As 2018’s God of War moves the long-established story of Kratos to Norse mythology, the reviews are in and it sounds like it gaming fans old and new are in for a treat.
Since 2005, players have seen the “Ghost of Sparta” take out his vengeance on the various gods and monsters of Greek mythology. Now, Sony’s Santa Monica has decided to take him somewhere new for the eighth game in the series with something of a leap of faith. As the long-awaited sequel to 2010’s God of War III, it is time to push the reset button on the franchise but also keep the Kratos backstory that has been established over the previous games.
In a franchise that is now 13 years old, it might’ve been easy to run out of ideas, however, according to our SPOILER FREE review round-up, it is the opposite as Kratos sets his sights on the shores of Midgard. Taking on the likes of Thor and Odin, God of War is a father-son bonding experience as players meet Kratos’ son Atreus for the first time. Whether the series continues on Kratos’ mighty shoulders or prepares to pass the torch to his son, the reviews suggest that God of War is a breathtaking spectacle to behold. Read our own God of War review for more!
GameSpot: 9/10 – Peter Brown
In many ways God of War is what the series has always been. It’s a spectacular action game with epic set pieces, big-budget production values, and hard-hitting combat that grows more feverish and impressive as you progress. What may surprise you is how mature its storytelling has become. Like Kratos, God of War recalls the past while acknowledging the need to improve. Everything new it does is for the better, and everything it holds onto benefits as a result. Kratos is no longer a predictable brute. God of War is no longer an old-fashioned action series. With this reboot, it confidently walks a new path that will hopefully lead to more exciting adventures to come.
IGN: 10/10 – Jonathon Dornbush
God of War’s fish-out-of-Greek-water tale is a nonstop whirlwind of emotions. It’s all framed by one continuous camera shot that never cuts away or takes the focus off of the heart of it all: Kratos’ relationship with his young son, Atreus. But the story also encompasses an indelible supporting cast, a gorgeous world consistently rewarding to explore, and immensely satisfying combat.
The Telegraph: 5/5 – Tom Hoggins
God of War is a phenomenal video game and takes cues from both its own past and more recent games to build its vocabulary in its more open exploration and RPG-elements, but it is also extremely well-versed in the language of cinema. This is nearly always to the game’s credit as it finds it rhythm both visually and in its surprisingly excellent script.
The Verge – Andrew Webster
The game is billed as something of a redemption story for the burly Spartan warrior: following a lifetime of death and rage, here he is trying to make the world, at least in some ways, a better place. But after a decade of seeing Kratos as little more than a cloud of spinning blades, I was unconvinced this approach could work. With a body count that is impossible to calculate, does Kratos even deserve redemption? Shockingly, his latest adventure makes a pretty strong case that he does.
This father and son duo is bound to draw comparisons to Joel and Ellie from Naughty Dog’s 2013 masterpiece, The Last of Us, with Kratos and Atreus sharing a similar dynamic of the mournful protector and the innocent child who just might melt his icy heart. Don’t get us wrong, though — this is a very good thing. It’s a maturation of character and tone that helps take the series to new emotional levels, making for a deeper, more satisfying overall experience.
Kotaku – Chris Kohler
Hey, want to feel as old as Kratos? It’s been over 13 years since the first God of War was released for the PlayStation 2. Between its brutal, beautiful combat, its unique and dramatic story, and its groundbreaking camera work, that debut was like nothing I’d ever played before. It was an entity unto itself. 2018’s God of War seems more content to borrow from other successful recent games: it’s a little bit Witcher, a little bit Dark Souls, a little bit The Last Of Us, and a little bit old-school God of War. It feels like more of a trend follower than a trendsetter, a pastiche of ideas. But they are good ideas, done well enough to bring a once-stale series back up from the depths of Helheim.
EW: A- – Nick Romano
God of War is still as brutal as you remember, but this new story has a lot more heart. Kratos and Atreus are a pair forced together by familial circumstance. The boy chooses to wield his mother’s knife and bow as his weapons, a constant reminder that he values her kindness and empathy over his father’s cold and distant demeanor. Both must make an effort to be there for one another — Atreus must learn to become a man from his father, and Kratos must learn to become a father to his son, especially with the arrival of a mysterious stranger.
The Guardian: 5/5 – Keza MacDonald
God of War is a story about what it means to be a god – traversing realms, killing mythical monsters, exerting power, exploring the boundaries of possibility – but also about what it means to be a man. Power and masculinity are intertwined, and Kratos’s desire to protect his son from the realities of both is unexpectedly touching…It is rare to play a game so accomplished in everything it sets out to do. God of War is a standard-setter both technologically and narratively. It is a game that, until recently, would have been impossible.
With such glowing reviews, it is probably for the best that the studio is already planning a second adventure that will stick in the lands of Midgard and Norse Mythology instead of finding yet another new setting. God of War is already dubbed as the start of a second era for the franchise, which is great news considering that this revamped entry is already gathering such a buzz in gaming circles.
While there is talk of a long future and possible (one day) tackling the likes of Egyptian and Mayan mythology, Kratos is perfectly comfortable settling in with snow-capped mountains and deep lakes of the Norse gods for now. The latest game was a big gamble for Sony’s Santa Monica Studios, but instead of being another wounded Spartan limping into battle, God of War seems to have picked up its very own mythical hammer and swung it in the face of the competition.
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