It's been eight years since the last "God Of War" game came out and most of us have probably grown up a lot since then. Luckily for us so has Kratos. He's a dad now. No longer just a rage-filled wild man, but a mentor and protector to a young man. He's still a rage-filled wild man too though so don't worry. For all of the depth, the game promises for the new character he is still a vicious warrior taking off heads and otherwise brutalizing monsters. It's just that this time he's a little smarter about it, the game is a little less about covering a room with steel chains and lightning and more about thinking how you're going to beat this next enemy.

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So with a generally more somber game in mind did the developers manage to keep the same quality as before?

So what's new?

This title sets itself apart from the other with a much more thoughtful tone and a gentler pace. This game is not just a violent romp through mythology with the Greeks replaced with the Norse, this is a narrative driven experience. The player is supposed to feel closer to Kratos and the camera is pulled in to behind his shoulder to achieve the effect. Rather than spinning two chains around your head and watching satyrs make vague looking attacks against the eye of a storm.

You see a draugr swing a sword inches from your face and catch it on your shield. In short, while the previous game let you watch Kratos, this game lets you become Kratos. You feel intimately involved. This more grounded philosophy isn't restricted to combat though. Kratos himself is a more grounded character. The story of the game is no longer just a revenge quest but a personal journey. Kratos has become a man who realizes his own flaws, realizes that it has been his own rage that has caused him so much grief and seeks to change it.

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Is it still 'God of War?'

Obviously yes in the strict sense, it is a continuation of the story of Kratos. That's not what I mean though, what I mean is, does this game have the same spirit, the same feel as the "God of War" series. Well, that's a bit more complicated. In a way no, the changes made completely shift the tone of this game. The old games were bombastic and over the top, they were the myths of a hero told through the ages and warped to remove all of the underlying truth. I've always thought of God of War in this way.

It's easy to imagine the games as legends with inflated characters and events being told around a campfire.

The new game is not like this. This isn't the myth of Kratos, it's the story of Kratos, and it gives a fundamentally different impression. The events in this game aren't a re-telling of some great and powerful Spartan, they are the happenings of a haunted man. It's more personal.

That being said, the scale of the old games is still there. After all, this is the land of Jörmungandr and the ice giants.

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It will see you fighting ogres and trolls and talking to dwarves. This keeps at least some of the mythic feel of the old games intact. The combat too - while it involves more thinking and while it appears to emphasize the weight of each swing over the spectacle of seven hundred - is still "God of War." It's still the brutal and visceral combat as before, with heads rolling in the snow and bodies being cleaved. Yes this game is still "God of War" it has the spirit - it's just stripped of the pomp of a hero myth and that's not a bad thing.