The journey is more important than the end
The God of War series, launched back in 2005 as a Playstation exclusive, is not known for its subtlety. The protagonist of this mythological hack-n-slash action spectacle, Kratos rose to fame with his gory and ultra-violent combat style.
The last time we saw Kratos, the demigod Spartan warrior took down the entire pantheon of Greek gods, including his father Zeus, half-brother Ares and half-sister Athena.
He thought avenging the death of his family would grant him a quantum of solace, it did not.
We see Kratos again in the God of War, and the 2018 game serves as both a sequel and a reboot (Seqboot? Requel?).
His vengeance served, Kratos wandered into Norse realm of Midgard and met Faye, a beautiful woman with a mysterious past. He built a home, married Faye and started raising their young son Atreus.
Tragedy is never far from Kratos as Faye dies under undisclosed circumstances before the game starts. Kratos and Atreus set out to fulfill Faye’s last wish, to scatter her ashes on the peak of the highest mountain in the nine realms of Norse mythology.
Unaware of his status as a god, Atreus accompanies Kratos in their journey to the top of the highest mountain. The game takes place in a single shot, with no loading screens.
Albeit older and calmer, the Spartan’s penchant for violence and brutality has certainly not dulled with age, but now he only fights for survival.
Nevertheless, the enemies the father-son duo finds on their path, all meet a grisly end. The game features tactical combat comprised of well-timed dodges, parries, and brutal execution moves.
Atreus supports Kratos on their battles; seeing them working together to wipe out a horde of Hel-walkers or bringing down a towering troll, gave us a genuine sense of wonder. The combat is diversified, as no single tactic will work on all enemies.
Serenity in brutality
Kratos now prefers to use Leviathan, a mystical axe with frost enchantments, given to him as a gift by his dying wife. The axe behaves exactly like the hammer Mjolnir, legendary weapon of Thor.
He can use it to deliver devastating blows to his enemies and recall it at will after a throw.
Atreus was trained in tracking, hunting, and archery by his mother Faye. Unsure of himself at first, the boy becomes a dangerous warrior over the course of the game.
Combat is simply brutal and fluid. Kratos and Atreus can use a retinue of attacks, both magical and physical, to take down a large cast of enemies, including giants and Norse gods.
The game also features a deep crafting and upgrade system which gradually makes the father and the son stronger.
God of War has some of the best visuals and lighting effects the current generation consoles can offer. The nine realms of Midgard are breathtaking, and the world is a living, breathing representation of a mythological land lost in time.
Kratos and his son Atreus left their home to fulfill Faye’s dying wish, not to save the planet.
However, fearing that they are the key to trigger the mythical extinction event Ragnarok, Odin, the king of Norse gods, and Thor, the strongest god in nine realms, started hunting them.
It is a story about surviving against overwhelming odds.
It is a journey to grow stronger, it is a story of a distant father bonding with his son, it is a very human story of setting out on a difficult journey for a promise made to a loved one.
This game is an absolute masterpiece.