God of War is a Playstation 4 game about the Greek half-god Kratos. So you’d think God of War was a game based on Greek mythology, and this is in fact the case… for the first seven games in the franchise. God of War 2018, the eight game, is not a remake, but a new beginning for the game, set in Norse mythology.
God of War Plot
Some background first. The first seven God of War games are set in Greek mythology. Kratos is the son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman Callisto. He grew up a Spartan and rose to serve Ares, the god of war. While in service of Ares, he raided a temple in a blind rage and murdered everybody inside. Unfortunately, that included his own wife and daughter. Long story short, Kratos took vengeance on the gods, became a god himself, and eventually gave up his powers and vanished to places unknown.
As it turns in this new God of War game, Kratos vanished to the north. At the start of the game we find Kratos with his son, a young boy, mourning the death of his wife Faye. Before her death, Faye tasked him with cutting down some trees in the forest around their home that she marked with paint hand prints. They are to burn her corpse and take her ashes to the top of highest peak in all the realms.
Before they can set out, though, a tattooed superhuman comes to their door. Whatever protected their home from the Norse gods finding it, it is apparently gone…
There’s Kratos, as discussed above. The one thing that still needs mentioning is Christopher Judge voices him in this game. The actor you will all remember as the deep-voiced Teal’c from Stargate SG-1. Or not, then go watch a re-run, because it’s an important part of scifi culture.
Then there’s Kratos’s son Atreus. He’s a young boy, eager to please his father, but also angry at him. Kratos is a Spartan, though, with a bad past, and a bad temper. He does not treat his son kindly, bordering on child abuse. But Atreus, eager to please, tries his best to aid his father.
The first people who don’t try to kill you, are the dwarves Brok and Sindri. They used to work together, but they had a falling out. Now Brok and Sindri each have their own smithies. For some reason they pop up everywhere along your quest, even in other realms. Brok is a foul-mouthed blue dwarf, and Sindri a pale-skinned germophobe. They provide Kratos with weapons and upgrades, and the occasional banter and side-quest.
The rest of the cast is formed by various Norse gods and heroes. Let’s just say they are colorful, and no God of War game is complete without you lugging around a severed head for its utility. All in all, an interesting cast.
In God of War, like it’s predecessors, you control Kratos. Unlike earlier instalments, the game uses an over-the-shoulder camera. This gives the game a much more personal feel than the earlier ones. And technology now allows for all kinds of cool cutscenes to propel the story forward.
The game also has some open-world elements, which I normally hate, but I must say, God of War did a good job with this one. The game uses a mix of metroidvania, action-RPG, and open-world mechanics. There are linear sections, with action and roleplaying. There’s also a map with side quests spread all around like an open-world game. However, you cannot reach certain areas of the map until you unlike certain powers or reach certain points in the story. It’s pretty brilliantly done.
Atreus, as a side-kick works well. Atreus follows you around, and he can be attacked but doesn’t die from it. You can control some of his actions. This means you are not constantly working to keep him alive, but can use his abilities in combat. This makes for an interesting mechanic, and doesn’t hinder you like the escort quests dreaded in many games.
I’m late to the game because I skipped the Playstation 4, but God of War is a really good game. It might be the best game I’ve played this year, although I’m working my way through the top list of Playstation 4 games, so I’m playing a lot of cool stuff.