I completely forgot God of War 4 was coming out this year. It came out on 4/20, the coolest time to release anything, and I’m a little disappointed in myself that I forgot. When this game was revealed back at E3 2016, people were excited. With God of War 3 coming out in 2010, everyone was excited to see that the wait for a proper sequel was over. I have never played a God of War game, but I hear that they are gory and fun. My reaction to the game before playing was that it looked beautiful on the PS4 and would probably be a ton of fun.
I looked up how long the cutscenes were in God of War, and I got results from 2, all the way up to 8 hours, so I’ll try to keep it brief. As Kratos, you take your son, Atreus, to the highest mountain top in the land to spread your dead wife’s ashes. The story seems incredibly simple, but anything sounds simple when you boil 8 hours worth of content into a sentence. Along the way, you will fight hoards upon hoards of monsters and warriors, learn more about Norse mythology, and watch Kratos’ and Atreus’ relationship and skills grow. My favorite part about the story however is the use of a literary device known as Chekhov’s Gun. This is essentially when something mentioned in an earlier part of a story is used or has a purpose later, and God of War is great at this. Everything feels needed and everything is needed, and I love when stories use Chekhov’s Gun as smartly as God of War does.
The gameplay, from what I can tell is very different from other God of War games. Your main weapon is an axe that you can use like Thor’s hammer by throwing it and then recalling it. It was one of my favorite things about the game. Spartan Rage, which allows you to destroy everything with your bare hands, also makes a return from previous games and is just fun on a bun to use. As the title for this article suggests, the combat is mostly hack n’ slash, but there’s also some strategy involved. The combat is challenging and fulfilling at the same time. To spice things up a bit, your boy, Atreus, shoots arrows on command and generally helps out with combat. It was nice that he was actually helpful instead of just doing zero to no damage and in need of protection constantly.
Another aspect of the game is the skill tree. I generally hate skill trees if they get overly complicated with too many stats, but thankfully God of War doesn’t have this problem. The skills you earn are awesome and are presented in a way that’s simple to understand. Something I was surprised by was the level design. The levels reminded me of Halo 5, but much longer and more varied. I also think that the camera angle helped the combat feel more intuitive, and because of the continuous shot throughout both the cutscenes and action, the camera becomes an intentional way of telling the games story. Also this game is just beautiful. It is genuinely one of the nicest looking games I have ever seen. The PS4 version suffers from a few frame dips, but I hear that the PS4 Pro version runs much smoother.
God of War 4 isn’t like a lot of games I’ve played, because my absolute favorite part of the game was the puzzles. What was strange was that they weren’t the most amazing puzzles I had ever seen, but they were there, and that said something to me. Unless the game is made by Nintendo or an indie developer, I almost never see puzzles implemented into a game, but the fact that I saw it in God of War felt amazing. I feel like they also represent God of War 4 as a whole. This was a huge departure from other games and it payed off for Sony in the best way possible.
If you enjoy adventure, story, all around fun, and you own a PS4, buy God of War 4 right now. If you don’t own a PS4, buy the console and God of War anyway, because this game is a good enough excuse.