First Impressions: ‘God of War’ (PS4)

New entry in ‘God of War’ franchise oozes perfection in opening hours

Welcome back, Kratos — and who is this clearly more emotionally mature little person next to you? Could it be that developer Sony Santa Monica has given you another family in an effort to humanize you, the man who laid waste to the Greek Pantheon? Oh, you’re still a basically mute bad-ass, just with a new magical weapon in tow and a new set of gods to mess with? I’m game for that, because even though I’m just a few hours into “God of War” — the sequel to 2010’s “God of War III” that takes place within the Norse mythology rather than Greek — it’s clear this entire game simply exudes perfection, no matter how much Kratos scowls.

The latest in the “GoW” franchise starts off some unknown amount of time after the events of “GoW III,” in which Kratos goes all on in his very personal battle against the Greek gods. Now, he’s and he has a young son, Atreus, following right behind. The two are embarking on a journey to bury the ashes of Atreus’ mother, and it’s clear from the get-go that this isn’t going to be some short little trip.

Some noticeable changes right from the start: I’m not using my legendary fiery blades of death anymore; instead, I have the Leviathan Axe, which is imbued with frost magic and can be summoned back to Kratos after being thrown. (He also uses a retractable shield with which he can parry enemy attacks.) Also, companion Atreus is shockingly useful both in and out of combat: He’s great with his bow attacks, and he’s far more knowledgeable about this region than Kratos could ever hope to be.

And it’s clear the developer’s decision to use a continuous camera shot was the right call: It doesn’t take long before Kratos enters his fight major conflict, and the camera’s location makes each and every punch and slash so much more intimate.

At this point, “God of War” is clearly a different beast than its predecessors — what with its companion and RPG elements — but it still feels like “God of War” of old. But I can’t truly be sure of how great the game will turn out to be until Kratos starts doing combos with his son against an Aesir god. We’ll just have to wait and see.

This is a First Impressions of “God of War” on the PlayStation 4. A full review will follow once the game is completed.

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