God of War's Director Explains Why Combat Has Changed So Much

God of War's Director Explains Why Combat Has Changed So Much

Tragedy, regret, and wistfulness pervade God of War's storytelling as Kratos and Atreus make their way to the top of a mountain to bid farewell to a loved one.

With God of War releasing within a week, gamers are excited to see how Kratos' newest outing has resonated with critics. "This new God of War has some rough edges remaining in its transition to something new, but even in its concluding moments, it commits to its vision in a way that few games do-and it's the first time the series has felt vibrant and important in a decade". At no point through the playthrough of the game does God of War fall victim to the pitfalls of the dreaded "escort missions" of other games. In a lot of ways young Atreus is the audience's perspective.

And yes, you do get to explore a little bit more in God of War. Atreus will be by your side every step of the way, shooting both enemies and environmental objects with his bow and arrow (which becomes a key tool for solving puzzles as the game goes on). Every animation from tender cutscenes between Kratos and his son Atreus to stunning moments like the World Serpent Jormungandr erupting from the watery deep are rendered with excruciating attention to detail. This time around, Kratos has left Greece behind for the land of Norse mythology, which comes with a host of nasty new enemies for him to face. Trust me on that-late-night God of War sessions have made me late for work no fewer than three times in the past week. Having hung up his blades, Kratos instead uses a weapon called the Leviathan Axe to dispatch his foes. The game still looked good too, although it obviously didn't match up to the PS4 Pro with 4K and HDR.

Indeed, much of God of War is spent cleaving all sorts of draugr, revenant and troll from head to toe.

The harder a game is, the better in my book. Make no mistake, God of War is massive, the biggest in the franchise in terms of narrative, gameplay features, and world size.

Longstanding protagonist Kratos is older, fully bearded and living in the woods with his son, all his youthful rage given way to gruff stoicism. It may even evoke the exact opposite feeling from them. We can hear them loud and clear, and you can catch our review right here to get a feel for what the game will offer on April 20. Throw away your weapon and attack an enemy with your bare arms and they'll build up stun damage that - when full - results in gruesome takedowns, reminiscent of Doom's glory kills. The game has a very forgiving checkpoint system however, and players can also manually save at anytime. God of War is a standard-setter both technologically and narratively. And it all runs silky smooth with that Sony Santa Monica polish even on the base PlayStation 4. The inclusion of an "immersive UI" setting, which eliminates the map, compass and other HUD displays on the screen, further adds to the engrossing feeling.

And just like Kratos and Atreus are two opposites working together, that dynamic can be used to describe the overall game design as well.

What God of War exemplifies is a series that is not afraid to stray from its established roots.

"From its renewed focus on storytelling, to its stunningly gorgeous world and incredibly satisfying combat, God of War is nothing short of a masterpiece, one that sets a new bar for what can be accomplished in the world of AAA games".

Reviews for Sony Santa Monica's God of War are out now, and they're singing the game's praises from the halls of Valhalla to the realm of mortals. This is such an impressive achievement. From smashing symbol-clad pots to severing glowing sinews, axe-throwing is core to God of War's gameplay in and outside of combat.