God of War review - slower, calmer, better, dadder

SIE Santa Monica Studio  Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Watching Kratos, who has been a one-note character for much of his existence, grow and evolve over the course of the game, both as a parent and a "person" (even though, yes, he is still a god), is genuinely stirring. Previous God of War games use high-angled cameras that gave you a view of Kratos and most of his surroundings.

Fortunately, reviews have finally dropped and it seems as though not only has the series survived its transition from over-the-top spectacle fighter to serious, mature hack-and-slasher, but has come out the other end far, far better than anybody could have possible imagined. The connection between these two stars gives us an investment in their world and story beyond the beasts, monsters, and people they're killing. Similarly, more grounded moments between Kratos and Atreus are met with perfectly timed changes to the audio to really drive home those tenders moments.I was consistently surprised and wowed at the level of detail and polish in nearly every aspect of God of War.

Kratos took out his fair share of issues dispatching the Greek Gods over many years and Santa Monica Studio made the ambitious leap to take Kratos into an all-new realm, or should we say, the nine realms of Asgardian mythology.

BOY! @Sunnysuljic4, I want you to know how damn proud I am of you. God of War's take on the lore and settings of Norse mythology are a sight to behold and they do some very intriguing things with the characters players will meet (and battle).

New is Kratos' Leviathan Axe, a supremely satisfying weapon. Even more impressive is how the game builds on this by revealing deeper layers to familiar areas throughout the story.

This new God of War takes a lot of risks. I won't spoil them, but there are moments here that rival God of War 3's opening scene, only now they have something to contrast against - the moments of downtime make these wonderfully choreographed action sequences and environmental oddities really stand out.

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Kratos may be older but he hasn't lost a step. It's a system that quickly opens itself up, and one I hope to see continually expanded upon during this long journey. He is quieter and more deliberate, affected by his history but not constrained by it. Kratos' reinvention serves as a narrative hook, but it also parallels the series' evolution as a whole; where God of War once relied on bombast and bloodlust, now it leaves space for strategy and nuance. They each have something to learn from each other. Mastering movement, blocking, ranged combat, and combinations will become essential to complete the game. Producing 4K graphics is incredibly demanding from a technical standpoint, but it seems as if the developers have over-promised if they weren't able to deliver that sort of graphical fidelity while also maintaining at least 30 FPS. The game has a very forgiving checkpoint system however, and players can also manually save at anytime. It absolutely is. Despite the arrival of a child, God of War remains to be as brutal and as bloody as we all know it to be. Like Cappy in Super Mario Odyssey, the axe is more than a weapon; rather, it's the foundation on which most of God of War's puzzles are hung. The rest of the game relates Kratos' quest for vengeance, which leads to the toppling of Ares and the usurpation of his role. Fill up your rage meter and you go into a fury and pound your enemies to a pulp while recovering health with successful strikes.

PSEUDO-OPEN WORLD. The structure of the game is a lot less linear than previous games, allowing for more freedom in exploring attractive locales such as the "Lake of Light" featured here.

God of War comes with all the trappings of a video game released in 2018, letting you loose into a small open-world, filling it with sidequests, and layering it in light RPG elements, but it's such a handsome, awe-inspiring landscape that even simply exploring is enjoyable.

God of War has grown up.

Stay tuned for gameplay footage and fun, spoilery dives into the game post-releases here on Screen Rant.

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