Return of Kratos
Visually stunning ‘reimagining’ takes an old favourite to a new level
God of War (PS4) Out Now Rated: MA15+ Review in progress
WHEN it was announced that God of War was to get a reboot for the PS4 in June 2016, gamers across the globe went into anticipation meltdown. More than 18 months later, the reboot has hit the shelves and the question being asked is, “Was it worth the wait?”. It was 2005 when the first God of War came out on the PlayStation 2, defining a new genre of action game which gave rise to the term “button mashing fun” as you played Spartan warrior Kratos, who swung his axes at myriad demons, monsters and gods. In all, six games were released for the PS2, Vita and PS3, with the last game, Ascension, released in 2013. The truth is there is a whole generation of gamers who, for over a decade, have enjoyed God of War games, and this reboot, or “reimagining” as it’s being called, has a lot to live up to. Moving from Greek mythology to the new setting in the heart of Norse mythology, you play Kratos, who now lives in the forest laden world of Midgard. You meet him along with his young son Atreus, soon after a death in the family. Kratos’ wife Faye has been burned on a pyre, and her final wishes were to have her ashes scattered on the top of the highest mountain of the Nine Realms. Kratos and Atreus set off on their journey, knowing that along the way there will be puzzles to solve, demons and witches to dispose of, and monsters. Lots of monsters. That’s all you need to know about the plot, as it is the combat system that always has been the star of God of War and this new game continues that fine tradition. What’s new with this game is that now, instead of a scrolling view, the camera sits just behind Kratos in third person view, and it works wonderfully. It doesn’t take long to get used to and with every swing of his axe, every punch, every kick you are rewarded with a combat system that is easy to get the hang of and vastly rewarding. Using the L1 button for defence then the R1 and R2 buttons in attack is a welcome change, and using light attack followed by heavy attack makes combat smooth and fun. Leaving an enemy stunned means the R3 button flashes as you go in for a kill, and nothing is more satisfying than tearing an enemy apart with your bare hands. In no time you’ll be rolling to avoid attacks, throwing your axe, solving puzzles to progress through dangerous settings and with four difficulty levels to choose from it is all very well balanced. Visually, this is simply the best-looking game to date on the PS4. I know that I said the same thing when Uncharted 4 came out, but God of War has raised the bar yet again. It has everything that God of War fans loved about previous games, and takes it to a new level. There are lots of upgrades, including weapons and armour, along with many collectables. As you progress you also unlock many combos on the skill tree, make your combat varied and even more fun. It never ceases to be a blast fighting multiple enemies intent on taking you down, and when you use a new combo or defeat a tough enemy, it will make you feel satisfied and eager for the next challenge. In all, you’ll spend around 16–18 hours completing the campaign, and about 50 hours if you like to get every upgrade along with every collectable. God of War is destined to please fans like myself who have loved the series for 15 years, plus it will win over a whole new generation of gamers. Stories and action like this are why we play video games. Drop what you are doing right now, and get a copy of God of War. You won’t regret it.
COMBAT READY: Kratos is back after a five-year absence in the action-packed PS4 title God of War.