\’God of War\’ could be 2018\’s first must-have game

\’God of War\’ could be 2018\’s first must-have game

The God of War has returned. Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta who destroyed all of the gods of Olympus in his quest for revenge for the deaths of his wife and daughter, is making his first appearance on Sony’s (SEN) PlayStation 4 next month, and it’s going to be huge.

But the living embodiment of a nuclear-powered buzzsaw isn’t what he once was. “God of War,” which comes out April 20, sees the once vengeance-driven son of Zeus and a mortal man take on a more subdued demeanor.

He’s older and wiser, and it certainly shows. From the way the ashes, which he was cursed to wear, have begun to fade from his skin, to how he approaches combat, this is a more deliberate Kratos than the killing machine that battled his way to the top of Mount Olympus in the original “God of War” trilogy.

I played the first two and a half hours of “God of War” during a preview event hosted by Sony, and left more excited to play the final game than ever before.

Aging gracefully

The aged Kratos we meet in “God of War” has the weathered look of a man nearing the twilight of his days. His face now sports a long, grey beard and his trademark tattoo is fading with age. My first impression of the Spartan was that he had the kind of vibe I got from the aged Wolverine in “Logan.”

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A tremendous amount of time has passed between ‘God of War III’ and the new ‘God of War,’ and it shows on Kratos’ aged face.

“There was a first kind of discussion we had where I said it was kind of like an athlete in the off season,” explained “God of War” creative director Cory Barlog. “There were versions of Kratos where he let himself go a little bit.”

That’s not to say he’s weak and feeble. This Kratos still packs one heck of a punch. And his brutality is still well intact when he needs to unleash it. But he’s also not the walking vial of nitroglycerin he once was.

Much of that has to do with the fact that Kratos is once again a husband and father. At least, he was prior to this game’s opening scenes where we find Kratos laying his wife to rest. His son, Atreaus is still young and inexperienced, and Kratos, now a single parent, is tasked with teaching him everything from how to properly hunt for food to how to defend himself.

It’s clear that Kratos isn’t exactly comfortable in his role as a loving caregiver. Moments like his initial anger at his son over a missed shot at a deer the two were hunting show the Spartan’s rage nearly boil over, only to subside into instructions punctuated through his gritted teeth. The love, though, is certainly there. In another scene, Atreaus tells Kratos not to leave him behind again following a fight, to which Kratos replies, “I won’t.”</span>”

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