God of War Review
God of War Cover Art
System: PS4
Dev: Sony Santa Monica
Pub: Sony
Release: April 20, 2018
Players: 1 Player
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

I understood that perhaps God of War was telling me to explore and earn more stuff on the side, but it’s not communicated very well what I should have been doing or expecting with respect to cycling through different equipment. Compared to the tighter and more deliberate combat skills and items, the armor felt way less thoughtful. As a result, I never felt compelled to seek out answers myself. On harder difficulties though, I imagine much more importance lies in the loadout. It’s worth noting that taking on side quests led to both more armor discoveries and more resources, but I still never felt like I had the same kind of room to experiment with armor as I did with my weapon skills.

Another interesting new gameplay component revolves around Kratos’ Leviathan Axe. It’s just as much a tool as it is a weapon, and it is often of utmost importance during puzzle sequences. The axe can be aimed and thrown, which has its own set of combat-oriented skills to unlock. But it also has freezing properties, meaning it’s one of the most crucial tools when it comes to freezing trap parts and mechanical bits in place. Recalling the axe is as simple as the press of a button, which also has neat combat implications. It’s an extra thing to keep track of in the heat of battle, but it never gets old to realize you left the axe hanging somewhere, push the button to retrieve it, and feel the distance as it comes sailing back as fast as it came, tearing through enemies in its path.

God of War Screenshot

Speaking of sailing, many of God of War’s best moments are the times it tells us it’s okay for a big action vehicle to be quiet. As Kratos and Atreus move from beat to beat, they’ll speak to each other, and it’s through these little conversations we can track where we are in both the story, the growth of these two, and the development of their fragile relationship. But it’s not just on boat sections. God of War is full of small moments, whether the two are scaling a mountain, solving a tough puzzle, or barely surviving enemy encounters. Indeed, the great victory in this game’s storytelling is its fearless drive to stare down its loud, angry past and take a breather.

It’s not all perfect, though. We’re still looking at a late sequel in a series to make up for lost time in the character development process. Sometimes things come off as heavy-handed as the game really wants you to know you’re supposed to care about something or someone, but doesn’t always stick the landing. Sometimes the two leads will behave inconsistently for the sake of in the moment drama. Especially early on, God of War seems to undermine itself as the story is still finding its footing. By the end through, I realized how much I did care and was rooting for Kratos, Atreus, and Kratos and Atreus.

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God of War feels ambitious in the best kind of way: the messy kind. It’s not afraid to get its hands dirty digging at something it thinks is interesting, while knowing it might not find it at that moment. It’s fine with not telling you everything, or with dialing back on the usual tropes of loud music, brutal violence, and hamfisted emotional manipulation. Sometimes, God of War just wants you to take some time and think about how you feel, and compare notes with Kratos as he struggles through his trauma to relate to his kid. And sure, sometimes you beat group of monsters to death by juggling them in the air with a magic axe and a pack of wolves made of lightning fired from a bow. It’s still a video game about a violent, hulking bald man, but it’s thoughtful and, most importantly, genuine.

By
Lucas White
Writing Team Lead
Date: 04/12/2018

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
Pretty incredible stuff that moves smoothly and isn’t marred by constant loading screens or scene transitions. Characters sometimes a bit lacking in expression though, and lots of repeated enemy and NPC designs
4.5
Control
Excellent combat loops that allow for customization depth along with combo creativity, while leaping to a new style without forgetting what came before. A bit busy though
5.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Voice acting conveys emotion exactly the way the story intends. Music is often deliberately quiet, but that’s just as important and effective as the loud bits
4.0
Play Value
The story lasts a good long while without overstaying its welcome, and there is plenty of side content to dive into, although motivation for that is debatable
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • A New Beginning — His vengeance against the gods of Olympus far behind him, Kratos now lives as a man in the lands of Norse Gods and monsters. It is in this harsh, unforgiving world that he must fight to survive… and teach his son to do the same
  • Second Chances — As mentor and protector to a son determined to earn his respect, Kratos is faced with an unexpected opportunity to master the rage that has long defined him. Questioning the dark lineage he’s passed on to his son, he hopes to make amends for the shortcomings of his past
  • Midgard and Beyond — Set within the untamed forests, mountains, and realms of Norse lore, God of War features a distinctly new setting with its own pantheon of creatures, monsters, and gods
  • Vicious, Physical Combat — With an intimate, over-the-shoulder free camera that brings the action closer than ever, combat in God of War is up close, frenetic, and unflinching. Kratos’ axe —powerful, magic and multi-faceted – is a brutal weapon as well as a versatile tool for exploration

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