For a limited time get a free book! Get My BookGet My Book

Video Game Review: God of War

In 2005 Sony brought Greek mythology to life with the original God of War. For its time, the game was brilliant both in terms of gameplay and in terms of portraying a deeper story than typical action games, over-the-top gore and silly sex mini-games notwithstanding. The game spawned two main sequels, and several side-quels/prequels, finally culminating in God of War III, by which point Kratos had basically killed everything in Greek mythology.

Now, however, the team has brought him back, some decades later, aging, and with a kid to raise on his own, having just lost his wife. Also, he’s somehow come from Ancient Greece to Midgard (shortly before the beginning of Ragnarok). Fans of my books will find some similarities in interpretation of the setting, though only some.

While the original games were great, I’m going to come straight out and say the new game, also titled God of War, outstrips all of them in terms of both gameplay and story.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m the “Norse mythology guy.”

I actually like Greek mythology as much or more than Norse. But this time, the team has taken a fresher spin on the myths for reasons beyond simply justifying Kratos needing to kill Heracles or whatever. Plus, both the character and the story have matured. Kratos still has the rage inside of him, but now he knows how destructive that rage can be to himself and everyone around him. He knows vengeance isn’t going to solve anything.

But he’s still willing to kill anything and everything that stands in the way of his goals.

Spartan Rage. Still a thing.

However, he’s also dealing with the pain of losing his wife (and yes, I know the same was true in the first game) and of trying to raise a child to be better than he was.

In terms of gameplay, God of War takes some definite cues from Dark Souls, probably enough to qualify for the Souls-like genre. Which is great, considering that style of challenging but rewarding ARPG has become my definitive favorite genre in recent years. A few aspects of the game feel like the old ones, including the occasional puzzle (which I didn’t feel added much to the game, save nostalgia for one aspect I didn’t miss in the first place). The combat feels a bit different than either Souls or old school GOW, but, basically, it’s a system that punishes mistakes while rewarding mastery of the mechanics and learning enemy fighting styles.

Kratos–for the first time, unless I’m mistaken–now has to block attacks on a shield, which is incredibly important here, as it also allows parries. Oh, and he lays into his foes with a big ass axe that returns when he throws it, ala Thor’s hammer in the Marvel movies. Most of the time, enemies can down Kratos in a few hits if you get careless or too aggressive. On the other hand, when you get a rhythm going, Kratos feels like, well, a god of war.

While the game does feature some platformer-ish exploration, there’s far less platformer challenges to this one. Meaning–praise the Aesir–nothing quite so irritating as the underworld spinning blade columns.

All this said, it shouldn’t surprise you to hear I loved this game. If you own a PS4, get this game.

Sign up to the Skalds' Tribe newsletter for free books, updates, book release details and more:

Read our privacy policy here.

We never spam and never pass on your email address. You can opt-out at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *