God of War (2018)
There are games which are carbon copies of what came before, rehashes of former glorified licenses long since forgotten. Then every once in a while, a phoenix rises, reanimated, reconfigured to bathe in the light that the very original once did – when it surprised and awed players as the first of its kind.
God of War (PS4) doesn’t bare a sequential number, it’s not trying to carry Kratos’ torch from the other many earlier offerings of the franchise. It’s not a sequel but a title that has erupted from Hades, forged from the same brute and violent magma of chaos that accompanied the first God Of War when it debuted on PS2, imbued with an altogether different, ethereal quality of its own design.
This is a reboot with a difference, one that knows that both our and its own landscape has changed with the passage of time. Kratos is different, he’s older, the uncontrollable rage has left him, he’s not a young lord now with the sole purpose of disrupting the Greek/pagan gods hierarchy – he has retreated, exiled himself, now left in charge of a young blood, a son that doesn’t resemble him in any way and a wife that has departed his world; thrusting him towards his next challenge of becoming a father – of raising his son, of protecting a life.
This isn’t the Last of Us, it isn’t a deep existential examination of humanity – it’s notable only because it’s a significant departure from the narratives of former outings – but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bare the heritage of its ancestors’ DNA.
I’m not going to venture any further – it wouldn’t be fair to. I’ve played several hours of the game – I’m just dipping my toe here. All I need to say is that it is a more open-world affair but that the combat system is tight, the upgrading of weapons and fighting abilities – intricate, the rush of battle and action – frantic and the sheer beauty of the graphics (optimised for PS4 Pro and 4K TV systems – but experienced on regular HD at time of writing) – is breathtaking [the image for this article is taken from the in-game camera – not a cutscene].
This has to be the best game released this year, one of the best to date actually. It’s as if the first God of War title had a secret love child with the new Tomb Raider reboots and this newborn was delivered by the very well-trained experienced hands of the Witcher’s immersive lore – except I’m still only scratching at the surface here – it’s much better than any of these analogies.
Buy it, play it, love it and wonder why so few reboots even get close to this!