God of War and Kratos have been a part of PlayStation’s stable of 1st party games since PlayStation 2. It was a series I could never get into, and I admitted as much to the man himself, Cory Barlog at E3 2018. The story at that time in my life didn’t really resonate with me, and the button mashing game mechanics just was not my thing. At that stage in my life, I was really into RPGs like Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda. Over the years, I had given them another chance whether it be on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, or the VIta. In each instance, I still couldn’t get in them.
Fastforward to 2018 and a new God of War is set to be released on the PlayStation 4. My first impression before playing it was that it was going to be another button masher set in Norse mythology. I could not have been more wrong, and I am more than happy to admit that. The first thing that you notice right from the get go is how stunning the graphics are. The attention to detail by the team at Sony Santa Monica is nothing short of amazing. From the scales on the World Serpant, to the way the blood sits on Kratos, no detail was left unchecked.
A much needed departure from previous games was the change to the fight mechanics. Moving the weapon controls to the shoulder buttons makes one wonder why the controls were not there originally. Having the controls on the shoulder buttons feels natural and extremely fluid. It also opens up combat to new innovations like commanding Atreaus. Introducing Atreaus in the combat mechanics was also a very natural evolution.
The game really starts to shine with the voice acting. Christopher Judge was on point as Kratos. Most sci-fi will recognize the name as he played Teal’c on the Stargate delivish series. He had the edge in his voice that you would expect Kratos to have, but also brought a subtle compassionate ton that really showed Kratos’ evolution in loving father. Sunny Suljic was fantastic as Atreaus. He nailed the meekness of Atreaus but also the emotional range that most kids of that age have in life. Nolan North and Troy Baker were their usual selves as Modi and Magni. What can you say about the duo from Retro Replay? They have a natural chemistry with whatever they do together. Doubt that? Check out their Twas The Night Before Christmas clip Retro Replay. For me, the standout performance was from Danielle Bisutti as Freya. Freya ran the gamut of emotions; from scared to anxious, and even a caring motherly side. In every instance, Danielle did not miss.
Where the game got the biggest attention from me is both the writing and director. Cory Barlog not only directed a phenomenal game but also wrote an amazing story. He evolved Kratos from a warrior in Ancient Greece to a deep down caring father in Norse mythology. As the story progresses, you can see Kratos slowly evolving from protector to father, and its make you wonder how much of Cory’s life as a father helped play into that. This change also makes you start to care about the characters as the story progresses. A Every part of Norse mythology that was included in the game in the script made it feel like it truly belonged in a God of War game.
Everyone that was involved is extremely humble when it comes to all the accolades the game has received. When talking to Cory at E3, he felt super appreciative that people were just giving the game a try, let alone it changing their perspective of the God of War of war series. To me, if you are humble about your work, that tells me that it is not only a passion project but you also truly care about the end product. That humility, combined with changing my perspective of a series makes me believe that this game truly was Game of the Year. If you have not played the game, you definitely need to give it a play through. It is worth the journey.