Fans of the gaming industry may remember about four years ago when everyone and their mothers were raving about this new God of War game. It popped on most, if not all, best of lists, usually somewhere near the top. It was, in fact, at the top of our game of the year list as well, above both Celeste and Red Dead Redemption 2, because that year had some bangers. The game was everywhere, and it felt like the only people who didn’t play it just had no access to a PlayStation 4. Well, luckily for that crowd, the powers that be have deigned the PS4-less worthy to experience this on a PC near them.
When we’re looking at a game that was so popular coming to a new platform several years later, there are a couple of important questions to address. The first of which is if God of War holds up. To that, I reply with a resounding yes. Graphically, the game is beautiful, even four years later every hair on Kratos’s perpetually scowling face looks coarse and real. The story still feels as deep and interesting as it did four years ago. If you enjoyed it then, you’ll probably still enjoy it now, unless your patience for grumpy dads has gone down drastically since 2018.
Now, the bigger question surrounds how new players may find the game, or even players who have never played a game in the franchise. Well, I have good news there; I have tried every entry into this franchise and, with the exception of this one and one of the PSP games (I think), I’ve bounced off every one. Previous God of War games have always felt too over the top to take as seriously as they want me to. Kratos, the protagonist of all of these games, is always just so cartoonishly angry and has such obvious daddy issues as he rampages across the Greek pantheon.
Luckily, in this God of War, Kratos is the daddy with whom someone will develop issues. It’s all cyclical, after all. Players with no familiarity with the God of War franchise should not balk at the opportunity to jump in and get real real mad at some gods. The game opens with the aforementioned angry boy, now sporting the platonic ideal of a Dad bod, chopping down a very large tree and dragging it back home. He is quickly joined by his son, and we learn that the big lumber he’s lugging around is for his late wife’s funeral pyre. There is some questionable father and son bonding time until big papa Kratos just has to get into a fist fight with some guy.
“Luckily, in this God of War, Kratos is the daddy with whom someone will develop issues.”
From there, Kratos and son embark upon what has to be the lengthiest funeral procession across Norse mythology. They venture through magical worlds along the branches of the world tree, murder interesting new creatures and gods, none of which were even invited to the wake (rude), and learn the mysteries behind how Kratos and the kid (his name is Atreus) came to be where they are. While previous games had fairly light stories, the narrative here was obviously a priority. It’s surprisingly intricate and well written throughout. With an epic soundtrack to compliment it at every turn.
The gameplay may take a bit to get used to, but it is endlessly fulfilling. Combat starts basic but after a level up or two, you’ll unlock new combos and abilities that can all be woven into gameplay with a little practice. The same can be said for Atreus. Kratos’s kid is far more than a babysitting job with his own equipment, skill trees, and an AI that seems to learn how best to work with you during a fracas.
God of War made big waves when it first came out back in 2018. Spend a little time with it, and you’ll see its DNA in all sorts of other games. This wasn’t the beginning of the dadification of games, just an obvious hallmark of the trend. Now, in 2022, it finally comes to the PC, and it’s still as great as it was all those years ago.