a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared.
Welcome to today’s English lesson.
Today’s word is ‘benchmark’, because that’s what God Of War for the Playstation 4 is.
5 years into a console’s life-cycle, you would think it would start to ease into its imminent end / death.
Instead, what Sony Santa Monica decided to do was release one of the best games the system has seen.
Many years have passed since Kratos took his vengeance against the Olympian gods, destroying the Greek world.
Having survived his final encounter with Zeus, Kratos now lives with his young son Atreus in the world of the Norse gods, a savage land inhabited by many ferocious monsters and warriors.
In order to teach his son how to survive in such a world, Kratos must master the rage that has driven him for many years and embrace his newfound role as a single father and mentor.
As soon as the title screen loaded, I knew this God Of War experience was going to be different to what we’d seen in the previous 7 titles.
Heck, it even gives it away with the title revision where it simply calls it God Of War again.
It’s for very good reason.
While all of what has led Kratos to where he is now, the adventure he is about to undertake is a drastically different one to those before.
The raw, visceral action of the former returns, yet the God Of War finds a different set of tools for his craft; A shield and axe take place of the Blades of Chaos and find themselves much more fitting of the perspective shift Kratos now walks.
Gone is the rapidly shifting camera as we’re now locked to an over-the-shoulder point of view that makes your actions more implicit and tactile.
Kratos is as brutal as ever, but now you really feel it as the axe cleaves its way into enemies, and the shield bashes them with god-like ease.
The puzzles of his former life also return, and find themselves even more realised with the change in perspective and new tool-set. Too many times did I find myself lining up targets and standing a distance away from objects, forming patterns to solve some form of physical riddle.
New future-pasts truly reboot Kratos into his present, as the story and characters help thrust him into his new life. Formerly voiced by Terrence C. Carson, the voice and motion of Kratos now falls to Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1); Wonderfully emotive, and gripped by a past he attempts to bury, he is joined by Sunny Suljic, who portrays his son Atreus.
A tepid and blunt relationship is softly chipped away at as the duo travel Midgard together, yet it’s when Mimir (Alastair Duncan) joins them that the liveliness of this world opens right up.
They all work together to provide quips during inane moments, or stunned reactions during action that grounds the insanity that takes place. Too often you’ll find yourself laughing at the sass Atreus remarks, or pulling over in your boat to listen to a story being told by Mimir.
I’m reluctant to divulge further into the overall experience, simply because the best part of the game is the rediscovery of Kratos. Experiencing this wholly new game in a world unbound from his Grecian story evolves him into something more.
It makes him less of a god, and more of a human.
God Of War is a sequel that reboots Kratos into new lands, gameplay and story that he has never experienced before; And with it, he finds himself reborn as something even more memorable than his former outings.
God Of War IS the new benchmark for what can be produced for the Playstation 4 and you should be excited for what can next come from it.
XENOJAY.COM was supplied with a media copy of the game for review by Sony, and it was played on the Playstation 4 Pro console.