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God of War


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Started this earlier, put in about 4 hours.


I play almost 90% of games on Normal unless some developer etc. expressly recommends playing it on hard (Alien Isolation for example). I was all set to play on Normal until a lead animator for SSM came on Era and said he recommends everyone plays it on Hard for the 'true' GoW experience, so I thought 'Fuckin' eh! I'll have some of that' And so today I started it on 'Give me a challenge' - i.e. Hard.


Now we've got that out of the way we can talk about the game itself. The introduction sets the scene perfectly, a boat ride back home that acquaints you with the new Norse surroundings, reacquaints you to Kratos and introduces you to Artreus perfectly. At the beginning I was just messing about in the opening area prodding everywhere I could to try to see where I could and couldn't go at this early stage in the game - turns out not very far. 


First impressions were excellent. The graphics in 4K HDR were phenomenal (I had a tough choice choosing 4K or 60FPS but went with 4K in the end) the way Kratos' muscles flex as you're moving along, the way the flags move in the wind, the lighting and attention to detail in pretty much every department was astounding. Saying that it still wasn't as astounding or lifelike as my Hellblade experience on PC but for a £350 console this was pretty damn excellent all things considered.


It was only when I got introduced to the combat that I was really amazed by it though. The opening tutorial fight - as seen in the E3 demo 2 years ago - introduces you to the basic mechanics you'll need to fight, as I was playing on Hard though the tutorials were a bit light and I had to figure things like the parry, blocks etc. out pretty quickly as I died about 5-10 times in this section alone - hard is no joke folks. On top of that I had the immersive HUD on so I stupidly couldn't work out for the first 3 or so hours why I couldn't get basic info like my health etc. on screen, when playing on hard - as much as I love the immersive HUD - you need all the info available to you.


The combat is the standout for me so far, it is just orgasmic when it is just all working in harmony, I have let out a few audible 'fuck me!'s so far and I've only experienced a small sliver of what the game has to offer. It just has such a fantastic weight to it and there are just so many options available to you that get deeper and deeper the further into the game you go, and if you want to survive you need to use the entirety of your arsenal otherwise you're gonna get your arse whipped. Everything just feels SO good, parrying an enemy and feeling the vibration on the controller and the motion blur on screen, seeing the enemy being juggled in the air when you heavy attack them and then keeping them there when Artreus fires arrows at them to keep the combo going, it just feels so incredibly fantastic and is such a treat for the eyes. 


There's so much to learn with the combat too. I only feel like I've got a mild grip on the Axe itself, there is definitely a shit load of axe-arrows-axe throw-bare handed-axe recall-axe combos out there where you can seemingly keep them juggled in the air for ages like a fighting game or DMC, it just feels so damn great. I'd say the combat does feel Souls-like but with more freedom and a touch more panache to it, the setup to the fights are often quite different, instead of aggroing a crowd and taking them out one by one the game will often drop you into a crowd of enemies and say 'deal with it' and you'll just have to suss it out.


The game really doesn't mess about on hard with the enemies either. Very early on I was introduced to revenants, big fuckers, projectile enemies and regular fodder all at the same time and having to deal with them all and strategise on the fly, I do feel at times like these that it is similar to Doom in some ways, always keeping you moving and thinking on your feet.


The exploration has been cool, nothing amazing in my view but it is good enough to keep you engaged. It has that old school GoW feel to it but feels quite Souls like at the same time, there's one environment which you go through quite early on which doubles back on itself and when you reach the end you can discover a path that takes you to a cliff that overlooked the very first place you emerged when you first came to this particular place. All been done before of course but it is always impressive when that happens to a certain degree. I've enjoyed picking up all the various do-dads, quicksilver, masks etc. and the moments where you figure a mini-puzzle out to get to a chest you can see through a crack in a wall is pretty damn satisfying.


The puzzles have been quite disappointing so far, there have been some revolving around chests to increase your health/rage level which involve smashing hidden earns littered throughout the immediate environment and a few level/chain puzzles where you tell Artreus to stay in a certain place while you raze a bridge or drop a chain or something like that, all have been a nice distraction from the combat but all easier than I expected so far and far less in depth than the old school trilogy.


The 'Stranger' boss fight early on was one of the best boss fights I've ever seen in games. I thought it was hyperbole when Greg Miller said that on one of the KF poddy's but it is literally bananas how good it is, just insanely good, can't really say anymore without spoiling it but wow. The story itself is in the very early stages but there have already been a few touching moments between Artreus and Kratos, there is one line of dialogue that references the E3 demo and a few other lines where Kratos lectures Artreus which had me giggling as well. Already way above the laughable shit in GoW3, I was literally laughing out loud at everything Kratos said in that because it was so angsty and one note, not the case here. They've actually made Kratos a somewhat rounded character somehow, I can't believe it either.


