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I haven’t played any God Of War —games before and I had high hopes for this one. When the first review came of this renewed God Of War for PS4, I was excited of almost 10/10 reviews everywhere. I bought the game and everything seemed OK in the very beginning.
The came starts with very violent and over-the-motherfucking-top fight scene and I was weirded by that. I was kinda annoyed by the first boss (right in the beginning) and I had to beat him like three times and he had huge health bar. Maybe it was developer’s idea of learning the mechanics?
Even though with this different beginning — than usually in video games — I liked the game how it looked and worked. Everything seemed to be kinda simple and when looking the controls scheme in the options it had just basic moves. I liked that because some games have super difficult moves or they have so many moves that it’s impossible to memorize them all.
The first impression was good and I couldn’t wait to get into the game and the Scandinavian (where I’m from) mythology.
Controls? Yeah, about that…
Everything looked simple at the beginning and with the first boss fight I learned the basic moves quickly. But when I got to the first seller (a dwarf) who has lots of stuff for sale — I quickly realized how complicated this control/upgrading/using items is. It’s weird as hell for someone who hasn’t used to it. After finishing the game I still kinda don’t understand how it works completely. I try to my best to explain it here as I have understood it:
I can upgrade my character (Kratos) and his son (Atreus) weapons and outfits. Kratos has an axe that can be upgraded. The axe (Leviathan Axe) is magical. Kratos can throw it and it will return to him and it also has ice power that freeze things and enemies. The axe can be upgraded to upper levels if you have collected enough materials such as silver or something other magical or rare material. The axe has two special moves that can be chosen and switched as you like. The two special moves works as light runic attack and heavy runic attack. Those two attacks can be upgraded, too. (All runic attacks need to be charged until can use again.)
The axe pommel can be upgraded as well with different kind of grips and those grips has levels and stats that adds your strength, defence, etc.
The boy’s bow can be upgraded that it gets more powerful or you’ll unlock more skills that can be also upgraded.
Atreus’ armour can be changed/upgraded, each armour gives him more abilities or rises the stats of his attacks.
Atreus can use one summon runic at time. You can summon some animal spirits that attacks enemies for a little time.
Kratos can wear different kinds of armour like chest armour, waist armour, wrist armour. All those can be changed and upgraded and you can add enchantments to them that will rise the specific stats of the armour. He can also wear one talisman at time and the talisman does some special attack or other special move like gaining burst of health or burst of rage. Those talismans can be upgraded
Then there is the skills that adds even more complication to this thing. You can upgrade skills by using exp. which you gain by doing missions or killing enemies. Ranged combat gives you lots of different moves to do with throwing the axe at enemies.
Close combat skills gives you moves to hitting enemies at close range with the axe. Shield combat adds many moves how to use shield as weapon or brake enemies guard or parry attacks. Kratos can use his bare hands (fists) that are necessity to kill some of the enemies and those unarmed combat skills can also be upgraded. You can upgrade rage combat that gives new moves when Kratos is in rage. There are many different moves in rage mode. Player can go to the rage mode by rising enough the rage meter by hitting enemies.
(Not spoiling anything but there is an other weapon as well that will come available later on in the game that adds its own skill upgrading and move system.)
Atreus’ bow and combat skills can be upgraded but they are mostly passive.
I calculated that there is at least 40 moves to be memorized. (Here is link to a website where all the moves are listed. Seems like the basic moves aren’t listed there.) The moves are usually different variations of each move such like holding or tapping or tapping twice or tapping three time or tapping three times and then pressing other button —combinations.
Everything about this is so complex and hard to understand. When I first saw the stats menu and upgrading first time I literally didn’t have no idea what the hell I was doing. I just tried to choose things that were upper level and had more green arrows up than red arrows down (it automatically tells you what stats the upgrade or new enhancement or new armour, or whatever there even is, is doing to your current ones.
The system is so complex that I can’t even explain it since I don’t understand it that much. I have no idea why they did so many moves to the character and I didn’t even use them since it was difficult to memorize them and when changing some talisman etc. the move command changed so I had to re-adjust myself all the time which was impossible so I rather just used the basic moves: light hit, heavy hit, block, parry, throw and Atreus’ arrows that were easy to do; just hit square :) The other 93% of the moves I didn’t use since when I finally learned them then I could already upgrade it so the commands were sometimes useless to memorize.
Ok, I think that was enough about the move system.
How the moves works in the battle? Good and bad.
The enemies were many times more agile than your old grumpy man. Many enemies and bosses were so fast and agile that it was nearly impossible to match them (like Valkyries). When there was ten enemies and three of them need their own way to be killed (such as the axe didn’t work for all of the enemies so I needed to use fists and when hitting other enemies they needed to be killed with axe and the rest needed to be shot down by throwing the axe), changing from weapons to bare hands was slow and the command didn’t work as well as I wanted it to. Also there might be one boss amongst them who is super fast and do heavy hits on you.
