Unboxing the God of War PS4 media kit

SIE Santa Monica Studio  Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

SIE Santa Monica Studio Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Everyone knows who the main character is in the "God of War" series; Kratos. It is recommended for players who find action games extremely intuitive, and for confident long-time God of War series veterans who've beat past games on harder difficulties.

Not that the previous system was broken, by any means. He's brash and unforgiving, but small moments show a tenderness that he is incapable of understanding.

Another note to make is Atreus as a battle companion. Heeding his request, the god intervenes on behalf of the Spartans and grants Kratos peerless fighting abilities. The game has also learned a lot from fellow PS4 exclusive The Last of Us. Pretty much everyone who played the original God of War trilogy would agree that Kratos was a character exclusively defined by rage, but in the new God of War, that's no longer the case.

The combat is not as comically overblown as it once was, but this is still a very violent game, with deliberate, intense fights against creatures ranging from the frozen undead to building-sized monsters. Who else is out there? Like Kratos, God of War recalls the past while acknowledging the need to improve. God of War is one gorgeous game, from beginning to end. If a player wants, they can simply move from one story beat to the next, uncovering Kratos' past and he and his family's place in this new realm of ancient mythos. This isn't the Kratos you remember - and that's what makes it work so well. The Frost Axe deals more damage to foes than your fists, witling down their health bars as fast as you can say Zeus. Bigger enemies then might be better suited with this approach. It feels like more of a trend follower than a trendsetter, a pastiche of ideas. At no point through the playthrough of the game does God of War fall victim to the pitfalls of the dreaded "escort missions" of other games. Combat is all about spacial awareness and picking off the enemies that will do the most harm quickly left unchecked. It's a departure from everything that once was God of War. It's a system that quickly opens itself up, and one I hope to see continually expanded upon during this long journey. It may even evoke the exact opposite feeling from them. They'll flank you and take you on in pairs. Some gear is tiered in the same way loot-driven titles like Diablo classify them. He starts off pretty useless, shooting a few ineffectual arrows that do more to distract than harm.

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Propelling you through exploration is the promise of materials that can be crafted in all sorts of armour and weapon upgrades.

All of this is modulated by your son, Atreus. But the game doesn't set into any style for too long.

Luckily, Kratos' son is right by his side and will help solve puzzles and distract enemies. Some enemies even require his participation. As is true of the game's leads, the voice acting is top-notch and even characters with limited screen time are brought to life with charm, humor and, at times, disarmingly genuine pathos. You are Atreus. You are a great performer. It gives combat a dynamic feel, with the prowess of two fighters firmly in your grasp. Sony and Santa Monica Studios have wasted no time highlighting the game's cinematic nature, showing off a technique called the "Single-Shot" Effect that makes the game progress without cutting, giving the player a truly immersive experience. God of War is a standard-setter both technologically and narratively.

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