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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.
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