It’s rare I do a game review, but when a game came along and went so far above my already lofty expectations I had to write about it. God Of War is a franchise I’ve never been big on, the hack and slash nature never appealed to me but the buzz around this year’s sequel was too high to ignore.
It follows the series’ protagonist Kratos, who previously has just been an angry fighter and not much more beyond that, and his journey with his son Atreus to scatter the ashes of his late wife. That is the core of the story. No saving the world or taking down the gods or contrived plot device so many games use to push stories along. Even games as excellent as the Uncharted series tend to have that treasure you’re looking for to push you along.
God of War features 10 characters, including peripheral ones, in a 20-30 hour story. There are hints at other players in the background but we never see them, and that gives the game’s story some real power as by the mid to late game you’re very invested in every character that pops up. I’ve heard it compared to a grand theatre show, or an indie movie with big action set pieces, and they’re both very apt comparisons. The whole game, if played without turning off the console, is all on one long camera shot. There are no cuts, there are no loading screens, it’s one long story told as if there is a camera man behind Kratos on his journey.
The relationship between Kratos and his son is so well done. Kratos, the flawed character he is, is not very good at being a dad and has left a lot of Atreus’ upbringing to his mother. Experiencing the characters struggle to adapt and be a good father is compelling and it’s often the moments between cut scenes and action sequences that the best moments in the game can be found. The two of them talking and learning about each other feels so natural and intriguing I often found myself waiting in the boat or outside an objective just to make sure I got to the end of the conversation they were having. I honestly can’t say any game has made me do that before.
In with all of the excellent and compelling story telling is some of the most satisfying and rewarding combat I’ve played in any game. The leviathan axe is yours to use immediately, and the intuitive controls make combat so much fun. The variation in styles you can adopt means you’re never bored, and the ability to call your axe back to you exactly like Thor in the MCU calling back his hammer never fails to feel awesome. So satisfying I would often launch my axe past enemies just to call it back through the enemies before going for the kill.
I know there are lots of lapsed gamers, not having the time to sink hours into games in between their busy lives. If you are one of those, and only have time for one game played out over a year, this should be it. God of War is possibly the best game since “The Last of Us” and it may even be better than that masterpiece.
Good: Everything. Seriously it’s incredible.
Bad: It’s PS4 exclusive,but that is just another reason to grab Sony’s machine.
10/10 – wow.