God of War: Review

I’m a fan of fleshed-out characters and well-thought out stories from books and film. The video game God of War is no exception. God of War is a video game series created by David Jaffe at Sony’s studio in Santa Monica. The game follows protagonist Kratos, a survivor of Spartans, who hacks and slashes his way through mystical creatures and gods. In the latest God of War(That this review is based on) Kratos is joined by his son, Atreus, as the two travel across rugged terrain in Midgard to spread his wive’s and Atreus’s mother’s ashes from a mountain in Jotunheim (realm of the giants).

Norse mythology captured my interest back when I read Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and through personal research. From the Gods to the Mountain giants and Frost giants, Yggdrasill (the world tree), to the Dwarves, the Rainbow Bridge, to the Lake of the Nine Worlds, and meeting the giant serpent, I am intrigued by this world. I have always been a fan of video games. Add an interesting story with characters and relationships I care about, and Norse mythology for icing, I am playing one of my favorite games of all time.

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The writing is thought-out and creative. As an avid reader and inspiring novelist, I hold strong opinions for stories; stories for movies and video games seem to draw a stronger opinion from me. Perhaps this is due to the writer in me and me hoping it is as well-written as my ideal novel. I have played many video games with intriguing and well-developed stories, such as The Last of Us, Anything Zelda, Uncharted, the Metal Gear series, The Witcher series, to name some. God of War is one of the strongest stories I have followed in a video game. The events in the story, rise of action to the climax, to the resolve were coherent throughout, and held my attention. There is a fine balance of action, exploration, dialogue, and cut scenes. And when the game’s story is complete, there is much to be explored and experienced throughout the game.

The story is accurate to what I have learned about Norse mythology. Each God and goddess had motivations familiar to ones I learned about in my research of the Norse Gods, but there is much left for the player’s imagination. For example, Freya’s deal with Odin and the Gods, and her exile in Midgard. Sure some of the writers of the game added fresh material in but it did not alternate the magic and mystery the Norse Mythology holds. Though the first game in this God of War trilogy(I assume there will be more games focusing on Norse mythology) did not have room to focus on all of the Norse Mythology gods , there is plenty of room to focus on more gods and more of the Nine Worlds in the next installment(s).

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The relationship between Kratos and his son felt genuine. There is a sense of distance and conflict between the two but what draws them close is their care for Kratos’s departed wife and Atreus’s departed mother, and their determination to meet her wishes by freeing her soul from a cliff in Jotunheim. Kratos is cold toward his son’s questions and faults, but at the same time is quick to run to Atreus’s aid when in danger and demonstrates concern for his son’s survival. The journey across the mythological world is an educational one. The dialogue between the two I feel is what makes their relationship so realistic, and deepens the intrigue of the game.

The graphics help me relate to my love of nature and exploration of diverse landscapes. Locales in video games have a part of what inspires me to venture landscapes in real life, from hiking in mountains and through dense forests, to paddling rivers and lakes, and the anticipation of discovering something new along the way. Kratos and Atreus trek across many different landscapes and discover various ruins and artifacts along the way. I may not trek through different realms and find magical runrs, but the imagery of the worlds and landscapes in the game makes me appreciate what there is to explore in the world I live in. Paddle the Lake of Nine Worlds, through glaciers and inside a giant serphant. Trek through old growth forest across across a snowy mountain, climb up jagged cliffs, and walk through ancient giant temples. Enter the witch’s cave and the colorful forest she lives in. Oh, her house is under a giant turtle.

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