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God Of War

Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: Action
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: SCEA Santa Monica
Release Date: April 20, 2018

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


PS4 Preview - 'God of War'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 16, 2016 @ 1:30 a.m. PDT

It is a new beginning for Kratos. Living as a man, outside the shadow of the gods, he seeks solitude in the unfamiliar lands of Norse mythology. With new purpose and his son at his side, Kratos must fight for survival as powerful forces threaten to disrupt the new life he has created...

Pre-order God of War

It didn't take long after Sony's unveiling of the new God of War game during its press conference before we had the chance to see it for ourselves. The game was shown in a closed-door, hands-off demo and presented by Cory Barlog, creative director for Sony's Santa Monica Studios. Kratos is back in a game that suspiciously lacks a "4" at the end of the title. The new game is simply called God of War, but it is not a reboot of the series. It's still a continuation of the story of Kratos, but much of the game is different from anything resembling the original series.

As described by Barlog, the previous games featured Kratos as being like The Hulk all the time and never Bruce Banner. He was essentially a living embodiment of bloody rage, a successful if not one-note avatar for the player. In this iteration, some amount of time has passed after the events of God of War 3, and Kratos finds himself in pre-Viking-era Scandinavia living alongside his son. As the press conference showed, Kratos is teaching his son how to hunt and fight. The game continues to explore that relationship and how much Kratos controls himself so as not to show his violent side.

The presentation followed the same content as the press conference, only with much more explanation and additional content. As an example, the troll fight expanded to include additional enemies in the form of the human-sized draughr, and the boy uses his bow to shoot arrows at both enemies as well as the troll. Other elements were more fully explained, such as how crafting resources can be collected, but we received no information about what their purpose will actually be. It was mentioned that it is to replace the old orb system of upgrades from the older games, but again, details were scarce.

One carefully avoided suggestion was that they could be used to upgrade the great ax that Kratos wields as his new signature weapon. As shown in the presentation, Kratos can swing the ax and throw it to hit distant targets. Additionally, he can magically summon it back to his hand, letting him immediately use it again in the middle of an attack combo. Combat features an entirely new control scheme and new mechanics, but it's obviously impossible to get a feel for that during a hands-off demo.

God of War takes place much closer to Kratos, both from a story and character standpoint as well as from the camera perspective. This lets you have much more direct control over the camera and will let you look upon the game world however you want. The title isn't open-world but is said to be relatively open, though the presentation didn't seem to offer much in that regard. I suspect that other environments may have larger areas to explore.

Barlog also noted that the developers completely tore apart the series' traditional formula, saw the framework of the game that remained, and then reassembled it as a new experience. This is apparent in the new tone, with Kratos capable of brutal rage as well as a stern but nurturing presence for his son. The team is proud of what it's done with the story, which showcases this new stage in Kratos's life. It's a simpler story in this iteration but with more complex characters.

A lot of mystery remained after the presentation concluded, such as the identity of the boy's mother and what happened to Kratos between the last game and this one. I'm interested in how the plot elements will unfold, and it's striking that the God of War series has matured in such a way that the plot is more than just a vehicle for more violence. Of course, Kratos will certainly cleave more than a few heads from their shoulders, and we'll get the chance to experience that for ourselves once the full game comes out.

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