I must confess something here: I was never much interested in God of War. The series’ protagonist, Kratos, seemed a bit outdated to me when I first discovered the franchise; the typical action movie brute. I even played the first two, there on PS2, but I didn’t create such a special bond with this universe.
In 2018, when the new era of God of War began, I barely paid any attention to the news, on a personal level. I got to play it briefly, even during a live — and it seemed like enough. At the time, I was much more concerned about the return of another splendid series: Red Dead Redemption.
Years passed, and I completely forgot to give Kratos’ newest adventure a chance. It wasn’t until 2022, with the game confirmed for PC, that I decided to dedicate myself, in fact, to God of War (2018). The result, as you may have guessed from the title, was a passion long unheard of in my life. For the world, for the gameplay, for the soundtrack and, above all, for the characters.
Small quirks of the old Kratos still exist in the new version of the protagonist, of course. But instead of feeling frustrated with this aspect of the narrative, I loved how that caricatured virility became a barrier to building a healthy relationship between father and son. And it is in this relationship that the soul of the entire work lies.
Together, Kratos and Atreus only have each other to deal with their grief. Faye’s death couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time, considering the distinct lack of intimacy between father and son. It’s even painful to see how helpless Atreus feels in this terrible moment, but it’s also painful to see Kratos not having the slightest idea how to help the “boy”, as much as he wants so much.
The development of a story so grounded in the concept of grief seems to be even more powerful in a context of a global pandemic, in which so many people have said goodbye to members of their own families. A little less than a year ago, I was the one saying goodbye to my father. So seeing the duo face all these fantastically absurd dangers while trying to come to terms with an incomparable loss moved me far more than I expected.
Unfortunately, my computer has some issues that are difficult to resolve. So, as much as his configuration is exactly the recommended one, I had some performance problems along the way. Nothing that destroyed the experience, but I wonder what it would be like to have followed all this more fluidly… Obviously, I’m already downloading it on PS5 to clear this doubt.
Anyway, when everything runs as it should, seeing the frame rate up there as I hurl the Leviathan Ax at enemies on sunny afternoons in the middle of the snow, with absolutely incredible shadows and character models, is just so, so sensational. I honestly have no idea how I managed to live with the fact that I hadn’t tested all possibilities until today. What magnificent fights!
I don’t know when was the last time I felt so absorbed by an original gaming universe. Whether it’s the identification I felt with the two main characters, the wonderful songs that make the whole journey so much more epic or the fact that this is the best combat system I’ve seen in the last decade. There are so many high points; so many memories I made wandering around Scandinavia from the Santa Monica studio.
I feel like I still need to play God of War a few more times to really know everything that happened. I want to see if I missed any of the wonderful stories that Kratos tells a talentless Atreus. I have some powerful enemies to meet again as well, for the sake of honor. And I still need to conquer some personal goals that don’t yield trophies. Anyway, I don’t see myself away from this game for a long time.
More than anything else, I must acknowledge that, yes, God of War has evolved far beyond what I thought possible. So, if for some reason, you’re like me, who didn’t feel much affinity for the series, get rid of those prejudices and jump right into the game. There are qualities for absolutely all audiences, from those who seek challenges to those who want a story of the highest level.
By the way, if you don’t have previous knowledge about the franchise because you’ve always played on PC or something, don’t worry. I never touched God of War 3, for example, and I didn’t miss it at all. As long as you know the basics of Kratos’ backstory (a retired former assassin of gods, so to speak), you can play with ease.
Depending on the speed with which you advance, if you decide to focus only on the main missions, for example, the story can end a little fast. However, this is far from a problem at a time in the industry where so many games just don’t know when to end. The care with every detail of God of War is simply impressive. Whenever you wonder what a “well-run” game is, rest assured that this is one of the best possible examples.
Ragnarok, the sequel to 2018’s God of War, arrives in 2022. Until recently, I would say without thinking that this was not one of my most anticipated games of the year. Now… Well, let’s just say my mind works just based on the expectation of this release. I don’t know if there’s any way a sequel will top the 2018 game, especially considering I feel like I played at the perfect time, but I hope to find out soon.
God of War has become one of my favorite games of all time. 10 years ago, I would never have considered this possibility. Who would say…