Review: God of War

I finished God of War about a week and a half ago. I started trying to write a review for it but ended up with an immense case of writer’s block, which struck me as weird because I really, really liked the game. So I shelved the review and stepped back to think about why I was having issues writing it out. And the writer’s block basically creeped into all writing as I just sat and stared at the computer screen any time I attempted to write for the last week.

What I finally realized was that I was trying to contextualize my review and base it off of my pre-God of War post – which you can read here – and trying to discuss all the things I brought up in that post and that was not only overwhelming me but it was causing me blockage (heh heh) because I didn’t know where to begin or how to approach all the issues. So instead I’m just going to review the game like I would normally and maybe touch on a few things here or there related to my initial musings on the game before I actually got my hands on it.

There will be some mild spoilers on early game story beats in the review, so if you aren’t a few hours into the game and care about those sorts of things this is your last chance to abandon ship. For the rest of you, let’s begin!

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The Curious Case of Kratos

God of War is one of Playstation’s most well-known franchises. The first God of War game came out on the Playstation 2 back in 2005 – I was an excited college student who took a bus all the way to the nearest game store of my small college town just to pick it up. I’m a sucker for mythology and a game themed around Greek mythology was right up my alley. It ended up being absurdly popular – spawning two more direct sequels and several prequels and spinoffs. The next game in the series comes out this Friday for the Playstation 4 and it’s been getting rave reviews and is one of the highest reviewed games on the platform and of this generation of games.

What makes this particular game interesting, though, is that it’s completely throwing away the formula from the previous games. Kratos, the main character, is well known through gaming circles as basically being the villain protagonist of the God of War series. He’s murderous, cold-hearted, consumed by revenge, and doesn’t give a crap about anything other than his stated goal of killing the gods. The games themselves are mature content to the Nth degree – you perform bloody finishing moves on all the creatures you fight, you sacrifice innocents to progress, and when you face the gods Kratos despises in combat you better believe they are brutally murdered in horrific fashion. And most of the God of War games have sex mini-games, too, just to tick all the boxes.

But the new God of War is taking things in a different direction and it’s brought up some interesting questions regarding moral philosophy and the idea of redemptive behavior.

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