Latest ‘God of War’ stands supreme

God of War is a game that defines a generation. In an age where multiplayer games are making sometimes triple what single player story-driven games are, God of War instiles a hope that story-driven games will return to the promiseland.

Kratos and Atreus bring an element to gaming that has been missing since The Last of Us. It’s a compilation of immaculate story telling, immersive gameplay and enticing lore. Its single shot camera style differs from the overhead used in the past, but the third person view feels like you are plopped in an epic tale that rivals those similar to Odysseus’ journey or the Iliad. The score, graphics and acting help instile a life-like view into a hypothetical world of Norse mythology.

The Norse setting, if anything, is a compelling reason why the story arc worked so well. The polytheism of the Scandinavian mythology offers a versatile non-linear tale where anything and everything can happen. God’s are littered everywhere in the story, making appearances of the existential beings seem anything but normal, and personified beautifully. Their lives are shrouded in mystery and take unprecedented turns at every point in the story.

It consistently sets up for curveballs and left turns at any given opportunity. It never felt like the story was setting itself up; it was never predictable. Instead, a conversation between two vengeful gods on an expedition to murder you and your young son feels utterly happenstance.

Speaking of Kratos’ son, Atreus and his father offer one of the best conversation duos in the history of gaming. While Kratos won’t contribute much with his dry personality, the chemistry between the two is believable to a whole new level. The imbalance of Kratos’ deep and threatening spartan voice and Atreus’ prepubescent one provide comedy, tragedy and everything in between.  Not to mention, quite a shocking an unforeseen ending involving the two’s peaceful end.

The simple story outline of trying to climb a mountain to spread the ashes of a mother/wife is a commonly used tale, but it is maximized by Cory Barlog’s storytelling. The climbing of the highest peak in all the realms could be done easily, with little surprising twists and turns.

However, that’s not the God of War way. Of course, everything from the undead to giant dragons hiding in the mountains live amongst the plotline.

But, nothing was quite as mesmerizing as the first battle. Still not over the loss of his wife, Kratos is forced to deal with the arrival and consistent agitation of the Aesir god Bolder. The no cut camera really comes into fruition here, never distancing from the action. The sounds of gods flying through rocks and canyons sucks you in, along with the movie-like battle that you are thrust into. The surround sound captivates you, while the flying fists keep you sucked in like a whirlpool.

Also, I think underrated as far as best moment in the game, is while you and Bolder stand atop the crumbling cabin where Kratos and his son reside. Atreus is in hiding, but when Bolder asks about the two beds with a devilish smirk, Kratos’ rage ensues.

It is one of the first moments in the game where we are given a look at his fatherly dedication, as well as the special attribute Spartan Rage. This overlying character flaw is a storylong item sprinkled with things like his inability to show physical love.

In another of the most underrated scenes, Kratos lays his arm over the shoulder of Atreus while they watch a lantern float to the heavens in remembrance of their fallen mother. It was one of the few tear jerking moments I’ve ever experienced in a game. The warmth toward his son that is discovered through heavy storyline events is one of the reasons that GOW’s storyline has been so highly touted.

Like a love song, the affection during the plot is something that is easily relatable to. The story is a masterpiece; an epic that should not soon be forgotten. But, I won’t forget the well crafted combat. God of War’s combat system is an art that rivals the storyline. Since it’s the most common occurrence in the game, it has to be perfected, and it was.

Kratos’ main weapon, the leviathan axe, is one of the best weapons in a single player game to date. It is devastating with it’s frozen attacks, it’s gorgeous special attacks and not to mention the satisfaction of the sound it makes returning to your hand at the press of the button. If anything, it does the best job of personifying Kratos’ personality in the form of a cold and cynical axe.

The blades of chaos, a staple in the previous games, make a return as well. Appearing after a great cinematic sequence, the blades satisfaction may be greater than that actual main weapon. The fiery combos are very fulfilling, and are an immaculate contrast to the axe.

The upgrade tree, however, is a little confusing. The only bad part about the game, the lack of upgrading virtual spectacularity, was a little disheartening. I also felt some of the upgrades to be somewhat necessary and do wish they maybe had redone the menu.

Overall, God of War is a generation game. It offers an experience unseen in games today. If given the chance, treat yourself by playing this great game. Living vicariously through Kratos and Atreus and playing through an epic like this doesn’t come often. The game is a masterpiece, a tale of a generation and something to be talked about for years to come.

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