The reviews are in and people are loving the new direction that God of War is embarking on.
The long-awaited God of War is nearly upon us and critics have weighed in Thursday with their thoughts about the latest entry in the action series, which sees Kratos with a new companion, a bit more compassion, and a whole new part of the world to tear through.
Critics are almost unanimously praising God of War for everything from it’s new setting in Norse mythology to its fresh approach to combat. As Mashable’s own Adam Rosenberg notes in his review, it feels familiar enough to its predecessors to feel comfortable, but adds enough new stuff like Kratos’s son Atreus and a new main weapon to make it feel like a new experience.
Read on to see what reviewers thought of the new God of War.
A fresh take on a storied series
Mike Williams, US Gamer:
A reboot is part craft, part magic. It’s about finding the core of what made something good in the past, while providing enough that’s new to keep long-time fans and new players interested. If you don’t go far enough, you’ve just made another sequel. If you go too far, you risk straying from what people liked about the property in the first place.
The new God of War threads that balance very well. It knows what worked about God of War — solid action combat with mythical battles of massive scale — but it’s not content to just rest on that foundation.
Peter Brown, GameSpot:
Like so many popular franchises that have reinvented themselves in recent years, the new God of War dips into the well of open-world RPG tropes. It also shifts its focus to Norse mythology, casting off the iconic Greek gods and legends that provided the basis for every previous game.
These major shifts don’t signal the end of God of War as we know it, rather they allow the series’ DNA to express itself in new ways. There are many reasons why the structural transformations are a good thing, but it’s what’s become of Kratos, the hulking death machine, that leaves a lasting impression.
Jonathan Dornbush, IGN:
Set in a new, Norse mythology-inspired world and starring a familiar but thoughtfully reimagined character, God of War’s fish-out-of-Greek-water tale is a nonstop whirlwind of emotions.
Adam Rosenberg, Mashable:
Atreus also gives this new God of War an emotional core that past games lacked. Again, Kratos isn’t angry anymore. He’s a gruff, emotionally distant parent who hasn’t spent as much time with his boy as he should have, but this journey the two embark on together changes that.
Kratos and Atreus both have much to teach one another, and their increasingly candid back-and-forth propels many of the game’s quieter moments. Both characters are shaped by their experiences together out in the world. They grow and evolve as characters, and you take that journey with them.
Zhiqing Wan, Twinfinite:
God of War’s action combat still feels as fast-paced as ever, and while I was initially a little disappointed about replacing the iconic Blades of Chaos with the Leviathan Axe, that feeling melted away pretty quickly. The axe itself is supremely satisfying to use. Every hack and swipe is swift, and attacks connect with an awesome crunch that you can actually feel. The moment-to-moment combat and movement in God of War is brutal and weighty, and that classic bone-crunching violence is still on full display here.
Chris Plante, Polygon:
It sounds Dark Souls-ish because it is Dark Souls-ish. That comparison extends to the combat, which — especially in the extremely difficult postgame content — does a good (if imperfect) impression of everybody’s favorite masocore series. Borrowed inspiration isn’t limited to the Souls franchise. Fights involve an unusual but effective hodgepodge of genres: Ax melee attacks handle like an old-fashioned beat-’em-up; ax throws work like a sniper rifle, the weapon returning to Kratos with the tap of a button; Atreus (whom you can command to fire arrows) behaves almost like an RPG party member, flanking large enemies and stunning packs into position for attacks.
A healthy dose of puzzles
Chris Kohler, Kotaku:
While you don’t need to solve many puzzles to get through the story, there are plenty of optional ones, which usually revolve around carefully hunting through whatever scene you’re in to find hidden runes that unlock chests. The story-critical puzzles that do exist are pretty generously hinted, but the optional ones just leave you to your own devices.
This creates a nicely balanced pacing to the proceedings. You’re not just slashing, slashing, slashing without breaks. Often, you get through a major battle to find that you now get to explore the world around you, find secrets, test out your brain cells a bit.
Extraneous RPG elements
Zhiqing Wan, Twinfinite:
To improve your chances in a fight, you’ll also want to look into upgrading your armor and weapons. Every piece of equipment contributes to Kratos’ overall character level, Destiny style. The higher your level, the better equipped you’ll be in dealing with stronger foes. The equipment system itself is surprisingly deep, even if it can feel rather bloated at times.
Chris Kohler, Kotaku:
In an effort to give you many options for how you want to outfit Kratos, the game dumps tons of individual pieces of armor and enhancements on you at a fast clip. At first, finding chests in the world (or solving puzzles to unlock bigger chests) is fun every time, but it’s not long before the additional utility that I derived from opening the nth chest in a row went down to almost zero. I don’t want to pause God of War every five minutes to read several paragraphs of explanatory text
God of War comes out on PlayStation 4 on April 20.