Chat about the new God of War (please tag spoilers)


#1

National Weed Day has passed, your half-finished Labo pianos and robot suits lay perpetually unfinished in the corner, and you may have a copy of God of War: Kratos Tries This Responsibility Thing Again sitting in your PS4. What should you do?

Well, play it, dummy. And then talk about it with the cool people in the Waypoint forums. A few thread preferences though:

  • Let’s not get too heavy into the issues with too-common critical consensus or the homogeneity of big budget gaming, they’re valid topics, but also conversational dead ends
  • Please use spoiler tags for stuff way later in the game so that nobody has the surprise of Atreus’s big birthday bash in level 3 ruined for them
  • Please be critical of the game and let others be critical, this isn’t ResetERA
  • I’m not into Kratos’ new beard but it’s okay if you are
  • Watching LPs or streams is a perfectly valid way to experience the game IMO, feel free to talk about it if you did so
  • BigNoNo is doing a thread about the past games here, that will likely be a better place for conversation about them specifically

#2

Gonna be right here with you in ugly cry voice 45 HOURS


#3

So far my thoughts are that the narrative is working for me better than I expected (I do assume it will shit the bad at some point), the combat is pretty good, I still don’t mind the dad stuff even if it has a bad case of the Fight Club’s, and that maybe playing on the highest difficulty was a bad idea


#4

Counting rez stones, I’ve died about 4-5 times on the standard difficulty, though I’m just bad at managing threats from different angles.

Borrowing from Naughty Dog’s pacing with the Uncharted games is one of GoW’s best strengths. As much as I really like the combat in Platinum games, there are so many points in those games where I’m looking at the “Start Next Chapter” button and thinking “ehhhhh I think I’m done for now”.

Walk’n’talk sections with Atreus or minor optional puzzle divergences help the game breath between action sequences. Provided the later segments in the game don’t fall apart, I’ll probably point to the game as an ideal example of how you should do your gameplay beats in an action title like this.

(it’s been too long since I played the original series and don’t remember what the pacing was like there, so I can’t really use it as a point of comparison)


#5

That fight took me three hours and I got so much XP from killing those mobs every cycle that I now have all of the basic skills

Nine Inch Nails starts playing in the background


#6

So I just got to the dwarfs weapon shop. There’s a lot I’m digging about this game and a lot I’m not. I think @miscu, you are totally right about how well paced the game is (minus one stranger fight I’d argue). I think the lack of any hard cuts and no cuts in time possibly plays into this as there’s never a place where you think “that’s a good stopping point.” Some of the spectacle in this game is fantastic, like the turtle house and the world serpant we’re both incredible. Austin saying that the game doesn’t lean into the mythos as much bums me out because when this game does tap into it, I’m loving it. But the one thing I’ve been most impressed by are the idle conversations with your son while traveling, that’s been quite nice.

But there are things that I don’t quite understand. The long cut is cool in concept and plays a part in pacing, but the execution isn’t as effective as it could have been when it’s cut by pausing the game. And that’s weird because there are some places where they commit to keeping the shot like the blacksmith shop. So it ends up being a really technically cool trick that doesn’t serve much more than being cool. I also don’t really understand all the needless interactions, like the pillars you lift for your son or all the cliffs where you need to lift up your son and wait for him to drop a chain (this is executed on well once in it’s defense). There’s a lot of actions that feel like “there isn’t a puzzle or combat here, we gotta get em pressing a button for some reason though,” or “we need a way to move into a cutscene.” Perhaps that’s being very nitpicky but I was noticing all these needless interactions. Felt very Uncharted to me, and not in a good way.

And I hear this improves, but I’m not digging the combat or systems around it so far? Maybe bumping up the difficulty would help but it feels very flat. The over the shoulder camera is just a burden too, and the developers clearly felt so too because of the quick turn ability and all the indicators and needed to create a sense of spacial awareness. As for the systems, that’s just personal preference, but once the level indicators popped up on enemies I think I groaned and said “oh, this is one of THOSE games isn’t it?” Once again, just a personal taste thing, I won’t make a stink about it, as those issue stem from me wanting the game to be a different game than it actually is.

I’m going to give everything a bit more time (especially the story, which is a bit dull but I see signs of hope). There’s a lot to love, there’s a lot to criticize as well. Current verdict: this game is a lot.


#7

Okay, so i just finished the game

I feel that especially in our circles it has already been getting some slack and been seen as the next Bioshock Infinite. I get that people want to do the comparison but it´s not to that extreme.

I think that Atreus works really well as a character both with how he´s written and the voice acting is really something. I also think that they use the mythologi sparsly but to great effect.


