GOD OF WAR

De­vel­oper SIE Santa Monica Stu­dio Pub­lisher SIE For­mat PS4 Re­lease Early 2018

EDGE - - SONY@E3 -

This year’s E3 hardly lacked for the in­flu­ence of The Last Of Us and Dark Souls, but nowhere were those two in­spi­ra­tions more co­her­ent, than in Kratos’ lat­est out­ing. The father/son re­la­tion­ship that lies at the core of the new God Of War may not be es­pe­cially con­vinc­ing af­ter Kratos’ long, weary­ing his­tory as the big­gest em­pa­thy vac­uum in videogames, but by in­sist­ing that our hero’s off­spring, Atreus, will be more as­set than bur­den, cre­ative di­rec­tor Cory Bar­log con­tin­ues to make all the right noises. In ad­di­tion to help­ing out in com­bat, Atreus will act as trans­la­tor, since Kratos can­not speak the lan­guage of his new Norse home­land. And the prospect of the two shar­ing a pro­gres­sion curve throws up some in­ter­est­ing, if ab­surd, de­ci­sions: shall we make you a bet­ter hunter, my son, or should Daddy learn that sweet new jug­gle combo?

The Souls nod comes from the com­bat, and the new, close-in cam­era an­gle, though Kratos is ca­pa­ble of lev­els of bru­tal spec­ta­cle that would make even Ar­to­rias The Abyss­walker blush. Ex­pect plenty of canned kill an­i­ma­tions among the magic-in­fused blows, launch­ers and par­ries, though there’s even a lit­tle dy­namism to the scripted mo­ments: at one point Kratos mist­imes a dodge, and the re­sult­ing hit sends him spin­ning through the air, the cam­era an­gle shift­ing to frame it like a cutscene. When, late on, we’re in­tro­duced to the World Ser­pent – snarling, snort­ing, speak­ing in a lan­guage only Atreus can parse – it’s im­pos­si­ble not to think of Kingseeker Frampt, if he was mas­sive, ter­ri­fy­ing and in 4K. For once it’s not quite fair to call it a Dark Souls ref­er­ence. Jör­mungandr has been around a bit longer, af­ter all.

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