God of War impressions

So God of War is great. It’s real good. A proper game.

‘Game’ is the keyword though. It’s not a ‘service’, it’s not an ‘interactive experience’ or a piece of art. It’s a good ol’ fashioned game.

It’s not just any game though. It’s so polished and tuned. God of War shrugs off some of the annoying tendencies associated with single player action games and replaces them with an adventure so beautifully streamlined that it’s hard to fault anything after 20-ish hours played.

When I say it’s a “proper game”, I mean that it embraces many of the key touchstones of modern gaming. There are RPG character levelling systems. There are collectables. There are bosses. There are difficulty settings. There are open world areas. There are quick-time-events (e.g. press ‘x’ at the right time to instigate an awesome cinematic action that you have no further control of). There are potions and health bars. There are side quests. There is fast-travel. The list goes on. God of War has Kirby-sucked every game of the past decade and churned out a golden brick of a game.

There are lots of cool tricks too that aren’t so common in games. There are no load screens during gameplay (unless you die). The entire game – cut scenes included – is one single camera shot. It also somehow turns my PS4 into a fully functioning fan heater… seriously. Whilst playing I have genuine fears that my PS4 is going to take off. It sounds like a Harrier jet engine. It’s real concerning.

It’s a genuinely surprising experience too. Unpredictable plot twists have turned a simple A to B adventure into one of the more memorable stories I’ve played through in recent times. And the pacing is relentless. There are so many different locations that you are swept through – not one ever becoming stale. It’s just impressive, and vast. God of War is a feat of design and execution.

The minute-to-minute play is enthralling. Combat is chunky and cinematic. The climbing and platforming is just interesting enough, and doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. The environmental puzzles act more as action-cleansers, than brain-teasers. It’s a satisfying loop, and with no loading screens there are no obvious places to save your progress and put the game down – needless to say that the hours just roll by as you play.

I’m eagerly awaiting playing through the final third of the game, and still have a bunch of side content to get to. I think God of War is the best game of the year so far, with the potential to go all the way. It’s remarkable, and deserves your time and money.

With Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4 and now God of War, Sony’s studios have defined the action-adventure genre for this generation of consoles. And they have third-party studios turning up, too, with Nier Automata last year, and Spider-Man coming later in 2018.

I hope you get a chance to play Sony Santa Monica’s God of War.

Best wishes y’all.

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