#8

I’m not much further in than I was but it occurred to me that the game this most reminds me of really is Bayonetta in that it’s a game I really enjoy but have some Issues ™ with most of which stem from the fact it’s mostly made by dudes. Though so far I might actually take this over Bayonetta as it’s a more, hmm, personal game? I mean the people who made Bayonetta were obviously very into Bayonetta. But this game to me really echoes a lot of the ways I behave around abuse both with Kratos and the son in relatively subtle ways, I know what it’s like to be afraid of someone and to have to do my best to not recoil from them in ways they will notice, and I know what it’s like to find yourself doing some of the things that made you do that (though obviously to much lesser degrees). And as a white guy who is Trying I also sympathize with some of the choices made around how they handle some things even if I don’t agree with them. Though for real like four hours in and the only women I have seen is an enemy type? Really?

Edit: Oh I actually had a dream about what I suspect goes wrong in the game in regards to the thing I have heard happens to the major women who plays a part in the game and while I have not yet met her in game I figure I will post this in spoiler tags just in case I am right. Also don’t like tell me if I am right I will find out on my own

Summary

The Norse mythos is so apocalypse based that for some reason it popped into my head that what happens is that the the women you meet later is set up as a sort of counter point to Kratos and wants to start the end of the world now and you have to stop her and the game fucks up somewhere in that. I have absolutely no idea if that’s where this goes


#9

Those are probably to mask load times, same trick they do in Uncharted.


#10

Holy crap yeah. I’ve noticed elsewhere in the dialogue they’ve used story explanations to explain what I imagine are things to hide load times, like (5-6 hours in spoilers) when the witch is explaining why the tree of life takes so long to “start up” and teleport you to different realms. For whatever reason it didn’t strike me that many of these interactions are probably just that.


#11

I’m about 15 hours in, I just met Mimir which feels like a halfway point in the narrative. Here are some quickfire thoughts:

The combat is fine. It takes hours to get occasionally good and it feels like it has been hacked together in order to accommodate the over-the-shoulder camera. Throwing and recovering the axe is rad but I think that’s mostly down to the over-produced audio-visual feedback you get from absolutely everything in this game. Again, I think that’s there to compensate for the fact the game feels like they picked a camera perspective to reflect the narrative themes and then had to build a game about crowd-control rather than the more expressive mechanics of the previous games. So now everything needs to whoosh and crunch and generally look and sound like a MMO’s level-up effect to feel good.

The bosses have sucked, which is a massive disappointment considering that the series did at least do fluid, spectacularly-presented boss fights really well before. For all their nihilism and cruelty, God of War 3’s boss fights were fun to play.

Boy (!) is this game poorly paced. I think that’s mainly due to the over-use of enemy encounters because I quite like the rudimentary puzzles they’ve sprinkled throughout the game. They’re my favourite thing about the game so far because they’re mostly built around the axe mechanic, which is the best in the game.

Narratively, this game could be fantastic if the writers were being honest with their characters. The game is framed so far as Kratos slowly learning to connect with and trust his son through their shared trauma, but the glacial pacing spreads the moments of stunted emotional honesty out to the point were it feels like the story is about something else entirely. Right now, this feels like a story about the fact that your dad is never going to be emotionally honest with you, is always going to let you down, and would rather you be as closed-off as he is than confront the damage. I also have the feeling that this game isn’t actually about that and is going to do something much less interesting with what it has already set up.

I don’t like the protagonists very much but the ancillary characters are great fun. I feel like they missed an opportunity to make the series more quirky and irreverent before and it feels like too little, too late here.

Why is this game open world? I’ve yet to see why. It’s a big-ass hub world that’s a pain in the ass to navigate and they’ve peppered in fast-travel points to nullify whatever impact it might have had.

As Jackson Tyler said on twitter, games are basically replacing level design with Satisfying Feedback Loops and I hate it.

That’s all for now.


#12

I believe this changes at a point, but where you’re at currently, you’re only allowed to one-way travel to Brok’s shop. The game is generally good about making sure you’re not skipping around everywhere until you’re at the “endgame cleanup” point.


Here’s some ramble thoughts:

  • Having Mimir around helps immensely for providing levity between Kratos’ macho routine and Atreus’ naivete
  • I don’t like the threat arrow system since it’s too difficult to distinguish between an arrow designating a forward ranged threat and an attack coming from behind
  • The second time you come back to the main lake area, don’t try to do the “tear” fights since they’re way beyond your level at that point, which is a little annoying
  • I’m not gonna be finishing the game this weekend but I got a certain weapon and it’s been firing on all cylinders ever since, I’ll be anxious to get back home tomorrow to play again
  • I dig control setups like this one where every button does at least one unique thing, but doesn’t do more than 2 things (DmC Devil May Cry did this and it was bad)

#13

I’m still VEEEERY early in, but here are my way too early impressions:

  • Atreus is good. I can see how they might not make meaningful progress in reforming Kratos (if that would even be possible) but I like that AT LEAST they gave him a sidekick who gives him shit. But I already totally see how he’s hinting at a theme they won’t explore to its fullest.

