Review: God of War is the game you should be playing right now


God of War released exclusively on the PlayStation 4 on April 20th. It’s getting overwhelmingly high scores and is a strong contender for best game of the year.

God of War (2018) is the eighth game in the God of War series and features an entirely new fighting system, 4k graphics and a new location where you explore Norse mythology. In addition to the standard game, there are two collector’s editions available, a digital deluxe version and a special edition PS4 Pro.


The story starts out with the cremation of Kratos’ second wife and his son, Atreus’, mother. It’s very clear from the beginning that the relationship between Kratos and Atreus is strained, amplified by their grief, but both are trying their best to keep the remnants of their family together. Both father and son go on a pilgrimage to a nearby mountain to scatter Atreus’ mother’s ashes, meeting friend and foe along the way.

The story is intriguing and leaves the player guessing what’s going to happen next. There’s a notebook accessible through the menu that has Atreus’ notes about people, monsters and lore you discover. Because the game takes place in an entirely new location, you don’t need to have played the previous game to enjoy the newest of the series. In fact, Atreus helps bridge the gap between veterans to the series and newcomers, as he’s unaware of Kratos’ past.


The game is stunningly gorgeous even on a standard PS4 and 1080p TV. Cutscenes flow seamlessly into gameplay without pausing, a style that is becoming increasingly more popular in modern games and really allows for full immersion into the game. Upgrading your skills, weapons, and armor is slightly complicated but the game does a good job walking you through the process the first time.

The map and story are pretty linear at first, but later several sidequests open up and encourage exploring. There are a ton of chests and puzzles along the way, including special chests that require you to find and activate three runes to unlock them. The puzzles are challenging without being frustrating and they do a good job of sparking new ideas of how to use your weapon.

Characters are lovable, appear well developed, and the voice acting is well done. There are some powerful interactions between Kratos and Atreus, and I fell in love with Kratos’ son instantly. Since it has been revealed Atreus will continue to be a part of the series going forward, I’m really interested to see how his character develops throughout the game.


Combat is very true to the God of War style, with brutal finishing moves and spectacular attacks. However, in this entry in the series, the combat system has been overhauled and can get very complex the more skills you unlock. You’ll be using all four trigger buttons to block, throw the ax and do heavy and light attacks. The square button will prompt Atreus to fire an arrow, triangle will call your ax back to you, circle serves as your interaction button, and X is your dodge button. Pressing L3 will let you sprint and pressing L3 and R3 will activate Rage Mode, letting you unleash devastating attacks. The combos that you can do vary based on the skills you’ve unlocked, and the more you have unlocked the cooler battles end up looking.

Luckily, most enemies are weak enough that it gives you ample time to practice your special moves so you can implement them into the more challenging battles. If you ever forget how to execute a move, the menu will let you know the button combinations. Throwing the ax is extremely satisfying and calling it back to your hand (think Thor and his hammer) makes you feel badass every time.

Atreus will perform attacks on his own, but you can also instruct him to fire arrows to distract and interrupt enemies. Sometimes he’ll jump onto enemies and provide you an opening. Unlocking skills for Atreus will provide more support and later in the game, you’ll unlock Resurrection Stones that allow Atreus to revive you and avoid starting over at the most recent checkpoint.

Collector’s Editions

The Collector’s Edition contains the following:

  • The game in a steelbook case
  • A 9-inch statue of Kratos and his son
  • Two small carvings of the Huldra Brothers
  • A lithograph
  • A cloth map and DLC including special shield skins and armor for both Kratos and his son
  • A PS4 dynamic theme
  • A digital art book and comic book

The Stone Mason Edition contains all the items in the Collector’s Edition, but also includes:

  • A stonemason ring
  • Two more small carvings of a six-legged horse and troll
  • A talking head keychain
  • An additional DLC exclusive shield skin

The Digital Deluxe version comes with all the additional DLC minus the exclusive Stone Mason shield skin. Lastly, the Limited Edition Playstation 4 Pro is a white PS4 decorated with Kratos’ new weapon, the Leviathan Axe.

The statue is by far the star of the bonuses. It stands 9 inches tall and was made by Gentle Giant. The details are incredible, and it alone justifies the higher pricetag. The only other recent statues I’ve seen that compare would be the Assasin’s Creed Orgins Collector’s Edition statue or Horizon Zero Dawn’s Collector’s Edition statue.

The small 2 inch carvings that come with it are cute little trinkets that compliment the style of the game. They look like they could be pulled straight from the game. And while not as impressive as the Kratos and Atreus statue, they’re certainly a nice addition. The Stone Mason Edition comes with two additional small carvings, the horse (above) and a troll.

The cloth map is gorgeously printed and worthy of being framed and displayed on a wall. The fabric is soft and the ragged edges are a nice touch.

The steelbook isn’t the most impressive or pretty I’ve seen, but it certainly fits the style of the game and still looks cool on your shelf.

The lithograph shows an early concept art image and includes a small story on the back that tells the orgins of this entry in the series.

The Stone Mason Edition of God of War also comes with a talking head keychain and a stonemason ring. The keychain I wasn’t impressed with at first, though it is super detailed. But now that I’ve played the game and understand the significance, I appreciate the addition. I do wish it was programmed with more phrases, as it only says one. The stonemason ring is phenomenal and my only complaint with it is that it’s way too huge to wear on anything but a necklace. But maybe I just have small, wimpy un-godlike fingers.

The DLC that comes with the Collector’s Editions isn’t anything spectacular. There are a few armor sets that give you an edge early in the game, but you soon can craft items that are better. The shield skins are neat, but as the camera is behind Kratos, you hardly ever see the front of your shield. Since the game isn’t multiplayer, you don’t get any bragging rights either. Still, with everything else the Collector’s Editions come with, it’s still worth the money.

The special edition PS4 Pro is absolutely stunning and one of the best special edition consoles I’ve seen. The only one I feel comes close would be the original Destiny PS4 that features the Destiny star map design on the top. The God of War PS4 Pro has a stylized drawing of Kratos’ Leviathan Ax and comes with a custom controller as well.

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Go buy the game right now. Seriously. This game is amazing and certainly in the running for Game of the Year. The more I play, the better it gets. It stays true to its roots with stylish gameplay, but this entry brought God of War into the modern gaming era with the stunning graphics, semi-open world map, seamless movie-like cutscenes, and a fantastic story.