God of War – The New Ghost of Sparta
Ever since the epic reveal of God of War back in E3, 2016 fans eagerly awaited the new epic journey of Kratos. Gone are the days where the Ghost of Sparta slays any being that stands in his way but instead he journeys through a new life of fatherhood and honor. Santa Monica Studios crafts an epic tale for our time that commands respect with its astounding story, gameplay, and unique interpretations of thousand year old stories. A mesmerizing game that anyone owning a PlayStation 4 should play.
At its core, God of War is a game in which you quest to spread the ashes of Kratos’ deceased wife to the highest peak of the Nine Realms of Norse Mythology. Fulfilling the final wishes of his wife, Kratos and his son, Atreus embark on the journey but also warns his son that the road ahead will have many dangers. Initially from the world of Greek mythology, both father and son encounter creatures and gods from Norse mythology from which Atreus is familiar with from the stories told by his mother.
Once reaching the highest point in the Nine Realms they encounter the all seeing and all knowing Mimir. Mimir reveals that their goal is not where they stand but in Jötunheim. Kratos continues to honor his wife’s wishes by doing whatever it takes to get to Jötunheim. Causing so much of a ruckus by merely being present in the Norse world, their encounters reveal the true nature of Atreus, a secret that is kept by his father at all costs. Kratos, soon has to tell his son his true nature which also adds pros and cons to the journey.
The story dives deep into the relationship between Kratos and his son. There is no task that the God of War cannot do but it becomes a real challenge when it comes to Atreus. Being a father will never be an easy task for Kratos, but he learns to adapt to be the best dad he can be. Kratos teaches his son to survive by embracing discipline even the heat of battle. On the flip side, Arteus has to overcome the challenges of the physical world. A child is facing a dense world that he doesn’t understand but has to adapt to and survive. So much is revealed that it is not deemed appropriate to talk about here, so its best to pick a copy up for your own satisfaction. This new story gives a new layer to Kratos that makes him one of the best characters to grace the PlayStation family.
Pulling similarities from games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, God of War has very intense and satisfying combat that anyone who’s played these games will understand. Battles put you up against armies and giant trolls that require you to use abilities such as unlocked special moves that add to combos, and upgrades that make those attacks even more powerful. ‘Leviathan Axe is useful in both puzzles and combat. One the most valuable and impressive looking moves is the act of throwing the axe and immediately have it come back at the players at will.
Parrying enemy attacks are crucial as dodging enemy attacks alone will not be enough to prevail in battle.Knowing when to evade and counter can mean the difference between life or death to the player. The game will show no mercy to players especially at higher difficulties. I found myself towards the end of the game lowering the difficulty because of how frustratingly challenging the A.I. becomes. Though, I could have prevented this by exploring the dense world of God of War further.
There are many upgrades to find in the world such as armor and runics that will enhance Kratos and Atreus’ abilities. Players can get through the game without the help of Atreus but they will find it difficult to progress since he is such a great assistant in combat. In the beginning, his abilities will not do much, but when you put the time and effort to upgrade Atreus he can unleash stronger arrows, summon animals, and special moves that give extra damage to enemies.
God of War is hands down one of the best looking Ps4 games around, if not the best. So much detail has gone in to the game, from the weapon design through to the rich and detailed world design. The thick forest looks lush and full of life, mountains covered with white snow almost make you feel the cold, but the best is the design of the room that holds the world tree. There is so much color and the design emulates the mysticism that is Norse mythology. The Witch of the Woods looks amazingly beautiful without putting her in skimpy clothing as other games tend to do with their female characters. Without a doubt, there was a lot of work put into God of War
One needs to highlight the excellent work done by composer Bear McCreary. Known for composing themes for The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, and Game of Thrones, McCreary has written his best theme yet with God of War. The central theme paints the image of a man that has gone through a life of revenge, anguish, and pain but overall a man who has gained wisdom. When listening to the first three notes of the song Alongside Kratos, it is a perfect reminder that the Ghost of Sparta is a force that will not easily be stopped, even in his old age. The rest of the music interweaves with the story elevating emotional, battle and epic moments as you would expect and really ties the elements of the story together.
Each voice actor in the God of War does an excellent job providing voices to the many characters Kratos meets. Christopher Judge as Kratos holds a baritone timber while sounding like a wise man. Sunny Suljic doesn’t fall under the uncharismatic child syndrome that others games have done in the past. Daniel Bisutti captures the mother like essence that is the Witch of the Woods.
There is so much to do in God of War. The world is built to be explored and find upgrades for battle, and alongside that, there is more story to uncover that reveals details for future installments. God of War is entertaining even after the credits have rolled.