The new “God of War“, the continuation of the epic adventure that we all know and love hitted worldwide, and it hitted hard on April 20th, 2018 and it took everybody by storm.
The new “God of War” is everything that everyone who respects games with great storyline, characters with depth, emotional, perfect pacing of the main storyline (main storyline, because besides the 20 or so hours gameplay of it there are many optional side quests), great combat, and yeah, the best visual game that I have played in my life. The game deserves all the hype that was surrounding it! Sony, when it comes to video games and consoles are miles ahead of Microsoft. And officially:
God Of War is “THE GAME OF THE YEAR”!
Now, you all might have seen and read a couple of reviews from the “lucky ones” that got their hands on the game before it’s initial release, but for an individual like me, I got my hands on it on the day it released worldwide.
I was a little concerned, to be honest, by this new instalment cause it was not what we used to know from the previous games, yes, it is still a third person game, but its not the “hack and slash” that ive played and enjoyed before, the camera angle is changed, now it is behind the back, unlike the previous ones which were basically “over the top camera”, the “Twin Blades” are gone, you now wield the powerfull “Leviathan Axe”, and up until I tried it, I didn’t even expect that I will enjoy it so very much, throwing it towards and enemy and then calling it back, trust me, you will so much enjoy it!
There are “RPG” elements involved in the game, you can upgrade your armor and weaponry from the loots that you are gathering throughout your epic journey in this new land, for which i have to give “Santa Monica Studio” every props, cause it literally blew my mind away, and there were some talks that the game will be some kind of “semi-open world” which i’ve never been a fan of, mainly because i enjoy the linear games. BUT, the balance that they brought to this game with the main story and the “semi-open world” is astonishing, you can literally go through the game and its main story without EVER getting it confused with the side quests. I would say that the game is linear, but the world is made so massive, that after you finish it, you will still have so much to explore, new enemies, new lands, loots and everything else. The RPG element was a bit confusing from the very start, but once you get inside the game, you’ll get the hang of it pretty fast.
Now, I’ve finished the game in two and a half days, but I have to mention that I’ve only rushed through the main story, since I honestly really don’t care about the side quests, the main story is what I’m all about, and I got hooked to it from the moment the game started.
The story opens up with a much older Kratos, who after the events of the last GoW, moved to Nordic lands, and has built a new life there, burying his old life, is a father of a child who his mother just passed away, and it opens up with a scene of Kratos chopping down a tree with just a few swings of his axe. Now I believe, this is just to show newcomers to the series of how strong Kratos is, but for the fans of the series, we really don’t need proof of his strength.
Right after that, we are introduced to Atreus, Kratos’s son, a child who just lost his mother, and has only his father to teach him how to be a man. They are burning the body of his late mother, and the main event of the whole story is fulfilling her last wish, and that is to take her ashes to the biggest mountain in all the realms and spread them there, and we are not wasting time, and jumping right on top of that. Kratos is not what we remember from the last games, the angry “Ghost of Sparta” without a splash of empathy in him, he is much calmer, you can see the regret and pain in his eyes for everything that he has done, and for all the chaos he caused, but there is a scene from the very start where Atreus missed a deer with his arrow, and the old Kratos is revealed, his anger comes to surface for just a moment. There are a few enemies here and there at the start, just so you can check what you can do with your new weapon, Atreus from the very start is not very helpful, but that is because Kratos won’t allow him, because “he is not ready yet”. After you go through few “Draugr” and Atreus finally kills the deer that is supposed to feed them, we are encountering a troll, a massive beast who is the first real test of Kratos’s strength. Atreus’s help is optional, I really liked how they didn’t make him annoying in battle, and will only help you when you command him to help you, the battle goes on for a while, and it finishes with the thing that I can say for sure, everybody who knows “God Of War” is expecting it – the finishing move, Kratos brutally finishes the Troll. (I would just like to mention here, that i was satisfied with all the finishing moves that the game offers, but I think we should have had more animations of finishing moves, cause they feel a little repetitive, but that’s not that big of a deal, and is something we can live with.)
