The new one.
PlatformOVERALL
PlayStation 49.60
Overall 9.60
The franchise reboot can be a tricky thing to handle. Some franchises go the extreme route and change genres, sometimes with spectacular results like Resident Evil. Other times they may lose too much of what made the unique and end up as something more generic. God of War kind of straddles the line between change for the better and feeling a tiny bit formulaic, this is offset by being a fantastic game from top to bottom.

Combat gets the biggest overhaul here and is the reason why this new GoW stands out. Ditching the traditional panned out camera used in most hack and slash games, GoW gets up close and personal with a behind the back camera which sort of alludes to the major change RE4 presented. The RE4 comparisons are apt because combat feels a lot more strategic and well thought out than in past GoW square square triangle fests. Encounters are well thought out with a great mix of different types of enemies that require some good crowd control strategy.

Kratos weapon of choice is now the best new weapon introduced in an action game since... gravity gun, not sure. All I know is this axe is badass because it not only serves as a traditional axe but can be thrown as your projectile attack, the key unique feature being you can summon it back with the press of a button. Doing so has the axe fly back to you Thor style. Not only is this used in combat but in many puzzles as the key item. Zelda style, that allows you to solve them. In combat you can use your melee weapon as a ranged weapon which has the secondary effect of freezing enemies if you strong throw it, once its out of your hand you go into hand to hand combat which stuns enemies more than damages them, stun them enough and you can do a signature GoW brutal kill. This balance in switching attacks from up close, ranged, being able to essentially freeze some enemies while working on stunning others plays into the strategic layer of GoW new combat.

Then you begin to add your son, Artrieus, into the mix who can shoot arrows that stun enemies with the push of a button. There are special attacks with cooldowns that serve as large are of effect attacks. Kratos still has his classic rage mode where he becomes Hulk like for a period of time. When it all comes together you have one of the more exciting visually stimulating combat systems ever put in an action game. The camera never cuts away from Kratos so these fights look like an action scene from a movie, its spectacular. Now being behind the back does present issues with keeping track of enemies all around you so like RE4 there are many audio cues and even some visual ones to let the player know danger is coming from behind. Despite this limitation I never felt like I was being blind sided, the combat feels fair and intense the whole way through.

The only negatives I can think about with the combat is that like with all GoW games its not going for super advanced mechanics like dodge cancels. You will get stuck in animations, you wont be able to dodge or block out of some. It never reaches the technical highs of DMC or NG but outside of those games this might be the most fun I have had with a hack and slash combat game. Enemies start off extremely varied, the first half of the game feels like you are fighting something new every battle. This fades as it goes on when enemies begin to repeat with minor changes and that open world fatigue sets in. I also wish there were more unique boss battles in the game, there are about 6 I can think of and one is the same guy three times. There are mini bosses but these get copy pasted so much they feel like glorified tough enemies.

The next major change to the formula is the wide linear world with RPG elements. This is where it feels like GoW is chasing current gaming trends rather than blazing new ones. The hub feels like the new Tomb Raider games where you have these larger open areas that lead to more traditional linear levels. I am very happy that it never resorts to being a collectathon, the map is not filled with useless icons to hunt shit, find 20 craps, go visit towers and stuff like that. Each area they do visit whether part of the main quest or a side quest feels very well designed with a mix of puzzles and great enemy encounters. Side quests in particular are very well done, each have a story to go with them, good rewards, and great new locations to explore. It is the right balance to have with an action game but even with this structure it suffers from pacing issues. You just cannot keep the break neck speed past GoW games had when you allow the player to take hours to do random quests. I miss that in action games, there is something magical about being on a wild roller coaster of action that is missing from this game and so many games this generation.

When the action is on though, MY GOD it does not disappoint. This is still God of War, it has some of the most epic sequences found in gaming. Those moments when your jaw is on the floor and you cant believe something of that scale is playable. The final battle in particular had me jumping out of my chair; those are the moments that make a game stand out, make them feel special. Plus this has the best story in the series by a mile. It is more in line with TLOU than the teenage power fantasy of the originals. There is a very poignant father son relationship story which touches on the mistakes of Kratos' past and how he wants his son to be better, as most every dad wants of their son. This is done in the back drop of a nordic setting dealing with all their gods and history. Its filled with great tales of their legends, phenomenal world building that makes it feel like an epic heroes journey in the style of the great Homer tales.

Expect to put a good 20 plus hours for the story and 20 more to explore all there is to do. This is a meaty game that never bored me. The RPG system allows there to be some super post game enemies that require some leveling up to defeat. There are these neat challenge areas which serve as the post game sort of loot grind, but its done with clear goals not useless grinding. There is an impressive amount of customization that can go into Kratos' builds but I feel like the major leveling up sort of overshadows tailoring certain stats (like light levels in destiny); I rather level up to level 7 than put gear that is lower level but focuses on one stat for instance. Also as is the issue with most games with gear like this, there is a reverse difficulty curve where the start of the game is very tough but becomes too easy if you over-level through side quests. I don't get why this issue is so hard for devs to solve, it hurt some of the later story missions in my game, action games should get harder not easier.

Graphically the game is a stunner. Incredible art design, beautiful colors, great contrast in locations. Its not 60 FPS but it doesn't ever feel choppy. Awards will probably be given out for the stellar voice cast, Christopher Judge adds so much to Kratos who feels way more fleshed out here. The music is great but I cant recall a stand out theme like the original games had.

God of War is one of the best games this generation. Its got the great story, the great production values, the fresh interesting combat system, and great value for content. If you like single player action adventure games, this is the kind of game we live for. Sure a few aspects feel like they are from the "modern game" formula but the package as a whole feels fresh due to its great combat system. Right now we are seeing Sony's first party studios at the top of their game with God of War becoming another classic.
Posted by Dvader Sat, 05 May 2018 20:03:15
 
Mon, 07 May 2018 02:00:29
I’m really loving this game and am saddened that it’ll be another month before I could possibly get another crack at it.  I do agree with the mechanics of the game, feels a little clunkier than previous games.
 
Thu, 17 May 2018 16:59:31
Not a bad review. Boy.
 
Sat, 19 May 2018 18:50:19
Girl.
 
Sun, 20 May 2018 04:14:11
Pussy
 
Sun, 20 May 2018 11:10:55
I'm hearing rumors that the next God of War will have both Kratos and the kid again, only now the kid is fully grown and he decided to go trans so now he's a woman. A trans god.
Kratos just keeps "Trap" through the whole game.
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