The PlayStation 4 has eclipsed the other consoles of this generation in sales, and there is a multitude of exclusives that make a compelling case for purchasing the dominant Sony console. Storytelling, gameplay, and visual splendor feature on many of these exclusives, and one of the most successful examples is God of War. The latest entry in the violent saga of Spartan fury infuses nuance and maturity into a story that has captivated fans. Kratos is no longer the short fuse that blazed through the pantheon. It's a slower burn, like a smoldering ember. And the game that surrounds the enthralling story is a masterpiece. Let's consider how it stacks up against other games available on the PS4.
10 Satisfying Combat
The God of War series is known for its combat, which is usually fast-paced and furious. But the latest game tweaks a lot in order to establish a system of warfare that feels natural to the character and extremely fun in the hands of the gamer. The Leviathan Axe helps to create that atmosphere. Just throwing the fearsome weapon is satisfying. Chuck it into the head of an oncoming enemy and then rip it back into the waiting hand of Kratos. And that's just one feature. It's a well-rounded system that makes Kratos feel powerful but not omnipotent.
9 Beautiful Music
There is so much attention directed at authenticity with the music in God of War. Bear McCreary, the musician who developed the score for the game, is an Emmy-winning composer. He's worked on hit TV series like The Walking Dead and Outlander. Bear worked tirelessly to study Nordic folk music and he incorporated historical instruments into the recording. The result is stunning. It's an atmospheric score that grounds the player into God of War by stirring an emotional response to the music. It's some of the best music in video game history.
8 Effective Companions
Oh, the companion. They are a frequent feature in games, but rarely are they useful. At times, they can even be detrimental. Stealthy maneuvers can be undone by the clumsy traversal of your fellow character. The worst companions attract the attention of enemies without contributing anything. But Atreus is not that! The boy is a wonderful addition to God of War. His ranged attacks and hand-to-hand combat skills help Kratos dispatch his enemies with aplomb, and he doesn't get in the way. It stands out as a prime example of how to use companions judiciously in video games.
Only during the fleeting seconds of Spartan Rage do you feel invincible in God of War. Besides those infrequent moments, the game juggles difficulty with finesse. As the game progresses, the player builds a versatile lineup of attacks for Kratos to employ during a fight. He gets stronger and stronger. But so do the enemies. And his health is never excessive. He stays within a vulnerable range, and even the weakest enemies can extract a toll on his vitality if the player isn't careful. That balance is intricate. The game is always a challenge, and winning a fight is always fulfilling.
6 Strong Characters
Sometimes the protagonist of a story is just an avatar whose shoes the player fills while exploring the game. That's not the case in God of War. There isn't an abundance of NPCs that feel meaningless. The banter between characters doesn't seem trite. Everything bears weight. Kratos is a conflicted man, and his relationship with Atreus is complex. Neither is perfect. There aren't one-note characters. Santa Monica Studio developed a mature cast with thorny pasts, and the player joyfully uncovers the bleeding hearts beneath the thick Nordic skin.
5 A Visual Feast
There's a lot in God of War to love. But it's all easier to love when it looks so good. Like so good. You'll find yourself stopping a lot during gameplay to gaze at the world around you. We understand that not all games are created equal when it comes to the graphics. Some developers are intentionally creating a pixelated world, or a cartoony one. Or a black-and-white one. We get that. But if you're attempting to create a photo-realistic paradise, this is it. The Nordic environment comes to life with rich color and detail. It's jaw-dropping.
4 Memorable Story
Some stories play second fiddle to the gameplay. That's not a bad thing, necessarily. There are games designed purely for exploration and innovation. You don't have to have a convincing narrative to pull the player in. But most of the best games have it all. And God of War is no exception. When a game can pull at your heartstrings and sweep you along with a throbbing current of drama, then you've got something special. The conflict and the resolution of God of War are spectacular, and the possibilities of a sequel excite us.
3 A Lot Of Content, Minus The DLCs
A lot of developers nowadays schedule out DLC content after the release of the main game. Santa Monica Studio decided to buck the trend. Instead, they provided an experience chock full of opportunity. Want a break from the main story? Grind away in Niflheim until you've got the armor and gear of a legend. Need more combat experience or want to prove your worth? Fight your way through the trials of Muspelheim. Want to be the baddest guy in the realms? Seek out the Valkyrie and free them from their imprisonment. There's a challenge for you at the end. There's so much to do, and it's there for the taking.
2 Epic Cinematography
We've already praised the excellent graphics that depict the adventures of Kratos and Atreus. But we haven't discussed the engrossing camera choices that immerse the player in the Nine Realms. Unless you're watching a cutscene or managing your inventory, the game doesn't stop. The camera is always over your shoulder and it never cuts away. It's a unique approach, but it pays off in God of War. The action never lets up and the world never steps away. You're always in it. It's hard to tear yourself away when the camera is always aimed at what comes next.
1 It's Fun
While this seems like a throwaway, it's not meant to be. The game is just so much fun to play. Whether you're testing your mettle against some new enemy or simply listening to the chatter of Kratos and his son, the game is a blast. Time passes unnoticed as you explore the different realms and as you encounter obstacle after obstacle. It never seems tedious. If you haven't tried out God of War, then you need to get the game. If you don't have a PS4, then borrow one or buy one. Some games just can't be missed. God of War is one of them.