There is a narrative scene in the new God of War very early in the breakup of a grueling battle sequence that ends with Kratos and his little son Atreus defeating a massive troll.
Papa has done most of the work, with the arrows fired by Atreus' bow doing little damage to the giant animal from a safe distance. But after the troll has died, Atreus, filled with pre-pubertal rage, runs close to him and starts hitting the corpse insanely with his tiny knife, blindly chops away her flesh and shouts: "You are not for me!"
It's a hard-to-miss recall last time we saw Kratos – in the chronology of the series – at the end of the third god of war in 2010, who was filled with the same kind of anger and mercilessly pounded Zeus' face, who didn't stop after his death. Kratos pulls his son away from the troll. You are not ready, he says to Atreus. And with that we understand Kratos, the father, and the fear that motivates him: he does not want his son to grow up to become him.
On April 20, Sony will release God of War, which also serves as a long-awaited continuation of the storyline and a much needed restart of the franchise. As groundbreaking as the original series was, it was definitely stale. This new version of Kratos & # 39; Adventures is happy to slaughter the holy cows of the series as casually and thoroughly as their protagonist once murdered the entire Greek pantheon.
This new God of War is an excellent game, lovingly designed and committed throughout. But a lot has changed. It's not just the drastically revised fight with its angle over its shoulder and its emphasis on dodging. It's also the story and the way she tells this story, with an emphasis on family relationships and calm, reserved moments.
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The most fundamental and immediately noticeable change concerns the game's camera. The original series was defined by the automatic camera angles that were carefully placed by hand by the game's designers to always shape the game's action in a certain way. In practice, this meant that every scene in the game, no matter how intense the plot, could be shown from a dramatic, exciting point of view, which was often zoomed far back to the size of the object (or monster or god) to show The termite-sized Kratos ran on, climbed up or cut his chainrings into it.
The approach was so impressive at the time that I really thought that many more games would adopt it as technology, and was surprised over time as few actually did. This characteristic look can no longer be seen in the new God of War: the camera is over Krato's right shoulder and you control it (and thus its positioning) with the right stick, like so many other action games for Third.
While this works well to allow for a more conscious, less arcade fighting style, it also affects the series' ability to show this kind of movie spectacle and replaces it with something that looks a lot more like many other Triple-A thirds action Games. While the surroundings are always technically beautiful and occasionally artistically inspired, they are made up of relatively simple caves, corridors, forests, and the like, and there are far fewer moments when you climb a titan's 100-foot bum. The camera may pull out a little when one of these mandatory moments occurs, but it's a minor change.
When Kratos leaves his house, Atreus in tow, he does not carry his characteristic chain swords with him, but the Leviathan ax, with which he can cut enemies up close or throw them at more distant enemies. Here is the fold: the ax does not automatically return like a boomerang. You'll need to press another button to retrieve the ax from wherever it landed (or probably settled itself), and it will also hit enemies on its return flight.
You are hardly defenseless if you throw the ax and do not immediately remember it. Kratos simply switches to fighting style with his bare hands and uses his fists and shield to beat up enemies. Strikes and kicks do not remove as many ticks from an enemy's health bar, but they build its stun knife faster. Fill that out and you will get the old reliable QTE display symbol that says you can smash them really well and cinematically with a single press of a button. Sometimes you need to stun rather than do direct damage to certain types of enemies, but not often. In general, you can choose how you fight.
And then there's Atreus, always by your side. You don't control him directly – instead, you have a special Atreus button that you press to fire an arrow at the enemy you're pointing at. It is difficult to remember at first that you have this option while you focus on dodging your ax and swinging it. However, it is important to remember that Atreus should always shoot.
At the beginning, his arrows do very little damage and are mainly used to distract enemies from looking at him instead of Kratos. (Atreus cannot die and there are no escort missions, hallelujah.) But later in the game, as his weapons and skills increase, Atreus will actually be able to take out small enemies himself and fill an enemy's one by himself, stunning the meter and inflict considerable damage on the bosses.
So from the start, the game offers a unique, entertaining melee style that you need to learn. And the game wastes no time in forcing you to learn it: you get involved in fairly difficult battles from the start, often against a variety of different types of enemies – there may be some small flying enemies that force you to throw your ax while dodging others on the ground or medium-sized types with slow but unblockable heavy attacks that you need to avoid while tearing apart the weaker, faster ones. (There are even some optional encounters with enemies that are more reminiscent of the Breath of the Wild talus battles and wander peacefully until you get involved.) You will quickly face several tough enemies at once, and you won't be in able to get through it by smashing the square button in blind rage. You have to learn to dodge, anticipate, use openings and handle the crowd.
At first I thought I would have to lower the difficulty from normal to easy to get through the game, but that turned out to be unnecessary. This was partly because I had learned something about how the game worked, but also because I was able to tackle side quests that allowed me to improve my skills and equipment.
