Unboxing the God of War PS4 media kit

Unboxing the God of War PS4 media kit

Ever since God of War was revealed for PS4, it's been clear the game would differ from its predecessors in the series. Heeding his request, the god intervenes on behalf of the Spartans and grants Kratos peerless fighting abilities.

Kratos may be older but he hasn't lost a step. But there is a sense that even Sony Santa Monica has recoiled from some of "God of War's" legacy, and the game is better for it. God of War opens with Kratos cremating his wife, who passed away unexpectedly, as his son Atreus watches on.

The new game takes Kratos out of his familiar Greek pantheon stomping ground and places him in unfamiliar mythological territory: as a sojourner walking among Nordic legends. You brought something so special to the character of Atreus. When he rows, the controller quivers.

Sony provided BGR with a copy of God of War on the PS4 for the purposes of this review.

Kratos being so powerful is a big reason why playing him in a game can be tons of fun, and the upcoming PS4 game will continue to present fans with opportunities to do exactly that. God of War is a standard-setter both technologically and narratively. There are no load times in God of War. Timing dodges and parries had to be perfectly precise and even that wasn't enough. Some boss fights are very challenging, and usually that's due to the smaller enemies on screen who can cause problems when outnumbering the player, especially if they have unique strengths and weaknesses. Sure! At the start you'll be kitted out with Kratos' Leviathan Axe, which can be recalled after thrown and used in basic light/heavy attacks.

All of this applies to your son, Atreus, too. What could have easily become an annoyance is effective in how it ties your ward into the action, linking his narrative development to the gameplay. The arc of their story seems created to mirror the player's relationship to Atreus. 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. We can upgrade weapons and unlock new skills.

Much of Kratos' adventure progresses linearly, but there are times where you are invited to explore the world's nooks and crannies for side quests and extra challenges. It's easy for the player not to use Atreus during the early part of the game but over time, as his combat skills increase, he become almost indispensable. God of War does a good job of teasing you with these blocked areas, encouraging re-exploration between quests. Seriously. The man can kill a troll but he can't climb a moderately sized boulder. You'll learn more about that during the game too and it plays into the progression systems where players can upgrade and add mods to this weapon and Atreus' bow, but can also upgrade the pair's armor pieces.

2018's God of War is more of a new product than just another entry of something familiar, and that's not a knock against it for longtime fans of Kratos.

But the combat has changed quite a bit in his latest God of War venture, which comes out soon for the PlayStation 4. Now, those same players have jobs, partners, children; their fantasies of agency tapered with reveries of parenthood. It appeared to be slower, with more of an emphasis on character development and very different combat. Also mentioned is composer Bear McCreary.

The father-son relationship is handled shrewdly by the developers.