(Today we bring you our very first Video Game review with our new column, “Don’t Fret with Frido.”)
The new God of War video game came out this spring and has been impressing fans old and new with its fantastic story, beautiful soundtrack, absolutely gorgeous graphics.
There was a lot of worry from old fans about how the new game would be since it takes place within Nordic mythology, rather than Greek mythology, where Kratos’ story initially began. A lot of new fans were also eager to jump into the series so they could try the series (I didn’t actually have a Playstation when I was younger, but I played this game at a friend’s house, so I have played the entire series).
The beginning of the game is slow but just gorgeous. The scenes are seamless and run smoothly. There’s no glitchy graphics or lagging within the game; you can tell a lot of time was spent on this game. Kratos is in the woods with his son, Atreus. We have no clue how long Kratos has been in this land or where we even are in relation to his life. We find out Faye, his wife and Atreus’ mother, has died and you are currently making a funeral pyre out of trees she has marked. Kratos is hard and cold towards Atreus. At first, I thought it was because he had lost his previous family in Greece, but later on the game, we see that he truly does love Atreus– he just doesn’t know how to be a proper father who is calm and understanding of his childlike wonder. He’s also grieving this loss of his wife–not as openly as Atreus is for his mother but silently.
You hit a point within the start of the game when you’re going okay. This does not feel like a God of War game. Yeah, Kratos is here, but this is some Nordic knock-off. Then comes the first boss fight. The kill scene when you finally finish the beast makes you go, “Oh yeah, there we go. Now we’re getting there.” The farther into the game you get. there’s a much larger boss (I won’t spoil it for you), but at that point, I felt like this could be a great God of War game; it has that old feel of bringing down this huge enemy and feeling amazing about it.
The story is wonderful, just like the other games in the series. And it goes deep into Nordic mythology. It explains stories and characters very well but doesn’t shove them in your face immediately like a kid with a new art project. In the beginning, it would casually mention Odin but make him show up immediately. You can find stories that Atreus will explain and write down within his notebook that you can view later. The whole story is beautifully laid out and I love it.
The gameplay is very smooth if you have played a God of War game, or really any game with chains and combos like this before. I like to compare its gameplay to Devil May Cry hack-and-slash but with class. You can add upgrades to your armor and weapon as well as Atreus’s. There were a lot of times where I was like, “Pfft, I hit that” or “I totally blocked them,” though that’s literally any game. There are also a ton of collectibles within the game, so be on the lookout for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
One thing in line with the gameplay is the Leviathan Axe. When you hit triangle on the controller, the axe returns to your hand. It does a little vibration every time that makes it feel super satisfying. Another cool thing about the axe is that if you throw and it travels a little bit of a way and then you recall it, you can hear the axe bouncing off of the walls and whooshing through the air back into your hand. It’s a really cool effect that makes the game even better.
There were parts of the story that I thought were unnecessary. For example, towards the beginning of the game, you must travel to a different realm. One of the wheels, however, has fallen off of the track, so you must do a little button masher part to put it back into place. There’s about 25-35 hours of gameplay within this game, so I don’t think it’s really necessary to have me put this wheel back on the track; there was no reason for this scene. There are others that take place later in the story that I thought were silly as well. Was the studio just trying to hit a certain time mark so they added little bits of pointless material here and there? The world may never know.
Another issue that I had within the game is that a lot of the bosses just felt repeated over and over. You’re introduced to some new ones throughout the game, but then those are repeated no matter where you are. I can’t tell you how many trolls or stone ancient ones I faced. At first, these scenes are really cool going into the fights, but after the fifth or sixth one, they just felt like a rehash of the same thing but a different color.
Some of the missions also started to feel a little “go fetch” at times: “Oh, I need to go get this thing after I just found this thing.” And on top of that, some of the materials to upgrade your gear can be a little hard to find as well. At times, you do have to push through the game to want to continue.
Although the game does have its faults, I really feel like it deserves Game of the Year. It does a good job of putting an old character into a very different situation and not making it feel forced. The music is awesome, and I have bought the soundtrack to listen to when I’m reading or studying. There are no loading screens and the transition between cutscenes and gameplay are so hard to tell a difference at points, I couldn’t really tell a difference. It really deserves the title for Game of the Year or at least best graphics and best score.
If you are looking for something to get this Christmas and were still wondering if this was worth the time or money, it is. It really is. Just doing the story alone is worth the money. God of War is currently available on Amazon for $39.99 and $36.99 if you are a Prime member. The soundtrack is also available for $11.99.