I had such a great time playing God of War.
I very quickly got drew into this world and felt myself being channelled through Kratos’ immense power. For a large percentage of this game I was Kratos. I think this was due largely with how the game never once took me out of the immersion. I don’t remember ever seeing a loading screen, save for the initial loading of the game.
The relationship between Kratos and his son Atreus was an emotional and thoroughly entertaining one to see unfold. I went into God of War without knowing anything about any of the previous games. So Kratos’ character was completely new to me; any references to previous events, or any moments that he goes against any previous perceptions of him, would have been lost on me unfortunately.
I kinda wish now that I’d held off and played those earlier games first now.
But nonetheless, this game still hit me right in the feels at multiple times.
There isn’t any prerequisite to have played those earlier games either, as the story is self-contained, and is really about a father and his son going on this journey together — both literally and figuratively.
More widely speaking, I think the game is about family and parenthood in general — about what it means to be a family and what we would do for them, and what we would be prepared to give up to see our children safe.
The First 3 Captures
The World is stunning
The world in God of War is so beautiful. And the sense of scale it has is just breathtaking.
I can still remember the first time I saw the world serpent and just how massive it was. It’s body can be seen wrapping around most of the lake of nine (the game’s central area). Whilst it’s head can be seen out in the distance, blocking a portion of the sky off.
There is a variety of areas that must be passed through in order to reach your ultimate destination: Mining caverns through mountains; Wide open expanses of water to be fully explored; dangerous forests and ruined temples; and the highest peaks in all of the realms.
The game lets you decide at many points whether to continue along the game’s main story or go out and explore. I chose to explore a lot of the time and am glad I did. The world has many secret areas to discover and puzzles that when solved, will give you items that will greatly help you on your quest.
I found the inclusion of a “realm within realms” which you must run through when “fast travelling” between areas was actually really clever. As a developer I can imagine this being a neat way of loading in the next area whilst running this small path.
The combat is insane
The combat in God of War is mental to say the least. Your main weapon is the Leviathan Axe which can be thrown and then summoned back to your hand at will — exactly like Thor’s hammer.
Not only does Kratos’ Axe open up a whole manner of creative ways to take out enemies, but it is used often in the puzzles you will encounter. It has the ability to freeze what it touches, which can be used in certain places to gain access to otherwise inaccessible places.
Not only is there Kratos though, but his son also. By pressing the “square” button you can command Atreus to fire an arrow in battle. You can leave him to fire as he likes, but you’ll find that there are many opportunities to create clever strategies when using both characters to their fullest.
As you gain XP you will be able to unlock many skills for both Kratos and Atreus, as well as upgrade and enchant armour to help you in battle. I wont lie, I found all of the different fight moves a little intimidating. In fact, I found myself button-mashing through most encounters of more than three enemies.
I found the difficulty challenging too (in a good way). I started the game on “normal” but had to downgrade it to “easy”. And even on easy the game was a challenge for me. I dare say if I’d committed the time to learning the moves that are possible and getting them in as muscle-memory I would have found it a bit more easy-going.
If you enjoy action-focused games with a deeply emotional tug, then you need to play God of War. Every person I’d spoke to before playing it told me about how good it was and that it only gets better as you progress — and they were all correct.
Not only does this game get increasingly good the further through the story you get, but I have a feeling it will get better with age too.