'God of War' is perhaps the biggest gaming surprise of 2018.
The series started back in 2005 as a 'Devil May Cry' inspired hack and slasher that commanded you as an angry demigod called Kratos, who was sent to hunt down Greek gods and to take them out in gruesome ways.
Despite its lack of a compelling story the games succeeded due to its satisfying combat and the huge spectacle. But now the series is back with our favorite mass murdering psychopath Kratos now cast as a cuddly daddy who has spawned a son.
Starting the game with the good news that your wife has died, the duo of Kratos and his son Artemis decide to journey across the Nordic lands to scatter their late loved one's ashes on a mountain. Despite the set-up is simple, the stories have an unexpectedly emotional story to tell between its titular father and son.
Over the games 10+ hours of story you see this father and son relationship grow with the game cutting back on the spectacle of previous games and instead using the connection of its two leads to drive the drama.
When the title was first announced back in 2016 the first demo had a lot of fans worried due to its pulled in camera and focus on a story. That teaser gave off a bad vibe that it was a 'The Last of Us' clone because of the lack of combat and its reliance on slow walking sequences. But the full adventure is much deeper than the first impression with in-depth RPG mechanics such as levelling up your loot in addition to crafting better weapons. The combat also gets a boost with upgradable moves that over the course of games means you can string together multiple combos giving a satisfying kick to the combat. The way you can customise you and your sons armour give a personal touch to the gameplay akin to dressing up your favourite action man.
The way the game intertwines story and gameplay is truly astounding as the game is structured as one long un-interrupted shot. It gives the game a true cinematic feel without compromising the gameplay. Despite this the side missions are weak with a heavy reliance on fetch quests and puzzle that comprise of 'throw axe here' without any depth. As well as this, the game's pulled in camera can be its own worst enemy at times when you are surrounded by enemies. This is because you are unable to see enemies who strike behind you leading to some cheap deaths.
But in spite of that this is one journey still worth taking with a story that stands up there with some of the greatest game stories ever written. A great story wrapped in a solid action game leading to one of the best gaming experiences of the year.
'God of War' for PlayStation 4 rating: 3 / 5
By Ross Martin-Pavitt