God of War is great, but it’s getting a little played out. There’s only so many Greek Gods that Kratos can disembowel before they’re all gone, and the stakes can only get so high before the game becomes a cartoon. After 6 games, God of War had pretty much hit the limit on both of those. We’ve seen Greece and we’ve seen the Gods so many times it’s time to move on. So it’s good that Sony actually is.
When the last game in the franchise was announced, God of War: Ascension, there were groans almost immediately. “More Kratos?” asked some fans, while others took the more aggressive “Haven’t we already played this?” approach. It’s a game that nobody really wanted, largely because it’s still the same characters, the same backdrop, and the same game we’ve all been playing for years.
So going Norse and changing the setting and mythology is the best thing they could have done. It’s a chance to give gamers a fresh experience and introduce new settings and enemies. From last night’s reveal trailer, even the core gameplay is being rebuilt and refreshed. God of War‘s combat is famous for Kratos’ twirling, chain-linked wristblades, so it’s a bold move for Sony to separate from that tradition and arm their protagonist with nothing more than a common wood axe. Yet at the same time, the combat looks like it is continuing to be easy to learn and incredibly flashy. We can only hope that the developers continue to keep what works while rebooting everything that’s tired.
My only real complaint is that Sony didn’t go quite far enough in rebooting the franchise. At this point, we’ve seen everything Kratos has to off and we’d be better off with a new, fresh character. The trailer once again featured Kratos, only this time teaching his son the art of survival. It’s a new take on the character, but it’s still the same guy. I can only hope that the trailer was something of a fakeout and that the real adventure will be years later, we’ll be playing as Kratos Jr., and he’ll be a sufficiently different kind of person compared to his father.
Ultimately, this new God of War marks a new start for the franchise, and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s keeping the parts of the franchise that people love while shedding the parts that even the biggest God of War supporters have started to admit is becoming old-hat. Sony has entered a new era and now they’re dragging along their biggest franchises for the ride and doing what they’re known for; giving us bigger, badder, better games and continually pushing the envelope instead of resting on their laurels. If this continues to be Sony’s attitude going forward, then it’s going to be a hell of time to be a Playstation fan.