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Evil Avatar 05-01-2018 09:43 AM

The Evil Avatar God of War Review
 
Title: God of War Review
Platform: PS4
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Developer: Sony Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony
MSRP: $59.99
Writer: Aaron Birch

God of War Review

Go and buy this, boy!

When you hear the mighty roar of the engine, and shrill whistle of the hype train, once again bearing down on the gaming community, it's often the promise hauled by this locomotive in its ever-stuffed carriages of next-big-thing content arrives at the station only to disappoint. Sure, some games that are dripping with hype do justify themselves, and are solid games in their own right, but hype these days is seldom lived up to. Disappointment is often the reality, and in the worst cases, downright disdain, as false promises and broken gameplay exit onto the gaming platform to an unwelcome reception.

Thankfully, God of War evades my elongated analogy, and the hype train for Kratos' latest outing arrives on a glistening express train heading straight to the pantheon of gaming greats. Yes, I won't even try to go into the review with anything other than an instant acknowledgement that God of War is superb, and well deserving of the hype and high scores it's already been collecting.

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Set after the events of the original Greek adventures of everyone's favourite angry Spartan, this adventure takes the existing God of War gameplay and throws it out of the window in a massive gamble of changing the very formula that made the series so popular in the first place. No longer do we have a button-mashing, linear brawler. Instead we have a third person open-world adventure that replaces crude gore and schoolboy lewdness, for a solid, mature, and excellently told story, one that plays every bit as well as it looks, and boy, is this game a looker.

Delighting the eyes as soon as you fire it up, God of War is a beautifully presented title that moves the series from its Greek roots into the Nordic sphere of myth and legend. Kratos now has a son, and he's taken every step to hide his past from him, instead living a quiet life in the woods with his new family.

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Now, even the slightest spoiler for events in this game are something I want to avoid, so I’ll not even discuss the opening events, so crucial are they to the whole game, save to say the various questions you'll have about Kratos, his presence in this new world, and his hidden past become very apparent, and important. Of course, the story of his son, his wife, and the world as a whole all take their important places, and this is all woven into a captivating narrative thanks to excellent writing, great voice acting, and a story pacing that's just perfect.

Aside from specific, understandably important events, the game doesn’t game push you too far or fast, and at all times you're left to approach your adventure as you see fit. You can plough on with the story, or explore to find a myriad of secrets, collectibles, side quests, and more. It's not instantly apparent until a little later in the game, but the world of GoW is densely packed with secrets and extra quests, and you'll be uncovering new content left, right, and centre. There's even a Mertroidvania mechanic to proceedings that opens up previously impassible obstacles and reveals new areas to explore. Some of these secrets are specifically for end game player too, and you'll easily find yourself in fights you have no chance of winning until you level up and git gud, to quote the Soulsborne meme.

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Before we look at the RPG elements though, let's focus on the actual gameplay. Played from an over-the-shoulder perspective, GoW is still a hack and slasher, but with more restraint and need to use moves and abilities in a measured, planned out way. Similar to Dark Souls, enemies here have their own strengths and weaknesses, and you'll need to learn these, and master your own abilities to progress.

Kratos can utilise light and heavy attacks with his trusty, runic axe, which can also be thrown and magically retrieved, and he can learn and use a range of new abilities. Extra power moves, combos, additional buffs and effects, they're all there to be acquired as you level up and improve weapons and armour. You can add status buffs to weapons and armour with runes and talismans, and skill tress open up said abilities.

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Moving from the fast, and fluid control we had in previous GoW games to the traditionally more stilted and clunky character movement of third person games was a risk, but Sony Santa Monica has pulled it off with aplomb. Even in this totally new view, controlling Kratos is easy, and although there are a lot of inputs to memorise, you're never overwhelmed, and performing even the most complex of Kratos' more advanced moves is simple enough. It's a joy to cut a bloody swath through the well designed menagerie of Nordic fantasy's roster of creatures and villains, an you'll be mixing up tactics for each and every kind of foe you come up against. Some will be made quick work of with your axe, whilst others may need some hand-to-hand TLC, with a sprinkle of a shield bash to two for good measure. Combat never gets dull or repetitive, and the game constantly mixes things up, introducing new enemies regularly, as well as the series; staple, dare I say it, Epic boss fights. (GoW is one of the only games to justify the use of the word).

