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"God of War" is not perfect, but it's an unmistakable masterpiece

No spoilers. You are welcome.

Courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment

Few games deserve the term "epic" as much as the "God of War" series. It plays like a hack-and-slash developed by Japan, but is presented in the size of a Western blockbuster, and for that very reason, every game in the series has done well both critically and financially. But like any successful franchise, there comes a time when the formula needs to be optimized and the past improved. Kratos, the protagonist of the series, has killed almost every single Greek god and Titan (!), But he was never as much of a character as he was an unadulterated vessel of rage. The series' soft reboot, the (unspectacularly named) "God of War," continues the story of Ghost of Sparta as it takes its biggest hurdle yet: transition from Kratos, the god of war, to Kratos, Dad of Boy 19659004]

Creative Director Cory Barlog has done much to make the new "God of War" for serial newcomers and veterans. It's good. In the unnamed time between "God of War III" and its continuation of 2018, Kratos somehow got from Greece to Scandinavia, grew his beard and settled down. The "how" he brought here and the "why" are questions for another time. Along with many, many other ambiguities in the story that the game recognizes, this mystery is one of the new joys the series offers.

The opening images of "God of War" lead us to so many new identities of the series that Kratos himself denies to overcome his past and his son. Boy, Kratos & # 39; s son, whom he once refers to a blue moon with his birth name Atreus, is a thrilling new character whom this game introduces. In many ways, Atreus makes the game what it is and forces players to see the end of their journey. Your search is simple: Scatter the ashes of Kratos & # 39; Fiancee, Atreus & # 39; Mother, on the highest peak of the Nine Realms. Along the way, the two meet a few friends and many enemies, although it is the relationship between father and son that makes these encounters meaningful.

There is really too much to tell about the story of "God of War," which can not do justice in any kind of review. Play the game, experience it first-hand. Just when you think that the game can not be exciting, it comes to developments and emotions that swell to the brink of the explosion. At one point, "God of War" turns the lock and you realize that everything you've done is just part of the monumental task.

It has been said once, but I repeat it again: "God of War" is a beautiful story that brings forth the people of Kratos. Christopher Judges voice as Old Man Kratos is a dominant bass that lets the devil roll up in a ball and the young and always promising Sunny Suljic continues to show immense talent like the blissfully naive Atreus. Spending time talking to them is rewarding and unlocks layers for their relationship. Very early in the game, Kratos Atreus says not to apologize, but to be better. It is a line that boldly speaks to the legacy of Sony Studios Santa Monica and the places where a series is as brutal as "God of War". They never had to apologize for their games – they are excellent titles – but they have always been able to improve, and the new "God of War" encapsulates this improvement in almost every possible way. It's not perfect, but it's a masterpiece of a video game from a technical, literary and playful point of view that hopefully (but unfortunately not) will tempt a wave through the gaming industry calling for character-driven single-player games.

The history of the big games is based on adopting already established ideas and innovations on them. If we judge "God of War" solely on the basis of originality, it would be harder than an ESRB supercut of PG moments in the series. There is so much that has already been said, but Santa Monica Studios has clearly drawn much of Naughty Dog's "The Last of Us", something that Barlog has openly discussed [1965-9012]. But instead of getting annoyed about how they are informed by "The Last of Us," the simplest differences between them show how unique each title is. And for what it's worth, the didactic father-son story was too often told to count; The special dynamic "God of War" explores hits of many of the same beats as others, but its epic story of gods and the grueling process of coming to terms with the past make it extraordinary.

Courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment

The postponement of the battle of earlier "God of War" games was a seamless progression that maintained its intensity, but the speed of Old Man Kratos is not what it once was was. One of the biggest differences that the game offers is the lack of a jump button; Occasionally you will be asked to jump over an edge or climb a wall, but otherwise your mobility will be just one level. The Leviathan Ax, a frost-elemental weapon that can keep up with the impact of the blades, replaces the iconic blades of chaos from previous versions. Attacks are fast and brutal, and although the game is not running at 60 FPS and Kratos is slower this time, the fight is absolutely captivating. Playing God of War on its toughest difficulty is a Herculean task that requires precise attacks, feline reflexes, and accurate timing to parry enemies with the collapsible shield of Kratos.

This is all to mention the inclusion of Atreus in the fight, which, despite the notion that the AI-driven partner is an anchor for the flow of the game, is anything but. By default, the square button is for Son's control: A tap causes it to fire one arrow at the next or, if you're aiming for a particular enemy, to whomever you tell it. Vitally useful for gameplay, Atreus is the player character as well as Kratos, communicating the point of view and empathy of the player. "God of War" seamlessly responds to player input and wreaks you badly if you make the wrong decision. Not playing with the help of Atreus is a fool's fool, as he can help Kratos juggle with opponents and inflict other forms of damage necessary to fuel the fight. It annoys me to make the comparison, but think of a faster "Dark Souls", but just ahead of "Bloodborne"'s razor-sharp pace. Finally, you will unlock additional tools that will assist you in combat that contribute to the already satisfying "Umph" of the Leviathan. In particular, a weapon makes some of the most merciless means of mass control, as the BFG is pretty in "Doom" or Clouds Omnislash in "Final Fantasy VII"

"God of War". It's very, very, very pretty and it's hard to believe that what you sometimes play is not a single continuous cutscene. Here's a challenge: Take a screenshot and ask someone who is unfamiliar with the game to see if it's a cutscene or actual gameplay. It is so wonderful. Of course, there is hiccups, because in the first quarter of the game more attention is paid to the beautiful presentation.

There are some aspects of the visual department that were clearly less preferred than others, such as: For example, certain environments with poorer texture and lighting. But even then, graphic fidelity in these scenes is nothing short of breathtaking and ahead of most competitors (the operative word is "the most" because "Horizon Zero Dawn" exists). Volumetric lighting, particle effects, and the physical rendering of objects such as Kratos and Atreus' equipment (which, however, are not visible!) Lending the photorealistic authenticity that every single player will find to see something. With a single-camera perspective that never cuts off, the gimmick holds phenomenal to give the game the breathtaking sensation its content requires. However, it would be nice if there was an option to run the game at 60 FPS at the expense of graphic fidelity, as with Team Ninja & # 39; s "Nioh," as the action in "God of War" can be so breakneck , 19659018] Courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment

Due to the cinematic nature of the game, it is understandable that it must be accompanied by a sound design that transmits any awesome visual and deep, tough attack on your ears. Famed Composer Bear McCreary contributed the larger-than-life score to the game, which stirs everything from desperate fighting and colossal boss fights to the serene ambience of the Nordic wilderness. You will not catch the acclaimed title song from the original series, but in its place are equally swollen orchestrations. What would a "God of War" game be without the sound of flesh and bone fracture? It has that, and it delivers it in spades.

And it is in the clash of sound and image that a story is so simple in the head, but takes shape epically in the execution. Video games are more than the sum of their technical parts, but it's impossible not to step back from the massive power of Santa Monica Studios.

Verdict: Although early this year, "God of War" is top contender for the game of the year. It's the perfect package: Intuitive battle with lots of light RPG-like details; an emotional story that marks a bold new direction for the series; and a technical marvel that testifies to the power of the PS4. Buy this game and do not hesitate.

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