Kratos walks/jogs really slowly and if you wanna run it has to be done by pressing the L3 which is HORRIBLE and that should be illegal in any video game. It is so difficult to use and my thumb got sore after few hours until I figure out I could change it via accessibility settings to X -button. But still the running was painful since he didn’t run immediately, he rather does one dodge move until he runs and when running he doesn’t turn at all or if he does it is minimal and the camera didn’t follow him.
That is basically how the game works. Everything is complicated, slow, awkward, messy, hard to figure out, you need to have super human powers to stop or slow time to make your decicions what attack/move to use each enemy and 2 months prep for memorizing all the moves and have a degree of the upgrading system to make most out of it.
Why they made this so horrible system? Why they didn’t make upgrades more passive? Why there even is so many moves and so many different enemies that barely look different to each other and so little time to figure out what enemy is in front of you? Why the enemies are more agile and faster than the games mechanics let you be? Why the dodging and running is so difficult? Why there is so many items and things, why everything is so complex? WHY?!
Fyi I have done sooooo much side missions and searching before even continuing the story. Sometimes I played 5 hours side things and 1-2 hours the story so no one can say: “you need to search and find better armour/talismans/enchantments/exp/skills/items /silver/parts/rare resources/etc. to make your stats go up. I have done that. I have played this game 10 days now around 5-8 hours a day with 5 hours grinding and other few of story. So you cannot say I’m not doing anything!!
Gameplay of a God
If I try to forget the weird controls and designing flaws of fighting the overall gameplay is OK. Nothing to gag over with. Otherwise the game works fine but there is some annoyances here and there like you can’t drop down some little ledge so you need to go other way to get down. Kratos moves kinda clumsy and the camera is too close him that it’s difficult to see around. Even aiming is very limited as normally in video games when you could aim higher, in God Of War you can’t.
The game is ‘one shot’ type of and there isn’t any loading screens but with that there is completely pointless slowly moving scenes (at then the game is loading) that makes it so obvious. Or running some endless road/area until a magical door appears (you could literally stay still and wait the door to appear since the game is just loading).
I dunno did they try to fool someone or what.
I played this with PS4 Pro, so I don’t know how it is with PS4. With Pro I noticed how little it loads things in front of you, even far away. The things appear slowly and it’s very realistic feeling than some suddenly pop-up tree.
What comes to the map and waypoints; it seems to be unfinished. The map is huge part of the game since it’s not linear so player need to search different places and areas — and as they change throughout the game. The waypoints all look the same, I mean the same kind of things had exactly the same icon. I wanted to do one side mission but didn’t know what the waypoint to follow. I also couldn’t make my own custom marks/waypoints to the map.
The scale of the map was also off. I thought I moved just a little bit when in nature I was a way past the wanted place. And the icons in the map was too big, it was impossible to see other icons when the bigger ones just covered them.
Graphics are beautiful than ever. This 4K HDR is stunning and it has to be the most beautiful console game ever made. There aren’t any pre-rendered cutscenes so everything is as it is and I like that. It makes everything look and feel more whole (if you can imagine some 1998 PS1 game that had terrible graphics but then comes pre-rendered cutscene where everything looked like an animation).
Visually this piece is the most stunning console game I have played to date. Everything was very well done. All the textures of different surfaces look realistic and every character was alive. This game had so much details such as Kratos muscles moving or realistic facial expressions. One of the most difficult part of doing a video game is hair and making it look natural — and this had very well done beard/hair of the characters.
Usually non-important objects in games aren’t that good looking but in God Of War everything was gorgeous. One thing I noticed was I couldn’t move camera as much as I wanted to and I never saw things up close so this might be intentional or not, to not let player see too closely to any object. Photo Mode was not presented as I played but it is coming in near future. I can’t wait what kind of pictures I can take in this beautiful world.
As graphically I find NOTHING negative, it was like a masterpiece in that aspect. Everything was smooth as ever. To graphics this gets 10/10.
I had no idea what God Of War games are about other than some supernatural things and fighting. This God Of War was reboot or soft reboot of the series, that is all I knew about this saga. Then I did some research and found out God Of War —games used to be about Greek mythology but in this reboot everything is about Scandinavian/Norse mythology (vikings and such). Actually it was mixture of Greek and Norse, which was interesting decision, but it did work together nicely.
The story starts of Kratos and his son Atreus giving their wife/mother last goodbye before burning her body and her last wish was to scatter her ashes in the highest peak of the land. With that they go in an adventure towards the mountain.