That's not all, though, and Kratos' son, Atreus, is also along for the ride, and he's far from a defenceless kid. With his useful bow and arrows, he's an essential part of the team, especially once you power him up with all sorts of useful arrow attacks and specials. Using him in combat is a breeze too, with a simple, but perfectly implemented control system that makes fighting as Kratos and aiding him with Atreus easy, and second nature. It's just great.

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The world featured in the game takes in all the staples of Nordic mythology, with the core location of Midgard being your main stomping ground, as well as other realms, such as Helheim coming into play as you move on through the long and always engaging tale. Indeed, I was surprised at just how long GoW is, and more importantly, how it remains totally absorbing throughout. You never once get tired and wonder when the end is coming. Instead, you lose yourself in the rich, jam-packed world, ticking off those elusive collectibles, and delving into optional side quests, all of which are just as enjoyable as the main story.

It's at this point where I'll usually touch on some of the downsides of a game. After all, no game is perfect, but to be honest, finding faults here is not easy, even if you try to nitpick. There's just nothing I can really pick out to warrant as a bonafide negative point.

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At a push, I could say the game can be a little unfair with some of it's optional challenges, throwing very high level enemies at low level players who dare to explore, but that's the point here. The game pretty much says “nope, you're not ready”, just as Kratos often advises Atreus. Indeed, just as the game's story is all about a father and son forming a bond and the boy coming of age, the game also treats you the same way at times, giving you tough challenges and forcing you to work hard, get better, and then try again. It's a life lesson, only using dangerous mythical beasts to get the message across. Even the use of QTE events, something the original games were often criticised for overusing, are minimal here, and when used, it's actually well done and not jarring.

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To sum up, and if you needed any further elaboration, God of War is a superb and nigh-on perfect game. Not only has Sony Santa Monica taken an already critically loved game and successfully turned it on its head to produce something new and exciting, but it's also created one of the best games of this generation, if not all time, whilst doing so. It's a fantastic achievement, and the result is a game that every single PS4 owner needs to buy. Not got a PS4? Buy one, and then buy this.

Score:5 out of 5

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The Good
  • Looks gorgeous
  • Plays brilliantly
  • Excellent story
The Bad
  • Erm...
  • Nope, hiting a blank here
The Ugly
  • Nah, nothing.

Evil Avatar 05-01-2018 09:48 AM

I'm just loving this game. I think I'm about 60% complete right now. My only complaint is that when you die (and you die a lot) that your son only seems to have one death line, "Father! Don't leave me." and hearing it about a thousand times gets really old. I was pretty sick of the little twerp for a while in the beginning because of that.

evild 05-01-2018 09:59 AM

This sounds just like most of the "paid" reviews. ;) The tedious end 1/3 might get added to your "Bad" list. YMMV.

Evil Avatar 05-01-2018 10:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by evild (Post 2511457)
This sounds just like most of the "paid" reviews. ;) The tedious end 1/3 might get added to your "Bad" list. YMMV.

The big difference is that we were the ones who paid for a copy of the game. ;)

brandonjclark 05-01-2018 10:15 AM

Any chance this comes to PC, or am I about to buy a PS4?

ElektroDragon 05-01-2018 10:24 AM

I can't wait till I experience the excellent sotry! What chapter is that in? :D

ElektroDragon 05-01-2018 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandonjclark (Post 2511461)
any chance this comes to pc, or am i about to buy a ps4?


PC.... GTFo. :)

Chimpbot 05-01-2018 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandonjclark (Post 2511461)
Any chance this comes to PC, or am I about to buy a PS4?

It was made by a Sony-owned studio and published exclusively for the PS4...so, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Booda 05-01-2018 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandonjclark (Post 2511461)
Any chance this comes to PC, or am I about to buy a PS4?

GoW is a system seller if there ever was one (also here is your GotY for 2018). I started playing it on a regular PS4 but I broke down & bought a PS4 Pro so I could play it in 'performance mode' for the higher frame rate.

