Switching between weapons and approaches already seems paramount to combat in God of War, and it feels great so far. He seeks Kratos' approval and wonders why his father now suddenly shows an interest in teaching him hunting. Yet it's also one ultimately full of craft, heart and visual flair.
Kratos may be older but he hasn't lost a step. After a cremation and a surprise visitor comes a-knocking, it's up to Kratos to guide his young ward to the top of a nearby mountain to dispose of a loved one's ashes.
It all amounts to "tremendous heavy lifting done by the creators of God of War", as Polygon says in its perfect-ten review, "to shift the tone, the style and the expectations of one of the most beloved but also most violent and debaucherous franchises in modern games".
Cory responded: "Thank you, pops". It's been eight years since the PlayStation 3's God of War III and while Sony's Santa Monica Studio's latest entry could have simply been called God of War 4, the barebones numberless title fits. Every animation from tender cutscenes between Kratos and his son Atreus to stunning moments like the World Serpent Jormungandr erupting from the watery deep are rendered with excruciating attention to detail. When he throws his axe, it sticks into the wall with a delectable crunch.
While God of War won't be out until next week, reviews have gone live today.
God of War has returned to reclaim its throne atop the rank of third-person action video games.
God of War brings with it lovely visuals, from environments to animations, bolstered by a powerful score.
What God of War exemplifies is a series that is not afraid to stray from its established roots.
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In combat, your axe fits around Dark Souls-style blocks, dodges and parries. Some boss fights are very challenging, and usually that's due to the smaller enemies on screen who can cause problems when outnumbering the player, especially if they have unique strengths and weaknesses. You're given a shield to use from the start, and intrinsically tying it to your attacks is perhaps more important than landing a blow in the first place.
All of this applies to your son, Atreus, too. What could have easily become an annoyance is effective in how it ties your ward into the action, linking his narrative development to the gameplay. The more rare and powerful they are, the more useful.
The best part about the combat though is that you can nearly feel the impact of each hit and each bash. The arc of their story seems created to mirror the player's relationship to Atreus. God of War is a punishing game, perhaps because it's never felt that way in the past. We can upgrade weapons and unlock new skills. "With this reboot, it confidently walks a new path that will hopefully lead to more exciting adventures to come".
Sure, the argument can be made that maybe I'm just not very good at God of War. Having tried the game on a PS4 Pro in 4K, I can safely assert that the PS4 Pro version is one of the most dazzling graphical displays I've experienced.
Not that the previous system was broken, by any means. The game does an admirable job of easing you into what turns out to be a rather involved system, and within a few hours, I was opening every chest I saw and picking up every item I found to give Kratos an edge. He's active in combat, using his bow and arrow to distract enemies and move the focus away from Kratos at times. The map is relatively useless in pinpointing the locations of these extra challenges, but this actually works to the game's advantage in emphasising actual exploration over icon hunting.
If you have ever played God of War before, you are initially going to be out of your element when you start playing this sequel/reboot. Now, those same players have jobs, partners, children; their fantasies of agency tapered with reveries of parenthood.
God of War is much more deliberate than its predecessors (though often just as chaotic).
From the game's gorgeous landscapes to its sinewy soundtrack by Bear McCreary, God of War boasts some of the finest production work on the PS4. He has retired to Scandinavia, is recently widowed and father to a tweenaged son who knows nothing of his god-slaying, blood-soaked past in Greece. A fantastic, epic adventure.