Finally our God of War Review is here
After a couple of weeks of clocking the game, I put my words to post and drop the article I’ve been too afraid to write. But it’s finally here, SkyGamers’ God of War Review. I share my deepest thoughts.
And yes, I absolutely dreaded writing this review. How does one tackle the massive mountain of writing about a landmark title that is God of War? This game will go on to be the benchmark that other action games, adventure games, narrative games will be judged by. And here I sit trying to scramble some words together for the God of War Review. It’s an intimidating task. If you describe it as almost faultless, you may come off as a fanboy or overhype it to unreachable expectations. Undersell it and I risk having players potentially overlook the most momentous gaming experience ever released. How does a mere mortal such as myself tell this godly tale?
If you’ve been reading our previous reviews then you’re well aware of our review structure. I start off with the story, then move into the visuals, the gameplay and close off with a conclusion. This time, I’m throwing that structure straight out of the window. Instead, I’m just going to talk about my experience with God of War.
At its core, God of War is an emotional father/son tale. The angry god murdering greek has left his realm behind and started a new life in the realm of Midgard. Fast forward to an unknown number of years and our anti-hero Kratos has an estranged son, Atreus, and suffered yet another loss. His wife and mother to his son passes on and leaves them a dying wish to transport her remains to the highest peak in all the realms. And thus begins a journey that forces Kratos to rekindle a relationship with Atreus while facing life or death perils that this Norse world keeps throwing at them.
At face value, you would think that there’s hardly any stakes in this quest. But that is exactly the beauty of God of War. It forgoes the tried and tested formula of World ending stakes and massive set pieces. Instead, it tells a somber, emotional stakes tale. Kratos hardly knows his son Atreus. Yet he is tasked with for once being there for him and keep them safe on this journey. Likewise, Atreus barely knows his father, he has spent the majority of his upbringing with his mother and barely seeing Kratos. And no these two, strangers have to work together in achieving a mutual goal. Something Kratos’s probably planned all along as a means to bring them closer in the first place.
I have to commend Santa Monica Studio in how they successfully rebooted this franchise, while at the same time continuing the mythology that has made this game so great. They haven’t pretended that Kratos doesn’t have a dark, murderous past. In fact, he spends a majority of the game trying to keep details of his past away from his son. But the more the journey progresses the more is revealed to Atreus that there’s more to his father than he lets on. Or why they seem to be the target of the Aesir gods. This is too good a story arc for me to spoil to anyone who’s yet to play the game. The payoff is well worth the 30-hour experience.
It’s easy to mistaken God of War for an “Open-World” game. With its seemingly vast vistas and that wide open game world. Let me put that massive misinformation to rest. It absolutely is still a linear experience. It just delivers it in a world that feels open while very much driving you in a forward direction. However, it has more of a Metroid-vania style of play. Simply put, the game rewards exploration of the beaten path. More so, you’ll come across sections that you will not be able to explore until you have a piece of gear or magical ability that allows you to pass.
You never feel like you’re backtracking as there’s always a change in the route. From the game world being very different from when you last past there, to taking a shortcut. Many games should take a page out of God of War’s book if they plan on having the player backtrack. That being said, the game does suffer a bit from “The princess is in another castle” syndrome. It’s always as if something is constantly going wrong or stopping the duo from reaching their goals. But it’s not at all a deal breaker. It never detracts from the experience.
I’m not going to get into the game’s visuals, as you no doubt have heard it all before. You may have even it from me in previous articles. So let me take the shortcut out. The game is gorgeous, packed with detail and beautiful art direction. If you have an HDR capable TV, then this is the title to show off its capabilities. Especially if playing on a PS4 Pro, you will not be disappointed. Every scene, every moment is just a breathtaking visual feast. Checkboard naysayers will have no words for this game. It’s sharp enough to pass for a Native presentation.
When all is said and done about God of War, this is THE title worth owning a PS4 for. I’d even go as far as to say it’s the very best game I’ve ever played. My favorite title of all time. You’ll fall in love with Kratos, Atreus and other richly written characters. The perfect combat system that never forgets its roots while also pushing the franchise forward in a visceral way that has never been done before. You’ll have emotional moments you’d never think you’d have in a God of War game. And when the credits roll, wonder just when you will get another opportunity to see more of this fantastical world that is being teased at. Whatever it takes, this is one title that NEEDS to be in your collection. Even if it means buying an entire console to experience it.