Re­turn of Kratos

Vis­ually stun­ning ‘reimag­in­ing’ takes an old favourite to a new level

Western Times - - LIFE - DARREN HALLESY

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.

Photo: Courtesy Sony C.E.

COM­BAT READY: Kratos is back af­ter a five-year ab­sence in the ac­tion-packed PS4 ti­tle God of War.

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