God of War Review Roundup: Respect The Past, Embrace The Future

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Living out in a new world has left the previous god of war to forget his past, but also hide it from his family. Kratos is no longer a predictable brute. He is quieter and more deliberate, affected by his history but not constrained by it. Kratos' reinvention serves as a narrative hook, but it also parallels the series' evolution as a whole; where God of War once relied on bombast and bloodlust, now it leaves space for strategy and nuance.

The combat is not as comically overblown as it once was, but this is still a very violent game, with deliberate, intense fights against creatures ranging from the frozen undead to building-sized monsters. Having hung up his blades, Kratos instead uses a weapon called the Leviathan Axe to dispatch his foes.

Reviews for Sony Santa Monica's God of War are out now, and they're singing the game's praises from the halls of Valhalla to the realm of mortals. Both through his characterization (lovingly brought to life by actor Sunny Suljic) and the game design itself, Atreus stands on his own and feels fully fleshed out, a welcome partner in your journey through Midgard. Where the narrative succeeds exceedingly is in its handling of the core relationship between father and son, with Atreus' constant questioning and wonder at the realms they traverse a flawless foil to his father's grumpy, stoic indifference. Maybe not quite that, but it's the most hard mode in the game. A quick axe toss allowed me to stun projectile-based enemies and gave me the chance to deal with a big bruiser in front of me.

Scan reviews for God of War, and you'll encounter the word "masterpiece" a lot. In the end, he says God of War's new combat system is "is one of the most rewarding I have tried in a long time".

Different enemies require a variety of attacks to bring down, with combos requiring gamers' fingers to fly around the controller.

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At first, it didn't seem too bad. It's a fascinating dynamic to see slowly build, propped up by some clever environmental puzzles and (so far) exhilarating combat. One thing is for sure however, I can definitely conclude that this doesn't seem like the God of War we've come to know and love in the past - but it's all for good reasons.

Perhaps most surprising, and welcome, is the depth of exploration that the game invites.

Players can continue to feel that they are superior in terms of fighting ability to all the other residents of the game's world if they decide to go with the "Give Me A Balanced Experience" difficulty level. Throughout a playthrough, one should not be surprised if they are constantly pausing to read the latest entry Atreus makes in his journal after discovering a new rune, artifact or beautifully carved depiction of Norse myth and then pulling up a Google search to get further information about the game's inspiration. There are options to turn off HUD elements for players wanting to not detract from what's on screen.

While the the game isn't a total reset, God of War is going to be a very different experience from past games. All the changes to old school God of War gameplay, settings, and story mix well with the more traditional video-gamey elements. In true Metroidvania style, there are many times on your adventure when paths can be opened only with tools acquired later on.

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