Killing Norse gods, vanquishing ice giants and learning to be a better father are some of the many facets that players will experience in the next “God of War.” As the game gives a better look at the infamous revenge-seeker Kratos, never-before-seen depths for the series are reached. Evolving from its gory straight-forward gameplay to a dynamic, beautiful piece of text, “God of War” is simply amazing and will undoubtedly be a strong contender for Game of the Year in December.
As a sequel to the critically acclaimed “God of War III,” “God of War” also serves as a soft-reboot of the franchise. However, besides having the main character in common, this game may as well be a completely different series. The combat has been completely revamped and altered to better suit the modern era of gaming with harsh, heavy strikes and skill trees to introduce RPG elements to the series. The story has also been almost completely overhauled, relocating Kratos to an entirely new location unlike anything he or players have faced before.
“God of War” continues the story of Kratos, a once-human Spartan that sought revenge on the Greek gods for their wrongdoings against him. After dying on multiple occasions, meeting and killing several gods and significant Greek figures, traveling through time and bringing a second war between the titans and gods of Greece, Kratos can hardly be referred to as a human. After taking the throne as the new God of War in the events of the original trilogy, Kratos attempted to take his life only to go into hiding with his wife.
The new “God of War” picks up several years later. Kratos is now a father and his wife has just passed away. Now, Kratos and his son Atreus must trek the treacherous mountains of Midgard to place his wife’s ashes at the base of a chosen tree. Needless to say, Kratos and Atreus are soon swept into trivial disputes between the Norse gods, putting Kratos in another position to wage his wrath against unkillable immortals.
Upon the game’s announcement, fans of the beloved series were shocked by the incredibly unfamiliar gameplay and enhanced graphics. As the past games were released on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, these highlyrealistic graphics brought the series into unmanned territories, but the change was well welcomed. “God of War” obviously pushes the PlayStation 4 to its limits with its unbelievably stunning graphics and smooth gameplay. Each texture is stunningly realistic from the massive Nordic beards to the winter foliage that often sparks with flames.
“God of War” also leaves behind the repetitive, gory hack-and-slash gameplay for more realistic combat. As opposed to his chained blades, Kratos now sports an enchanted battle axe that he can throw and recall at his will. With this change, the camera is also over-the-shoulder third person rather than the series’ traditional zoomed out camera. As stated by the developers, this change was meant to further immerse players into Kratos’ environments so that each bloody punch can hold as much emotional impact to the player as they do to Kratos. This new perspective on the world surrounding Kratos also allows for a much more impactful story that, arguably, may be the only story the series has seen.
Released in early 2005, the original “God of War” was very much a product of its time. It had a very simple story that players could skip and still retain the gist of Kratos’ motives. In this new iteration, however, the game’s story is where receives most, if not all, of its praise.
“From both a story and gameplay perspective, ‘God of War’ has grown up, turning the mindless hack and slash series into something with more thought and strategy than any game in the series that’s come before,” Chaim Gartenberg said in an article on The Verge.
“The new ‘God of War’ game does something I thought was impossible: it made me care about Kratos,” The Verge reporter Andrew Webster said in his review of the game. “With a body count that is impossible to calculate, does Kratos even deserve redemption? Shockingly, his latest adventure makes a pretty strong case that he does.”
The praise for Kratos’ actual growth has been phenomenal and widely agreed upon. The bond he forms with his son while both of our heroes are reeling from the loss of Kratos’ wife is both beautiful and painfully realistic. Kratos and Atreus quarrel and bicker as if they weren’t in constant danger, but several times Kratos shows his soft side, wanting to comfort his son but knowing that this comfort will only make him a weaker man in a world where Atreus will be hunted by gods.
“The relationship between the two is a key part of the maturation of Kratos as a character,” Webster said in another article on The Verge. “In previous games, he was entirely one-dimensional, a being consumed by rage, out to avenge the death of his family. But here, he’s actively trying – albeit often struggling – to be a more understanding person so that he can in turn help to shape Atreus into someone better than himself.”
The many perfect scores that “God of War” has acquired demonstrate that it has become a revolutionary game for the series. Standing as a stellar addition to this franchise, “God of War” will undoubtedly reshape the medium of telling stories through video games.