GOD OF WAR
Developer SIE Santa Monica Studio Publisher SIE Format PS4 Release Early 2018
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.