05 Jan 2019, 21:52 IST
Whenever we hear the title God of War, what usually crosses the mind of an average gamer? Hack n Slash non-stop action? Ancient Mythology? Tonnes of awards at the end of the launch year?
Santa Monica studios debuted this epic behemoth back in 2005 on the beloved PlayStation 2 console and the rest was history. Later it shifted to PlayStation 3 and even handheld devices such as PlayStation Vita with equally action-packed follow-up titles.
Five years after the launch of PS4, we have almost run our course with the 8th gen consoles, so it was only a matter of time when Santa Monica would unveil a new God of War game for PlayStation 4.
But the bigger question was apart from being an action-adventure PlayStation exclusive, what else does God of War have to offer especially after the not so well received prequel God of War Ascension.
Being a seasonal gamer, I took my time with the new 2018 title. And after months of reading critically acclaimed reviews and avoiding spoilers, I decided to give it a try and man it was breath of fresh air.
This time the adventure takes place in Norse Mythology, a big paradigm shift from Greek mythology.
And I would surely call it a soft reboot of the series, as never once I felt that I really need to know about Kratos’s past.
The clog wheel of the story is comparatively quite simple following the Journey of Kratos and his son Atreus facing various demons, giants and Norse gods on the way. But Santa Monica Studios decided to dial down the numerous boss battles this time instead of focusing on the Father-son relationship.
Gameplay mechanics were also built from the ground up, were clearly inspired by RPGs similar on the lines of recent Assassin’s Creed titles with the introduction of a new weapon Leviathan Axe which took me a little time to get the hang of especially for solving puzzles.
Though the battles did tend to get repetitive with time which was also the problem faced by the previous games, it was the core of the story and mythical lore of Norse gods that kept me hooked.
The character development of the protagonist was on par with any previous games in the series.
Such was the narration of the story that I couldn’t help but actually feel for Kratos, his horrifying past, the guilt he carried, all trying to be a mortal in a faraway land. It gives you the sense of the rage and pain he endured and how long he has come in his life.
Also throughout the campaign, Kratos tries to discipline and teach his son about the complexities of life and necessities of survival and we as an audience end up learning it as well.
A deeply woven emotional journey ending on a satisfying note, with hours of well-crafted side missions and upcoming sequels on the horizon which is also set in Norse mythology, God of War is indeed more than just another action adventure title and a step in the right direction for this series.
A strong narrative along with well-developed sides characters specially Atreus who has this charming subtle sense of humor which fit perfectly in contrast with one brooding Kratos, added with breath-taking graphics pushing the console to its limits, a terrific background score and a talented cast of voice actors.
God of War is a complete package with no DLC or unpopular microtransactions which quenches the thirst of a spectacular single player campaign gamers have been yearning for months along with holding the high benchmarks of quality Santa Monica studios and Sony is known for. Now that’s the title worthy of Game of the Year.
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