Overall I'm very impressed with it, but it has only really been the combat that has blown me away so far, everything else has been very good but in line with other AAA norms to some degree.


Some pics:







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I've been playing it a bit.  Been playing it one hard which I often do on character action games.


I might bump it down, though, because I am struggling.  I think that animator dude isn't wrong saying it's best played on hard but I think it may only be the case later on in the game after you've unlocked a bunch of abilities and skills that open up the combat a bit more.  I feel like at this early stage it's a bit much, especially when they start through enemies with projectiles at you.


But the combat is really fun.  And I get quite excited looking at the demo videos with the upgrade tree showing what's coming later.  I do wish you started with more, though.


I know it's been compared to Dark Souls a little, which I get, at least with shoulder button combat and some quite heavy and deliberate movement, which is the polar opposite to the original games where he always felt a little too light.  I love how you can tap the X button to shimmy slightly out of the way and double tap for a combat roll.  I'm a notorious double tapper in fighting games so it feels pretty good to use the single tap and move just out of the way for an attack and have more time for a retaliation.  I love the little details in the combat.  I also noticed you tend to do more stun damage when enemies are groggy, and kicking them into a wall can extend the groggy-ness and I find I can get a lot of stun damage without doing proper damage and get a finisher quite early, given the right circumstances.


But It's great.  Deffo getting God Hand vibes under the bonnet and I think Resident Evil 4 as well (I have them in my head as sister games, though), mostly because on hard at least there is a big focus on crowd management, and also from that over the shoulder view and deliberate movement.

I think The Last of Us is similar in that it takes quite numerous, subtle game mechanics used in great Japanese action games and throws a ton of money and creative talent at them.  Like, you could argue that the original God Of War games were expensive and flashy takes on the genre that the Japanese were frankly the best at but didn't nail the feel.  This one nails the feel.  It's not Bayonetta tight, but it is still a very satisfying game in its own right.

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Played another 4 hours or so today, 8 total.


I definitely feel I understand what the game 'is' more now and what the gameplay loop is going to be. I enjoyed the opening 4 hours and they were very much that cinematic linear experience with some Souls/Metroidvania-esque elements sprinkled in there along with the fantastic combat of course, but I had the coming out of Kakariko village and stepping into Hyrule Field for the first time moment where the game reveals itself to you and you begin to grasp what the world is, how everything interconnects and binds with each other and it really is something else.


Initially I was just intoxicated by what was in front of me and for the entirety of my session I poked and prodded at the seams to see what I could find. Quite a lot it turns out, you've got your more standard side quests in there like


lighting x number of braziers, treasure maps and difficult monsters to slay (they all one-shotted me so I'm not strong enough yet)

but the true star is all the secret areas you can find. There's so many little alcoves and beaches to pull up at and of course it begins with a 'I wonder what's down here...' thought in your head, I really didn't expect much from these - the odd fight, chest or collectible - but it is so much deeper than that. As you scamper off you may get dragged further and further down the rabbit hole until you're in some huge Souls-like interconnected area pursuing a new side quest you just found, solving puzzles and picking up all the valuable materials/collectibles along your way. 


It's just intoxicating. That Souls-like buzz of curiosity mixed with tension and danger is what I experienced at every turn, obviously there's no inherent threat I'll lose all my stuff or have to worry about where the Bonfire is but it's a similar feeling. You're trepidaciously making your way through these hidden areas, exploring every nook and cranny whilst taking on a ton of enemies - some of which are even placed in dastardly places just like Souls next to chests and treasures - that may or may not be quite a way above your current level.


That classic Alice in Wonderland analogy of going further down the rabbit hole is so apt here. It works because these lands are so strange and so foreign as well, sure there are some cave type environs thrown in but even they still manage to somehow exude personality despite their gruff interiors. It sometimes feels like exploring Middle Earth in LOTR for the first time as well, coming across these strange-but-familiar alien places filled with a ton of new enemy types you've never even seen or experienced before and learning on the fly.


The combat has got considerably easier since I've amassed a whole shit ton of stuff from my side excursions today and upgraded a load of my gear, I'm not dying as much now even on Hard but there are still a few higher level enemies knocking about that have given me cause for concern. Still doesn't make the combat any less great or the fear of being overwhelmed mid-battle any easier to handle, strategising and improvising in the moment is what the games about, it actually reminds me of Doom 2016 in lots of ways the way a lot of combat scenarios work out and having to constantly keep moving in battle.


More pics - there's 1 very early very mild story locale/activity spoiler and 3 location spoilers but I'll put them in a spoiler tag just in case:







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I played for about four hours last night - got to the Hyrule Field moment Blakey speaks of but realised it was 12:45am so decided it was time to call it a night. Loving it so far - combat is great, the game is pretty brutal considering i'm only laying on normal. Seem to be scraping by in most fights though.


