera angle. From the “cinematic” point of view, we came to know and love, as if we were watching a movie about this really angry Spartan smashing skulls and seeking vengeance for the death of his family, to this new third-person over-the-shoulder view, which can be a seamless transition between gameplay and cutscenes. Something that is quite rarely seen in video games nowadays. The environments are snowcapped and beautiful. When you meet The Witch and venture into her neck of the woods, the forest becomes so vivid and colourful you wouldn’t have thought there was tragedy looming.
One major change made to the series is the Leviathan Axe. Kratos is no longer bound by his infamous chain-blades, but his scars still linger. Second to the camera angle change, I enjoy the different weapon a lot. It gives a whole new dynamic to the fighting gameplay and no longer is God of War bound to hack-and-slashing your way through. Quicktime events are also gone, and in all honesty that will be one thing I will miss. Don't worry though, Spartan Rage is still very much a major aspect of battles. The death of enemies are still brutal though, I will say that. The Axe is more than just a weapon, it will also assist you in solving puzzles and gaining access to hidden areas if you are able to spot it.
Once I was a sceptic and now I am a firm believer in this game. This game is very much a God of War game and I highly recommend old fans to the series to jump on it and even new players to play it as well. Major kudos to Cory Barlog for taking the game in a whole new direction and just making it work.
God of War will be available 20th April and is a Playstation 4 exclusive. The writer got to play a review copy, courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Here's a bite-sized video of why all the changes made by Santa Monica Studio is actually really great: