God of War was released in 2018 to instant acclaim and yet, despite owning a PlayStation 4, I refused to play it.
This was because I had not enjoyed the previous God of War games.
Sure, they had good gameplay and magnificent boss battles, but I am the kind of person that likes to relate to stories in video games and I, honestly, never clicked with the story of Kratos seeking his vengeance.
Still, God of War garnered more and more praise as the year went on until it even won the Game of the Year award so, naturally, with all of all this praise, I had to play it.
And, even though this game got heaps of praise, I was still surprised by how much I enjoyed God of War.
It is easily one of the best games of 2018 and its story, gameplay and graphics are incredible.
Picking up long after God of War 3, God of War picks up with Kratos (this time voiced by Christopher Judge) in the world of Norse mythology where he and his “boy” Atreus (Sunny Suljic) go on a journey to scatter Kratos’ dead wife’s ashes from the highest peak in the realm.
This is admittedly a simple story but it does not make it any less powerful.
The theme of a parent’s love for their child is executed brilliantly, not just with Kratos and Atreus but the other characters as well.
Speaking of these two, I was surprised by how relatable I found Kratos to be, as opposed to the previous games, and his relationship with Atreus is the heart of the story.
There are many intense and emotional moments of growth from these two, complimented by the great gameplay where Atreus serves as an AI partner, helping you in battle.
These battles are a lot of fun, with many different enemy variations.
God of War also continues the series’ tradition of having amazingly epic boss fights.
The battles with the god Baldur (Jeremy Davies) and a dragon are, by far, the standouts of the game.
Then there are the visuals, which are spectacular and enhanced by the ingenious idea to have the entire game in one shot, excluding when Kratos dies of course.
However, I do have a couple of problems.
One is a bit of character development for Atreus where he becomes mad with power but this felt like it happened too quickly and made him unlikable for a time.
Then there are some of the bosses.
While I did mention many of them are epic, some are just reskins of earlier bosses in the game.
There are so many trolls to fight that, by the end, I was tried of them.
Still, these problems are small in comparison to how amazing the rest of the game is.
It is also pretty inspiring to hear the story of the director Cory Barlog, who had to leap through hoops to get the story of God of War told.
He deserves all the praise this game is getting.
But, at the end of the day, does God of War deserve the Game of the Year award?
Well, it is difficult to say.
It is definitely one of the two best games of 2018 but that other game is Red Dead Redemption 2.
Both are amazing games that had me invested the entire way through and it is hard for me to decide between them which should have won.
They both equally deserved it.
God of War is a fantastic game.
Even if, like me, you are not a fan of the older games, I recommend you play it.
You will be pleasantly surprised.