All Hail Kratos. God of War (2018): An Honest Review.
Fate is another lie told by the gods. Nothing is written that cannot be unwritten. — Kratos, GOW IV.
A long time has passed since the events of God of War 3 has taken place. In which Kratos took his revenge for the slaughter of his wife and daughter against the Greek gods. After killing the last remaining God Zeus, his father, as a fitting punishment, Kratos decides to take a break from all this fighting and madness, and starts to travel north. Before long, he finds himself standing over the harsh and cruel snow-covered mountains in the realms of Norse gods. There, he meets a woman. A Jotunn warrior, Faye.
Once a Spartan warrior Kratos, the destroyer of the Greek pantheon and the wielder of the humbling blades of Athena, now uses farming tools as a humble farmer in the Norwegian Forrest lands.
After getting married, Kratos becomes the father of a boy, Atreus. But a happy and steady life was never written in Kratos’s destiny. Another tragedy befalls upon them as Faye succumbs to death. As it was her last wish that her ashes to be scattered atop the highest peak in all the nine realms. The father and the son venture out in the wild on an adventurous quest where the road is filled with monsters, elves, gods and weird characters.
Before moving forward, let me start with why it’s an honest game review. Some people are out there who has great gaming setups and likes to brag about being a self-proclaimed gamer. But I do not beleive and follow that definitive factor that you play games and so you’re inherently a gamer. You have to have a certain level of passion, skill, and dedication for video games along with some compromise that you had to pay as a price. In my whole life, I have only played a couple of dozen games and I do not introduce myself as a gamer in any way whatsoever. And so, this a review, not from a gamer viewpoint rather from a generic game lover’s perspective who appreciates the existence of video games.
My experience with God of War IV.
I was sick in the summer of 2018 for a couple of weeks. So my friends used to come by so that I don’t feel stuck and alone. One of my friends, let’s not disclose his name, brought this for me. And I fell in love that summer.
Who knew that a 30 (some say they finished it under 20) hour-long game could be so enticing and for its entire length. Instead of being draggy, the story is complete and very rich in detail. It got me hooked right from the get-go.
I am a fan of mythology and Norse/Greek mythos are one of the most enriched ones. So, when Mimir, (or at least his decapitated head) the Norse god of knowledge starts to tell beautiful lore and stories about Tyr, Thor, Alfheim, Nifleheim while traveling in the big lake in Midgard on boat., I would keep listening being completely silent and focused while taking it all in.
This is the only game of this franchise that I have ever played. I always avoided hack and slash games. Rather shooters and RPGs were my mojo. But, this blew me away.
Plot, Weapons, and Gameplay.
So, after the death of Faye which sets them out in a divine quest of fulfilling her last wish, Kratos chops down a tree with the Leviathan Ax to cremate her body. The game starts from there. A mysterious stranger appears who demands that Kratos give him what he seeks. Not having the slightest knowledge about what the stranger wanted, Kratos asks him to leave. But the stubborn stranger will not go away and starts a fight. The game’s first boss fight. Kratos then snaps his neck and comes out victorious.
As Kratos finds Atreus acts on impulses, he deems him not to be ready an but hesitantly agrees to the boy’s demand and ventures out on the quest. Along the way, they meet a couple of characters, Brok and Sindry, two armor smith brothers who help in upgrading Atreus’s bow and the leviathan ax, the witch in the forest Freya who helps them with magic and supplies, and later Mimir, the Norse god of knowledge.
In the highest mountaintop in the whole Midgard, they find Mimir atop it. There they find out that the stranger from before is Baldur and along with the god of thunder Thor’s son Magni and Modi has kept Mimir imprisoned inside a tree. When the three leaves, they ask Mimir about those three and their purpose on the peak. Mimir tells them about who they are along with the fact that in all the nine realms, the highest peak is in Jotenheim. Not in Midgard. Says he would guide them to their destination but they have to chop his head and then reanimate his body as the all-father Odin himself has imprisoned him inside the tree in such a manner that Mimir will never be free until his death or Odin wishes it.
And the actual 20-hour-long adventure starts from there. Filled with puzzles, adventure and mystery.
The game’s main point of attraction is its seamless transitions throughout the levels. The game starts and ends in one big fluid-like motion of cinematography. Unless you die, the scenes never once cut away. Like it’s a day-long marathon of one cut shot. Even the transition from cut scenes to the fight scenes are tackled similarly, once it’s an over the shoulder continuously adjusting frame, and as the fight begins it gets fixed in a third-person wide frame.
Kratos uses two weapons throughout the game. Initially the leviathan ax and then the blades of Athena which grants him to tap back in his Spartan rage from his days as a Greek god. The leviathan ax can be both used in cutting and throwing giving the action sequences a Viking flavor to it. But when he brings out the legendary blades, ooh boy, the gameplay changes. I loved how the creative directors gave the hack and slash elements quite prevalent in the previous few games a complete reform for the better. And along with these weapons, Atreus too is a formidable companion to take along with. He is skilled in archery and his magical bow with bottomless quiver is very useful at points. Both characters can be upgraded using skill points to the same extent allowing the player different perks when unlocked.
Another thing to be added is the father son bonding throughout the game. Once a savage and emotionless Kratos who has never known how to show affection slowly starts to learn. Like he does love Atreus, but never could show it. But if anything harmed the boy, he would beat the lights out of it. That is his way of showing love.
The creative directors and Cory Barlog had taken a great risk by re imagining the game completely. As this is one of the legendary game franchises of this genre ever so reforming it was very risky. Later he mentions this on this 1.5 hr long documentary.
Their 5 years of work despite initially looking perilous, later became one of the best games ever. Like it was not only a reboot of the franchise but it changed the flavor of similar games. After finishing it, you’ll never want to go back to the initial mechanics of these games ever.
I hope I have written something worthwhile and readable. thank you for reading so patiently.