There’s not a whole lot that can be said about God of War that hasn’t already been said over and over again by other outlets. It’s amazing. It’s all but perfect. It’s everything fans could have asked for and more.. I’ll take it a step further and say it’s everything the gaming industry as a whole needed. Take a step on the Rainbow Bridge with me and I’ll explain what I mean.
2018’s God of War (Sony Santa Monica Studios) took a major gamble reworking their IP. Previous GOW titles were heavy on action, heavy on button mashing, and the focus wasn’t on the story. This time around, it was as if Sony took all the quotes from other major publishers (EA and Activision, I’m looking at you) and gave them the double “Stone Cold” Steve Austin middle fingers before they stunned them back in their place. Microtransactions? Nope. Tacked-on Multiplayer? Get out of here. “Game as a Service”? Not a chance. Here we have a semi linear, single player extravaganza that doesn’t exactly throttle down the moments of action and excitement, but refines it and adds a tremendous amount of story. All these things combined are the antithesis of what the Industry Heads tell us work in the world of gaming in 2018.
God of War takes a less is more approach in terms of combat and narrative. Think of the difference between something like the films Batman vs Superman and Logan. Whereas one was all over the place and trying to do too much, the other was stripped down and to the point. God of War features the latter method. Trust me, there’s PLENTY of combat that can get quite sweaty at times, but it’s not constant; it makes sense. As with the story, it’s fitting and absolutely believable, if not familiar. Kratos isn’t the man he once was, at least not on the surface. He’s matured, he’s wiser, and he has a completely different motivation this time around.
God of War pushes the PS4 to the apex of what we can expect in gaming. I’ve even heard claim that on a PS4 Pro with 4K it rivals a PC; while I’m not so fortunate to own either, I can say that not since, well, God of War 3 on the PS3 have I been so impressed by what a game can do. The colors, the textures and the lighting are all top notch, and the people who have worked to hard at Sony Santa Monica deserve praise worthy of a God.
I could go on all day extolling the virtues of this singular title, but I’ll wrap it up here. It’s clear Sony took its three biggest properties and mushed them together, it took Uncharted’s jaw dropping set pieces, The Last of Us’ narrative beats and tone, and blended them all with God of War’s swagger and brutality. There are a few nitpicks here and there, such as since I’m all but done with the game (yes, I’ve done practically everything. Only two more Valkyries and a handful of chests to unlock; the game’s not short either, I just haven’t seen the sun since release), I’m left wanting more, SO MUCH MORE. I’m fulfilled, but in this case, it sucks that there’s no DLC or Season Pass to look forward to. I want more God of War so badly I’m actually tempted to restart a new game. Also, if you’re expecting Thor or Odin to show up, you’ll be disappointed. As with the original God of War on PlayStation 2, 2018’s GOW mostly deals with the outer fringes of the pantheon. You may only recognize a name or two if you’re only vaguely familiar with Norse legend. Pro tip, once you’ve completed the game, go back to your house for a nice little Easter Egg, and a cliffhanger for things yet to come.