When historians look back at the legends of Ancient Greece, many of them will recall the myths of Hercules, Achilles and Theseus. For fans of the PlayStation 2, they will have another hero in mind by the name of Kratos. The God of War series has been a prolific critical and commercial success since it was introduced in 2006, and now it is making its second appearance on PlayStation 4, following the remaster of the final game in the original trilogy. God of War, originally titled God of War IV, takes Kratos to a whole new location, with an all new set of challenges, a new pantheon of gods to interact with and the arduous task of being a father.
Following his departure from Greece at the end of God of War III, Kratos has been in hiding in the Nordic realm of Midgard, with only a Leviathan Axe to defend his home and his family. After the death of his beloved second wife, Kratos is left alone with the task of raising his son Atreus, as well as taking her ashes to a nearby mountain to honour her passing. When his safety is shattered by powerful beings who wish to dig Kratos out of his exile, the fallen god must prepare his son for the hardships that lie ahead, as well as defeat the deities that have placed a target upon his back.
From the very beginning, the story is filled with twists and turns that will shock and astound, with the central focus being placed on the volatile relationship between the father and son. Instead of playing the tortured protagonist this time around, Kratos now plays the role of a cautious parent and a strict authoritarian. The various arguments and reconciliations that ensue, particularly when Atreus succumbs to the rage that plagued his father are poignant, are well written and relatable to anyone who has been a parental figure. One of the early highlights is the arrival of a mysterious stranger that taunts Kratos to reveal himself. When the man threatens to eliminate his family, the former Greek god is forced into an intense fight filled with gore, blood and Dragon Ball styled fighting that takes place in various locations. What makes this fight truly remarkable is that there is no indication of when it will end, as the health bar only relates to that particular phase of the battle, and the seemingly indestructible enemy keeps returning for one more crack at eliminating the protagonist.