The story continues when Kratos and Atreus return back to their home, where they receive and unexpected visit from “The Stranger”, a skinny guy who threatens Kratos, and an epic fight breaks off, it goes on for a while, and then “The Stranger” tells Kratos that he cannot be hurt, because he doesn’t feel a thing, he refferences some things from Kratos’s past, and after you defeat him Kratos is in awe of how they have found him after such a long time, and rushes back to the house, telling Atreus to pick his mothers ashes to cause it is not safe for them anymore to stay at the house, and they need to start their journey, regardless if Atreus is ready or not, and thats where our story begins.
We split from the house, (which is not the last time we are going to visit the area, but we will get back to that later) and we start our journey. Boats are a big part of God Of War. Every now and then Kratos and Atreus jump on a little boat and they travel, now I mentioned the boats because the conversations held there between the two are phenomenal. Son asking father questions, from time to time mocking him how he doesn’t know to tell a good story, and the best part is if you jump out of the boat, and the conversation is not finished, when you hop back on it, it catches up from where it stopped. Along the way, you are meeting enemies, and a few puzzles which I must say were very satisfying. I’m all about puzzles in games, and God Of War perfected the balance between puzzles and fights and cutscenes, they give you as much battle as you can handle, some puzzles, and then we are back to cutscenes and story, it is made to perfection so you will never get bored of it. Along the way you meet Brock, a master dwarf blacksmith who recognizes the “Leviathan Axe” and asks Kratos where did he get it from, since he and his brother made it for someone else, and that someone else is Kratos’s wife, and after he finds out that she is dead, he immediately offers his help to upgrade your weapon, that’s where the “RPG” element is introduced. I didn’t cared much for it at the start, but as you go through the game, you will find that its a crucial part of defeating countless enemies by upgrading your weaponry and armor, and worth mentioning is that you will get all your magical abilities from exploring and looting, and it doesn’t need mana, but every ability is on cooldown. I don’t want to get in every detail of the game, because it is huge, so that’s why I will only get to the most crucial and important parts. After a while, you meet Freya (the witch of the woods).
The introduction is not very pleasant, Atreus is hunting a wild boar for practice, and gets lost in a maze, and you have to find him, that goes on for a minute or two, and when you finally find him, Atreus shot down the wild boar and is standing over its barely alive body along with Freya, and Freya is mad because the wild boar in question is actually her “friend”. You rush quick to her house in the forest, which is this magical place, (like everything else in this game, the visuals of the whole world in the game are mind blowing, the environments are breathtaking, I didn’t expect THAT much, to be honest) where she needs your help so she can save her injured friend. After that finishes up, they embark in a conversation, and Freya basically tells Kratos that she knows that he is a God and that he needs to tell Atreus the truth of his true nature, cause it might backfire if Atreus doesn’t know that. After you are done there, you hop again on a boat, and you are introduced to this big lake, and there are a lot of statues and temples referencing to the big immensity of the Nordic mythology. You can spot the temple of Thor right away, and moments after that you are introduced to the “World Serpent”, a massive creature, or a giant, if you will who, reveals to Kratos and Atreus, but its friendly and won’t stand in your way. (mentioning the World Serpent cause its a big part of the story) Going on you are meeting Brocks brother, Sindri, a master dwarf blacksmith as well, but Brock and Sindri are not in a good relationship. I really liked how they gave them different personalities, which were pleasant in a way, each encounter with them was a different experience, Brock is this strong hothead who always bad mouths his brother, and Sindri is this relaxed, in a way comical guy who doesn’t like to touch dirty things at all, and bad mouths his brother all the time.
We proceed to the mountain, our destination. The path to the mountain si blocked by a black fog, and Freya comes back in the picture, and she tells you that the only way to get rid of the fog is to travel to Alfheim, a new realm, where you need to charge a relic with the light from that realm so you can proceed to the top of the mountain. Alfheim… what can I say, it blew my mind RIGHT AWAY. The details, the world itself, the whole realm was build to so much perfection, i didn’t look away from the screen for a second (now the enemies there were a little annoying, but that’s a whole different story). There is a moment there, where you charge the relic, and Kratos gets caught up in the light, Atreus is left behind, and Kratos is having visions from his wife inside of the light, and once he gets out of it you see Atreus there pissed off and yelling at his father for why he left him there on his own for such a long time, the vision was short, but Atreus was implying that Kratos was there for a long time, and the proof for that were the countless killed enemies around Atreus lying around giving hint to Atreus’s Godlike power, which he still didnt know about. After you get back on the mountain, there are a lot of puzzles to solve, a lot of enemies to fight and a dragon-like boss who you defeat who is trying to kill Sindri, and after Atreus insisted, Kratos decided to help him, the boss fight is EPIC. Then finally you get to “The Summit”, the top of the mountain. While climbing to the summit, you are encountering “The Stranger” again, which happens to be Odin’s son – Baldur, and Thor’s two sons – Magni and Modi, having conversation with a guy with horns and one eye who is attached and stuck to a tree, which happens to be Mimir, the smartest man alive, according to his own words.
