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Game of the year?

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    God of War

    Rating: 5.0 – Flawless

    Game of the year?

    God of War

    As 2018 is coming to an end there have been some great games that have been released this year such as Monster Hunter: World, Spider-Man, and even Sea of Thieves. Don’t worry that last reference was a joke. Although there have been many great games this year, one must be crowned game of the year, and a good contender is God of War. God of War has had quite the track record with six previous titles following this year’s release, but boy was this one a showstopper. God of war is all about Kratos and a new character Atreus, who is Kratos’ son. From the beginning of the game they don’t seem like father and son, but rather acquaintances at best. Once you have Kratos in your control for the first time you come to realize your wife has died, but before she passed she had one final request: to have her ashes spread on the tallest mountain. At first this seems like a normal task, but after encountering the main protagonist for the first time and getting new information about this mountain you are searching for, you realize you are in for quite the adventure. God of War has some of the best graphics 2018 has to offer, and there is no way to describe the feeling of killing a 20-foot giant. A big bonus to this game is that you don’t need to know the lore from all the previous games, which we will dive into later. I believe God of War has all the necessary applications to be game of the year which I would break down into three categories: graphics, story, and the gameplay. But just how good is God of War in each category?

    First, we will start with the graphics. It is no understatement that the graphics in God of War could be the best graphics of 2018, and potentially the best we have seen so far. Coming in at 1080p on the PS4 and the potential of 4k on the PS4 pro, this game looks absolutely amazing. And what David Jaffe, the creator of the game, does well that many other creators forget to do is show off the small details. Whether it’s the ice starting to melt on the ground when a fireball whizzes past your face, or the blood dripping off your axe as you slay a foe, God of War has it all. I also can’t forget to mention the details within the characters themselves, and their weapons/armor. The characters already look great, paying fine attention towards tattoos and scars, but they also do a great job with facial expressions. Whenever Atreus is upset or excited, if there wasn’t any dialogue, you could distinctively tell based on his facial expression; This is also about other characters in the game. The same amount of detail goes into the weapons and armor. As you move along you can craft and collect armor and no piece looks the same. Each piece has its own unique style. Whether you want the armor to be subtle or heavy duty, it’s all there. As for the weapons there are graphic details to help the user through the progression of the game. For instance, when Kratos upgrades his axe he gets a runestone engraved signifying the upgrade. And when Atreus changes his arrows there is a distinct color swap to notify the user. All these minor details together become a major aspect to the game. The only major issue with the graphics is the fps. On PS4 you are running the game at 30 fps, which some are opposed to and some not. But with the PS4 pro and running it with 4k some users had the issue with a major frame drop causing the game to be unplayable for 1-2 seconds. Not being able to play the game for 1-2 seconds on a regular basis can be quite annoying. Other than that, the graphics are a masterpiece, and a huge reason to why the game is so successful.

    Another key element to God of War’s success is the storyline. A unique part to this storyline compared to other games with multiple titles is you don’t need to know the storyline from the previous games to understand the story. Many people, including myself at first, are discouraged to pick up God of War since it has six previous titles and they believe storyline won’t make any sense unless they have played all six games. But I had no problem at all falling in love with the storyline, and it isn’t too hard to watch a short video of the storylines of all the other games. On the flipside, Jaffe made sure to add subtle reminders from the previous games. This connects the die-hard fans of the series to the new game, and while it may confuse the new players, it’s worth it to add those reminders in for the nostalgia and to let the older players know they aren’t forgetting the roots of the game. The storyline itself is an action-packed mythical experience with some heartwarming moments. Throughout the story you get to see the bond between Kratos and Atreus grow from drill instructor and private all the way to a genuine father son bond. The only downside to the story is that it’s very linear. You are always under this task of finding the tallest mountain. Throughout the story you do travel the realms and encounter many obstacles, but it’s all under one common goal. With only having one major task the story might bore certain players and invoke a sense of repetitiveness. Overall the story is unique in the sense that knowing the storylines of all the previous games is not a requirement and seeing the father-son bond emerge is very heartwarming. But the storyline can seem very narrow, and the main quest never changes direction.

    Finally, we have gameplay. The very thing that ties everything together to make this game such a success. The armor and weapon system is like most RPG’s. You have rune slots in your armor, you can upgrade Kratos and Atreus to unlock new abilities, and you can even buy or find certain unique abilities. And although the armor and weapon system is like most RPG’s many players prefer this method because we are already used to it and don’t want to learn how to equip armor. However, what players want is a combat system that they must learn and struggle with at first, which is exactly what God of War provides. There are countless numbers of combos and fighting preferences. Some players prefer to beat their enemies to a pulp with Kratos’ hands while others prefer to let the axe do the talking. God of War allows players to immerse themselves in the fighting style they want to be in, and every style is unbelievably fun. Who doesn’t love smashing an enemy in the face with a deployable shield or throwing your axe and calling it back like Thor’s hammer? And let’s not forget going into rage mode and literally tearing out a piece of the ground and throwing it at someone. Another thing to mention is combat strategy. There are several types of enemies in the game. Ranged, tank, agile, you name it, and each type of enemy requires a different strategy to take them down. This also applies to the boss fights. Each boss has different abilities and requires a unique strategy to take them down. And one thing Jaffe does well is to make these fights fun. When encountering a new boss there’s a good chance you are going to die a few times before you finally take down the boss. This makes the fights fun because not only do you have to find the best way to take down the boss, but once you finally do you get a sense of achievement that you finally killed the boss that has been smacking you around for the past 20 minutes. It’s also very important that the fights aren’t too difficult, or else the player will get frustrated and potentially have a dissatisfying time with the game. The graphics and storyline of the game were both great on their own, but having the gameplay tie the two together really takes this game to the next level.

    In summary, God of War is a work of art. It does have some minor flaws but compared to other games they’re nothing. Jaffe made sure that players could feel like they were right there with Kratos taking on every enemy. The graphics are impeccable, the story is great, and the gameplay ties everything together to make one of the greatest games of 2018, and a huge contender for game of the year.

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