The PlayStation exclusive already has earned ideal scores from a basketful of industry watchers, including IGN, Polygon, US Gamer, GamesRadar+ and more, as well as from mainstream reviewers at Britain's The Telegraph and The Guardian.
Indeed, much of God of War is spent cleaving all sorts of draugr, revenant and troll from head to toe. It's one continuous adventure that sees Kratos act as a mentor and protector to his son, Atreus. It was shameful to admit that the game had beaten me, but playing on the Give me God of War difficulty was robbing the story of its impact and the gameplay of its fun. For a game franchise firmly grounded in hack-and-slash mechanics, brought to life with epic set-piece battles, it's rare territory.
The new game takes Kratos out of his familiar Greek pantheon stomping ground and places him in unfamiliar mythological territory: as a sojourner walking among Nordic legends.
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We also appreciate the addition of being able to kick members from a party and the ability to see the circle from the plane. However, the active player count continues to drop as games like Fortnite take over the battle royale crown.
Joining Kratos on his quest is his son, Atreus. Watching Kratos, who has been a one-note character for much of his existence, grow and evolve over the course of the game, both as a parent and a "person" (even though, yes, he is still a god), is genuinely stirring. In the end, he says God of War's new combat system is "is one of the most rewarding I have tried in a long time".
Different enemies require a variety of attacks to bring down, with combos requiring gamers' fingers to fly around the controller.
At first, it didn't seem too bad. Coupled with Kratos' ever-expanding list of moves is a button (square) devoted exclusively to the control of Atreus, which seamlessly weaves the young companion into the action. The game has also learned a lot from fellow PS4 exclusive The Last of Us.
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Perhaps most surprising, and welcome, is the depth of exploration that the game invites.
With its muted intro of.gathering wood, it's immediately clear that God of War is moving in a new direction. However, the game also provides a number of branching side quests that are so well put together and genuinely intriguing that hours can go by before one remembers that they have an actual job to do and a mountain to scale. It's compelling and it will keep you curious, whether or not you're into Norse Mythology. With 81 critic reviews linked at the game's Metacritic page at the time of this article's posting, God of War now holds an aggregate critical rating of 94 - just a few ticks behind Breath of the Wild's remarkable Metascore of 97. Like Cappy in Super Mario Odyssey, the axe is more than a weapon; rather, it's the foundation on which most of God of War's puzzles are hung.
This God of War is an absolute must-play. It would have been a lot more effective of a gimmick if you could recall it while running/jumping and so on to encourage more locomotion; as it stands you have to wait until a late upgrade to recall it quickly, and even then it's in a limited fashion. The inclusion of an "immersive UI" setting, which eliminates the map, compass and other HUD displays on the screen, further adds to the engrossing feeling.
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"I was looking around at how incredibly talented our systems and combat team was, and I was like, 'I need them to take on the challenge that we had on God of War 1.' That challenge of nobody really knows what that system was when I first got there in 2003". All the changes to old school God of War gameplay, settings, and story mix well with the more traditional video-gamey elements.