God of War

God of War

HWM (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - By Sale­hud­din Husin (GameAxis)

It has been a while since we last saw Kratos. Af­ter mur­der­ing Zeus and most of the Greek pan­theon, it seems he nally had the time for a much needed break.

God of War picks up decades later, with the Ghost of Sparta now liv­ing in the frigid Norse lands with his fam­ily. The game opens with you build­ing a fu­neral pyre for Kratos’ wife, Faye. It doesn’t take long be­fore the Norse gods take no­tice, wrap­ping him up in an­other mytho­log­i­cal saga. Out of all the pre­vi­ous games, God of War un­doubt­edly has the best plot in the se­ries… and it’s only just be­gin­ning!

CON­CLU­SION

Our new Kratos isn’t the loner he used to be. Life as fam­ily man has mel­lowed him some. He’s now joined by his son Atreus, whose neivety is a stark con­trast to Kratos’ harsh, prag­matic per­son­al­ity, and it serves as a great foil to the el­der Spar­tan.

It plays o bril­liantly and leads to gen­uinely com­pelling mo­ments as they strug­gle to know and ac­cept each other. Their dia­log is one of the game’s high point, hu­man­iz­ing the duo and let­ting us see Kratos in a whole new light.

Game­play has seen a tremen­dous over­haul too, with Kratos now wield­ing the Le­viathan Axe. Im­bued with frost, it can freeze en­e­mies and, like Thor’s Mjöl­nir, be mag­i­cally re­called af­ter be­ing thrown. Kratos is still dan­ger­ous with­out his axe though. Un­armed blows ll up a stun me­ter that, when lled, lets you trig­ger gory nish­ing moves.

Di er­ent ght­ing styles have their own com­bos and moves, and you can seam­lessly cy­cle be­tween them with the D-pad.

Kratos goes up against a wide va­ri­ety of en­e­mies: dark elves, draugr, trolls, dragons, and other mon­strosi­ties from Norse mythol­ogy. And this raises a ma­jor peeve for me. Kratos only has a hand­ful of nish­ers for each en­emy type, so be prepared to see the same an­i­ma­tions over and over again.

Luck­ily, God of War ‘s com­bat is fast, uid and re­lent­less, re­ly­ing on tim­ing and eva­sion more than straight but­ton mash­ing. Kratos re­sponds with no lag and it’s a breeze to en­gage and dis­en­gage foes.

Land­ing blows will ll a Spar­tan Rage me­ter, and trig­ger­ing it re­gen­er­ates your health and makes you stronger. It’s in­cred­i­bly use­ful when you need to take out tough en­e­mies or when you’re on the ropes and need a quick breather.

As a com­pan­ion-type char­ac­ter, Atreus’ AI is in­tel­li­gent enough to as­sist in bat­tle. He’ll join the as­sault if he sees you rush­ing a foe, step­ping in as soon as your own combo ends. He can also grab en­e­mies for you to land some free hits and pull o a fin­isher. Atreus is com­pletely worry-free as he can be stunned, but not killed.

When you’re not fight­ing, chances are you’ll be solv­ing the nu­mer­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal puz­zles in the game. Most of them are easy enough, but a hand­ful re­quires some ex­tra think­ing.

There’s an un­der­ly­ing RPGlite me­chanic sys­tem at work in God of War. Your gear adds to your over­all power level, which in turn dic­tates how tough en­e­mies are. Since they don’t scale to your level, equip­ping and up­grad­ing bet­ter gear is pretty much re­quired for tougher en­e­mies and op­tional bosses.

God of War also has a hand­ful of side-quests and endgame con­tent too. These range from ght­ing op­tional, hid­den bosses, to nd­ing trans­la­tion runes to ac­cess hid­den realms. There’s a ton of meat to the game and it’ll take you quite a while to see it all. I spent two whole days and nights to reach the end and I still haven’t fought any of the hid­den bosses.

God of War has some of the best vi­su­als ever seen on the PS4. In fact, ev­ery area you visit has its own vis­ual style, from jun­gle ru­ins to frozen caves, and they all look great. I’m still in love with the Lake of the Nine, with its huge open map and pro­gres­sively chang­ing to­pog­ra­phy.

On top of that, voice act­ing is top-notch. Christopher Judge (who you might know as Teal’c from Star­gate SG-1) was born for the role. Judge’s deep bari­tone is per­fect for a griz­zled Kratos, and his dead­pan de­liv­ery to some of Atreus’ lines made me chuckle more than once.

Santa Mon­ica Stu­dios and Sony have truly hit this one out of the park, and it’s done what I thought was pre­vi­ously im­pos­si­ble: it has turned me into a fan. One who can’t wait for the in­evitable se­quel, and there’s no higher praise I can give.

A land­mark re­turn of the fran­chise, with boat­loads of con­tent, fun game­play and a great story.

Atreus is pretty use­ful in bat­tle. He can also help solve puz­zles and best of all, 100% fuss-free.

Not just hack and slash. Fa­ther and son dia­log and story mo­ments are some of the best parts of the game.

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