Kratos Makes His Return in “God of War”

Promotional image showing Kratos and Atreus from God of War
Image courtesy Sony Interactive Entertainment

According to Metacritic, “God of War” received 39 perfect scores from critics across the globe and was ranked as #1 in three categories: Best PS4 Game of 2018, Most Discussed PS4 Game of 2018 and the Most Shared PS4 Game of 2018. This is a game that exceeded its hype, and for good reason.

In this year’s “God of War” Kratos leaves Greece and finds a new home in Norse mythology. Taking place years after the events of “God of War 3,” the game begins with the cremation of Kratos’s recently deceased wife Fae. From there the protagonist and his young son, Atreus, set out on a journey to spread Fae’s ashes across the highest point in all nine realms. Unlike previous installments in the franchise where the main focus was revenge, this a story of fatherhood and the relationship that develops between Kratos and his son. This time, Kratos leaves behind the land of Greece and finds a new home set in Norse mythology. Five years in the making, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Santa Monica Studio revitalized the series with much improved visuals and gaming elements. The user enjoys a third-person over the shoulder camera style, semi-open world, visceral and satisfying combat experience.

The seamless transition from the main menu screen to the start of the game presented beautiful colors and some of the most advanced and detailed graphics I have ever seen. Not only were the graphics amazing, but there wasn’t a single loading screen – ever. From cutscene to gameplay, to entering a new area and even when fast traveling around the map, I was never met with a still screen with a tedious loading bar at the bottom. This is the only game I have ever played that has been able to pull this off.

Combat is fast-paced, brutal and satisfying. Whether its throwing your axe across the battlefield to deliver the killing blow and watching it fly back to your hand like Thor’s hammer, or literally ripping apart enemies with your bare hands, it looks good and feels even better. Kratos’ son Atreus is more than an added element to the story. He is armed with a bow and arrow and with the press of a button you control when he lets loose an arrow which can distract enemies at the last second, leave them stunned and even provide decent crowd control. As Kratos levels up, so does Atreus and he becomes an essential, powerful ally for the battles ahead. As beautiful as the graphics are, and as visceral as the combat is, the story is what kept me hooked the entire way through the game. It is well thought out, intricate and heartfelt. You watch your characters grow, develop and build a bond between one another. You learn of Kratos’ – but most importantly, Atreus’ – origins and how they fit into the large world of Norse mythology. Your adventure takes you across nine realms such as: Alfheim, Muspelheim and Niflheim, all of which are real locations in Norse lore. “God of War” doesn’t change Norse mythology so much as add to it, and it is an adventure that will stick with you long after the credits roll.

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