Play it on a PS4 Pro in 'performance mode'. Your welcome.

ascl 05-01-2018 02:22 PM

Review matches my experience so far... loving it! The interactions between Kratos and his son have been pretty well done (story time in the boat is kind of cool). Some memorable lines "do not be sorry, be better"! haha.

92miata 05-01-2018 02:53 PM

Absolutely Amazing game. Not a 10 but a solid 9. If you don't have a PS4 Pro get one for this!

Terran 05-01-2018 03:24 PM

There is only one system seller in my world right now, and that is RDR2...and I already have that system.

Honestly, I wouldn't even buy a system for that game, either. There is no single game that's going to send me to the store to clutter up my home with another piece of electronics. The ROI in terms of fun would be negligible compared to the ten to thirty games I could buy for my current platform of choice, PC. And I only play one game at a time and have a game I'm all in with (PoE) so...meh.

The game sounds great though. Glad y'all are enjoying it! Rock on! :D

MadMurdock_0311 05-01-2018 06:51 PM

I completed the story and have been trying to finish up the endgame stuff, like rescue dragons, and kill the Valkyrie. That Valkyrie queen is a biiitch... I get her to about 1/3 health and she rapes me (on easy, no less).

wunshot 05-01-2018 09:10 PM

I'm not sure how far I am into the game...guessing about half way (just got to the top of the mtn), but man this game is awesome. I love the combat, the UI, the skills, the loot system, the graphics, and the story. It's just amazing. Funny because I never played the original and I hadn't played the original Shadow of the Colossus. I bought that re-make and boy, that was a total piece of shit. Empty world to say the least. I was fearful this would be the same, but this is more like Bloodborne with an actual story and better graphics to boot. :)

I love this game (going back to play now).

Evil Avatar 05-01-2018 10:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MadMurdock_0311 (Post 2511499)
I completed the story and have been trying to finish up the endgame stuff, like rescue dragons, and kill the Valkyrie. That Valkyrie queen is a biiitch... I get her to about 1/3 health and she rapes me (on easy, no less).

I killed the first one and I rescued all three dragons. I still have a lot of story to do, but I kinda wander around a bit doing the little stuff as I go.

ElektroDragon 05-01-2018 10:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wunshot (Post 2511503)
Funny because I never played the original and I hadn't played the original Shadow of the Colossus. I bought that re-make and boy, that was a total piece of shit. Empty world to say the least. I was fearful this would be the same, but this is more like Bloodborne with an actual story and better graphics to boot. :)

I can't believe you've never played any of the 4 previous entries in the God of War series. 6 if you count PSP.

Also can't believe how you can compare this game (playable) to the almost unplayable difficulty of Bloodborne.

Or that you expected a direct re-make of a PS2 game to not have an empty world. New God of War is NOT a remake or remaster. Of course, Shadow was all about loneliness and the giants were supposed to steal the show, not the game world. At the time it was kind of a tech demo for what could be achieved on PS2. They focused on at the time amazing things like giant colossi and amazingly animated horseback riding which were revolutionary at the time. For you to call it a piece of shit is really disrespectful.

Arionuq 05-03-2018 07:07 PM

Love it great game. I never liked the original GoW games. I just found them..lacking. I hated the forced perspective and they never really drew me in. This one is something apart and a great game.

Chimpbot 05-04-2018 05:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ElektroDragon (Post 2511508)
Or that you expected a direct re-make of a PS2 game to not have an empty world. New God of War is NOT a remake or remaster. Of course, Shadow was all about loneliness and the giants were supposed to steal the show, not the game world. At the time it was kind of a tech demo for what could be achieved on PS2. They focused on at the time amazing things like giant colossi and amazingly animated horseback riding which were revolutionary at the time. For you to call it a piece of shit is really disrespectful.

Yeah, the emptiness found in SotC was entirely intentional; it was a conscious design choice. I mean, the entire game is about traversing a barren, cursed land that houses the shattered soul of an evil deity (or deity-like being).

The focus was on the colossi, first and foremost. Everything else was just set dressing.


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