Title: God of War (2018)
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: April 20th, 2018
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Introduction: God of War (2018) is an action-adventure game for the PlayStation 4. It is the eighth game in the series and a direct sequel to God of War III released in 2010.
In the previous God of War titles, the series followed Kratos, a Spartan warrior with god-like powers, who is tasked by Greek deities to slay the god of war, Ares. In the progression of the story, you learn that Kratos was fooled into taking out his own family, which causes painful night terrors that haunt him as a result.
God of War (2018) takes place in a Scandinavian landscape in the realm known as Midgard. You start the game off by gathering logs to bring back to your homestead. You learn that you are building a place to cremate Kratos’s second wife, Faye. Once the pyre was built, Kratos lights it on fire as they have a funeral for her, and afterwards Kratos collects the ashes in a pouch. You learn that Faye’s request is that you are to scatter her remains at the highest point in all the existing realms.
Kratos takes his son Atreus hunting, and upon returning home, a stranger with similar god-like powers appears and fights Kratos as Atreus hides in the floor of the cabin. This encounter sets up the journey in which they take to reach the highest summit. Along the way, you will discover a witch that helps Atreus with a mysterious sickness, dwarven brothers who assist in all your weapon and armor upgrades, the world serpent Jormungandr, the last remaining giant, a talking head known as Mimir which helps guide the travelers, and various other characters.
The primary goal of the game is simple: to get from point A to point B and scatter Faye’s ashes, but getting there for the duo is anything but simple. As the plot unfolds, you learn many truths that impact Kratos and Atreus–telling an amazingly effective story. All the plot-points you unearth further immerses you into the solid narrative and also properly invests your time to make the ending payoff worth the perilous journey.
Traversing the world. Midgard is a beautiful and lush land that has all sorts of different terrains. You start in your home in the woods and soon you travel underground and eventually get to a hub point known as the Lake of Nine. The Lake of Nine is located centrally and houses the Temple of Tyr in the middle. The temple is a gateway to the other eight realms, some of which you will travel too. Along the way, you will travel to high mountain tops, snow-laden landscapes, deep cavernous mines, lush waterways, the pits of Helheim, the serene lands of Alfheim, and eventually, the majestic land of Jotunheim. Travel includes ancient doorways between the realms for fast travel, but most of the travel is by canoe or on foot. The upscaling on the PS5 enhances the already beautiful landscape of all nine realms.
The gameplay. The Leviathan Axe, which is the staple weapon for Kratos throughout most of the game, was an absolute joy to utilize. A few play styles are realized here when you are first starting out. You can use just your fists or just the axe, axe and shield combo, or you can throw Leviathan at your enemies and reclaim it with little effort. You will eventually be able to upgrade your axe through the leveling system of the weapon, which allows you to upgrade its skill tree. You can add upgrades to the axe with items or imbue it with various spells that are found in chests or defeated enemies. Later in the game, you will also acquire Kratos’s traditional weapons, the Blades of Chaos, and upgrade them in a similar fashion as the axe. All weapons are utilized in multiple ways to progress the story and solve interesting puzzles. You also can upgrade Atreus’s bow and have him assist you in fights; he also gets alternate arrow elements to help in combat and in puzzle solving. The fights are fluid and can be difficult if you are not prepared, so switching weapons, elements, and game styles are important along the journey. Also, make sure you upgrade armor so that you are fitted with the best and latest defenses in game.
God of War (2018) is an enjoyable experience from the start of game, immersing the player in a well thought out story, beautiful landscape, memorable music, and an addictive gameplay style. The lore, ambiance, and simplistic A to B method, brings this story to life for me, and the end reveal was both unexpected and much appreciated. This game leaves me excited for its sequel God of War: Ragnarök, which is set to potentially release in 2022. Please give this game a try, it is worth your time.
Shane Kelley is a Staff writer for Boss Rush Network, as well as a writer for Another Zelda Podcast. His favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can find him on Twitter to talk video games, Marvel, and axe throwing.