Have to say it's a pretty crappy representation of parenting so far though. Artreus is far too well behaved. If it was my kids:


"Now we hunt."

"Don't want to."

"I didn't ask if you wanted to, we're going hunting."


"Get your bow and put your boots on."

"I SAID NO!" *blows raspberry*

"THREE - TWO - On..."

"fine - stupid bum bum head."




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I think i'm at a similar point to you @Nag. I'm quite enjoying how slowly the game opens up. I'm really enjoying it myself - I think the pacing is superb, tense battles followed by just the right amount of exploration and puzzle solving, and then a new  I also like how it resists the urge to throw a QTE in your face at every opportunity. 



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I love this game. Combat is satisfying and the right kind of challenge, story is really good - narratively this is one of the best action games, the right amount an kind of exploration. Not collectable tat fir the most part it's useful combat abilities or enhancements rewarding that time spent exploring. 


Looks, sound/music, story. It's got the works. Will take a lot to topple this. For me anyway.

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I’m at exactly the same point as you @Nag I’m 16 hours in and have been avoiding the story like the plague when at all possible, spending a lot of time exploring. Not sure if you’re the same or have mainlined it but I get the feeling that we’re all very very early on.


I don’t see the perfect scores yet myself either (the combat system and exploration is excellent but it would only be an 8 so far for me) although if you are looking for the same spectacle you got from the Stranger boss fight constantly throughout the story you’ll probably be disappointed. 


I actually thought to myself today how much I thought you’d like it due to the design similarities with TR 2013 but it doesn’t have the pulsating cinematic action story running through it I guess.

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I'm the opposite, I've been following the story pretty solidly until last night where I took a break and had a paddle about. Only done a couple of side missions but they were really good and the rewards justified the effort - got an amazing axe pummel for one. The combat keeps opening up as well with plenty of new tricks to learn. I don't think i'll ever get bored of juggling enemies, having Artreus shoot them and then cleaving them in half.


I'm loving the father and son dynamic as well. The dialogue has already hit a few nerves that made me reflect on my family situation, wasn't expecting that from an action game previously famed for it's violence. 

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The more I play of this the more I think I’m playing one of the modern Tomb Raider games.


Not that that’s a bad thing, but it doesn’t feel distinct, it just feels like they’ve given in to certain other AAA trappings when creating this.


The emphasis on puzzles is by far the best and most distinct thing about it. Even the combat which was initially daunting and tense I just get through by throwing my axe a lot and getting Artreus to shoot folks.


The 2nd proper boss fight I encountered today and it was fantastic don’t get me wrong but the lead up to it I just don’t know, I did enjoy it, but I’m feeling a pattern to the loop that I’m just not sure I love all that much.


I’m finding Artreus annoying at times as well, I think it’s the American accent, Kratos sounds so stoic and cool but I just find that kind of whiny American kid accent particularly grating at times. 

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It's weirder that we've come to find British accents as normal for Nordic Gods.


5 hours ago, Blakey said:

The emphasis on puzzles is by far the best and most distinct thing about it. Even the combat which was initially daunting and tense I just get through by throwing my axe a lot and getting Artreus to shoot folks.


Drop it down to normal and engage with the combat system.  If that's how you're getting through fights then no wonder you're not having fun and think the puzzles are a highlight.  They're fine, but they're no Tomb Raider or Arkham series.


I'm pretty far in now and to play on hard I think you do need to plan your skill upgrades properly, get comfortable with actually fighting (not cheesing things) and have a proper grasp of its RPG system.  You can only learn this stuff from experience, or read reams of tiny text, but I still think getting it first hand is best.  And you can do sidequests while under levelled so don't go thinking it will be a cake walk.  You can still challenge yourself.

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This guy gets it ??


It's moved on from its Hack and slash roots into more of an action RPG but has a great combat sysrem still. You don't just throw your axe at enemies, some you're better using your fists and shield. I make a mockery of those monkey beasts with shield bashing for instance.


Some parts have high level enemies and your best avoiding them till later on. You level up in this game like an RPG, so you can't take everything on on like you would in old God of War. Unless you like a sweaty challenge. 


The combat us so satisfying. I can't see how anyone would disagree. So brutal and weighty with cool as fuck moves. Spend some time stringing combo's and trying different moves on different enemies. Learn to parry. So easy to parry.


If you're playing on Hard you kinda bring it on yourself to struggle a bit. Hard is self explanatory. Some games you'll get away with it but some, like this, it'll add a level of frustration because your facing harder and more varied enemy combinations without a good understanding of the combat. 

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