God of War’s first two hours show a more mature game

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Kratos has become old. That's the first thing you'll notice in the new God of War. The next PS4 reboot of the series starts with the most annoyed Greek of the videogames looking angrily at a tree that you knock down with the new weapon of Kratos: the Ax Leviathan. While swinging the ax, you can see more scars crossing his arms and chest from the last time we saw him, and his perpetually frowning face is hidden behind a beard that has a touch of gray.
Although much has been said about the reinvention of Kratos in a bearded and elderly father, Kratos is not the only one who has aged. Almost eight years have passed since the last game of God of War was released on the PlayStation 3, and at that time, the series seems to have matured a little. Both from the point of view of history and the gameplay, God of War has grown, turning the series of hackers and slash meaningless into something with more thought and strategy than any other game in the previous series.

Image: Sony

& # 39; God of War & # 39 ;, not from & # 39; God of War 4 & # 39;
After the previous events of the series, the last of which began with Kratos assaulting Mount Olympus and ended with him killing almost the entire Greek pantheon, culminating with Zeus himself, it is hard to imagine how the new God of War could become bigger Instead, the franchise seems to be taking an interesting turn toward telling a deeper and more personal story. He focuses on Kratos as a person and father instead of just the warrior full of anger from past games. "I wanted to tell a much more intimate story," says God of War director Cory Barlog. "I want to take a character that everyone believes they know and show that there is really hidden depth and dimension." Hence the almost re-start of history, which is independent of previous games. The players of the previous games will be rewarded with an additional context that will further deepen the experience. Just calling it God of War instead of God of War 4 is a revealing move on the part of the developer.
I recently had the opportunity to play during the first two hours of the game, and from the beginning, the most personal nature of the experience is in full screen. The story begins with the relationship between Kratos and his son, Atreus, who joins the players as a companion in the adventure. Barlog has spoken before about how Kratos' journey has been shaped a lot in the game by his own experiences as a parent, and there is a level of emotional depth in the proceedings here that is new to the series.

Image: Sony

That does not mean there's no show at all. God of War is still, well, a God of War game, and that means there are still many giant monsters, brutal battles and hordes of enemies to dispatch on the way. But the game in God of War has been completely renovated, and it all starts with the camera angle. Instead of the blocked and retired views of the previous games where the players were alone for the trip, God of War takes the camera right over Kratos' shoulder and the hands control the player. Barlog says the change tells a more personal story, and that change inspired the rest of the changes on how the game works.
The game in & # 39; God of War & # 39; has been completely redone, and it all starts with the camera angle
Combat in God of War 2018 feels, and it's strange to use this word in the context of a God of War game, more realistic in some ways. The combo meter is over, the rain of colorful orbs when defeating the enemies, and the fast time events. Instead, there is a more deliberate and tactical approach to the battle. Bringing the camera closer to Kratos makes the fight more personal, and now there is a weight for the attacks that other games in the series lacked. The closer perspective also forces players to track the battlefield more instead of simply manipulating buttons and hoping that things will work.

Image: Sony

The most measured approach even reaches the weapons that Kratos has; instead of the combined knives that he usually carries in previous titles, Kratos actually now has a shield. And you will also need it: load, ax, without thinking about dodging or blocking is a very good way to die in God of War. And from a less analytical perspective, the free-control camera also allows for an incredibly fun ax-casting mechanic. Players can aim and shoot the ax freely at any time, and it is really satisfying to shoot enemies from the other side of the road. Even better is Thor's ability to retrieve the ax back to your hand, which when properly synchronized, can inflict additional damage as it passes through more enemies on its way back.
It is not only the elements of history that offer a more mature spirit in games; It's the whole game system. For the first time, there are serious RPG elements in a God of War game. Kratos will grow stronger and rise in level as the players progress, and you can customize the armor, skills and weapons to favor different game styles. Do you prefer a total attack? Invest your updates in pure attack statistics. Do you prefer a more measured approach? That is possible, too.

Image: Sony

The son of Kratos Atreus also plays an important role in extending the experience. Unlike other persistent partners in the games, like Elizabeth, from Bioshock Infinite, Artreus is not only there to provide some background comments. He is an active part of the proceedings, with a full control button dedicated to making him shoot at any enemy the camera points at. Atreus exists in the world with Kratos, in one or two points, I had to protect him from a draugr with a well thrown ax, and players can improve their skills to turn it into a more powerful force. combat.
The game also looks absolutely beautiful
The game also looks absolutely beautiful. The change in scenery has given the God of War team the opportunity to extend their wings beyond the dark, dark stone sands and stormy skies of previous games and into the fresh air of the outdoor Nordics. The snowy and sunny forests feel torn by the equally beautiful Horizon Zero Dawn last year. The attention to detail is amazing, even the stitching on the Kratos leather armor and the splinters on the edge of his ax. In a fight of mini-bosses in particular, you could see even the individual bars that each hit Kratos left in the torso without armor of the giant troll he was fighting against.

Image: Sony

There are still some cracks in the facade, however. God of War is a very linear game, even the walls and protrusions obviously marked by those that Kratos can climb. Sure, there are some lightweight environmental puzzles and a couple of hidden rooms, but it's still a very targeted experience. With the tendency of big budget games to give players more freedom, the strict trails of God of War feel a bit outdated in 2018.
It's great to see that the series is willing to take some risks with its formula
I only played a small portion of the game, so it's too early to make final judgments, but I'm excited about the changes that have been made. At least, it's great to see that the series is willing to take some risks with its formula and shake things up in the process. And if it fails? At least he will give us the Dad Kratos memes.

God of War debuts on the PlayStation 4 on April 20.

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