God of War 4 (or God of War 2018 Reboot to be exact) is going to release soon in April 20th this year. Since the original God of War series is a huge name among Playstation exclusives, naturally lots, lots of PS4 owners have been anticipating for this game since its first announcement back in 2016. That said, despite having new incredible graphic and pretty impressive gameplay, many God of War fans have been doubt if this game can truly be good. Lots of discussions have been firing up on the Internet to see if this game deserves to be a God of War sequel. This leads us to a question: Why is that? What is this new God of War 4 controversy? With no further ado, let’s try to find out!
For some people, gamers saying that they never heard of God of War series before are probably considered to be “blasphemous”. Okay, let’s be real: we cannot expect every gamer to know every single famous franchise (especially if you’re PC enthusiast). Yet, such interesting notion also explains how famous God of War franchise is. So for those who are not familiar with the series, this is a good time to have a quick recap.
*WARNING: SPOILERS ALERT!*
Most of us probably have heard of the series’ main protagonist: Kratos – a muscular “dude” with pale-white skin and “sexy” crimson tattoo all over his body. He is mostly known as a furious “mortal” who constantly sought for the gods of Olympus and slew them for vengeance (fun fact: Actually he was the son of Zues). Although the series is often considered to be gameplay-focused rather than the story, God of War’s story is still rather interesting if we pay attention to it.
God of War 1: The Birth of God of War
Originally, Kratos was born and lived as a Spartan child in the mortal world. He also had a brother named Demos with red tattoo on his body. Meanwhile, Zues foresaw a fate in which he would be slain by a boy with a “particular tattoo pattern”. Feared, Zues ordered his children Athena and Ares to find out this boy and put a stop to this prophecy. Eventually, Athena and Ares found Kratos and Demos. Seeing Demos’s tattoo, they believed that Demos was that child of prophecy and brought him to Thanatos. As for Kratos, he was almost killed by Ares if not for Athena who convinced Ares to focus on their task at hand. But what did they know? Turned out Kratos was the true “child of prophecy” who would bring total destruction to Olympus in later games.
Back to the story, after seeing his brother taken away, Kratos blamed himself for being unable to do anything, thus he vowed not to let anything like that happened again. He painted his own body with the red pattern similar to his brother’s birthmark to never forget that day. Soon, the boy became a Spartan, a prominent soldier in every battle. He married a Spartan woman named Lysandra and had a daughter. However, his daughter was infected with a disease which believed incurable, except with an artifact named Ambrosia. In order to claim this remedy, Kratos had to battle with other warriors to prove himself worthy. And thus, he emerged victorious, saved his daughter, and gained the title of Captain. As the new Captain of Spartan Army, Kratos kept marching to wars and achieved many successes until one day when he faced a rebuilt barbarian army. With their new army, the barbarians easily defeat the Spartans, forcing Kratos to cry out for Ares’s help in desperate. Ares agreed and granted Kratos the infamous Blade of Chaos, in return for his eternal service.
Kratos served Ares for years and gradually lost his humanity, just like what Ares wanted in order to create his ultimate warrior. And then in a faithful raid, Kratos killed his wife and daughter in a blind rage. When he finally realized his sin, it was too late. His skin was covered with the ashes of his deceased wife and daughter, reminding of his failure. Hatred, madness, Kratos blamed Ares for making him committed this atrocious sin. And ultimately, Kratos sought revenge on Ares by finding the Pandora’s Box and eventually, killed Ares and became the new God of War.
God of War 2: The Path of Vengeance
God of War 2 continued the Kratos’ story after becoming the new God of War. With his power, he commanded his Spartan Army to wage war across Greece for the glory of Sparta. However, this action worried the gods and eventually, they decided to take action. Ignoring the warning of Athena, Kratos descended in his godly form and assisted the war at Rhodes. Suddenly, he spotted an eagle which stolen a part of his god-power and gave to the Colossus of Rhodes. As the battle went on, Kratos was forced to use the Blade of Olympus which absorbed all of his remaining god-power into it. With the blade, he defeated the Colossus yet, only to find out that all of these events were Zues’s plot all along. And since Kratos had all of his power depleted, Zues easily “killed” him.
But of course, that was just the beginning. Rescued by Gaia, Kratos joined force with the Titan and travelled to find the Loom of Fate – an ancient artifact which could allow user traversing time. After a long journey, Kratos found the Loom and defeated the Sisters of Fate. By using the Loom, Kratos travelled back in time when he was killed by Zues. Just before he could have his revenge, Athena sacrificed herself to save Zues and tell Kratos that Zues was his father. However; the former God of War was not impressed. At the end of God of War 2, Zues fled to Mt. Olympus and called all other gods to prepare for war; while Zues used the Loom again to rally an army of Titan marching for Olympic once and for all.
God of War 3: The End of the Gods
Picking up the story right after God of War 2, players got to witness Kratos’s final battle with the Gods of Olympus. This time the story was quite straightforward: Kratos along with the Titans marching towards Mt. Olympus, only to find out that Gaia (and possibly other Titans) used him for their own motive. Betrayed, our God-Slayer decided to take this matter to his own hands. But first, he needed to find Pandora – a “key” in the human girl form in order to open the Pandora Box. As he found Pandora, Kratos gradually felt his humanity again as he wanted to protect her like his own daughter. That said; his effort was still for naught. Pandora eventually died, allowing Kratos to open the Box to find nothing inside.
In the last resort, Zues used Kratos’s sin against him, condemned him of his own dark past. But as Kratos ventured in his own mind, he found redemption within his own. Turned out, what kept inside Pandora’s Box were Hope and Fear. Hope gave Kratos strength and allowed him to redeem himself while Fear cursed all the Gods, including Zues long ago. With this newfound Hope, Kratos finally killed Zues, resulting in the destruction of the realm. By the end of God of War 3, surprisingly our God of War decided to kill himself and restore Hope to all wandering souls. In his last breath, he fell to the water, considered to be dead… until his latest return in God of War 4.
