There’s more to God of War than feeling like a complete and total badass. More to the game than item collecting and upgrading valuable weapons and armor. At God of War’s core is the unbreakable and heartfelt bond between Kratos and his young son Atreus. Sony Santa Monica produced an incredible game, something well worth its weight in gold for sure, as it brings with it tons of amazing, action-packed moments, all to the PlayStation 4, making this God of War installment an absolute must play.
The story begins with the one-and-only Kratos chopping down wood, as it’s much needed to finally lay his wife’s dead body down to rest. While he hacks away at one tree in particular you see the enormous amount of pain that plagues the game’s main character, as it’s apparent that his man just lost the love of his life. Upon collecting the firewood and eventually setting it ablaze, Kratos and his son much venture forth throughout the land and place his departed loved one’s ashes on a mountain. But like most stories, not everything happens to be lollipops and rainbows, as others have become aware of Kratos’ whereabouts and he must now leave his home with the only family he has left.
God of War has been mostly known for its hack-and-slash gameplay, which can ultimately leave the player feeling god-like themselves. And while that form of playstyle exists in the PlayStation 4 installment, it’s 100 percent better than ever, as combat and weapon abilities are successfully blended with impressive cutscenes from time to time. Mowing down your enemies with both light and heavy attacks is wonderfully choreographed, and there’s really nothing more exciting than seeing Kratos grab an enemy, smashing his face with a powerful forearm, slamming him directly to the ground, and introducing his skull to your foot. It’s moments like these that cause the player to remain engaged with the game, and these moments will inspire you to be strong and god-like as an individual, both internally and externally, as well.
The adventure laid out before Kratos and his son truly makes me feel as if I’m playing a game from within the Legend of Zelda series. Perhaps it’s the simple to grasp, occasionally mind scratching puzzles that are lightly scattered throughout the world, which only seem to inspire the mind to think outside the box to solve puzzles, rather than to force it to think long and hard. Or maybe it’s simply the variety of armor, weapons, and upgradable movesets that become obtainable throughout the journey. Actually, knowing there’s more to Kratos’ arsenal than just his battle axe will ultimately inspire the player to destroy every and any breakable item, only for the sake of saving up cash to purchase improved battlegear that will inevitably slaughter your enemy and his allies alike.
Like most RPGs, God of War allows the user to customize Kratos as they see fit with a skill tree, bearing with it a variety of moves and special abilities for destroying the enemy. Each of these pieces of unlockable sets requires experience gained from killing monsters and other nasty things alike, which you can then select, equip, and add variety to the hacking and slashing component of the game. From holding the L1 button and charging enemies with your shield, to sprinting at opponents then tapping the R2 button to execute an axe-slam near monsters, there’s enough skill diversity to making each and every God of War playthrough different than your friends. It’s skill trees like the one found in God of War that adds depth to the experience, making each upgradeable opportunity more exciting than the last.
While God of War performs exceptionally well in execution and upgrades, the game looks very impressive on a launch PlayStation 4 system. At first, I thought my experience would be slightly cheated because I lack a 4K TV and a PS4 Pro console, but it was actually quite the contrary. In fact, regardless if you own a stunningly gorgeous 4K TV and the newer PlayStation 4 system, God of War gushes with beautiful visuals in 1080p that will definitely blow your mind away if you have yet to upgrade your television. From the slightest details like the tiny little hairs on Kratos’ back, to the insanely stunning waves that sway back and forth into the dark-lit mysterious ocean, God of War absolutely provides to all within the visual depart, and their efforts certainly deserve merit.
God of War is an incredible game, but perhaps the most incredible thing to ever occur in this installment is the bond between a man and his young, albeit eager to grow up, son. Kratos is a man who is filled with anger and rage, and there are times in which his aggression is brought to light more than it should before his child. And while Kratos means well, this obviously comes off wrong to Atreus, as his young mind doesn’t understand and grasp the harsh realities of life. They both struggle to learn from each other, as Kratos knows nothing of what it is like to be a good father to son, and the boy’s love for his mother, which pours out from time to time, becomes more obvious as time goes on. Atreus is a young boy that struggles to impress his father, as he attempts to prove his worth more than enough times to illuminate that he is too young for much. However, this young child grows throughout the story and ultimately serves his father well, as he aids Kratos in combat and kills more than enough enemies to prove he is his father’s son. It’s instances like these that unfold throughout the story which ultimately keep the player well invested in narrative and the game, making the total package well worth your time.
God of War for the PlayStation 4 is a game that will make you stay up late to play, and you’re bound to enjoy every second of it – especially if you’ve stuck with the series since the PS2 days. The engaging yet intense combat will leave you feeling like a complete and total badass, as if you can pull off the stunningly impressive moves in real life. The upgradable weapons, armor, and apparel bring more life into the game and make it anything but monotonous, and the exceptionally well thought and put together skill tree turns Kratos into an unstoppable killing machine. The bond between Kratos and Atreus is something I will never forget, and it’s something I absolutely strive to achieve in real life when the opportunity presents itself. It’s something I aspire to, and I have God of War for the PlayStation 4 to thank.