As gamers and games developers have matured, so has the medium itself. Everyone from Lara Croft to Nathan Drake has a lengthy back story and complex motivations these days (thank goodness they haven’t come for Mario yet). So it is that we see Kratos, whose whole schtick was once purely about anger and killing big, powerful foes, age into the role of a father unable trying awkwardly to connect with his young son. And killing unfathomably powerful mythical beasts, of course. Some things don’t change. Kratos has moved to the cooler climes of Scandinavia and become widowed. As he and his son set out to scatter his wife’s ashes they become mixed up in the affairs of the Norse gods, and from there on out things get a whole lot bloodier and more complicated. The core of God of War is much as it ever was. Raucous combat is delivered with cinematic panache and is as satisfying as ever. In many ways, however, this is a series that has grown beyond its adrenaline-fuelled formative years. Yes, the action is still exhilarating, but there’s as much to be offered by the narrative and slower-paced exploration and puzzling as there is from the fighting. God of War offers a deep, rich Norse world with plenty to discover and stand in awe of. And whether you’re sailing beneath the legs of a titanic, rusting statue of Thor or hiking over the corpse of a fallen giant, the surprisingly tender relationship between Kratos and his son is always at the heart of God of War.
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