Needless to say the gameplay in God of War was what made this series most well-known. God of War may not be the first 3rd-person-action game, yet, it is safe to say that God of War’s formula was so good. It was even used as the gameplay inspiration for later games like Darksiders, Bayonetta, or Asura’s Wrath. After each game, this God of War’s formula became even more perfected. It always felt so satisfying when using the infamous Blade of Chaos to slaughter tons of monsters in our way. The boss fights were so badass! So epic! Who could forget the grand battle with the Hydra in the original God of War? Or the battle with Colossus of Rhodes right at the beginning of God of War 2? Or the battle with Poseidon, Lord of the Sea himself in God of War 3? Such battles design, such gameplay mechanics were so successful that many players believed those were what made God of War… God of War.
Story-wise, frankly speaking it was not exactly the prime focus of the original series. The storyline of God of War was quite straight-forward. We had Kratos – a man whose life ruined and he blamed everything to the Olympian gods. He was the man of pure vengeance, a merciless killer whose goal was to slaughter all the gods and ultimately Zues. That was not to say the story in God of War was totally disaster. It was decent and somewhat relatable to real life psychological problem. But in the end, it was still not the main focus of the original series.
Finally we have visual, which was really unique and filled to the brim with Ancient Greece elements. This was not the main reason why God of War series famous. But nonetheless, its unique style and the lively portrays of Greece’s mythical entities and creatures were beautiful and fascinating (and maybe hideous too, depending on what entities we’re talking about).
So after the original trilogy, what news does God of War 4 bring? Well, quite a lot, namely:
- Norse Mythology: After the destruction of the Olympians, the realm of Greece Mythology was destroyed along with it. And so in this brand new God of War, Kratos somehow travelled to the Norse. We can expect lots of mythical creatures and entities from Norse Mythology, including the ridiculously huge World Serpent – Jormungand. And from the trailers we’ve seen so far, possibly we will get to see battle between Kratos and Thor.
- New Visual: Of course, a brand new God of War game in 2018 means a whole better graphic. Based on the trailers we’ve seen so far, the graphic and details in the game look awesome! However, there is a particular criticism which we will mention in later section.
- New Focus on Kratos’s Story: This is actually a vastly welcomed change. According to director Cory Barlog, this time Kratos is older, wiser. He has a new life with his new son Atreus. It is quite an interesting approach since get to see more humane side of Kratos, not just a killing machine. The interaction between father and son seems to be the main focus here and this is extremely fascinating to see Kratos and Atreus’s character development.
- New Gameplay Changes: This is probably the most controversial element in God of War 4. We still have the action combat style, however, there is no camera lock. The game maintains in third-person view and players have full camera control. Battle still looks brutal but it feels slower and more strategic. There are button changes; typically we have Light Attack and Heavy Attack button located at R1 and R2 which is somewhat similar to Dark Souls. And on top of that, the infamous Blade of Chaos is lost and instead, we have a brand new weapon called Leviathan Axe.
With all these 4 big changes, God of War 4 has a totally different look than its original. It almost feels like a completely different game. While many players welcome the change, many others consider it to be a failure as it completely strays from the true God of War title. Why’s that?
As we mentioned, many God of War fans were into the game due to its incredibly fun gameplay. However, the new God of War 2018 looks too different from the original trilogy. Many people considered it to be too similar to Dark Souls with R1 – R2 attack buttons, a dodging button, and a shielding button. As the results, many fans were extremely skeptical about the game.
Aside from the gameplay, some people also complain about the story. From their perspective, Kratos is supposed to be badass. He does not care anything, he is iron-willed and he does not need any help. However, Kratos in this game looks old and soft. And more importantly, the fact that Kratos has a son makes this game is more like “The Last of Us-ish”.
Those two are the most common reasons why a considerable amount of fans hate the new God of War. Some also think that the visual in God of War 4 is good, yet not unique. Despite having beautiful graphic, the overall style does not look that much different from other games. If not for Kratos, people probably do not think this is God of War.
That said; there are tons of people who really like the change. It is safe to say that Santa Monica Studios has decided a really daring move here. The original God of War series was good, but in the era of forth console generation, players probably want something different. God of War 4 embraced the change and it shifts its original formula to something new with hope to become an innovating God of War. Personally for us, we like the changes. From our perspective, God of War is an old franchise. Its formula may work in back in the good ol’ days but it may not work in this new era when players are thirsting for something innovative.
The story is also a big plus here since we get to discover more into Kratos as a character, not simply a killing machine. It is interesting to see how Kratos develops after his long tormented journey back in God of War original trilogy. We are interested to see how he will raise his son and how he will deal with his problem in the past. The development between father and son is also a great point here. Unlike the traditional escort-ish story (sorry Resident Evil 4), Atreus is independent and he can help Kratos in battle. It helps this Atreus character involving more in the entire game rather than being someone who needs to be protected.
However, we understand that changes may bring disaster. During the time of 2017 – 2018, this is arguably a good, yet at the same time, disastrous period of gaming. Many games tried to “innovate” itself too much that in the end they resulted in disappointment (*cough* Star Wars Battlefront 2 *cough* *cough* Destiny 2 *cough*). For this reason, it is no wonder why many people are afraid of new changes in God of War 4.
In the end, we understand that this is a “dark time” of gaming. But nonetheless, changes are necessary and God of War 4 is ready to make such dangerous move. Will God of War 4 be a total disaster? Let’s until April 20th, 2018 when we can finally see the game in action! And for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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