Friday, 18 May 2018

God Of War: PS4 Review

God Of War: PS4 Review

Released by Santa Monica Studio
Platform: PS4

Kratos is back and bigger than ever before in the eighth outing of the God of War series.
God Of War: PS4 Review
This is..........Kratos!

The game's already been universally lauded, with many stating its narrative and gameplay are second to none.

It's hard to dispute this - but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Loosely, Kratos finds himself in the Norse world this time, as opposed to the Greek mythology that dominated the series before. Along with a young son, Atreus, Kratos is mourning the loss of his wife, Atreus' mother and facing a quest to return her ashes to the highest peaks of the nine realms.

However, while it looks initially like the reluctant father / son duo are hoping to be left to mourn, a stranger appears - and Kratos' past threatens to overwhelm him.

God Of War's strength in this latest iteration comes from the way the pieces have been pulled together.

Over years of creation, director Cory Barlog has reimagined and revamped the franchise, giving it a heft that is an evolution of its prior hack and slash ethos. And it makes sense - later in life, people have regrets and wishes over something they'd done before; certainly, Kratos' rage and destruction of Greece in prior games gives him the emotional weight he needs.

But Barlog is to be commended for never once losing the depth needed for the game these days - it's engaging as it is beautifully rendered; a sign that Santa Monica simply aren't content to rest on laurels, bringing both nuance to Kratos and to his surroundings as well.

The emotional beats feel right here, and the story hits the ground running right away - familiarity with Kratos and his past perhaps helps, but it's testament to what the studio's done that it proves to be so damn engaging even without prior knowledge.

The biggest change is the loss of Kratos' twin swirling blades that he'd previously used, the Blades of Chaos. Replaced with an axe, that appears to have elements of Thor's Mjolnir, Kratos has moved with the times.

Light and heavy attacks are still there, with the rage-metre to be filled as well.  Combat is easy, and also taxing with hordes of enemies, but the bluster and violence that has been the norm is still thankfully there.

There's much that harkens back to what Kratos was and also much that lets you see what it is now.
God Of War: PS4 Review

This is a series that's got bigger every time, and while scope and scale this time are nothing to scoff at, the fact it's dwelt on the intimacy this time around, adds much to what's needed within. Graphically and narratively, it feels a lot like the best elements of The Last Of Us' twosome combined with the wondrous landscapes of Horizon Zero Dawn.

Granted, the sidekick kid can get a little irritating, but to see the two of them working together in combat and side-by-side is a nice touch. Though the repetitive dialogue from Atreus during fighting may occasionally make you wish you could silence him a little more often.

But it's in the more subtle touches and the "feels" where this God Of War succeeds. An early scene in which Atreus has to learn about killing animals and where the injured stag looks pleadingly at him from the ground actually had this reviewer close to tears.

Ultimately, God of War is all about the journey this time around - and it's one that's easily worth taking in its latest outing.

This is the kind of game which screams out for Game Of The Year - and while accolades are easily bandied around, this one is well deserved.

Everything about God Of War fits together - its story, its combat, its emotive soundtrack and its journey all churn in one gaming pot to provide an experience that's second to none.

Make no mistake, Kratos and the God Of War hype is real - and if you're serious about gaming in any shape or form, you need to own and envelop yourself in its immeasurable pleasures immediately.

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