The release of God of War is almost upon us and fan anticipation couldn’t be higher. Promising to deliver a robust and interesting new world, the latest entry in the successful PlayStation franchise sees an aged and weary Kratos on a journey through the world of Norse mythology with his son Atreus to fulfill the final wish of his deceased wife.
While the the game isn’t a total reset, God of War is going to be a very different experience from past games. Sony and Santa Monica Studios have wasted no time highlighting the game’s cinematic nature, showing off a technique called the “Single-Shot” Effect that makes the game progress without cutting, giving the player a truly immersive experience.
The question now on everyone’s lips is it all worth it? Have the teams at Santa Monica Studios and Sony managed to create a game worthy of the original trilogy or is God of War destined for failure? With reviews beginning to roll in it’s time to find out.
IGN ( Jonathon Dornbush)
I expected great action from God of War, and it delivers that handily. But I didn’t expect it to be a thrilling journey in which every aspect of it complements the others to form what is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s a game in which Kratos, a previously one-note character, becomes a complex father, warrior, and monster, embattled both on the field and within his own heart about how to treat his son; one in which the world opens up and shifts, offering rewards in both gameplay and knowledge of its lore that I treasured with each accomplishment.
Polygon (Chris Plante)
I’ll skip spoilers and specifics, but even core mechanical design choices, things that seem gamey and intangible, are given narrative purpose by the end. God of War is, in a single word, holistic. Every aspect is excellent on its own, but more importantly, it all serves and accentuates the larger vision.
The Verge (Andrew Webster)
On their own, the various elements that make up God of War don’t sound especially unique or interesting. But it’s the way they work together — how the story informs the action and vice versa — that makes it memorable. God of War takes a one-dimensional series and turns it into something with depth and emotion. This isn’t the Kratos you remember — and that’s what makes it work so well.
GameSpot (Peter Brown)
Like Kratos, God of War recalls the past while acknowledging the need to improve. Everything new it does is for the better, and everything it holds onto benefits as a result. Kratos is no longer a predictable brute. God of War is no longer an old-fashioned action series. With this reboot, it confidently walks a new path that will hopefully lead to more exciting adventures to come.
Nerdist (Dan Casey)
While the gameplay mechanics are incredibly polished and unreasonably addictive, God of War‘s greatest asset is its storytelling, which took me by surprise. Tragedy, regret, and wistfulness pervade God of War‘s storytelling as Kratos and Atreus make their way to the top of a mountain to bid farewell to a loved one. Echoes of Kratos’ past, which he is reticent to discuss, haunt the warrior-turned-reluctant father, dogging his every step. It is a legacy of blood, fire, and violence that threatens to consume not only Kratos once more, but his son as well–and the thought of that happening terrifies the itinerant god.
Screenrant (Rob Keyes)
God of War is an even bigger and deeper game than you may expect, and certainly the the most narrative-driven and emotional take on Kratos and the series yet. The gameplay changes and bold decision to delve into another protagonist pay off in big ways and together, with Sony Santa Monica’s award-worthy sound design, musical score, and mastery of console visuals help make 2018’s God of War game something that fans old and new will easily love. This is such an impressive achievement.
Score: Absolute Must-Play
Forbes (Dave Thier)
That the world of the Eddas translates well into the series’ signature larger-than-life brutality is not surprising: we have Trolls, Jotuns, Elves, Dwarves and vengeful Gods, magic hammers, Sacred Runes and everything else we need to piece together a set piece action RPG. What is surprising, however, is how well it all works, not just the change in setting but the ambitious writing and more involved combat. God of War is not just a true God of War game — it’s an excellent one.
TechRadar (Stephen Lambrechts)
The new God of War isn’t just the best game in the series to date because of its redesigned combat system, updated camera, epic scope and incredible visuals. Like its characters, it reaches such incredible new heights because of the inclusion of something that none of the previous titles in the series really had much of — heart.
Score: Play It Now
It seems by all accounts that the team over at Santa Monica Studios have by and far exceeded expectations. It’s always a risk when developers reboot popular franchises from the past but any concerns appear unwarranted as God of War has proven to be a master class of mixing the old with the new, keeping the large-scale action and settings but adding more emotional depth.
Creative director on the game Cory Barlog has already spoken at great length about the need for the series to mature and his and the team’s desire to create a more human Kratos. Most critics seem to agree the use of his son Atreus to make him a more dimensional character is the game’s greatest strength and what makes it possibly one of the best games in the series.
While its understandable that some longtime fans might be uneasy by the series going in this new direction, hopefully they will give the game a chance. Sometimes change is necessary, and by all accounts God of War is not a gaming experience to be missed.
God of War is set to release on April 20, 2018 for PlayStation 4.