Ever since the gameplay trailer dropped in 2016, fans of the God of War series have been aching to get their hands on the newest installment. Well, Sony was not one to beat around the bush with their press conference this year - after leaving gamers waiting for a new GoW game for four years, Sony finally delivered, and today we've got all the little details for the newest and simultaneously most beautiful and most brutal adventure of Kratos thus far. And while a lot of the news was amazing, there were also some decisions that we thought were just terrible.
The God of War series has taken us through so many great sagas. From the PlayStation 2, to the PlayStation 3, and the PSP, God of War has always had our backs. Most of these games have been remastered in some form or another, with God of War III getting a PS4 treatment not too long ago. Still, it's hard not to feel starved for a new entry in the series after so long. So just what do we think? Well, here is everything we learned (and everything we HATED). Enjoy!
Learned: Combat Is Dark Souls-y
From what we had seen in the 2016 trailer, the combat was less combo-oriented and more duck-and-dodgy a la Dark Souls. That's not to say that Kratos isn't going to be hiding behind a shield and rolling instead of ripping heads off. The fighting was still incredibly visceral and deserving of being associated with God of War, it's just a testament to how integral the Blades of Chaos were to core combat mechanics. Now that they're not there, it raises a lot of concern that the combat may be fundamentally changed for the worse. But it looks great, so hopefully, it won't feel sub-par against Kratos's other outings. I mean, he's pretty much the most prolific video game character out there when it comes to creatively murdering his opponents, so giving him more weapons should only improve that, right?
HATED: The Bosses Aren't This Epic (So Far!)
Yes, I know we saw a very decent amount of goodness today, but honestly, we still haven't seen anything on the scale of fighting Cronos in God of War 3. To be fair, that fight was something that took three games to build up to, but there's so much to work with in the Norse canon that there should be no problems creating the massive fights against Godzilla-sized (and that's being conservative) enemies that the series is known for. And maybe they didn't want to spoil stuff, but still, guys. It's E3. Knock our socks off.
And yes, we saw some really awesome stuff from the trailer, like working with Jormungand, the World Serpent, but are we going to fight him? Are we going to see Kratos chop down Yggdrassil? PLEASE LET US KNOW.
Learned: Inspired By Norse Mythology
Having successfully slaughtered every major demigod in the Greek pantheon, it was necessary for the GoW series to move into another realm of mythology if Sony wanted to make another game. And honestly, they chose one of the most metal mythologies they could find. The Norse pantheon is so known for being awesome. The mythos stands right next to our modern day superheroes — and hits them with a hammer.
Seeing Kratos hack and slash his way through the likes of Thor, Loki, Jormungand, and all of the other unashamedly bad ass gods and monsters the Norse mythology has to offer. As well, there is a lot of intrigue and troubled personal relationships between the gods that are almost as complicated as the Greeks. These should fit in perfectly with the new narrative —and character driven— arc they're trying to build this for Kratos and his son time around.
HATED: The Beard
Ugh. Listen, we get that this game takes place after GoW 3. We get that we're supposed to see a shift in Kratos's character because they want us to care about him this time. But seriously, Sony, did you need to give Kratos a beard to make him seem older? Just changing his clothes and dropping his chain swords (more on that later) would have been enough for us to know that Special K has had some kind of dramatic shift. But the beard? It's been done to death.
But at least it's been a great way for the internet to vent some of its inexhaustible snark with all of the "Dad of War" jokes. Maybe they'll actually have armor upgrades in this one, and somebody will mod a pair of cargo shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and a pair of flip flops.
Learned: Skyrim + Kratos = KILLER Style
Since we're seeing a God of War based on Norse mythology, Kratos is going to have to go where they live. And the snowy mountains, etched rock slabs, and wooden doors thicker than the length of your arms festooned in iron studs will make feel like they're so custom-made for Kratos. It's a wonder David Jaffe didn't start here with the first one. The leaked concept art back in 2016 showed Kratos interacting with this cold, forbidding world, complete with all the trimmings of what we love about the home of Vikings and Valhalla. In addition, the end view we got at the end of the 2016 trailer was breathtaking, just to hammer the point home.
In essence, we're seeing the hardest, most violent video game protagonist ever created, set loose in the world that inspired Skyrim. They've given this new GoW a great place to start, so let's just hope that they don't fall short.
HATED: Story Is Still Unclear
It's been two years and at least five minutes of footage, guys. We know we've got some kind of journey ahead of us, because that's what all God of War games are. So why can't we have some kind of elaboration as to what, exactly is going on here? Why are we still guessing when we know (sort of) when this is going to be coming out?
It's all just frustrating, really. Everyone wants to know how Santa Monica is going to justify this shift in setting, and while everyone is cool with it, they just want to know why, because they know it's going to be cool. Knowing the actual goal/objective of the plot would go a long way to selling us on having Kratos return as the lead protagonist.
Learned: GoW Is Going Open-World
Even though they denied this back when it was originally announced, Sony Europe head and global sales and marketing exec Jim Ryan has recently confirmed that the new outing from Citizen K is going to be an open-world experience, and suggested that it might be because they want it to sell in Europe. With the recent craze of open-world titles, it kind of makes sense for this one to join the crowd. Let's just hope it doesn't become a shallow experience like so many open-worlds — a la Fallout 4.
