Follow TV Tropes
I've been around for most of the modern console generation, starting from the PS 3 era, and I've played all the God of War entries prior to this one, as well as a fair amount of other games boasting the classification of AAA - but out of all of them, this is the only one that lives up to that title.
God of War is a masterpiece on all fronts. Every aspect of the game feels like it had 100% of the team's effort put into it, from the revamped and more personal combat experience to the beautiful yet ruined world you get to explore to the small, realistic interactions between Kratos and his son, Atreus, which is in itself one of the best-written dynamics I've ever encountered in a video game or any form of media. The characters are all unique and believable, the story is truly mature and thought-provoking, and throughout it all, the camera constantly hanging over Kratos's shoulder and moving around during cutscenes makes you feel like you're really part of this experience - another example of the game's sterling quality.
Working as a soft reboot of the series, God of War is set after the events of III and makes reference to the cataclysmic events of the original games, but largely focuses on Kratos and his son making their way through ancient Norway and dealing with a new pantheon of gods. This works to its advantage, as Kratos trying to move on from his former life and make a better one for his son is a huge part of his character development here, and dare I say it makes him an incredibly human protagonist, which I doubt anyone would have predicted ten years ago when he ripped off the head of the sun god to use as a lantern. The game does preserve the usual formula of rewriting traditional characters and stories, this time for Norse mythology, but honestly? I don't care. It works just fine for the story it's telling, and near the end the game actually provides a reason why what we know of the pantheon might be different from the truth about them and their actions.
Combat-wise, if you're used to the stylized action of previous entries, this may take some getting used to, but what the game offers is satisfying and challenging in its own right, tying in even more with Kratos being an older and less agile man - no more high-flying chain combos here, it's all about hacking enemies apart with an axe. Which is great. Atreus is actually useful as an ally, too, imagine that. You've also got a crafting system for armor and weapon upgrades, which let you alternately make Kratos look like the Greek god of war once more or show off his FANTASTIC abdomen, and befitting of shifting to an RPG, there are several secret bosses to fight, several of whom will absolutely kick your ass if you're not prepared. Well worth beating, however.
Overall, God of War is exactly the kind of new entry the series needed - there's new life here, incredibly high quality in every corner, and great promise for the future of the series. I cannot wait for more.
Let me start by saying that I've never played a God of War game before this, so that will affect my perception of the game. Nor do I plan to play the earlier games (although the series director says he has 5 sequels he wants to make, so I might check those out whenever they release).
I have mixed feelings toward beat-em-ups and puzzles. Mindlessly hacking your way through enemies can be fun, but Button Mashing gets old after a while, and I have trouble remembering combos in the heat of battle. Puzzles can be rewarding when you figure them out, but when you can't, instead spending 20 minutes in one spot trying to figure out what to do, they lose their appeal. But that's just me.
Of course, the gameplay does require a certain level of skill. And that's just fine. The combat has been well-refined — you'll need to use your head if you want to survive.
What you'll really remember are the story and characters. My research has led me to believe that the story of the old GOW games can be summed up as "Kratos angrily murders the Greek pantheon." Fast forward to the present game, and Kratos is still haunted by the ghosts of his past, and carries many of his old prejudices; however, he genuinely wants to get rid of the skeletons in his closet, if only to be a good father to his son Atreus (whom he genuinely loves, even if he has trouble showing it). There are moments throughout the game which will emit powerful emotional reactions inside you. You'll feel joy. Anger. Fear. Sadness — the Cerebus Rollercoaster is in full effect here. And stories that can pull that off successfully tend to be my favourites. My favourite quote in the game is (paraphrased) "A warrior's strength comes from his heart...but only when tempered with thisnote Kratos points to his son's head"
It's not Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game — the gameplay is too well-designed for that — but the story is the best part of the experience.
Community Showcase More