BEIRUT: Kratos is no longer the permanently furious, yelling war machine he once was; the Spartan is no longer alone, but now fathers a young boy by the name of Atreus.
The story takes a step away from Greece, placing Kratos in Scandinavia’s Norse country, where a series of mythological monsters, villains, and bosses will line up to take on the former demigod.
One cannot but notice that Kratos has drastically changed; a calmer and more silent demeanor has taken its toll on the god slayer, as he struggles with parenthood.
Santa Monica Studios has taken a bold step, essentially stripping back everything that God of War has become – a series of giant, jaw-dropping set-piece battles rendered in gorgeous detail – to offer up a slower, more tailored narrative.
The first big change that players will notice from the trailer is Kratos himself, who’s much older and more rugged, sporting a beard. The relationship between Kratos and Atreus forms the crux of the narrative, as players witness Kratos being as harsh and ruthless in fatherhood as he was in life.
By referring to this sweet child as nothing but “boy,” he reminds players of this merciless killer’s past.
Watching the interactions between Kratos and his son presents an incredibly interesting dynamic. Some may prefer to see the god-killer ripping the bottom jaws off every enemy he comes across, but seeing this paternal side adds a new dimension to a character many have grown up with – and allows him to spark the deeper more interesting flame to the persona of Kratos.
Many people considered the game as a reboot, but it is obvious that it is not really the case; while the gameplay has been re-imagined, Kratos remains the same character from the original franchise.
This has been made clear by his ability to deploy “Spartan Rage.”
Cory Balrog, Director of God of War, confirmed this new game is a continuation of the God of War narrative, with the Greek mythology seen as “chapter one,” and while this isn’t strictly God of War 4, Kratos still has “a long way to go.”
However, one of the many things that didn’t stay the same in this game is the camera, which changed dramatically from previous titles that relied heavily on a fixed perspective shifting with every new room or scene.
This time around, the camera features a modern, dynamic, and much more intimate viewpoint, where a player’s viewpoint is zoomed in closer behind Kratos, similar to games such as Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, and the highly rated Horizon Zero Dawn.
“There was a huge discussion about the inclusion of the player-controlled camera during the early phases of this project. The cinematic camera was a big part of God of War.” The decision to change wasn’t taken lightly since “we want to tell Kratos’ personal story, we want to dig in deeper into Kratos as a character; if Kratos is a tiny character on-screen, we’re not experiencing things from his perspective,” Barlog said.
It is important to note that there are no camera cuts within the entire game.
The entire title will be presented as a single uninterrupted shot, with no loading screens, or cinematics; there won’t even be situations where the camera cuts away to focus on what someone else is doing.
This is completely unprecedented in today’s video games.
The Norse setting will let players explore a different set of creatures, such as trolls, ogres, draugrs, and even dragons; but contrary to common belief, there will not be any Vikings in the game since it is set before the Viking Era.
Barlog explained that “when people think Norse, they think Vikings, but there is really this amazing history of the migration, pre-migration which occurred before the Viking Era.”
In the Viking Era, they used to always talk about the gods abandoning them such as Thor, Loki, and Oden who had walked the earth at one point, but aren’t around anymore, the Vikings fight for them, but they’re not there.
The new game is set in a pre-historic time when gods did walk the earth and monsters were real before becoming extinct.
Barlog also said that different mythologies co-existed but were separated by geography, suggesting that Kratos actually traveled from Greece to Scandinavia after the conclusion of God of War 3.
What is seen today is a more evolved vision of Kratos, so it’s not going to change him, but requires him to change himself, especially since the god-slayer is a father now, or better said, he’s a father, again.
While there are few indications of Atreus’ origins, it is apparent in how he functions within the game. When accompanying Kratos, he can fight alongside his father with the player control on Kratos and calling on his son’s aid when needed.
When the square button is hit, which is dedicated to the son throughout the game, Atreus can, for example, jump on an enemy’s back, or start firing arrows and giving Kratos leeway to land a couple of free shots.
Atreus enjoys his own skill tree making his abilities open to being upgraded while being used in non-combat ways by means of solving puzzles and translating runes since Kratos doesn’t speak the regional dialect.
Anytime that there are writings on the wall, Atreus will be the one reading it.
From a story perspective, Atreus is considered the humanity that Kratos lost, helping him understand what it’s like to be human since throughout the game he is reiterating the words “not everyone is a bad person,” to his father.
From a gameplay perspective, there will be a less linear feel to this game, it won’t be an open world sandbox, but exploration will be encouraged. People can expect extensive and wide environment similar to games such as Tomb Raider or the Uncharted series.
As far as weapons are concerned, Kratos sports an ice-imbued axe carries acts as an important role in this game, as if it is almost a character of its own, it is a piece of history that directly connects to Kratos and Atreus.
Unfortunately and understandably, there will not be a return of Kratos’ sex scenes within the game, so people won’t be holding their breath for any Nordic women hanging out in bathtubs this time.
Another appealing factor that has been seen, along with animal fur, Kratos’ beard, and Arteus’ garments will be moving in real time with the environment, which is a stunning addition of more realistic experiences that video games are successfully implementing.
Barlog has previously teased, that at some point in the game, up to 100 enemies will appear on screen simultaneously, which shows the difficulty of the game.
This installment of God of War is not a reboot, but a new sequel with re-imagined gameplay in a new setting scheduled to be released on April 20, 2018.
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