Beautiful Console worthy of an Epic Game
Reviewed in the United States on 2 May 2018
I bought this as my first PS4 after swearing off this generation of consoles. But God of War reeled me in, and this bundle tipped me over the edge.
First, the PS4. The artwork is gorgeous. I love the detailing and coloring - it stands out well atop my black-on-black entertainment center. The controller looks fantastic as well. It's nice to have a standout controller that unequivocally shouts, "This is MY controller, and no one else's!" Setup of the PS4 was fairly easy, connected it to my 49" TCL 4k TV without issue. Took me a little while to get the PS4 fully configured, and I'm still having issues setting up my sons' child-aged profile on the device. But outside of that, the PS4 works great, is a solid performer and I really have no issues. Well, maybe one - it puts out a lot of heat, be sure to place it in a well ventilated place.
Now for the game. At this point I'm probably close to 2/3rds of the way through it, I haven't beaten it yet as I like to explore and find things, areas and characters. I've played - and beaten, all previous GoW games except for the mobile phone versions. I'm an unabashed fan of the series and am quite familiar with it. This version of GoW has just completely blown my mind! In previous games, they were fairly linear, mostly action and a moderate amount of story thrown in. Kratos's story through the previous entries really takes the Greek Tragedy and runs with it through the pantheon of their gods. But the thing about these games is you went from one battle to the next, flinging Kratos around as a nearly unstoppable rage monster that shredded his way trough his enemies. Not much else to it, really.
This version of GoW changes that, and instead builds a world ripe with lore and story to explore, find and figure out. You don't go rushing through enemies one pack after another like previous entries did (interrupted by the occasional puzzle), instead in this one you have time to reflect in between battles. There's dialogue to listen to. There's lore to read (and it's fascinating lore, too!) If you wish to jump battle to battle you can, but you miss out on so much if you do.
Despite the focus on story and lore, the combat is beyond satisfying. Kratos demonstrates that he is still the God of War multiple times over with brutal, effective combat maneuvers. With or without his Leviathan Axe, Kratos can and still will shred through his enemies. But now he has the help of his son, Atreus, who starts out as barely effective but grows to be a valuable asset in battle. The best part? You barely have to manage Atreus! Hit square to have him fire arrows, and hit D-pad Up to switch between different arrows (once different ones become available). That's it! This makes it so you're not distracted in combat and still have help when and where you need it.
Outside of combat the worlds are still grandiose, and the art direction is museum worthy. You can take a screenshot at almost any second in the game and it will be beautiful. The camera has been somewhat contentious for some players, and honestly I found it a refreshing change. In previous games, the camera would zoom way out to show you the grandeur and scale of the environment or the action that is happening. In this game, the closer camera shows a much more personal view of when a similar event occurs. In many cases you still get to see an epic event unfold, and it is still glorious, believe me! It just doesn't zoom way out like it did in previous games, and I absolutely love it!
Overall, I absolutely adore this game. It's epic, it has heart, it's *evolved* the franchise in a way that feels comforting and satisfying. I find myself loving every minute of playing this game and look forward to many hours of exploring all the nooks and crannies the developers crammed into the wold. The only thing I dread about this game is that eventually...it has to come to an end.
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