The God of War series started way back in 2005 when it debuted on the PS2. The series was a hack-n-slash franchise using a fixed camera and lots of quick time events (QTEs). Well the new God of War on PS4 is both a sequel and a reboot that takes the series into the new generation.
When it comes to long running game franchises, some series' evolve with the times while others become stale and stagnant. For example, the Final Fantasy series manages to stay fresh and exciting as each game features different characters and new game mechanics. Other franchises such as some sports games get boring because nothing new changes.
Thankfully, God of War PS4 is different from its predecessors offering a new gameplay experience that improves on the previous outings. The game borrows some of the best elements from Sony's other first-party exclusives as hints of The Last of Us and Uncharted can be seen here.
In terms of its story, God of War PS4 is much more different compared to the older games. Many years have passed since Kratos pretty much killed nearly every God in Olympus and he's now trying to lead a normal life with his son named Arteus in the Norse world. Kratos is trying his best to hide his shady past from his son, while also teaching him many new survival skills along the way. However, the Norse Gods know what Kratos is capable of and he may not be able to hide his past forever...
There's more to the plot than this, but I'm not going to spoil anything in this review. All I am going to say is that the story is very good as I got very emotional while playing this game. There were also times when the game made me laugh as the banter between Kratos and Atreus is very humorous.
Speaking of the relationship between Kratos and Atreus, Atreus is more than just a dumb A.I. companion because he is actually very helpful when it comes to aiding you in combat. This is because he has a bow and arrow that can stun enemies while Kratos can finish them off with devastating blows.
Atreus is also helpful when it comes to solving puzzles because he is small and is able to fit inside tiny holes that Kratos is unable to go to. Atreus' arrows can also sometimes explode some debris if he's armed with the right type of magic. As for Kratos, his main weapon of choice in this new game is the Leviathan Axe. Thanks to the use of an axe, combat is slower yet more meaty compared to the faster pace of the older games. I did not mind the slower pace though because combat feels more strategic this time than just the usual button mashing affair.
I do not want to say that the combat is like Dark Souls, but they are kind of similar in that regard. Players are required to block and dodge roll many times in God of War because combat is challenging and not every enemy in the game is easy to kill.
I suggest you play the game on the Normal difficulty setting or higher because the Easy setting does not feel as satisfying. Speaking of satisfaction, one of my favourite features of the game is that Kratos can call back his axe whenever he throws it. By hold down the triangle button, Kratos' axe can return to him much like Thor can do with his hammer. You don't want to know how many times I called back the axe just to look cool!
The game also has hints of Resident Evil 4 since all of the action takes place by looking over Kratos' shoulder. I always hated fixed cameras as they are usually unreliable so I'm glad this new God of War game gets rid of that. The gameplay just feels more visceral and more impactful keeping the camera so close to the action! What I like most about the game is the fact that everything feels balanced and not out of place. The main story features lots of action and bosses, but this is also spread out by many puzzles that you have to solve too. The puzzles are similar to the ones you may see in an Uncharted game and both Atreus' arrows and Kratos' axe come in handy when solving sticky situations.
Another admirable thing about God of War PS4 is that it has one of the best visuals I have seen all year long. This is by far the most gorgeous looking God of War game ever made as it has many beautiful diverse locations and realistic looking character models. Not to mention this game looks awesome playing on both a normal PS4 as well as a PS4 Pro. However, the best way to play the game is using a 4KTV with HDR on as the colours really pop out more in 4K.
As much as I like this game, God of War PS4 still has some minor flaws. For one thing, the first half of the game feels quite linear as you are only following a straight path and there's not much room for exploration. It's not until you reach the latter half of the game does the world open up more.
Another thing that might annoy some people is the lack of variety when it comes to the boss fights. Aside from two or three epic bosses, most of the others require Kratos to fight off the same looking Cave Trolls. Some of the trolls you have to face more than one time which makes it quite repetitive sometimes.
Anyway despite the minor flaws, God of War is another masterpiece that PS4 owners should own. It has a lengthy and satisfying story mixed with some of the best combat mechanics ever seen in a video game. Personally I still think Horizon: Zero Dawn is the best PS4 game of all time, but God of War is a good close runner-up.