Tuesday, 24 April 2018 12:26

REVIEW: God of War (Playstation 4)

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The God of War exclusive reboot for the Playstation 4 by Sony Santa Monica is finally here and it brings some changes to the franchise.

This reboot focuses more heavily on narrative and feels and plays much like open world games similar to Tomb Raider and trades in it’s hacking and slashing gameplay for a more tactical combat design. Being a huge God of War fan, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this change, but after a few hours playing, I welcomed the change with open arms. While the combat mechanics aren’t the same we are all use to, it certainly has you invested enough to keep moving forward to get right back into the action.

This God of War is a sequel set many years after the Greek trilogy and begins at the funeral of Kratos’ wife. From here, we follow Kratos and his son, Atreus, as they seek to lay her ashes at the largest peak in all the realms.

Right away as you begin your journey, it’s pretty clear how much work has gone into this game. God of War looks superb offering vibrant and lush worlds built with a crazy level of detail that makes them inviting to explore. Once you reach certain points in the game, you’ll have the ability to explore a large open space. It’s these areas which offer you plenty of optional areas to explore which gives you the opportunity to open up even more new areas, and you’ll want to explore them. God of War features all kinds of environments, from caves, to forests, to destroyed temples and cities, it’s always exciting to find something new in your travels.

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God of War on the PS4 Pro version offers two graphics modes. The first one favors resolution, displaying the game at 2160p (4K) via checkerboard and another which favors performance, by lowering the resolution to 1080p but holding the frame rate as close to 60fps as possible. Camera movement is much smoother in performance mode, though the drop in visual detail is noticeable compared to what you see at 4K. HDR is also available for those with supported TVs and I can say that it definitely adds to the experience.

God of War also includes a decent number of puzzles, similar to the Tomb Raider series. These are mostly optional with a few that are mandatory. Things such as opening locked doors and some chests often requires a little bit of thinking, and while they rarely take too long to work out, they can be complex enough to make you shift your mind from combat to puzzle solving. Other then chests, there’s also collectible items hidden in every little corner of the world. These are either in the form of “Hacksilver”, crafting items, which you’ll use to craft new armor, or other special items that will increase your health and “rage” meters.

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As for weapons, Kratos starts off by leaving the house only carrying his ice-imbued Leviathan Axe, unlocking others later in the game. In order to hit enemies from a distance, Kratos is able to throw the axe freezing any enemy it hits. When the axe is out of his hands, you’ll need to fight unarmed. Once thrown, you can easily recall it back with the press of a button leaving you all kinds of sweet combo options to take enemies down.

Executions also return for this reboot. As you hit your enemies repeatedly you’ll build stun damage until you eventually gain the ability to grab your opponent to then kill them instantly with an execution. But what’s Atreus doing the whole time I hear you ask? Well, he’s always there to help and fights alongside you in every battle. He acts more as an extension to your skills than a another character. You can give him commands to fire an arrow at whatever enemy you're pointing at, and while you’re not, he’ll run around and attacks enemies keeping them off your back.

As you play, Kratos will earn gear based on the average power level of his four pieces of armor; chest, gauntlets, waist, and a talisman. This comes into play more when you start playing through some of the optional content were you’ll run into enemies that are 2 or 3 gear levels over you. No matter how good you are in combat, you’ll have some trouble defeating them.

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Kratos also earns XP as you play which you can put into new skills. These new skills are vital in God of War’s combat. While early game fights are somewhat basic and limited, once you're able to unlock new skills, the game really gets going adding powerful effects to different combos which creates new attack options.

Now, God of War isn’t a short game by any means. Playing through the main story and a good chunk of the game’s optional story missions, a playthrough of God of War can take anywhere up to 40 hours to complete. When you do finish the main story, you’re able to go back, explore and complete any side missions you might have missed the first time around.

God of War is a challenging, beautiful and rewarding game that tells a wonderful tale. And while it looks best on the PS4 Pro, don't stress as God of War still looks absolutely amazing on a standard PS4 system.

God of War is available now on PS4.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 5.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4
  • Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Genre: Action / Adventure