God Of War 4 is the latest incarnation of Kratos and this time it’s a little different from the past – and the changes are all for the better.
In the beginning, we see Kratos and his son Atreus dealing with the loss of their wife/mother and the fact that their relationship, which is not that close, is going to undergo change.
The first thing of note is that Kratos has a new voice actor (Christopher Judge from SG1) and he gives Kratos an older, wiser voice with a gruff softness not heard before. Of course the first time he said the word ‘indeed’ I geeked out, but that’s just a Teal’c thing.
In true God Of War fashion, before the ashes of his wife are cold Kratos is attacked by a supernatural enemy covered in tattoos. Being super-fast it is a great battle to really get a sense of how cool this game is going to be.
The graphics are amazing and I found myself having moments of awe watching the scenery, much like I do when I synch a viewpoint in Assassins Creed.
The cinematography is one continuous camera shot, ensuring that the relationship between Kratos and his son is the constant focus of the story. Every triumph, tragedy and tender moment is played out without cut away.
Add to this a musical score that heightens the storytelling and then flows into action-packed gameplay without missing a beat and God Of War grabs you from the start.
As you begin a journey to deliver the ashes of Kratos’ wife to the mountain of her birthplace you begin by teaching Atreus to track and hunt and then fight as you are waylaid by a variety of enemies. Kratos has mellowed and only kills for survival now, but that has not diminished the varied brutality with which he can dispatch his foes.
You can use Atreus to distract foes with his bow and arrow and with tweaks to the armour and weapons you affect Kratos’ stats which will affect the fighting style you use. That said, the best way to defeat your foes is to adapt your strategy to their weaknesses. This is part of what makes God Of War a fun game: not only do you need to adapt in combat, you also have puzzles to solve as you advance through the world.
One of the best tools to help you in both combat and puzzle resolution is the Leviathan Axe, which you can throw and recall much like Mjölnir, which is kind of fitting given that the game is steeped in Norse Mythology – a departure from the Greek of the past.
Combat is pretty simple and the tutorial at the start teaches you all you need to know. As you improve your equipment you get additional effects and tricks. Make sure you don’t skip chests or puzzles and search those bodies for as many materials you can get so you can upgrade your health, spirit, weapons and armour.
The downside? Some fans of previous versions may find this latest one a bit heavy on story and might find the less bloodthirsty Kratos a little less fun, but that won’t detract from the fact that fans of this franchise will still find all they have loved about the combat and combo fun they have enjoyed previously. Not sure if it will be one I pick up and play again in a hurry, though.
All in all, this is a truly amazing game, visually, musically, graphically, and for its playability, with great characters and storyline and one I highly recommend you check out if you haven’t already.