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Sunday Times - - Humour - Sylvia McK­e­own

It’s here, our first five-star rated game of the year. The much-an­tic­i­pated new chap­ter of the beloved Plays­ta­tion se­ries de­liv­ers on ev­ery level and then some.

In the game we find Kratos years af­ter the bat­tle dur­ing which he killed al­most all the Greek gods. He is now fur­ther north than the last time we left him blood­ied and seem­ingly dead. Af­ter bury­ing his sec­ond wife, Kratos and his son, Atreus, set off to ful­fil her dy­ing wish; for her ashes to be scat­tered at the top of the high­est peak in the Nine Realms. But for the for­mer Greek God of War, trav­el­ling through the ter­ri­tory of Norse gods makes the al­ready per­ilous jour­ney all the more chal­leng­ing.

The story is rich and won­der­ful, mostly thanks to the in­tro­duc­tion of Atreus. He pro­vides the emo­tional core. Kratos strug­gles to show af­fec­tion. Atreus even voices the ob­vi­ous when he says: “Dad, you’re scary some­times,” when Kratos lit­er­ally tears the un­dead apart with his bare hands. The gam­ing world of­ten bat­tles against its own im­age of toxic mas­culin­ity, and the boy pro­vides a gen­tle way to of­fer play­ers a bal­ance.

The game’s other sig­na­ture el­e­ment is the in­cred­i­ble bat­tle game play. And it’s bet­ter than ever. Kratos’s mag­i­cal fly­ing axe is one of the best weapons to hit your screen. Throw­ing that bad boy and hav­ing it fly back into your hand never gets old. The axe doesn’t just kill peo­ple — it’s a vi­tal part of the puz­zle-solv­ing in the game.

It’s re­fresh­ing to play a game that isn’t in­ces­santly open world — for the most part the story is lin­ear which doesn’t di­min­ish the fun with its many vis­ual twists and turns. You can travel around freely when the map opens up, but you’re never swal­lowed by the world. And what a beau­ti­ful world it is. The mas­ter­ful graph­ics cre­ate a mag­i­cal place where gods walk among men, World Ser­pents ap­pear when you throw your axe in the wa­ter, and witches live un­der a tor­toise tree.

Who wouldn’t love a tree that’s se­cretly a tor­toise? It’s hard to over­state how good the game is.

L

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