Kratos is back, with a new perspective in both life and mechanically. God of War leaves Greece and takes you to the lands and the Gods of the Nord’s. The game starts off very slowly, showing off this new Kratos and introducing his son, Atreus, before going full God of War crazy for a while.
But this isn’t Kratos of the old anymore. This new Kratos is changed. He is no longer letting his anger control him but is controlling his anger and focusing it. He’s aiming to raise his kid to be better than he ever was. A rather noble goal we’d say.
The new perspective and ‘new’ Kratos marry each other perfectly. With the tighter perspective, and inability to jump at will, showing a focus from the character through the mechanics. Something most games don’t do, or when they do, it’s not done that well – God of War is an exception to that rule.
This is before we even get to the combat where every hit just feels amazing. The impacts thud due to the incredible sound design – not to mention the rumble of the controller further selling everything. Then you can also throw your Axe like Thor’s hammer, and recall it at will – again it feels amazing as you learn to use it effectively. You can also put your weapon away and use your fists to stun enemies, or just punch them to death. Everything feels great.
Then, with the story and the way it ends, without spoiling anything of course, the game ends on such a poignant moment which will stay with players for a long time. Somehow Santa Monica Studios managed to take a character who has pretty much no redeemable character (or much of any character) and turn him into someone you care about.
For that, God of War gets first in the ETNL GotY list.