They are asking him countless questions about Kratos and Atreus, on which Mimir is refusing to answer. Once they clear from there, the introducing with Mimir begins, and as if they get ready to spread the ashes throughout the top of the mountain, Mimir tells them that the highest mountain in all of the realms is in Jotunheim (the Giants realm), and not in Midgard, and that the only way to get to there knows only Mimir, and he asks Kratos to chop off his head, take him back to a witch (or in our case the witch of the woods) who will revive him back alive. Say no more, Kratos chops off his head, and they head back to the witches home. There Mimir is brought back to life, and what do you know, he already knows the witch, Freya, uncovering that she is actually a God.
When Kratos hears that he gets mad and they take off right away, yelling like he doesn’t need help from no one, let alone a God, which he despises them from the bottom of his heart. Mimir tells Kratos that they need to take a shard from a dead giants weapon which is on an island not far from them in order to reach Jotuhneim. As you approach the frozen island you right away notice the dead giant, you are getting inside, and right away facing one of the most difficult enemies in the game “The Traveler”, armored from top to bottom, and carrying an enormous shield on his back which is unpenetrable, and its a real pain in the ass. Once you get to the cave where the shard is, Kratos chops off a chunk of it, and BOOM, Thor’s sons Magni and Modi appear, and you start fighting with them, Kratos and Atreus vs Magni and Modi.
At the end, Magni is killed by Kratos, and Modi is escaping scared not knowing how did Kratos succeed to kill his God brother. Then you head back to Tyr’s chamber. Tyr was the God of War in the Nordic mythology according to the story of the game, but instead of being menacing like some other Gods of War, he settled disputes with peace, and was the only God that both the people and the giants liked, the Gods, not that much. Mimir lets Kratos know that Tyr probably was the only one who knew the way to Jotunheim, since he was in good terms with the giants, and that they will probably find the way to there in Tyr’s chambers. Oh and yes, forgot to mention that the World Serpent and Mimir are good friends, Mimir is the only one who speaks the giants tongue and the serpent is helping you along the way. As you end up in Tyr’s chambers, Modi comes back again, carrying with him “Mjolnir like” weapon charged with thunder, and attacks Kratos with it. Atreus gets mad and the Godlike rage comes to surface, but not knowing what that is and how to control it cause he is not aware of his true nature, he falls on the ground not moving, and Kratos gets infused with the “rage” and resists Modi’s powerful weapon, and Modi shocked, flees away from the scene.
Kratos picks up the body of Atreus and rushes back to the house of Freya, we all remember that their last encounter was not pleasant, but Mimir advised Kratos that Freya is the only one that can help him with the boys illness, and after Freya takes a look at Atreus, she told Kratos that the only way to save him, is if Kratos goes to Helheim, the “Hell realm”, and kill the “Bridge Keeper” and brings her back his heart. But take note, this realm is all frozen, and his weapon would be useless against the adversaries there, and that he is going to need another weapon to go through there. Kratos looked at his arms, his scars from the chains of the “Twin Blades” were covered, and I knew right away what the next move was, and it gave me the chills. He said that he needs to uncover the past that he so desperately was trying to forget and bury. As he took a boat to head home to get the “weapons”, Athena appeared on the boat. Here is where I felt Kratos’s pain most. He was trying to stay calm as Athena was sitting in front of him and just told her “Get out of my head Athena”. The whole atmosphere was chilly. Thunders, dark, winds as Kratos approached his house, tossed the carpet from the floor, and pulled out the “weapons” from beneath the floor, the “Blades of Chaos”. Yes, the very same blades that Kratos used to destroy all the Gods of Olympus, the blades that were reminding him of his past, the past that he was trying to escape for so very long time, and as Athena appeared again, she reminded him that he cannot escape what he really is, a monster, on which Kratos replies that he knows that, but he is not their monster anymore. Before you head to the traveling chamber, you get a little “test drive” on your “new” weapons, the moves are basically the same as we remember them, but it was so satisfying to use them, and once I got them, I barely changed back to the axe.
