So, I finished God of War, I really wish I hadn’t. It’s so amazing I really did not want it to end and even after the end of the story I couldn’t wait to jump back in and continue further adventures and unfinished side quests.
The combat is fantastic and the story truly excellent. It just got better and better as I played. I can’t go into detail too much for fear of spoilers, but I can say that I believe this is the best written single player game script I have ever played, and I don’t say that lightly.
The characters really do grow and develop over the course of the story. This in a sense a very personal and small-scale story and while this sounds uninteresting it allows the different characters the ability to really get known by the player. You end up truly caring about them and the way they interact with each other. While some of the moments on paper could sound forced or clichéd, they feel natural. Of course, Kratos would act that way but I understand why. I see the road that we came down to get to this point where Atreus is comfortable acting out against his father now rather than being shy. I tweeted when I finished the game to say I think it may be a ‘Perfect’ story, what I mean b y that is that it both plays well in Isolation, you need not know anything about the series so far (I didn’t) to enjoy it while also building on a fascinating mythos if you do know what’s going on. I really felt by the end that I believed this is a world where an old Greek god of war in Kratos can have somehow found his way into Norse myth while stay in continuity with previous games. I didn’t care how, I just cared what comes next.
The dialogue writing and stories of Lore are wonderfully told, many times I would stop my boat before getting out just to hear the end of the story the fantastic ‘Mimir’ has been telling, I want to know the end and I also want to know how Kratos and Atreus react to the story. It helps flesh out their characters wonderfully. Stand out moments like that include a story of Patricide and Atreus shock at how a son can kill his father, Kratos stays suitably mute in this moment, offering only a grunt due to the fact that he killed his own father Zeus and Atreus does not know.
The world is a joy to be inside and one where not only does danger feel round every turn, but this feels exciting and empowering while also frightening all in one. The semi-open world feels enormous and beautifully designed and realised by an incredible art team. Hats off to them, the different areas that have been stitched together may not always feel seamless but are incredibly realised. This is even more impressive considering the whole game from start to finish is done in one continuous shot. This means that unless you die (You will) the game never cuts away from gameplay to a cinematic from start to completion. Clever technical things are done off screen to allow this completely immersive camera style and is something to be truly lauded. It is worth noting I played on a base PS4 in 1080p HD on a Samsung 4K TV, this pushed my console to its limits and it huffed and puffed throughout but the quality never dropped and if it did I genuinely didn’t notice. I am fully aware this game should be played in 4K to truly see its jaw dropping beauty and I looked to try and get one just for this but alas its too expensive for me.
Atreus is a help during the story and not a hindrance as I first feared. His AI allows for some simple controls to aid you in combat but also that you never feel like the game is one big escort mission. If anything, you feel a passenger at times following this character along his own story, he was truly a character in his own right rather than a further extension of the player.
Combat is interesting and exciting. I’m not going to make the ‘Dark Souls’ comparison as I feel that’s a bit of a cop out but this game has a style that allows you to plan what attacks you will do and in what order to beat the enemies in front of you in a thought out manner rather than button mashing. Because of this it makes you feel you made a mistake that you can rectify in that fight if you die and this keeps you trying again unless you are truly out levelled. This is how I can see the ‘Dark Souls’ similarities but I think the God of War team have done it in their own way and as such I draw the line at saying it’s the same system, rather a smart combat system that has taken inspiration from the series past and implemented popular game mechanics to enhance the combat experience.
The varying side quests and collectibles feel suitable in the world created and story told. Every element contributes to the overall world. Whether a quest gives Atreus and Kratos an added conversation and dynamic to their relationship, or your finding small elements of lore that add to the location you have stumbled across by accident. While the number is high in quantity the quality of how they fit is also high. There is also not so many to deter me from trying to collect them all, whether I do or not is not really the point, but the fact is that I really want to try.
Along with collectibles and side quests available still at the end of the game, there is the addition of the extra ‘realms’ that can be explored. This is God of Wars end game content that encourages the level up grind. At the end of the day grinding in video games is similar in most cases but in this case, it feels like it is part of the story. I may have rolled credits on the main quest, but I have by no means finished the story and adventure that I set out on many hours ago.
I enjoyed this game so much personally that it’s difficult to put into written prose for you now. I can talk in as unbiased and critical language as I want but it will never truly do the game justice. If I’m honest this is one of those games where if you have the time to even just play through the main story, then please go do it instead of reading about the game.
I realise how short this review is and the truth is I feel there is so much more to wax lyrical about in God of War however without going into spoilers its very hard. If people would like I will write something more spoiler but do please let me know. I know lives are full and people may not have time to play a long full game like God of War and then let alone read about it so there is not much need for me to write that piece in my limited time, I would love to though so please do let me know.
If you have questions about God of War or any more thoughts about it then please do let me know through the social channels. Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. I would love to converse with people about this game and their experience of it.
Verdict: God of War is a stunning piece of video game artwork that shows what games are capable of being. This is the new benchmark and other studios need to up their game to keep up now. Every inch of this game joins together to create a rich tapestry of grand adventure and intimidate father son story.
Rating: 10/10 (I did not think I would be giving a 10 out of 10 so quickly)
If you want to read some of my early thoughts on God of War, please go read the ‘What I’ve been doing’ article linked here.