Kratos has returned in the fourth God of War installment. This time however, there is a twist. Instead of upsetting the entirety of the Greek pantheon by slaying gorgons and Minotaurs, we find Kratos with his son Atreus in the realm of Midgard. The change is a breath of life into this series and offers new places with new enemies in the form of Nordic mythology.
I Would Do Anything For Love…
We first come across Kratos and Atreus gathering marked trees for a funeral pyre for Kratos’ wife. As part of his promise to her, he gathers up her ashes and sets out with his son to climb the highest peak in the realm to spread her ashes. Simple task, yes? Not so much. Kratos and Atreus are set upon by all sorts of enemies, from beasts to Nordic gods that pack quite a wallop. Their task not only causes them to throw down with some of the most notable faces in Nordic mythology, but also travel to other realms like Alfheim, the realm of the elves. All the while, Kratos and Son are clearing obstacles on the way with the goal to reach the summit of the mountain.
The Leviathan and the Boy
The last thing you want while setting out on a quest across a land plagued by Gods, who will stop at nothing to keep you from your goal, is to be ill-equipped. That’s why, instead of the iconic Chaos Blades from the first games, Kratos packs the Leviathan Axe. This axe was forged by two dwarven brothers and originally intended for Kratos’ wife. It also has the handy ability to return to Kratos.
Throughout the game, Kratos and Atreus cross paths with the dwarven brothers several times, and each time the brothers try to out-do the other’s handy work by upgrading the Leviathan Axe. But, that’s not all they do, as they are also the vendors in Midgard. They offer coin for trinkets scattered across the realm, allowing the player to purchase or craft new gear and upgrade existing weaponry and armor. The stats for the armor can be a little overwhelming at first, offering attributes from strength and defense to luck and vitality. While overwhelming to a point, it also offers a new way of approaching God of War tactically. Should I increase the strength of this armor and sacrifice vitality on another? The builds that someone could compose offer many different styles of play.
Atreus is more than just that little kid. He starts off a little lackluster and offers up little in the way of offense, however he quickly becomes an invaluable asset. Not only can you upgrade and purchase new gear for Kratos, you can do the same for Atreus. Doing so changes up what he can and can’t do in battle. Some tunics he wears allow him to throw an extra healing stone your way when you become too injured in battle, and others allow him to dig up treasures.
Aside from his choice of attire, Atreus also carries a bow and can be used initially as a distraction, or to target enemies over long distances. The bow may also be upgraded and can be equipped with runes that allow special attacks. Mome cause a murder of crows to fly around and attack enemies, others summon a pack of ethereal wolves to dash from target to target.
The Game Overall
God of War 4 is amazing, easily a must have for the PS4 and a fantastic addition to the series. The change to Norse mythology offers up newly inspired music, new threats and challenges, and new lore. The graphics are amazing and the animations for some of the finishing moves had me cringing and laughing at the same time. If you were ever on the fence about picking it up, I would suggest you give it a shot. It still maintains the typical hack and slash that the God of War series has become known for, as well as creative yet simple puzzles. I would give God of War 4 a 9/10.