  • I really like the tossing and recalling the axe deal, but at least at this early stage in the game I don’t feel like it’s really implemented to the best of its ability in combat. My mind wishes there was a way to make it happen as part of a combo kind of like how you can do with your kinsect with the insect glaive in Monster Hunter. I’ve occasionally managed to extend juggles by hitting an enemy with it and it feels great, but it’s not really practical.

  • Overall the combat isn’t entirely riveting so far. I assume there’s more abilities and such to unlock but I can definitely see just falling into a groove of what works and doing that all the time.

  • The impact of Kratos’ wife (the fact I don’t know her name says a lot) on his character is definitely palpable even early, but the fact that she’s not a character at all totally sucks and makes the whole idea fall flat. I almost feel like in the most cynical way the whole no cuts thing could be seen as an excuse to not have to flesh her out through flashbacks.

  • This is more of a suspicion than an impression, but in playing the other (non-PSP) games in the series I always felt they really struggled to make a game that had engaging puzzles and great boss fights and I feel like in this they gave up on both in pursuit of an “emotional story” which…OK.

Edit: Making this post made me want to play a bit more and when I opened up my PS4 it reminded me this game pushes weird status updates to the social feed or whatever on the main menu and I’m not the type to make a big deal about spoilers but that SUUUUCKS


#14

I’ve started to really like this game to such a degree that I am getting really bummed about the plot beat I’ve heard vaguely talked around. The only thing I don’t like is the soundtrack which exists. Now I will grant that I enjoy the plot only in the sense that it is fun well done cheesy nonsense that punches above it’s weight, and also doesn’t really address some of the worst misogynistic bits, but when I’m not thinking too hard about all that I really like it!

Also mechanical spoiler

Summary

I was thinking that the only thing that could make me like this combat more was if time slowed down when I dodged an attack and then minutes later I got a talisman that does just that AND I FEEL SO ALIVE

Weirdly I would say that if you go into this with tempered expectations and not expecting an all time great ten out of ten game it’s a ten out of ten cheesy action game. Also I have not finished this game and do not vouch for it please don’t hate me when it pulls a BioShock: Infinite


#15

I think the idea with Faye not really appearing or getting fleshed out at all is that the game is trying to make her a void, it’s trying to make it seem like there is this big thing missing. The part where you step into the Alfheim Light and you hear Faye and see her blurred form but are then ripped back out and how in the free digital comic you get with the game Faye appears in it but they always obscure her face.


#16

I’m really enjoying this game so far. (Right now I’m just doing a bunch of exploring after blowing the big horn.) I’m very much into all the exploration and puzzle solving, and I love that I’m opening new chests like every 30 seconds, even if I don’t really care about what’s in them most of the time. I also love the dwarves. Really, the voice acting from EVERYONE is top-notch. The combat was starting to get a little stale, but I just unlocked a bunch of new abilities and now it’s fresh again and a lot more dynamic. I never played any of the other God of War games, so I don’t have them to compare this game to, if that matters.

My only complaint is that I wish more time was spent hanging out with the witch. She is a cheerful and pleasant light in the angsty hyper-masculine void. I hope when all this is done, Kratos and Atreus move in next-door to her and Atreus can spend all his time hanging with her and Chaurli and the rest of the gang. Maybe she can teach him magic and Kratos can teach him punching and he’ll grow up to be some sort of magic puncher who is literate and happy and has a bunch of friends.


#17

Just wanted to say Kratos learning to rationalize sidequests as you (the player) and Atreus force them on him is amusing, maybe even great.


#18

From where I’m at currently, unless there’s an 11th hour twist, I don’t see room for a “Woman Undoes the World Through Selfishness” situation (thankfully). Though Freya is more or less the only major woman you have interactions with throughout the game, she’s at least a good character at least.


#19

Freya gets better but the second time she shows up she got on my nerves really fast. No one else in the game is talking about things like they’re important but she’s breathlessly talking about prophecies and how the bifrost works and the nine realms and it doesn’t fit with anything. For whatever reason she (so far) never does this again. She just acts normal.

Really enjoying this game, I just got to an interesting moment with Freya and I’m trying to unpack it. Can’t decide where it’s going to go. I was worried I got to the point where the narrative goes sour but it avoided what I was expecting. We’ll see what happens.


#20

Most of the time the game is good about not going too deep into any of that outside of Atreus’ notebook, but that bit was just a Norse Mythology 101 lesson. We did not need a huge, stiffly-delivered infodump during that sequence.