Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve written anything. I thought about writing reviews or just my thoughts on a few things since last time but never really felt the urgency or need to comment on a long form. But that all changed once I played God Of War. Come to think of it this might be a year where I write a lot. Red Dead, Spider-Man, Detroit Become Human, who knows maybe I even write about a couple of movies.
Anyway, on to God Of War, Oh my god is this game great. Not since Horizon a year ago have I loved a game so thoroughly. Now some backstory, I played God Of War 3 back on the PlayStation 3 and enjoyed my time but never really thought much of it. I’ve always respected the franchise for its scope and combat, but it never drew me in on any other front. And even towards the lead up to this game I’ve been on autopilot, it seems. Seeing the game at it’s first E3 my thoughts were “That looks really pretty but I’m not a Kratos fan, we’ll see.” and those were my thoughts up until I played the game. I went radio silent on the game. Watched no trailers, saw no pressers or dev diaries. Didn’t know how combat worked and never even looked into theories, I just let the game wash over me. And boy did it.
From the jump, this game sets a tone. And it’s tough. As I’m sure you’ve seen from other press coverage, it’s all one continuous camera shot which is nuts on so many levels. It looks gorgeous and immediately endears you to Atreus, Kratos’ child. I’ll be honest for extended portions of this game I thought “Man Kratos is a dick. Atreus is right.” or “Man it would suck to have Kratos as a dad.” naturally by the end of the game I made a complete 180 and now love the pairing. Mimir (A talking head) is a welcome bright spot not only adding tons of this mythology and surrounding drama he also gives a different approach to Kratos’ brooding and Atreus’ innocence. The game also strikes an incredible balance of not holding your hand but also not giving you things until you need them. It’s an open world, but you wouldn’t know that if you just play the first two hours. I won’t spoil significant things but the game has many mechanics and tools you don’t learn until later on in the game, and it’s paced wonderfully. My only complaint about this game is that I wish there were more. Now that isn’t to say the game ends too early or doesn’t have enough content because it’s chalk full of all that I just want to spend more time with these characters, which is an insane thing to say about Kratos. Nordic mythology is also an excellent choice for setting and world. All world mythology is pretty exciting, but for some reason, I love Nordic myths maybe it’s cause Minnesota Winters are harsh and everyone here looks like Thor’s fat cousin.
As for the gameplay of the game I couldn’t be more in awe of how simple yet intricate the game lays out weapons and moves. It starts simple. R1 and R2 are used to attack. And then as you discover new moves and abilities combat becomes a whole new world of combos and cool moves to rip apart your enemies. Not to mention nothing in this world is more satisfying than throwing your axe at seven different enemies and killing an eighth on the comeback. Seriously why doesn’t every game have a boomerang axe? It might be my favorite video game weapon since the portal gun. Also instead of Atreus being someone, you have to keep an eye out for he becomes an essential part of combat if you use him correctly. He grows just like Kratos using new moves and abilities as the game progresses as well. The game’s puzzles also are severe enough to make you think but easy enough to make not feel like an idiot upon its completion it’s also a nice break from fighting enemies to open a Nonir chest. That being said fights don’t go on for long stretches with endless enemies spawn fields it’s all pretty well drawn out. Short battles are quick and painless, and big fights feel epic and worthwhile.
The game feels tight, a cast of characters I care about, and it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Every aspect has something to learn from the games end, and it’s done in a well thought out and exciting way both in a story perspective and on a grand gameplay perspective. God Of War reminds me a lot of Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham games, which I love with all my heart despite all of there few faults. It’s Metroidvania in the best ways possible. Find something you can’t access yet like a chest covered in vines or a piece of armor behind a wall of red sap well wait a while, and I’m sure the game will give you the tools to beat that mini-puzzle in no time. I mean not many games do all these things so well. In most cases, it’s one or the other. The combat is excellent, and the story is okay, or vice-versa Sony’s first party studios are knocking these games out the park, Naughty Dog with The Last Of Us and Uncharted, Guerrilla Games with Horizon Zero Dawn and now Sony Santa Monica with this, It’s astounding. This game has all the things the previous God Of War games lacked, And now that they’ve pulled me in I cannot wait for the future of these characters. God Of War is my favorite game this year, and it might even be one of my favorites of all time, a list I’ll have to write at some point. But it’s going to take a hell of a game to beat God Of War this year.