God of War Digital Deluxe Edition PlayStation 4 Review

God of War is a new beast of its own. It is not the game fans asked for but the game fans needed without even knowing.

By RON, Posted 01 May 2018

When a game series that was supposed to be over announces a new entry, opinions tend to be divided. The most concurrent opinion will be that the new installment is an unnecessary, cynical cash grab designed by big studios in order to capitalize over the same formula and avoid the pain of creating a new IP. However, there are times when such a sequel feels more like a breath of air, a new beginning and an expansion of the universe towards uncharted territory. The new God of War seems to be in the latter position. Although not a full reboot, but a continuation over the same timeline of the original trilogy, the game actually cares to deepen the understanding and presentation of its main character, Kratos, an icon of modern gaming. What once was an almost one-dimensional character with simple motivations is now a complex individual with growth, flaws and a bond with others. If revenge was the main drive of Kratos during his first triad of games, the human condition is the fuel that keeps the narrative of the new God of War moving forward.

With many gritty reboots and sequels in the past five years, God of War’s was just a matter of time. The game centers on Kratos, the ghost of Sparta, who now faces new challenges in the unknown lands of the Norse. As one might think, the Greek pantheon is now replaced by that of the Norse. Kratos finds himself in the middle of a battle between gods and does not know which part to take; he is oblivious to the complexities of the divine conflict and can’t be quite sure which side is good and which isn’t. But that is not really what is important here, because Kratos is not alone. A man turned god who was always used to doing things his own way, at his own pace and without minding the consequences of his actions, he is now accompanied by his son, Atreus. Now a father, Kratos not only faces the challenge of protecting his offspring in this new and mysterious land, but also those of teaching him and helping him grow. In the process, Atreus serves as an effective counterbalance to Kratos’ raw untamed power. The father-son relationship can be read on different levels. Atreus is Kratos’ moral compass, his connection to others, the incarnation of the principle that every action has a consequence, a motivation, a reason to be, legacy. In this sense, the relationship we see develop on screen between these two fleshed out characters becomes central and way more important for the big picture. This kind of paternal bond and coming of age storytelling is not new and other media have explored it magnificently, however, seeing this new layer on a character we were supposed to know some well is unexpected but refreshing.

How does this translate to gameplay? Atreus is not only a passive viewer and a proxy for us, the player, but is also a valuable companion during the game. He starts as a minor distraction for opponents but, as the narrative moves forward, he becomes more confident in his own skills, turning into a more useful ally. At the beginning, Atreus will only shoot arrows to deal low damage and stagger enemies; however, as the game progresses, he will attack enemies more aggressively, even getting as far as climbing on their backs, dealing damage and distracting them. This takes us to the changes in combat and gameplay. Combat remains fairly similar to other iterations if the game, featuring a smooth combo system that lets you link attacks pretty easily. The attacks are still somewhat over the top, brutal and violent, but they feel a little bit nuanced. However, one key element to take into account is the new weapon Kratos has at his disposal. The blades he used in previous games are now replaced by the Leviathan Axe, which can be used as a boomerang and called back on command, like Thor’s Mjölnir. This adds new possibilities to combat because, in addition to Atreus’ ranged ability, the axe can be used as both a close combat and ranged combat weapon. The throwing capabilities of the Leviathan Axe even complement the combo system and feel just about right once you get used to it. You may start an attack from the distance, call the axe for additional damage and then deal some more hits once the axe is back with you. Kratos will even go as far as use his fists if the axe is nowhere to be found and continue attacking with it upon retrieval. This weapon is even used significantly as part of the solution to most environmental puzzles present in the game, either by throwing it towards switches, stopping doors by throwing it into their cog mechanism or cutting down parts of the terrain that needs to be removed. Another key difference is the leveling up. In previous games, it was Kratos himself who leveled up after gaining experience and acquired new abilities from a tree. Now, it is the axe and the armor you get the things that level up. By improving your gear, the character will level up depending on the gear he wears; the same is true for Atreus.

God of War,Digital Deluxe Edition,PlayStation 4,Review,Screenshots,Gameplay,Video Review

As to the level design, God of War is a bit freer to roam than the other games in the series. Although not necessarily an open world, the game features huge sections that call to be explored, secret locations to discover and several side quests to complete. The main story might take around 20 hours to complete, but at least 20 more hours can be added if all side quests are to be completed. The game actually presents a vibrant and vivid world with beautiful landscapes and enemies taken directly from Norse folklore that deserve true praise.

To top all the new features added to the game, the departure from the previous camera system is something that might feel odd at the beginning but will fit right into place after a little while. The camera is freer and allows for a better and smoother control. This translates into a more immersive gameplay and specially a more dynamic gameplay. It was a necessary step if you consider the addition of Atreus, a character you are supposed to be watching over all the time and keeping out of danger, as the parent you are. This new camera system allows for a different approach in combat as well, and considering you now have to take into account axe throwing, having more freedom in the way you control the camera is certainly a good thing.

The Digital Deluxe Edition is an option for those who like getting some extra goodies but do not actually want any physical stuff. This version includes several items that might peak the curiosity of more than one: first, a digital copy of the art book, a very common item among special editions, but a very desirable one for this game considering the magnificent level of art work and detail in the recreation of then Scandinavian landscape and mythos. You also get a digital copy of the God of War comic book #0 which serves as a prequel of Kratos’s and Atreus’s adventure. Now for skins and armor, this edition unlocks the Exile’s Guardian Shield and the Death’s Vow armor, the latter available for Kratos and Atreus alike. This armor comes with a strength boost for its wearer; actually, each individual piece provide a boost that stack up depending on how many pieces the character’s wearing. Finally, the God of War Digital Deluxe Edition includes a Dynamic PS4 theme. The best part is this upgraded edition is only $10 USD above the original price.

God of War,Digital Deluxe Edition,PlayStation 4,Review,Screenshots,Gameplay,Video Review

God of War is a new beast of its own. Although it preserves elements from previous games, like hyper violence and gore – which ultimately feel like they are there because fans demanded it – it can be regarded as a pertinent evolution of the formula. The game is distinctively more mature than the games that preceded it but doesn’t neglect the roots that brought it to the point where it is.  It is not the game fans asked for but the game fans needed without even knowing.

Check NoobFeed Senior Editor Adam's God of War PlayStation 4 Pro Review. And if you need help with defeating any boss, check our God of War Hard Difficulty Strategy.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Ready at Dawn, Javaground, Daybreak Game Company, SIE Santa Monica Studio
Genres: Action-Adventure
Themes: Norse Mythology
Release Date: 2018-04-20

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