The early reviews for the PlayStation 4 exclusive God of War are all-in on the latest adventure for Kratos, the title titan. This story is a bit of a departure from the games that came before since it sees Kratos as a man (and father) in the lands of Norse Gods and monsters instead of his familiar stomping grounds in ancient Greek mythology. He, and the player, will be forced to master his defining rage, question his dark lineage, and attempt to make amends as both mentor and protector of his son, Atreus. All of these changes suggest a more mature story and style for God of War than the one long-time players of the franchise may be used to, and as early reviews point out, that’s a good thing.
Currently sitting at a 94/100 on Metacritic, thanks in part to 100 scores from Telegraph, DualShockers, Guardian, and GamesRadar+ among many others, the new God of War title from Sony and Santa Monica Studio is poised for a big first day when it’s released on Tuesday, April 20th. That score currently places the title in third place for PS4 games reviewed on the site, sitting behind Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us Remastered; pretty good company. The vast majority of players will be able to chime in with their reactions next week, but for now, we’ve gathered some of the gems from critical reviews around the net:
IGN – 10/10
I expected great action from God of War, and it delivers that handily. But I didn’t expect it to be a thrilling journey in which every aspect of it complements the others to form what is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s a game in which Kratos, a previously one-note character, becomes a complex father, warrior, and monster, embattled both on the field and within his own heart about how to treat his son; one in which the world opens up and shifts, offering rewards in both gameplay and knowledge of its lore that I treasured with each accomplishment. The obvious care that went into crafting its world, characters, and gameplay delivers by far the most stirring and memorable game in the series.
One of the most gorgeous, spectacular and impactful blockbusters of the generation … a game that crackles with the thrill of its ferocious combat and vast expanse of Norse mythology, but also takes pains to stay grounded and intimate.
Polygon – 10/10
In the early hours, God of War feels, if not like a follow-up to the original game, then a creative revamping. As the 2005 God of War took the individual great combat ideas from its time and blended them together, so does the new God of War for a new era. But the game doesn’t set into any style for too long. Without warning, the linear adventure, focused on fights and dramatic showdowns, bursts wide open, and the preset paths of past entries give way to a new, grand hub, its spokes taking the crew far beyond Midgard … Some die-hard fans may fear this isn’t really God of War. I suppose they’re right. It’s even better.
The Guardian – -★★★★★
Kratos returns older and wiser, but still exhilaratingly brutal in a story that deftly intertwines family drama and mythological epic … violent, vital and more brilliant than ever.
Sirius Gaming – 9.6/10
God of War is so well-crafted, every scene is beautifully detailed. Even scary creatures have their own charm, making me hesitant to actually kill them with the gruesome finishing moves. God of War is one gorgeous game, from beginning to end.
WCCFTech – 10/10
God of War is one of those rare titles that define the console generation. Kratos’ fighting has been refined to its very best and the lands of Midgard are filled with wonders of all manner to explore and defeat. It’s been nearly the entire lifespan of the PlayStation 4 console since Kratos has seen new adventure but the wait has been absolutely worth it. Santa Monica Studio’s journey is still far from over, but they’ve once again shown why Kratos is one of gaming’s greatest anti-heroes.
Push Square – 10/10
God of War is a special game. This reimagining of the famous PlayStation franchise elevates the series in unexpected ways, without forgetting the core tenets that made Kratos a fan-favourite to begin with. This is a sprawling single player epic with an abundance of secrets and a storyline that keeps you hooked from start-to-finish. While it borrows liberally from other action adventure greats, its unique combat and outstanding artistic direction separate it from its immediate peers. A truly impressive achievement.
VentureBeat – 90/100
This new God of War takes a lot of risks. It trades blind rage and revenge for a story about a troubled father/son relationship. It ditches fast, combo-based violence for something more methodical. It’s a departure from everything that once was God of War.
But almost all of these risks pay off. God of War is an exhilarating, beautiful action game that turns one of PlayStation’s biggest icons into a character you can care about.