Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Jan 092019

While I didn’t finish the new God of War in time for my list of the top games I played in 2018, I finished it early this year and it was as good as I’d hoped it would be.

And it carried on the legacy of the previous games.

One of the main reasons I decided to play the previous God of War titles first (in addition to wanting to see the fully story and character development) was because I wanted a better appreciation of the changes.

As a Resident Evil fan, I’m sensitive to series making radical gameplay changes… but to my surprise, while the new God of War definitely plays differently, much of it felt familiar. Combat is slower, but you’re still using a mix of light/heavy melee attacks, ranged attacks, and special attacks, although with less magic and a greater emphasis on fighting a handful of enemies at a time instead of a mob.

Click for God of War (2018) spoilers
Once you get the Blades of Chaos, it feels even more like the originals despite the over-the-shoulder camera.

The focus on puzzles was lessened, with the bulk being for opening chests rather than progressing through the story, but there were still lots of little things that felt like the God of War formula evolved to fit the new game.

For me personally, it felt like it took everything I liked the most about the originals and gave me more.

Exploration? Now there are whole optional areas to explore, with their own treasures and collectibles and side quests, instead of just occasional secret areas with chests.

Lore? I loved the little world-building notes in God of War and God of War III, and God of War (2018) ramped it up with lore shrines and journal entries for just about everything in addition to the occasional little notes.

Story? It has more of a focus on story and character interactions than ever, largely because Kratos isn’t journeying alone, so he has someone to interact with almost all the time. This allows for many smaller moments of storytelling, rather than restricting it to the major cutscenes.

One thing I hadn’t been expecting was the sense of humor. The new God of War is much funnier than the previous games, with Kratos’s grumpiness and general lack of humor contributing to the humor as much as anything else. Really, the character interactions in this game were fantastic.

So I loved the characters (especially Atreus), and I enjoyed the story – even more so as I remembered bits and pieces of Norse mythology, which had gotten rather fuzzy in my memory over the years.

Click for major God of War (2018) spoilers
Including one point where I was away from the game doing an entirely unrelated task and my thoughts abruptly went something along the lines of, “Mistletoe… mistletoe arrows… Isn’t there a thing about–MISTLETOE IS THE ONE THING THAT CAN KILL BALDUR! ATREUS IS GOING TO SHOOT HIM WITH THE ARROWS!”

and then I was crushed when Freya burned my arrows.

Speaking of which, I appreciate a lot of their attention to little mythology details. I thought they’d just changed mythology to make Freya Baldur’s mother for a twist, but apparently there are scholars who believe Freya and Frigg came from the same goddess originally.

Also, Laufey -> Fey -> Faye. Even if I remembered the name Laufey, I doubt I’d have made the connection, but there it is.

Watching Kratos develop as a character was one of the best parts. He’s come a long way and he’s trying to move on from his past. After everything he’d gone through in the previous games, I just wanted him and Atreus to be happy. And while it might not be that easy, the emotional payoff after having played the previous games was definitely worth it.

Click for God of War (2018) spoilers
The whole sequence when Kratos takes sick Atreus to Freya, learns he’ll need to get different weapons, and rides the boat back to his house for the Blades of Chaos was such an emotionally intense series of events, it gave me chills watching it.

(Also, Helheim, for the obligatory God of War underworld section.)

The story also had some great twists and foreshadowing, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel. I have a few theories of my own, and I’ll be looking forward to news about the next game.

And yes, I know I haven’t played Ascension yet. I decided to skip it after learning it didn’t add much to the overall story. I’ll still probably play it eventually… perhaps this year?

What did you think of the new God of War game? How do you feel about the significant changes it made to the God of War formula?

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  One Response to “God of War (2018) is a Fantastic, Emotional Journey”

  1. […] There are three honorable mentions I want to discuss this year. First, God of War (2018). I know it was an honorable mention last year too, but since I completed it in the first week of January, it doesn’t feel like I really played it this year. But regardless of when I played it, it was great. […]

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