I just want to start off by saying that this game is one of the best, if not the best story game I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Everything ranging from the little details of the world around you right down to the interaction between Kratos and his son is beyond flawless. The look and feel of this game is different from anything I've played before and here's why.
Unlike the previous God of War games on the Playstation 2 and 3, this story feels more in depth with the way it weaves in and out of multiple storylines of different characters. And don't worry, if you haven't played the previous games, it's okay. God of War does not really reference the past games very much. It's a new take on the series that offers brand new gameplay and a brand new story. This time around it's not all about Kratos and his never-ending hatred for the gods. He's tasked with being a level headed warrior honoring the final wishes of his wife while having to raise his son, Atreus. He doesn't have time to lose control of his anger. Kratos must be level-headed in order to train his son for the long, perilous journey ahead of them.
This new journey is unlike any other journey you may have seen in the past. Kratos and Atreus are taking on the task of carrying Faye's, Kratos's wife and Atreus's mother, ashes to the highest mountain peak and spreading them as per her last request. You will come across hostile gods along the way who wish to stop you, but Kratos takes more of a passive approach. He tries to teach his son control, focus, and mercy. Only fighting those who stand in his way and killing only those who need to be stopped. His main focus is the journey and protecting his son.
The main story of this game also takes you through many different areas of the game, offering new enemies and puzzles with each new area. Each portion of the map has its own significance as well as lore. You really get a feel for Norse mythology and the overall background for the time setting of the story. You also get to travel to different realms in search for items that are needed to carry on. Each realm also adds a new environment to the game. Whether it be giant volcanoes, poison mist, or even introducing a new common enemy, there is never a dull a moment.
You also get to see Kratos from a different perspective in terms of being a parent. His relationship with his son is extremely rocky and at times, they almost seem like they hate each other. Atreus was very close with his mother and never really understood his father. Now he is forced into spending every moment with him and it's interesting to see how they grow as father and son. There are moments where you see Kratos struggling to be supportive and understanding of his quick-tempered son. But there are also moments where Atreus doesn't listen and does not quite fully understand the lessons his father is trying to teach him. They are constantly butting heads but ultimately need each other to reach the end of their journey. It's very touching and thrilling to watch them come together and fight as one of the greatest duos. They might not like each other half the time, but they definitely need each other.
I truly believe they took a step in the right direction by giving this game more of an RPG feeling with side quests. These quests are obviously called side quests because they don't need to be completed for the main story, but I would recommend playing them. They not only give you more insight to the background of the story and introduce you to new characters, but they give you opportunities to better yourself by gaining experience points and equipment.
In terms of past God of War games, this one really delves into the RPG style platform. Kratos and Atreus both have upgradable equipment ranging from armor and weapons down to abilities and runes. This makes side quests very important in terms of leveling up. The game changes from just upgrading Kratos's basic abilities to having you pick your own type of style. Do you want to just boost your power and equip armor and runes that greatly improve your damage and abilities? Or would you rather take more of a defensive approach and increase your health and luck for finding more silver to buy upgrades? The choice is yours and it's FANTASTIC!
Armor ratings mean everything in this game. Armor determines your vitality, luck, power, defense, etc. Better armor doesn't always mean all of your stats will increase. There are times where you will have to make compromises in terms of your play style. I always want more power, but when I start to get my butt kicked, I have to turn around and greatly increase my defense at the cost of my power or luck. Or maybe I want to find more silver so I reduce my ability power in order to increase my luck. It really requires you to balance out your play style and figure out what works for you.
Your armor and weapons also come with rune spots. These runes give added benefits to your style of play. The leviathan axe is given two rune spots, one for a quick attack and one for a heavy attack. You have multiple different options in these categories, depending on how many runes you are willing to go exploring for. Armor is a different story. You are given two to three spots for runes and these strictly effect stats. Some range from giving you minor health regen, to giving to resistance to certain attacks and even enemies. It really presents the opportunity to play the game in many ways.
Now, I know that with the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One that no game really lacks graphics. Most of them are stunning. But God of War really takes the spotlight with its cinematic cutscenes. They are truly beautiful and very memorable. Every cinematic fight scene makes me feel like I'm watching a movie and I even forget sometimes that I'm holding my PS4 controller. I get lost in the acting and how beautiful the world around me is. I felt as if I might've been sucked into the game and forgot about the reality around me. It's nothing shy of a masterpiece when it comes to world around you. Everything ranging from the lighting in the caves, the beautiful plant life, and even the distant sounds in the background are beautiful. I personally think it is one of the most stunningly beautiful games anyone with play today.
I have played past games of the franchise and I'm not being biased when I say this: IT'S A MASTERPIECE. Everything in the game works and each aspect of the game really compliments itself and everything else. I don't think anybody who chooses to play this will be disappointed anyway. I have recommended this to anyone who has asked me about it. It's worth $60 and definitely was far from disappointment.