And here we go to Helheim, a frozen wasteland, hell from the Nordic mythology, you are not there for a long time, a couple of simple puzzles and you encounter the Bridgekeeper, finishing him off, taking off his heart, and back to Midgard, where you bring the heart to Freya, and Kratos has a long conversation with her, while she is curing the boy, telling him how he needs to tell his son the whole truth, revealing how she had a son, and how she lost him forever by hiding things from him. As Atreus wakes up, and they continue their journey, Kratos reveals to Atreus how they are Gods, not from this land, but from a land far from there. Atreus takes that… not that well, not in a way to be mad about it, but considering he is a kid, he gets cocky at the very same moment his father tells him that he is a God, he starts humiliating others, starts being more and more aggressive, and stops obeying and listening to his father, in other words, he is becoming Kratos from the past. Kratos is not taking that very well, telling the boy that he needs to get a hold of himself, but a young kid, knowing what he is, won’t listen to sense and just keeps getting worse. As they proceed back to “The Summit”, they are encountering Modi again, Thor’s son, beaten nearly to death, he is facing them again, and telling them that his father blamed him for what happened to his brother, Atreus possessed by himself and by the thought that he is a God, kills Modi, and throws him off a cliff, on which Kratos gets mad and tries to teach the boy what he already knows – “there are consequences for killing a God”. Atreus gets mad and starts asking his father how does he know that, and runs away. They climb back at the top of the mountain, and open up the portal to Jotunheim with the shard, and right before they go in, Baldur appears, and in the middle of the fight, they destroy the portal, ergo closing the only way for reaching Jotunheim. Kratos warns Atreus not to get caught up in the fight, and to stay away, but the boy wont listen to reason and gets involved, and Baldur kidnaps Atreus and flies away with him on a big winged creature, where Kratos once again faces Baldur, and they end up fighting in the “realm travel room”, where they mess it up and end up in the farthest reaches in Helheim, where no one has dared to go there before. There, Kratos overhears Baldur having a vision, a vision of him and his mother, his mother who gave him the “gift” of not feeling anything at all, on which Baldur begs her to take it away, cause he considers it a curse and it’s ruining his life, and there we find out that actually, Baldurs mother is Freya, the witch from the woods, she was Odin’s wife, and Baldur is their child. Kratos and Atreus are surprised of their new discovery, Mimir told them that he already knew that, but never told them why he didn’t informed them on that. We jump on a big ship, and there is a fight there, which lasts for a while. At the end of the fight, Kratos, like Baldur, had a vision as well, the vision was Kratos fighting and killing his own father – Zeus, and they all witness that, Atreus and Mimir including, but no questions were asked, even tho they all saw that clearly. And we get to Tyr’s temple. There, Mimir finds out that they need a black gem, and that Tyr probably made a lot of traps in order for someone to go to the gem, but he is pretty sure that this gem is the answer to their question, “Is there another way to get to Jotunheim?”. Yes, there is. As they explore the temple, they end up in a vault room, where Tyr keeps a lot of stuff there. Kratos found a vase, with a picture of his former self with the “Twin Blades”.
He quickly brakes the vase so Atreus won’t see it, but there was one broken piece on the floor left which Atreus noticed. After you get the black gem, we are back to the travel room, where they find out that there is only one piece missing, Mimir’s other eye in order for them to travel to Jotunheim. They ask help from the World Serpent, and it tells them that the other eye is inside of him. You take the boat inside of it, and after one quick puzzle, they find the eye, and they are heading back to the travel room, but something is upsetting the Serpent on their way back.
They get spat out, and the cause of the upset turns out to be Baldur, he was fighting the Serpent. (Now, earlier I forgot to mention, but I will fill you out now, after you save Sindri from the dragonlike creature on the way to the mountain, he is giving you a bunch of green arrows for Atreus to use, and when Atreus’s quiver gets destroyed a little in the front, Kratos had it fixed with a little piece of an arrow.
