God of War is more than just a video game. It is an experience that exemplifies what every video game should strive to be.
The game is an action adventure on steroids as you beat the living hell out of the monster you encounter and explore some of the most gorgeous scenery in all of gaming.
The game begins with the death of Kratos’s wife, and you learn that you must fulfill her final wish. Kratos, along with his son Atreus, must journey to the highest peak in all the realms to spread her ashes.
The story that unfolds with their adventure is one of the most engaging stories in gaming as you watch Kratos and Atreus bond as father and son.
Atreus as a game mechanic could have been the downfall in the game if done poorly. I was weary of having to babysit a kid throughout every fight, but instead it felt as if he was babysitting me at times. His usefulness is on another level.
His ability to jump on top of enemies to hold them in place allows for better combos, his arrows with different abilities can slow enemies and render them more vulnerable, and his navigational assistance all helped me through my journey to the top of the mountain.
The combat in God of War is extremely satisfying. The power of your axe can be felt with every hit, and the full strength of Kratos can be felt every time you enter Spartan Rage mode.
The ability to unlock so many moves to work with made combat a fun and engaging way to experiment, and Atreus’s unlockable abilities furthered this.
Weapons, armor, enchantments, and gems were all special ways to enhance your abilities and attributes even more. The amount of diversity in the combat felt like a breath of fresh air as every time you earned something new you felt as if you were truly gaining in power.
However, I wish this much variety had gone into the finishing moves on larger monsters. Every larger monster you fight has only one or two special deaths, and riding an ogre then carving its head loses its excitement after the tenth or so time.
God of War is filled with exciting adventures to be had though, whether it’s embarking on the action and puzzle-filled adventure to the highest peak or venturing off on one of the many side quests.
There really are an enormous number of things to do that don’t involve the main story. You could spend hours fighting side-bosses or going on adventures to find the bones of a ghosts lost wife. It really all depends on what you want to do.
The game rewards you for doing these optional quests too. Much of the time you receive powerful new armor, and other times you earn tons of experience points and currency.
While exploring the world can be a breathtaking experience, I sometimes found it difficult to find my way in the more linear sections of the game. It was never awful, but at times I had to do a decent amount of searching to find the wall I needed to climb.
The puzzles you find in the world are well done for the most part. Often, I would find myself thinking about how clever a puzzle was after I had completed it. None of the puzzles are too hard, but they all felt just right.
When it comes to the main story though, it can’t be explained just how deep and emotional it feels to watch Kratos and Atreus grow together.
The journey that Kratos and Atreus embark on is filled with memorable characters, exciting bosses, and remarkable scenery. The father son dynamic the two share is portrayed by top tier performances from the actors.
Every character you meet is extremely well done. Some are funny, some are heartwarming, and some are freighting, but every single one of them is believable.
The music enhances every emotion as well. God of War contains some extremely great tracks in it, and the music could stand alone and still convey the same emotions you feel when it plays alongside the game.
It can’t be said just how fun the game is to play, but the dips in performance are a hindrance to the games beauty at times. The game runs at 30 fps, but even on performance mode on a PS4 Pro the game has plenty of dips.
But even with the extremely small issues the game has, it stands as a modern masterpiece. The graphical beauty, the amazing character performances, the extremely fun combat, and the gripping story all make this game a stand out for the current generation of video games.