This is also a great move to give Kratos to experience the feelings that Sony is desperately trying to shoehorn into everyone’s favorite relentless killing machine. If it's going to work, the best way to do it without making us sit through hours of cutscenes will be through the narrative opportunities that completing quests in an open-world setting will provide.
HATED: Too Many RPG Elements
If you were like me, you rolled your eyes when this popped up in the trailer. I mean, come on guys. I get the shift to open-world. I get the want to create a much deeper story than we've seen in the past. But do we really need to throw in all of the stupid friggin' skill bars we see in games like Skyrim and World of Warcraft? These are, without a doubt, the one thing that most people who love these games hate the absolute most. I mean, come on, Breath of the Wild made a whole open world game without that form of crafting.
God of War does not need to jump full-on into MMO/open-world mode when it's never even tried to flirt with these concepts before. Reel it in, guys. Just give us a sandbox we can hack into.
Learned: It Will Have Much Greater Weapon Variety...
Kratos has some sort of magic axe this time around, and we've also seen a bow come forward. It seems that this time around we could be seeing a much more diverse array of weapons employed by the Ghost of Sparta, and that should be much more interesting. I mean, yeah, there were a lot of other weapons used in previous God of War games, but come on guys, don't act like you didn't use them in the obligatory first fight and then ditched them for the chain swords for the rest of the game.
And at least with this ace, we're getting a very heavy Mjolnir vibe with Kratos being able to make it return to his hand at will. That actually feels Norse - what did the chain swords have to do with Greek Mythology? Oh, speaking of chain swords...
HATED: SO WHERE ARE THE CHAIN SWORDS?!
WHY ARE THEY GONE?! God of War is meditation through ultra-violence: seeing Kratos dance and spin flaming swords of death, mercilessly ripping his enemies to shreds as you tap little buttons on your controller is just wonderful to watch. So why are we taking this away from us? I don't care that you've got some silly-ass narrative reason that he doesn't have them anymore, I want some Wolverine bone-claw type stuff to happen to bring my chain swords back. I promise, I'll use the rest of whatever you put in there, just allow me to let loose the beautiful physics of the blades across an open-world environment. Let me throw a flunky through one of those pretty trees. Then let me toss Kratos’s kid up to a ledge so he can open a door for me.
Oh! Speaking of...
Learned: Atreus, Kratos's Son, Isn't Useless
A lot of the apprehension of the God of War PS4 trailer was the fact that Kratos's son, who appears to be named Atreus, was going to be a ball and chain a la Ashley Graham from Resident Evil 4, hobbling the action through an NPC that can't protect himself. However, we're seeing that he knows at least some part of combat and can defend himself to some degree.
In the 2017 E3 reveal, we saw him not only shooting people with the bow, but also stabbing monsters from behind Kratos's back, even standing up to him. And if anyone is going to be able to give Kratos a talking to, it's his own flesh and blood.
Who knows, we might see Atreus surpass his father in some aspects. Just as long as he doesn't inherit too much of his father's temper.
HATED: Kratos Still Sucks, But At Least He Has A Kid Now!
Ah, damn it. Kratos was about as one-dimensional of a character as you could get, and for the game that God of War was, you didn't really need anything else. But things kept getting more and more convoluted as the games wore on, and pretty soon the one-sidedness of the character ended up feeling more and more significant a flaw as he killed more and more gods with the narrative straining to give him a decent reason.
But it's 2017 now, and despite the multitudes of people he's murdered, stepped on, and fornicated to get to where he is, we're going to try and see more of Kratos's human side. The game is going to try and get him to empathize with us and damn it, if it's like it was in the trailer, we're going to have to force ourselves to come to terms with the fact that we're alright with humanizing a mass-murderer.
Learned: The Release Date Is... Early 2018.
We finally know when the game is coming out! We've been waiting to see it for two years and have been waiting for a new installment since 2013, but now we finally know when we'll be getting our hands on the latest God of War. Get your wallets ready folks. It's...!
Early 2018. Ugh.
Thanks for keeping us on the edge of our seat, Sony. Dammit, a date like that essentially means it's going to come out whenever it's ready. Who the hell do they think they are, Blizzard? If it meant getting to play it right away we could have waited an extra year for the reveal — this feels premature!
HATED: The Collector's Edition Is Going to be INSANE
And hoo boy! That collector's edition, amirite? We live in an age of incredibly over-the-top collector's editions, and this one is no exception. Still, gods-damn-it if that isn't one amazing-looking piece of swag. Per GamesRadar, the official laundry list is:
Game9 inch statue of Kratos & Atreus battling 2 HelmstersTwo carved sons toys FigurinesSteelbook caseExclusive lithograph printCloth gameworld mapDigital soundtrackExclusive dynamic themeShield pack containing 3 in-game shields
Of course, it's all going to be around $200, but it definitely looks like you're getting your money's worth here. If I had that kind of cash lying around, I'd definitely drop it to get this. I mean, it doesn't help that I'm a sucker for collectibles and figurines and stuff like that.
Learned: It's Still Going to be Violent AF
This face. This face, and all the agony, torment, and brain-breaking pain that's behind it, is the reason we all love the God of War series. It's never been afraid to show us unhindered, completely over-the-top gore and violence from the most appealing angle it can find, and it does our hearts so much good to see that this game is not going to break with that core tradition in the least. Kratos plays out our power fantasies to the max as he rips his foes apart. Yes, this chapter of Kratos's life may be different from what we've grown accustomed to. But it is as visceral, as bone-shattering, and as brutal as the last games have been. And that should make you smile.