When Freya saw these arrow’s, she told them that they are dangerous, and burned them in a fire.) At the same moment Freya appears there, begging Baldur for forgiveness, but Baldur wont forgive her, and wants to kill her. Then, at this moment, Kratos opens up to Atreus, telling him how he killed his own father, and how he is not proud of his past, but that he feels that Atreus is ready to know the truth, and he knows that he will not be like Kratos was. Atreus, confused, says that he doesn’t understand what being a God is, looking at Baldur wanting to kill his mother, and Kratos telling him that he killed his father, he is asking is that everything that being a God is, killing your parents, but Kratos gives hope to the boy, and tells him that from this moment on, they will be the type of Gods they wish to be. And then the last battle begins between Kratos and Baldur, and Freya is interfering the whole time, trying to keep her son safe. Kratos is lying on the ground, and Atreus stands in front of him trying to protect him, and when Baldur swings at Atreus, he hits the spot on the quiver where the little part of the arrow was sitting, aaaaand, yes, the arrow made Baldur vulnerable again, that’s why Freya was so afraid when she first saw the arrows and threw them away. After an intense fight that lasted for a while, Baldur is finally defeated, but Kratos refuses to kill him and he walks away. Baldur turns to Freya to choke her to death, and Kratos snaps his neck and kills him. Freya starts mourning her child, threatening Kratos that she will have her revenge. Heading back to the travel room, and with the gem and Mimir’s other eye, the portal is finally open, we are at the end of our journey. Leaving Mimir’s head behind, the father and the son started climbing the stairs to the end of their epic journey. In the inside of a temple, they start noticing pictures of their journey all along, they figure out that Kratos’s wife was counting on them to get to that very spot, so they find out that she actually was a giant, and that she saw their entire journey in advance, and Atreus is half God, half Giant. After they spread the ashes, Atreus asks Kratos a really interesting question, he asks him why on the murals in the temple, his reference him as “Atreus” but as “Loki”, on that Kratos responded that his mother always wanted to name him Loki, but he named him Atreus instead, by a legendary Spartan warrior. Now at first, i thought this was the end of the story, and started exploring a little bit, and then all of a sudden there were talks between Kratos and Atreus about “going home”, so i figured, sure, why not. As they get in the house, beaten, they decide to take a little rest, and right away there is a black screen saying “years later”. They wake up by the sound of a monstrous thunders, they are picking up their weapons, getting outside of the house, and there, outside stands Thor, the God of Thunder, waiting for them, and we get a close up look of the legendary “Mjolnir”, and thats how they wrap up the main story, and credits appear on the screen.
“God of War” took all the pieces missing from the other games that we played on the “PS4”, and put them all together. Alongside the epic storyline, they have created a perfect world, characters with depth, something that i think that the God of War franchise was missing, not to get me wrong, all God Of War games are masterpieces, but i always thought that something was missing, like for example, Kratos didnt had any depth aside from the fact that he was an angry SoB looking for revenge, and here with the new one, they have closed that gap. “Ascension” was the last one to come out, and it just felt overused, thats why i think “Sony” and “Santa Monica Studio” took that road with this one, they needed something fresh, something new, and they totally nailed it. We all hear nowadays how difficult it is for a company to invest in a single player game, how it doesnt pay off, but the new GoW put all that to rest. I, personally found this game very refreshing, it is not like they invented hot water or something, but for me, as a lifelong fan of single player linear games with story and deep characters, it gives me hope that we will get back to an era of games where that was all that mattered, and i think other companies should take notes from it, how to make a perfect single player game. Now, i know that there are a lot more games coming out this year, but having in mind that we wont see “The Last of Us: Part 2” this year, for me God Of War is the “Game of the Year“. I expected to see more epic fights between Kratos and some other major Gods from the Nordic mythology like Thor, and that was the only thing missing for me, but, yeah, they are aiming for a sequel, so we will have to wait a couple of years before we can embark on another epic journey, and its probably going to be for a new platform, the PS5. Ill give God Of War a solid 9 out of 10, just because i know that there is always room for improvement, and i believe in Sony and what they are capable of doing, and yes, this game is a definite must for everyone who enjoys taking an adventure and zoning out, and i know that there are a lot of us out there, so till the next time, I salute you my fellow gamers, peace.
Written by: Chronic