God of War feels strictly linear at first. For the first few hours, you are limited to a number of corridors and small open areas that are interconnected. But at some point it becomes clear that the game started you at the other end of a speech from a hub. When the hub is reached, things open up. No, the game won't become The Witcher 3 or so, but maybe it's like Witcher Lite: you can wander around, take on side quests, find chests, solve puzzles, and defeat more enemies to earn more experience points without improving history .
As the game progresses, more and more side effects open up, although sometimes if you choose to continue on the main path, you may not be able to return to the hub for a while. It's not a completely open world, but spraying with non-linearity still provides a richer experience, even if the game takes a few more restrictive hours to fully reveal itself. However, these carefully controlled hours are necessary to tell the story of the game.
When God of War begins, we find a Kratos that just wants to be left alone. He escaped from Olympus and moved to Midgard, met a nice girl, settled down and gave birth to a child. He is not interested in killing someone, has no sophisticated revenge plans. When his wife dies (apparently for natural reasons), he is not filled with Spartan Rage ™, but only wants to fulfill their last desires by scattering their ashes from the highest peak in the empire.
Unfortunately, fate will not allow this to happen, and it will be pursued and attacked by entities that surprisingly turn out to be gods from Norse mythology. A whole new pantheon that you can cut and dice through? Kratos is not tempted. He just wants to bury his wife and raise his child and avoid difficult questions such as dad, what are these scars on your forearms? He doesn't want to get involved with the Aesir or the Vanir or any Nordic gods at all, he wants to get wherever he goes and go home.
We learn a lot from it through his silence and his reserved body language. Although he is the new, sensitive Kratos for the 90s and comes into contact with his own feelings, he is not quite ready to open them and share them with Atreus. Much of the initial narrative of the story takes place in father-son conversations between fights rather than in directed film scenes. Kratos is always dark and serious, but Atreus, as a typical elementary school student, likes to wisely attack his grim father. If you think God of Warreally needed a smart buddy making fun of Kratos all the time, I have a game for you.
In addition to his growing skills with a bow, Atreus also has a supernatural talent for languages; He can read all the runes engraved around the world while his father cannot. This is ironic insofar as I wished during the game that I could have my own child sit about a foot away from the TV so that he could read the damned menu text to me. I don't know if the entire God of War staff had some kind of super lasik operation as a team loyalty exercise or what, but the text in the menus of this game is too small to read when I reach 8 feet sitting away from a 42 foot man. Inch television.
This wouldn't be a big problem if God of Warsends hadn't kept you on his menus all the time. During your adventure you will be loaded with things. Chest armor. Wrist armor. Waist armor. Heavy runes. Easy runes. Enchants. Emblems. About a dozen consumables have been used to update these things. In addition, there is a skill tree, in which you constantly store your experience points.
In an effort to give you plenty of options on how to equip Kratos, the game throws tons of individual pieces of armor and improvements on you in a quick clip. At first, it's always fun to find chests around the world (or solve puzzles to unlock larger chests), but it doesn't take long for the added benefit that I have gained from opening the nth chest in a row , has dropped to almost zero. I don't want to stop God of War every five minutes to read several paragraphs of the explanatory text, even if it was big enough to see it.
That said, although you don't really need 90 percent of the things the game charges you to get through the main story, I can see how important it can be to find all these different parts, update them all, and them to use effectively if you want to delete the entire game. When you've finished the story of Kratos and Atreus, you'll probably have a lot more to do. There are two whole areas of the game that don't need to be visited at all to finish the story, and many more side quests will be spread out on the map once you're done.
I haven't done everything yet, but with about 20 hours invested in the main story (it's pretty big), it seems like there are 20 more left. I feel the game pull back even though I've seen all the big revelations because the fight is just so much fun and the interstitial conversations are so fun.
The main campaign plus several side quests, about 20 hours.
As a well-known puzzle lover, I am glad that God of War is full of it again. One of the main selling points of the first game was the mix of action and puzzles, but the latter has been shaved steadily as the series evolved – developed if you ask me. While you don't have to solve many puzzles to get through the story, there are many optional ones that usually involve carefully chasing through the scene you are in to find hidden runes that unlock chests. The history-critical puzzles that are out there are fairly generously suggested, but the optional ones just leave you on your own.
This creates a balanced pace for the process. You don't just cut, cut, cut without pauses. Often you go through a big fight to find out that you can now explore the world around you, find secrets, and test your brain cells a little.
Hey, do you want to feel as old as Kratos? It's been over 13 years since the first God of War was released for PlayStation 2. Between his brutal, beautiful fight, his unique and dramatic story and his groundbreaking camera work, this debut was like nothing I had ever played before. It was a unit in itself. God of War from 2018 seems to borrow more content from other successful games of late: it's a bit of witcher, a bit of dark soul, a bit of The Last Of Us and a bit of old school God of War. It feels more like a trend follower than a trendsetter, a pastiche of ideas. But they are good ideas that have been done well enough to bring back a once stale series from the depths of Helheim.