I have no idea how to say this, nor did I ever expect to say it about a game in a series I’ve clearly misunderstood.
So, I’ll try this:
God of War is one of the best games I’ve ever played. It’s in that top 10 of all-time greats that I maintain in my head.
A stunning, heartfelt, fun, tense and challenging game. Made-up of so many perfect elements, it truly is a sum of it’s parts.
The parts – Characters, Visuals & Combat
Everything about God of War has been masterfully crafted and honed to perfection.
It looks stunning, and you have this vast world to explore (far more than I’d anticipated). I’ve rowed to hidden areas which lead me to freeing dragons, or stumbling upon the spirits of people who have died and remained there with unfinished business.
The voice acting is great, from everyone. The weight that Kratos carries on his shoulders, his legacy, wanting to hide it from his son. It seeps through every pore of his character.
Freya, Baldur, Mimir, the brothers. Everyone was spot-on. I love how heavily it took from Norse mythlogy, and mixed it up. What an incredible world to play in.
I felt genuine sadness and even angry at Atreus from time to time. What a petulant little shit he can be. Only to understand that he’s shouldering quite a lot for such a young lad.
Combat is sublime. It’s not very forgiving, but it’s precise, slick and you feel the weight of everything going on.
God of War presents Kratos and Atreus (and Mimir) with some awesome battles and sequences. Some I did literally twenty times before I got through them. Every single mistake was mine, and all I wanted to do was get back to it and try again.
It created a little addiction, as opposed to putting me off, and now I’m craving more combat like this, elsewhere.
I LOVED the variety of enemies, and the constant improvements. Especially when elements of Ice and Fire came into play.
You always felt powerful, but never too powerful. Kratos could easily be overwhelmed if you weren’t careful. Dodging, positioning and use of Atreus’ abilities was critical. God of War knows how to do combat!
The parts – Music, Story, Upgrades & Puzzles
I’ve already said that I had low expectations for the story. My understanding of God of War games was that they are hack n’ slash games with chaotic combat, and well…..not much else. Wrong!
God of War saw me end up caring. Caring about the characters, wanting to see the story unfold. It saw me laughing, and engaging with a great cast. What a wonderful, wonderful game it is.
Beyond that the score was superb! Highlighting action, times of calm and exploration. The sound design was great, with heavy hammers hitting anvils, voices sounding perfect, enemy noises being creepy. This game does everything right!
The upgrades for Kratos, Atreus and their weapons/armour were a nice touch. Not so dramatic that you needed to be working towards a perfect build. But enough to see that you could get some sweet new attacks and abilities.
It’s easy to follow and there’s no need for a grind. You could earn enough XP from just playing through. One nice touch here, was that every time I died (I died a lot at certain points), I’d get the XP for the bit that I’d done, so I was being rewarded for sticking at it. A nice touch, and I felt like I wasn’t a complete failure!
Upgrading health and Spartan Rage was done by completion of nice little puzzles that unlocked specific chests. Every time I saw one, I committed to opening it before moving into the next area. Never hard, but always a challenge. God of War provides some great little brain teasers!
Environmental puzzles to traverse to hidden chests, or just to the next area, are there al a Tomb Raider. Again, never too hard, but enough to make you feel clever.
I could talk for days about this game. It not only changed my perspective on a whole franchise, but it became one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.
Honestly, I’ve written plenty about it over the past month. Now I need to draw a line under it. Leaving God of War was another of those “finished business” instances. It pains me that I’m finished with it, but I need to step away now.
“There’s no such thing as perfect, otherwise nothing could ever improve”, sage advice from my Geography teacher years ago when he was dishing out 9.75 out of 10 as the highest available score for homework….. It’s true though, and I’m reluctant to call anything perfect.
God of War is definitely at that 9.75 point though. It’s as close to perfection in a game that you’ll get anywhere at the moment. A real masterpiece.
Great pacing, great acting, great combat, great aesthetic, fantastic story and script. I can’t see how anyone would regret playing this game.
One of the best games this year? Without a doubt. One of the best games of all time? Absolutely.
Obviously this gets the highest award from Ninja Refinery. God of War is truly exceptional.