Along the way comes enemies, other characters, puzzles, detours, missions and the story changes from just getting to the mountain to a huge adventure with lots of things to do. Player should and actually need to to side missions, quests and search all the places to get the all out of the mysterious land and its story.
There are many questions needed to be answered but I think in the end everything becomes crystal clear (almost, I still had some questions).
I downloaded the God Of War settings to my (Sony wireless headset 2.0) headphones and it was great because the sound changed to perfection after that. I don’t know was it my things that was messing around but the sound cut at times but mostly it did work fine.
The voice acting is good although the voice of Kratos was kinda childishly done. It was obviously acted and didn’t sound natural at all. He had very deep and monotone voice all the time and kinda emotionless, too.
If compare to usual adventure games God Of War didn’t have that many characters to be voice acted. I quickly counted maybe +-10 but what they had done is good. It’s more like quality over quantity.
All the noises around player is very lifelike. Especially when you’re in the forest area. The whole game had so many elements in the sound aspect which made everything more real.
There was four different options for difficulty and it was not that clear what they were. I mean there was an explanation but what was normal/hard etc. was kinda not clear. Assuming the first one is ‘Easy’ (Give Me A Story), I chose ‘Normal’ (Give Me A Balanced Experience). (It also could be that the first one is Normal and the second one is Hard?)
I found the game being very difficult at the beginning. It was due the fact of the complicated moves and also the new controls that every player have to adjust when starting playing any new game. But still everything was kinda hard to master and as I said above everything about the controls and upgrades.
One thing I knew was, reading accidentally online, that player should explore the places and find better armour/stuff to make the game bit easier as you go onwards the story. So I did. I started with the lake area and countless of hours just doing everything else than story. That part was also difficult… difficult to make difficultiness not so difficult. To get better items/more exp. it took lots of death and trying.
What helped a lot was Atreus’ notes how he wrote everything down what happened and everything about the enemies and the lore. When you killed new enemies he wrote to his journey how the enemy is killed the easiest way or some other tips and tricks. He also updated the info but it was kinda useless at some points since he wrote the things down AFTER I killed the enemies so before that I need to figure it out on my own.
There were many variations of different enemies and they had their own abilities and ways to be killed and the fight scenes was so brutal, super fast and intense that I never used those special moves or ways to kill some enemies since everything happened so quickly that I always forgot the moves or things I should do. It was easy to do everything as should be when there was one enemy or just one boss. But with 3 different type of enemies (that looked sometimes almost the same, but had different way to be killed) and one boss was very much annoying but also, at times, fun.
As I played this as ‘Normal’ it started to feel easier after collecting things and doing side missions. I’m sure if I’d done just the story it would’ve been very difficult. One of my friend played this ‘Easy’ and collected almost everything there is to be collected and he told me that the final boss was very difficult to him. To me the final boss was one of the easiest bosses in the whole game!! I think it’s more of how you play, used to play or learn to play this game. With my difficulty setting I didn’t have to use all the million moves to kill enemies and I’m not sure do I have to with higher difficulties. If so, then it’s only for those who can master and not just master but also can make decisions in a split second what kind of move to use on which enemy. (Even though when I knew, it was usually too slow from Kratos to do what I wanted him to do i.e. change weapon / stance.)
Here is the full list of the difficulties:
— Give Me A Story
— Give Me A Balanced Experience
— Give Me A Challenge
— Give Me God of War
Only towards the end I started to like this game a lot. The half of the game (the beginning part) was not that pleasant. The amount of details of the story and mythology was very accurate (I’m Scandinavian so I know) and making everything to work with the Kratos’ story was well done. I always take close look at the stories since writing is my thing I do (well, English is not my first language) and it’s not just the story and how it is — it’s more the way it’s told that makes this very magical.
The one-shot thing makes everything much more lifelike since there is no cuts in real life. But the unnecessary running/walking/rowing parts (when the game was loading) was kinda obvious but it was still million times better than some loading screen. I just wanted to address this because I’ve heard many times someone saying “the game doesn’t load at all” and that kinda annoys me how naive people can be.
To be honest I didn’t wrote this review immediately after finishing the game because the first time ever; I have no idea what to feel about a game. Honestly my emotions and feelings were so mixed that it would be super unfair to do a review with bad mood or with anger. What I have wrote above was pretty much everything I felt through the whole gameplay. Now I have to do rational decision and give points to this game.
What I wanna say very last is that from the beginning to the halfway of the game I hated it but from half to the end I loved it. So lets say first impression was bad but last impression was good. So which one is more important in the end?
Visually this piece is the most
stunning console game I have played to date
Release Date: Out Now
Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer: Santa Monica Studios
Category: Action / Adventure