God of War PlayStation 4 Pro Review

God of War is an amazing masterpiece that you won't soon forget.

By Grayshadow, Posted 22 Apr 2018

Having played the main trilogy, including God of War: Ascension, I thought I had an accurate image of who Kratos was. However, the developers of Santa Monica completely changed that with God of WarA sequel and reboot of the franchise that changed my entire perspective of Kratos while remaining loyal to his original persona as well. It's extraordinary how God of War pushes the franchise to new heights by successfully combining story, gameplay, and sound design into one memorable adventure. God of War is an amazing masterpiece that you won't soon forget.

God of War takes place years after the events of the third game. Kratos has left Greece and set up a new life in Midgard, home of Norseman. Kratos' wife has passed, leaving him to raise their young son Atreus. She only asked one request from the 2, to scatter her ashes on the highest peak in the land. The story's premise sounds simply but becomes ever more complicated as the adventure continues.

The primary goal is never pushed in the background as Kratos constantly reminds his son of their purpose for traveling throughout the world of Midgard. Instead, it's the dialogue and strong presentation that keeps the story from ever getting stale. Kratos is constantly trying to keep his past identity a secret while at the same time not repeat the same mistakes from his previous life. All while trying to become a better father and person.

Seeing Kratos in a nurturing way can feel out of place from a veteran fan of the series but Santa Monica successfully maintains Kratos' identity while adding more layers to him. In the past, the Spartan warrior was a one-dimensional killing machine with very little regard for anyone other than those who can serve his goal. Thanks to strong writing, fitting voice actors, and flawless animations you can see Kratos and Atreus grow on this journey. Kratos has an unbelievable weight of self-pity and regrets that only Atreus' innocence can help him overcome. However, the boy isn't without his own issues that only Kratos' can help him learn and understand.

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Atreus was raised in isolation and doesn't have the same understanding of the world Kratos does. You can see the wonder in his voice as he finally sees the world come to life from his mother's stories. However, this innocent joy is often destroyed as Kratos attempts to teach Atreus that while there's beauty in the world that horrors lurk in the shadows and sometimes the in the light.

The combat system has been completely refined from the previous hack-and-slash gameplay. Instead of a fixed camera, God of War features an over-the-shoulder view while swinging his primary new weapon the Levithan ax. Like Thor's hammer, Kratos can throw this beast of a weapon and call it back at any time. Kratos also uses a shield for parrying and blocking incoming attacks.

Since you no longer have a fixed-perspective of the entire battlefield your view is limited here. Indicators provide some awareness by alerting you to where enemies are if they're using ranged or melee attacks based on the color of the arrow, and allow Kratos to perform a 180 turn. However, the lock-on system is extremely poor.

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When manually locking on to an enemy the icon will often disappear if the enemy gets too far or dashes behind you. Kratos cannot attack or defend from behind and must turn around, leaving you exposed from the other direction. The automatic lock-on system can also get confused when there are more than 6 enemies are on screen, making it harder to remain focus on one enemy.

Kratos himself does come with enough tools and abilities to deal with the healthy diversity of enemies. While players can try to spam the same moves certain foes require specific attacks to defeat. With elemental defenses, shields, flight, and more players will find themselves switching tactics constantly to accommodate the changing battlefield. Bosses truly test your skills with powerful creatures and intense fights, each one distinct and memorable.

Each enemy has been intricately designed not only in their design but movements. Specific attacks are triggered when each enemy moves in a certain way, allowing the player to better react. Either parrying, dodging, or using a specific attack watching the enemy's movement becomes essential during the harder boss battles. The developers have included a color response system to give players a helping hand of what can be countered and what cannot.

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This doesn't mean Atreus will stand in the background and do nothing. As a skilled archer Atreus serves as an extension of Kratos and is the best companion I've ever had in a video game. Unlike Ellie from The Last of Us or Elizabeth from BioShock: Infinite Atreus plays a vital role in combat, crowd controlling enemies, providing backup, and serving as an extension to Kratos. When the 2 were separated I felt I was at a disadvantage because I didn't have Atreus' support.

God of War's leveling system has also been refined for more customization. Different types of armor, weapon upgrades, and enhancements provide the player with more options of how they wish to upgrade both Kratos and Atreus. It can become overwhelming as the game doesn't do a good job explaining the system. This also goes for the leveling system, which offers a series of branching upgrades that can be earned through investing experience points. It's a shame with such an intricate upgrade system that no New Game Plus exists.

Like previous games, God of War is a technical and graphical masterpiece. Characters, environments, and lightning exhibit impressive attention to detail, bringing this mystical world to life. Details such as tiny sparks in the air, the pollen from glowing mushrooms, and muscle being torn apart are something that doesn't go unnoticed here as it all adds to the entire experience.

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Much of the journey takes place in Midgard, with Kratos and Atreus traveling from various locations using a canoe. Unlike previous games, optional objectives are littered throughout the environment that yield treasures, bonus experience, and optional bosses. God of War also features a type of Metroidvania exploration system where previous areas have locks that can only be unlocked using specific items that are acquired in a later part.

Combat, exploration, and story are completely combined for one seemingly experience. Thanks to Dori Arazi's use of a single-shot to tell the entire tale there are no loading screens or transitions unless you die. For a game this technically amazing it's unbelievable to see everything connect in such a seemingly way.

Other than the lock-on system the only real letdown for God of War is its teasing. Throughout the adventure, you're constantly bombarded with interesting information about this lush world and the gods in it but you rarely see any of them. It's especially vexing knowing that some of them have important roles in this story but are never seen, only acting in the background.

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God of War takes the edifice of the previous games and starts anew. It's still God of War but with a new coat of paint, giving veterans and newcomers an adventure that successfully delivers in every category. Exploration is rewarding, enemies are challenging, and the characters are compelling. God of War acknowledges the past but refines it for something truly amazing.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

God of War 4

95/100

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Sony
Developer(s): SIE Santa Monica Studio
Genres: Action-Adventure
Themes: Norse Mythology
Release Date: 2018-04-20

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