God Of War Review

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The father-son relationship is handled shrewdly by the developers.

Hey, want to feel as old as Kratos?

When you get God of War, make sure you play through on one of the three lower difficulty settings first, so you can enjoy the story of Kratos and his son. It's a human story, and adds a delicate heart to the adventure's heft.

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Speaking of side missions, the way that God of War presents its world so gradually might be its greatest achievement. Anyone who has played a game in the Souls series will immediately sense its influence on the control layout (the game seems to pay homage to the From Software series by throwing an occasional giant-sword wielding, fully armored knight at you to fight.) The new game also drops the series' heavy use of Quick Time Events, or timed on-screen button prompts, in an apparent concession to those of us who've grown tired of them. When he throws his axe, it sticks into the wall with a delectable crunch.

That's just what I did with God of War though.

Complete with his iconic Blades of Chaos, Lê Tuấn Khải's Kratos-God of War III Grand Theft Auto 5 mod lets the Ghost of Sparta pull planes from the sky, smash police vans to bits, and make a general nuisance of himself in San Andreas. From smashing symbol-clad pots to severing glowing sinews, axe-throwing is core to God of War's gameplay in and outside of combat. Timing dodges and parries had to be perfectly precise and even that wasn't enough. The result is frenetic, especially when combined with special "runic" attacks that might freeze everyone in your vicinity or see you diving shield-first into a wall of enemies.

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All of this applies to your son, Atreus, too. You're in control of when Atreus fires, and must manage how many arrows he has at his disposal carefully during a lengthy battle. The more rare and powerful they are, the more useful. Midgard is the main hub where you'll be spending most of your time, but there's more than just the game's main narrative to enjoy. The arc of their story seems created to mirror the player's relationship to Atreus. Like Kratos, God of War recalls the past while acknowledging the need to improve.

The new game takes Kratos out of his familiar Greek pantheon stomping ground and places him in unfamiliar mythological territory: as a sojourner walking among Nordic legends. During our time with the game, Barlog's claims rang true. God of War does a good job of teasing you with these blocked areas, encouraging re-exploration between quests. "A more measured, nuanced character, a great supporting cast, excellent combat, and some of the best graphics in a PlayStation 4 game to-date, add up to a victor". This isn't the Kratos you remember - and that's what makes it work so well.

Defeating enemies will earn you XP which you can used to upgrade and craft items. Kratos is a broken man here, having lost his wife and unable to nurture his son in a meaningful way. The additional visual output seems to take a toll on performance. The game does an admirable job of easing you into what turns out to be a rather involved system, and within a few hours, I was opening every chest I saw and picking up every item I found to give Kratos an edge. It is recommended for players who find action games extremely intuitive, and for confident long-time God of War series veterans who've beat past games on harder difficulties. This review was conducted on a normal PlayStation 4 using a review copy provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment of America. Now, those same players have jobs, partners, children; their fantasies of agency tapered with reveries of parenthood.

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