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The latest 'God of War' review: tempered to perfection

“Don’t be like me, be better,” said a gravelly voice belonging to an older Kratos, the protagonist of the God of War series, as he advises his son Atreus. Those words form the foundation of the newest God of War game. A franchise that was built on an angry foundation, as Kratos one by one brutally slew members of the Greek pantheon of gods. Now, all he wants is his son not to follow in his footsteps, but to realise the value of life and channel that anger into something constructive. The series has not only redefined itself, but that white hot anger that drove it has now tempered it into a work of art. A character that was once an unstoppable force of destruction has now become a father figure, and that’s what I love best about the game.

What’s it about?

The game opens with Kratos cutting down a marked tree, to make a funeral pyre for his dead wife. After the events of the last game, Kratos moved north and set himself up quietly in Midgard, the home of Norse myth and legend. Fulfilling her last wishes, he sets out with Atreus to the highest peak to scatter her ashes. Everything is going well, when a stranger shows up, sending the father-son duo running across the realms, hunted by the unknown, as they try to make their way to their destination. All they want is to honour a family member and grieve their loss, but they have to fight all manner of magical creatures to stay alive.

The latest 'God of War' review: tempered to perfection
 

Midgard and its realms make up a world that will not only test your strength, but also at times your stomach and your pronunciation. A big place filled with big words like fimbulwinter or einherjar. A world that is beautiful, epic, mysterious, unearthly and thankfully, completely different of its portrayal in the Marvel Thor movies. The writing is excellent and Atreus, though conflicted, is a good kid, in contrast to Kratos’ monosyllabic and harsh personality, best illustrated in heartwarming moments where dad is trying his best to tell an entertaining story to his son, but fails miserably. Add to that a third character in the form of the wisecracking Mimir, god of knowledge and wisdom, who holds in his head all the lore, gossip and every dirty secret of Odin and the rest of the Norse pantheon. Throughout the game, the characters’ personality complement each other in ways that move not only the story, but also your heart.

The latest 'God of War' review: tempered to perfection
 

The narrative is extremely satisfying. While there is a bit of padding as the game seems to bounce you across the planes, you never feel it because you’re always gawking at the glorious massive set pieces or killing a monster that’s thrice your size. This is one of the most satisfying stories of 2018. This game has got pure heart, especially the recurring theme of ending that cycle of hate, to make a better life for our kids. Kratos can teach us a lot of things about parenting.

How does it play?

Gone are Kratos’ signature blades of chaos, a pair of wicked knives that were literally chained to his hands. It’s replaced by an axe he can hurl at enemies, and much like Thor’s Hammer, he can call it back with just a gesture. There’s a heft and weight to the axe — you feel every hit, and when you throw it, and it embeds itself in enemies with a satisfying sound, freezing them instantly. Call it back and it flies into your hands with a power that buffets foliage around, hitting enemies in its wake. It can largely be described as a combination of Dark Souls’ dodge and strike combos with The Witcher 3’s grace and movement. In addition to that, you control Atreus’ attacks with the square button, letting him shoot enemies, blinding or shocking them. Later, as you progress, Atreus learns some new moves to assist you in combat.

  • Developer: Santa Monica Studio
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  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
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  • Price: ₹3,999 for PlayStation 4

God of War was always known for some of the best boss fights in gaming history. After all, the first God of War game started whole active time prompts during cinematic boss fights. The latest game continues that tradition, and all of the bosses you encounter, especially the main antagonist, are pure rushes of adrenaline. You will forget to breathe, and once it’s done, you will frantically search for someone to call, just to tell them what you did. The devious puzzles too are back in this new God of War, and most of the puzzles involve you using the axe and Atreus’ bow-and-arrow abilities to pass.

Should you get it?

The latest 'God of War' review: tempered to perfection
 

Every aspect of this game is tempered to perfection. God of War is superior to its predecessors in every way possible. If you’ve been holding out on buying a PlayStation, then this might just be the game to make you do it.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel


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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 1:13:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/norse-without-my-mother/article23557501.ece

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