At the Sony conference at E3 2016, the company opened its presentation with the unveiling of the latest in the God of War game series. God of War is a series I have loved since I played the first entry back in the summer of 2005. Since then, I have played every subsequent game in the series. While some have been underwhelming, none have been bad, and I still quite enjoyed the series — but it was clear that there needed to be a shot in the heart to revitalize things.
The last chronological entry in the series, God of War III, ended on a literal cliffhanger. Kratos, the main character of the series, had killed most of the Greek Gods and killed himself in the end, while the world lay in chaos. After the credits, the spot where Kratos had lain dying was empty and there was a blood trail leading off of the cliff. So, many wondered, where does the series go from here?
Fast forward to many years after the third entry with an older Kratos who now has a son and lives in the world of Norse mythology. The reveal of the game was clever, as first we only saw the unnamed son as he was talking to his father and preparing to go on his first hunt. The father was quickly revealed to be Kratos, who showed that while he has built a new life and seemingly calmer, he was still gruff as ever.
His interactions with his son showed that he would be the type who cared about his son but would not hold his hand, as he wanted to prepare him for the world. This is in contrast to the previous entries where his interactions with his family were only showed through flashback/hallucinations — and fleetingly at best.
The presentation quickly jumped to gameplay and showed how things were different. The camera used in the previous entries was a third-person camera and always at a distance. This game, the camera is always from behind Kratos’s back. There were also RPG elements revealed, as some interactions such as hunting showed experience points. The other entries used a simple points system, and that was mostly to level up weapons and magic.
Kratos’s signature weapon were two daggers attached to chains, dubbed the "Blades of Chaos," but now they are gone, and he is seemingly wielding an enchanted axe of some sort. There were also moments shown in which the player takes control of Kratos’s son, who wields a bow and arrow.
Interviews from the developers hint that the game is very much a story about a father and son. One of the most common complaints about the series has been how Kratos is very unlikable. Other than fleeting moments, he was usually portrayed as a man on a mission of revenge.
This will be interesting to see as Kratos and his son interact. The final moments see Kratos help his son kill a deer in his first hunt. His son is distraught and we see for a moment that Kratos wants to comfort his son but knows that he cannot, as it is something that his son must come to terms with himself.
How the Norse mythology fits into this is another big question. Are the Norse gods a product of the damage Kratos did in the previous entries? Did he just simply move to another part of the world? The mystery is exciting! God of War is officially back, and I haven’t been this excited for the series since the third entry. I have already pre-ordered my copy on Amazon.