Finally, a ‘God of War’ Game That Isn’t Just for Horny Teens

Sony has unveiled the new God of War game — simply called God of War — and from the looks of it, Kratos has grown up. He’s been an adult for as long as gamers have known him, of course, but he hasn’t acted like one. He’s acted like the raging definition of a horny, angsty teenage boy — a muscular puppet made for punching, smashing, slicing, eviscerating, and humping. One game even had a sex mini-game, the better for hormone-filled adolescents to imagine they were Kratos, conquering beasts and ladies’ undergarments alike.

God of War comes of age


Compared to that, the Kratos shown in the gameplay trailer above is almost unrecognizable. He still rocks his ash-imbued skin and red war paint, but he’s grown a bushy beard, and — most shockingly — he’s calmed down. Which is to say he’s not constantly yelling and killing stuff. Instead, the trailer finds Kratos teaching a boy how to hunt and protect himself.

Kratos is a father now. It’s a role we’ve never seen him in before, because the previous games took place after he’d accidentally killed his family. This new game takes place at some point after the events of the previous games, with Kratos acting much older and wiser, like an experienced teacher who’s firm but fair. As you play, the boy becomes a more active participant, learning and internalizing what Kratos teaches him. It shows growth and change in a way no previous God of War game had any interest in offering.

More thoughtful combat

Kratos and his son confront a giant in God of War for PS4.

Source: Sony

Previous God of War games have featured balletic combat as Kratos swings his chain-blades through hordes of mythical monsters, cutting them down with combo after combo. Combat was fast and violent, shown from a distance so players could see the whole battlefield.

The hand-to-hand combat shown in the trailer above is much slower, more measured and strategic, and the camera is pulled in tighter to the action. Instead of the quick-attack blades, Kratos uses a hand ax to strike when the monster lowers its guard. It comes off more like a Dark Souls game, with players being rewarded for thoughtful play.

Then again, the combat is as stylish as ever, with the action slowing down as the camera swoops in to capture key blows. At one point Kratos goes into a Hulk-like “Spartan Rage” to finish off the enemy.

A focus on characters

A newly bearded Kratos in PS4's God of War.

Source: Sony

The only characteristic to be found in the Kratos of old was that he was pissed off. Every line he delivered was shouted in anger. Nearly every action he took was to attack or dismember an enemy. The plot existed to move the action forward, not to establish characters the player could relate to.

Based on the trailer, it’s clear that this God of War is shooting for something much deeper and more humane. Taking a cue from games like The Last of Us and The Witcher 3, this new game lets players get to know Kratos and his son by giving them time to interact onscreen. Just how deep these characterizations go is unclear, but it’s obvious that this game was made for adults looking for a story, rather than for adolescents who are only interested in the shock value of sex and violence.

Enter the Norse

Kratos and son in God of War for PS4.

Source: Sony

So far, the God of War series has stuck to its Greek setting, with Kratos wiping out pretty much every god in that particular pantheon. In accordance with recent rumors, it looks like the new God of War game will take place up north and feature Norse gods. The setting is certainly snowier than the rest of the series, and it sure sounds like the horned giant that attacks Kratos and his son says something about Valhalla.

So far the game is looking great, like an adult take on a franchise that has previously tried to appeal to adolescent boys. It seems like just the kind of change-up the series needs. Whether the full game will live up to the trailer remains to be seen, but so far it looks very promising.

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