First of all, let me give “God Of War 4” a round of applause for being named the “Game Of The Year” for 2018! There was some tough competition, but I feel like the award was well deserved. GOW4 was one hell of a game to play!

However, while every outing of the “God Of War” series has been exceptional from the very beginning, each one an amazing cinematic experience in its own right over the years…all formulas tend to get tiresome over time. It can be a difficult balance, trying to change the graphics, story, and gameplay, enough where the game comes off as being refreshing and new…and yet keeping it ‘familiar’ enough for the diehard fans to rush in and appreciate the continuation of a story that they’ve come to know and love. I’ve seen many video games in the past lose that balance and fall too far on one side or the other.

But this time…I think the designers found the key to doing this JUST right!

This time, the once ruthless ‘anti-hero’, Kratos…brutal and murderous tactics included, is being faced with a brand new challenge that he’s never really faced before. One that he can’t just cut and slash and beat down in a furious display of merciless rage. This time, designers decided to dig in deep and add an entirely new element to this particular chapter of the gaming franchise.

A young son for our main character to guide and interact with while proceeding forward on his quest.

Which I, personally, think was absolute genius, both in its concept and its execution. It breathed new life into this series, and while I’ve only had a limited amount of play time, myself…it was easy to see that this ambitious project had a lot of heart behind it, and deserves its spot as the best game of last year. And who doesn’t love a touch of heart when it comes to an awesome video game full of blood and broken bones, right? Hehehe!

This addition to the story changes the whole dynamic of the game and how you play through it…while still delivering that barbaric magic that made the earlier projects so damned enjoyable. Kratos’ naive companion, ‘Atreus’, is well balanced in being both a blessing and burden throughout your adventure. Going from someone that you have to work extra hard to shield and protect…to someone that you have to train and provide wisdom and guidance to…to someone who can actually stand at your right side and join in the fight with you. It’s SO awesome to be a part of that story arc, and see it unfold as you share your travels together! That was definitely a different spin.

Of course, you will have to deal with your boy’s questions, and his defiant ways, and you’ll have to deal with his occasionally explosive temper, knowing when to comfort him or not comfort him, when to be sympathetic and when to be tough…but…of course you will! Hehehe, because…’teenagers’!

But that’s the most intriguing part of the game, in my opinion. Not only do you have another character to look after and safeguard from danger, but you get a chance to provide him with some important life lessons that will hopefully lead him down the right path. That’s just a cool twist on the Kratos story arc, who is usually so unrestricted in his methods that you kind of take pride in the dark approach to it all. Now he’s challenged to set a good example, and get another perspective on who he is through the eyes of someone he cares about. I LOVED it!

That’s not to say that Atreus is simply a ‘tag-a-long’, however. While being a bit reckless at times, he’s smart. He can help you solve puzzles and come up with ideas that you may not be able to process all on your own. And a few well placed arrows from afar can really help you out of a bad situation, or in a fight with an enemy that’s getting the best of you.

Keep Atreus safe, and train him to be both a warrior and a well balanced thinker as well…and you’ll see your proud boy turning into quite the little BADASS while playing the game! Hehehe!

Seriously…that kid can kick some serious butt once you teach him how!

Now, what many people may NOT know about this game is the fact that young Atreus is voiced by a thirteen year old skateboarder from California named, Sunny Suljic. And if that name sounds at all familiar to you, it’s because Jonah Hill discovered him in a local skater park with his friends, and cast him in his new, highly successful, independent film, “Mid90’s”!

I haven’t seen the movie yet, myself, but based on his voice over talents in this game and the movie trailer alone, I’m sure he did an excellent job, and I’m hopeful that we can all look out for more great roles from him in the future!

So, if you’ve got a PS4 just sitting around the house, and you’re looking for something new to immerse your mind and your emotions into for a while…”God of War 4″ is definitely the way to go! Great characters, great story, great gameplay…you’re all set to disappear from the rest of humanity for a few weeks! Hehehe!

Buckle up! And, as always, life’s too short to not have FUN!!!

SO HAVE SOME!!!

Published January 13, 2019