By the very hand of Playstation’s YouTube channel, on the segment called “Playstation Underground”, the world got to see 15 minutes of new gameplay from the upcoming God of War, set to release on April 20th. Does this serves right to appease the thirst of the fans that the saga have all around the globe? That thirst of violence, gore, blood and frenetic combat that this very saga have us used to… Or doesn’t?
When I finished watching the footage, the first thing I did was to search the God of War: Ascension World Premiere that Sony showed us back in E3 2012, and make a comparison between the two, due to Ascension being the most recent new/old story in the saga that is available.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, the new God of War looks awesome, but I don’t get the same feeling of savagery that this game is supposed to transmit. It’s gone! While in God of War 2018 , enemies have orange ashes for blood (I know they’re Draugar, it just looks weird) in 2012 they showed us Kratos doing a trepanation to a fucking bipedal elephant.
If you ask me “what God of War is about?” I will answer you without a doubt that is all about blood everywhere (and puzzles) but mostly blood and ultra-heavy violence led by a very angry bald man that you should not piss off. But in the mentioned footage for God of War 2018, there’s only one enemy in the gameplay whose fight gets Kratos all bloody. I’m sure there will be more on the full game, but show to us this is just… bland.
There is another issue that I would like to discuss: Atreus, the son of Kratos, your companion in this adventure. Santa Monica Studios surely will take the time in the game to explain how he went from having difficulties killing an antler to perform “360 no scopes” while jumping to monsters, right? Well, I hope they don’t go with a lazy explanation like “He is the son of Kratos, that’s why he has such abilities”.
But enough with the criticism, let’s talk about the good things. The game looks awesome, even after the downgrade, the world looks, vivid? In its own way. It has many details that add to the immersion: the snow, bones laying everywhere, the withered leaves, how almost everything that Kratos axe touches breaks into pieces. The fire and the sunlight makes you want to stay there to warm yourself with it.
It has so much to offer, and it’s certain they did their homework on Norse mythology. I also want to talk about the creatures that most caught my attention, one for the accuracy of the concept and the other for the innovation: The Draugar are described as “the ones whom walk again”, undead warriors whose sole purpose is to guard treasures. They look ferocious and threatening, and if they’re being put on Kratos way, they might be guarding something, like the runes that only Atreus seems to understand, or something that is of value for the main antagonist.
On the other hand we have the Troll. It looks imposing, even though they took some liberties with the concept, as it seems they merged trolls with giants both in appearance and power. Why do I say this? Well, as far as we know trolls can control elements, at least one element is show in game that is fire. This is an ability often attributed to giants in Norse mythology; there are elemental giants that controls ice and fire. So, does this mean that giants are not going to be involved in the game? Well I don’t think so, giants are one of the most iconic creatures in Norse folklore, leaving them out will be a misstep.
Other aspect that it’s interesting regarding the mythology of the game is the fact that there are other gods besides the Greek ones that Kratos slained. How are they going to explain the relation between gods is still unknown for now. Are the Norse gods aware about the existence of Greek gods? Are they aware who Kratos is and what he has done? I look forward to an interaction between Kratos, former god of war, a title he took directly from Ares, with Týr, the Norse god of war, maybe Kratos will took the title from him too, or maybe Týr holds a grudge against him for killing his greek homologue.
But not all mythological characters of the game are going to be against Kratos. One of the most interesting ones is, brace yourselves for the name, Jörmungandr.
Jörmungandr is the snake that appears in the 2017 trailer, which talks to Kratos in some kind of Norse dialect that his son Atreus translated to him. The Jörmungandr is a beast, son of Loki. In the mythology is described as “The World Serpent” as his length surround all earth, and he is forsaken by the Norse god to live in the ocean because they fear his power. Maybe the Jörmungandr will serve as a sort of Athena or Gaia, from the previous games, giving support to Kratos in his current quest.
Other support characters that get presented to us are the dwarfs, Sindri and Brok, who are the ones responsible for forging the Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, and the Leviathan Axe, the latter being Kratos new weapon of choice for this game. They seem to be in charge of upgrading your weapons and armors, serving as a sort of merchants in game.
The customization system looks ambitious compared to the old upgrade system using red orbs. It gives the game a greater RPG vibe; to add more to this the enemies even have a new difficulty level, which is based in how strong they’re compared to Kratos. This means that if you upgrade your weapons and your abilities the enemies are going to grow stronger to counteract this.
It also seems magic is gone; God of War: Ascension didn’t have magic either (properly speaking). Now it works like a sort of enchantment or a special property that the weapon has. The Leviathan Axe, the new “main” weapon replacing our beloved blades of chaos, has the power to freeze enemies in place, making them vulnerable to a blow that shattered them to pieces. I wonder how many weapons and enchantments are in the game and how the combination of these will affect the gameplay.
In conclusion, the game looks ambitious -at least for a God of War- and they’re obviously trying to reinvent the franchise with this release. Maybe they want to make it more mature as the followers that played for the first time on PlayStation 2 are no longer teenagers.
I’m sure it won’t be a bad game, it will be different, but different isn’t always bad. Thing is, I’m an old fashioned way type of guy, If I strike an enemy with a mighty blow of my axe, I want to see blood gushes everywhere, not sparks. This isn’t Power Rangers. Maybe if they add an option that makes the game “bloodier and gorier” I would be satisfied.
We are days away from the release date. I won’t buy it day one, just like pre-orders, is not my thing. I tend to wait until the hype is over. But this time I’m also going to wait for a review from a spineful website.