God Of War is, without a doubt, the best slasher game I have ever played in terms of mechanics. On the highest difficulty, every battle, even the very first one, is a challenge that will test you to the limit. The enemies are extremely tough and aggressive and possess a wide array of attacks. Fortunately, so do you. You only have three weapons (your fists, your axe, and, later on, your blades) plus Atreus with his bow, but each has a lot of combos and magic attacks. The game is not stingy with experience points, so upgrading them all to the max will not be a problem. You can also craft various kinds of armor that enhance certain attributes (although, having chosen to favor strength, I found that most of them were crap) and use talismans that add yet another layer to the combat. All of that will be needed if you are to succeed. On the whole, I found that the highest difficulty was just right – very tough, but without the randomness that plagues Dark Souls. Some luck will still be needed, but it is your skill and strategy that will carry the day.
The game is set in a semi-open world, which is to say, it is generally linear, compared to a game like Skyrim or Witcher, but there is still plenty to explore, and it is tremendous fun. Exploration is always rewarded, and, on the highest difficulty, also necessary if you want to get strong enough to progress with the main story. There are many puzzles, but they are simple enough not to become frustrating.
The fact that there is a little kid in the game, and he is NOT annoying deserves special mention. Atreus is both an indispensable ally and a fun conversationalist, and his interactions with his father are fun to observe. He really grows on you, which means a lot when said about a kid that’s not your own.
Now to the bad things. First, the checkpoints. Whoever placed them clearly had better things to do with his time, because they are ATROCIOUS. There are no checkpoints where, logically, there should be, and, while you are supposed to respawn with full HP, you may have to reload several times until you do. At least, there are manual saves.
The Spartan Rage has driven me to actual rage on more occasions than I can count. It is activated by pressing L3+R3, which are both in heavy use during combat, which means you will be constantly activating it by accident and never have it when you actually need it. It is a TERRIBLE design decision.
The targeting system has caused me a lot of frustration, as well. Instead of locking on to the enemy that the camera is focused on (i.e. the one I friggin’ want), it will lock on to the nearest one. STUPID.
Last, but not least, this is a terrible God Of War game. What has God Of War always been about? Gore, tits, and locations that make you go “wow” the moment you see them. There is NONE of that here. The violence is PG-13, there is not a single pair of boobs, and the entire game is less epic than the opening cinematic in God Of War 3 alone. There is nothing truly memorable about it. The story SUCKS. Going in, I expected to battle Odin, Thor and Loki, at least; I expected to see the goddamn Ragnarok. Asgard, they could, at least, have shown me Asgard. What did I get? Family drama and beating up some hobo. It’s not that it was such a bad story on its own, and I wouldn’t have minded if this were some generic fantasy game, but the title is GOD OF WAR, and, to a God Of War player, it is like a slap in the face. I haven’t seen such a promising premise culminate in such a disappointing conclusion since Life Is Strange. I gave Life Is Strange a 7 because it wasn't called God Of War. This game only deserves a 6.