When it comes to the over the top violent video games, no one does it better than the God of War series. Ever since the first game in 2005, God of War‘s presence on PlayStation platforms remains strong. Through six games and many crossover appearances, Kratos has waged his one-man war again the gods and murdered all who stood in his way. From Greek legends to the mountain-sized titans, Kratos left a bloody trail of death wherever he went. Of course, after you killed all the Greek gods, it can be a bit tricky to know where to take the series afterward. Luckily, the next God of War will arrive next month and will fulfill our needs of some mythological massacre.
This time around, there have been a few changes that definitely shake up the formula. Not only is Kratos sporting a new beard, but he also has a new weapon, new place, and even a son. One can say that after six games that did the same thing over and over, this is a welcomed change, but others have their concerns that these changes are too much. As such, let us look at the upcoming God Of War and look at these changes more up close. Is this a change for the better? Or will these changes lead Kratos down a different path of self-destruction?
Trading Greek For Norse Mythology
It would be fair to say that when the world is basically done for and you murdered all the Gods of Olympus, you can’t really top that. As such, a change of scenery was the right call. Given the various other mythological media we could use, Norse mythology was the right choice to go with as it does offer its fair share of possibilities. Up to this point, most people’s knowledge of Norse mythology would be mostly limited to Thor from Marvel Comics. While it isn’t that we use Thor or God of War as our insight to the mythos, they do stick with the legends and build on them to provide something special. In the case of God of War, the question will be how far we will dive into the Norse and what kinds of things we will see.
So far, we’ve seen a few examples of the kinds of monsters Kratos will be killing. We also have Kratos’s son providing some commentary for some monsters as well as helping his father with a bow and arrow. It does feel like we could get a bit more commentary on Norse mythology than what we got during the previous God of War games. Not to say it wasn’t there, but it didn’t seem like they covered the lesser creatures as much as the gods. It will be fascinating to see how the Norse gods will play out in the story too and if they will be wary of the chaos that Kratos brought to the world. Could we have a fight against Thor? Will Loki find ways to fool Kratos? Is Odin going to be our Zeus in the game? And what other gods will we see?
Trading Blades For An Axe
With a new setting, Kratos has a new weapon to use. His axe, “Leviathan”, is a two-handed axe forged by the Huldra Brothers, Sindri, and Brok, who also forged Thor’s hammer Mjölnir. Much like the Gods of Chaos, Leviathan is a magically-enhanced weapon that can bring death to anyone that tries to pick a fight with the former God of War. With the runes inscribed into the axe, Kratos can use ice powers and can call the weapon back to him. Kratos can also use the axe with a shield to offer him defense options as well while fighting off enemies. Even in a new setting, Kratos still has the tools available to him to get violent and tear apart enemies before him.
With this new attack style, though, does come to a change to the gameplay itself. If you played any other God Of War game, you know that the combat in-game is fast-paced and can be brutal for the unprepared. Kratos strikes fast and hard while swinging around the Blades of Chaos to take down waves of enemies. Here, however, the action is definitely slower in comparison. That isn’t to say that slower is worse, but those who are looking for that same pace of action will likely be in for a rude awakening. Still, the combat itself does look clean and this new fighting style for Kratos is better suited. Previously, Kratos was blind rage-driven and it showed with the Blades of Chaos. Now, he looks to be (slightly) calmer and more focused when he is cutting enemies down the middle.
Trading One Family For Another
Perhaps what can be seen as the biggest change of all is the story itself and what drives Kratos. Considering the state that the world was in after God of War III, it would be fair to say that Kratos probably realized a few things. While his rage was due to the loss of his wife and daughter (by his hands), at the end he found the strength to move on. So much so that in between then and now, he started a new family and had a son named Atreus. While Kratos wasn’t around that much at first, he will be spending more time with his son in-game while his new wife passed away for unknown reasons. While we might not know the full story yet, it is probably fair to say that something will happen that will force Kratos to turn his attention to the Norse gods.
That said, there is one change here that caught many people’s attention. It was because of this detail that people feel as though that the game’s story will likely be the best one in the entire series of God of War: the relationship between Kratos and Atreus. If you look at any of the six games, you can summarize Kratos in one word: pissed. He is remorseful for what happened in the past of course, but you have to dig through all that anger to reach it. With a son that he cares for and mentors, it shows that Kratos does have some kind of humanity to him, or at least is attempting to rebuild something he lost a long time ago: a family.
Conclusion: Different Setting, Different Story, Same Angry Demigod
While it does seem obvious, the direction that the upcoming God of War game is taking is definitely one that fans of the series wanted. With each passing game, it was getting harder to relate to Kratos as his character went from a “Greek Tragedy” to “Kill, Murder, Revenge!” Not to say that the later games were bad, but the story was falling apart towards the end. With this new focus for Kratos, we could see a side of him that we haven’t seen since the very first game. The story itself is still mostly unknown, as there have not been any reveals of any of the Norse gods. Will we see them in the game? Will his son find out that his father did bring the end of the world once before? And could something happen that could cause Kratos to relapse into another rage?
Don’t want to jinx it, but it feels like the game will end with sequel bait and Kratos relapsing to “Get revenge on the Gods!” For the time being though, let us cross our fingers and hope we get an engaging storyline that will be on par with the carnage. No doubt it will be an exciting game and can very well be a contender for Game of the Year. It is a new chapter in the life of Kratos, and let us hope that it is the start of something special.
Are you excited for the upcoming God of War game? Will this bring the series back into the spotlight in the PlayStation library? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more thoughtful editorials.