Posted April 23, 2018 by Andrew Cathie in Feature
 
 

God of War Review-In-Progress


God of War, as a whole, is a series which has become synonymous with big, brutal cutscenes and its violent protagonist, Kratos. In a landscape where Sony have moved further and further into the realm of games with a more nuanced take on storytelling, I was always interested to see how Kratos would fit in. While I have yet to finish God of War, it’s safe to say that Sony Santa Monica have managed to find a way for Kratos to not just fit in with today’s storytelling style, they’ve managed to put him at the forefront.

From the beginning of the game, it’s clear that Kratos has changed since he last faced the Greek pantheon of gods in God of War 3. He’s quieter and seems more considered than the man we previously knew. While Kratos’s origin story was one filled with torment and pain, the man himself was always grating and unlikeable. Now, I find myself caring about him in a way that I never thought possible. I hang onto his every word, few as they may be, and watch for the nuance in his actions. This is a rebirth similar to that of William J. Blazkowicz in Wolfenstein The New Order – taking a one-dimensional character and creating a multi-faceted character that is interesting and relatable.

This nuance is also apparent in the early story of God of War, which is slowly building. It’s emotionally charged in a way that I never thought I would see from a God of War game, evoking more responses from me in its opening hours than the entirety of the series before it. Kratos’s relationship with his son Atreus, explored in the conversations and body language, is surprisingly touching and engaging. The early going in the story has been rather slow, but it looks to be picking up pace the further in I get, and I can’t wait to see more of what the game has to offer.

 

While I personally enjoyed the combat in previous God of War games, it was simplistic and one-note, and the combat in action games has evolved since then. Since God of War 3 we’ve seen the likes of Dark Souls, Bayonetta 2 and DmC arrive and show different ways you can make action combat better than in the past. In 2018’s God of War Kratos has given up his Blades of Chaos and with them his frenetic style of combat. In their place he now sports the Leviathan Axe and a slower, yet more rewarding style of combat. It’s not quite Dark Souls, but the focus on learning enemy attack patterns and attacking around them is eerily similar. You can take some punishing however and the skills I have unlocked so far show that there is a variety of combos and context-sensitive attacks to unlock.

Where God of War has always excelled however, is in its spectacle, and Kratos’s new adventure is delivering that in spades. Characters have an incredible level of detail to them and their animation looks utterly realistic. Environments are incredibly beautiful, with some insane detail to the props within them, lots of variety and some incredible lighting. This is true when playing the game on both a regular PlayStation 4 and a PlayStation 4 Pro, as I have swapped between the two consoles during my time with the game. Regardless of the console I used, the world was breathtaking, and is closer in level design to something like Uncharted, as opposed to Horizon Zero Dawn.

I’ve still got a way to go in God of War, but what I’ve played so far is incredibly engaging and even as I type this I can’t wait to get back into the game. I never believed that Kratos could be a character I cared about, but Sony Santa Monica seem to have managed it. If the rest of the game is as beautiful and interesting as my time so far, the sky is the limit.

 

God of War is available now, exclusively for PlayStation 4. Keep an eye on Rocket Chainsaw in the future for our full review.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.