I found myself far too easily walking through fights, smashing the R1 button for simple attacks and dodging every time the game told me to – whether that be through massive telegraph wind ups or the on-screen dodge arrows that tell you when an enemy is behind you. I understand why God of War opted for this approach, but more often than not I found myself a little bored with the repetitive ‘walk here, fight this’ set up – especially when the ‘fight this’ portion felt so simplified.
If it wasn’t for the spectacle – and that stand-out story – I don’t know if I’d have made it through God of War. Luckily it has enough to gawp at to keep any gamer absolutely hooked. The world building is top notch, with interesting and varied locales as you travel around the different realms, and it’s all rendered beautifully.
The feather in God of War’s cap however is the much lauded ‘one-shot’ camera trick. From its opening moments to the end of all things, God of War’s camera never cuts. It’s a beautiful, mesmerising thing to watch – astounding from a directorial stand point as much as it is a technical achievement. I felt incredibly guilty each time I died and the game had to cut to black, undoing all the hard work of the team at Santa Monica, but even so I was able to appreciate the visual mastery of this approach.
The sound design – including the aforementioned voice acting – is all brilliant too. There’s a rousing, emotional score that ebbs and flows at all the right moments, and visceral chunky sound effects to accompany every swing of your massive axe.
God of War is a phenomenal accomplishment in video gaming, but all too often it feels like it’s trying to be something it’s not. With a story and world as rich as this I wish Santa Monica had been brave enough to make it a new IP – because a new title aping the Last of Us as emphatically as this game does wouldn’t have been as egregious as a series that predates Naughty Dog’s opus by nearly a decade. It feels weird or childish leveraging complaints such as ‘not angry enough’ or ‘not enough blood and boobs’ at a series that is clearly trying to evolve and mature, but by doing so they’re losing what made God of War so special in the first place. It was an unashamed, white knuckle ride that shocked and wowed at every turn. Objectively, however, this new God of War is a masterpiece most of the time. It can drag – especially because the combat isn’t nearly as complex as it should be – but it delivers an experience that’s well worth giving a go. Just check your expectations at the door – your father’s God of War this is not.
- 1 2