It’s been over a month since “God of War (2018)” came out exclusively for the PlayStation 4. Gaining high scores from reputable critics such as IGN, this game deserves all the love and hype that it is receiving, but how does it fare in comparison to the series as a whole? Has it done justice and enhanced the franchise like “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” or have they deviated from what made the franchise the legend that it is?

Fair warning, the following may contain some spoilers.

Gameplay – Subtle changes to the way we play

In the past, “God of War” had made its mark in the gaming industry because of its gameplay; most noticeable was the gore.

Bathing in the blood of your enemies was the main thing about the series that set it apart over other hack and slash games. The more you bathed in your enemies’ blood, the bigger your orb bonus and the faster you upgrade your weapons. This encouraged long combo strings to allow quick upgrades which, when compared to most games with a level based system, is more ideal since the need to grind isn’t as prevalent.

Comparing the new installment to its predecessors, SIE Santa Monica Studio did not disappoint us. Taking full advantage of the PS4 specs, the gore was still present and eye-opening as it was in every other installment. I would admit though, that it was toned down a bit compared to the other installments; however, due to the enhanced graphics, the gore looked and felt more realistic and as such, this wasn’t an issue.

The other key element that made the gameplay what it is was the incorporation of puzzles and challenges. Solving puzzles awarded Kratos with additional upgrades to his Health and Mana Pools as well as Blood Orbs. In “God of War (2018)” they changed all of this to a new Armor and Rune System, where it affects everything from your health, to your damage to even the skills for your weapons; but the puzzles and challenges still remained, and due to the freedom of the new landscape, it feels even better as we search throughout the nine realms just to make that new set of armor.

I still have mixed feeling about them removing the censored explicit scenes from the franchise. Yes, although it was censored to the point that the only indication of such scene was a candle or a rocking clay pot, that one mini-game was something that you didn’t know that you would miss until it’s no longer part of the game.

In terms of this story, with Kratos being a father and taking his son to honor his late wife’s last wish and all, having an impromptu explicit scene of such nature would be out of place. Yet, that same recklessness and disregard is what made Kratos who he was. Therefore, this is one aspect within the gameplay that, depending on how you look at it, failed the franchise.

Story – Kratos’ finest moment

This is in no way an insult to the franchise before, but “God of War (2018)" is by far the best one in terms of storyline. Kratos actually underwent character development and finally started to act like a character people can sympathize with. Perhaps I am being a little harsh due to my preference to RPGs, but the franchise before felt like it lacked a significant story.

The story before was all about revenge and anger, which was good in its own right and why the series did so well; however, when we saw at the end, Kratos telling Baldur that revenge isn’t everything, that it does more harm than good and isn’t the right course of action, I thought to myself, "Finally!" After six installments to the franchise, he finally learned his lesson, as Elsa from “Frozen” said, "Let it go." This was the pinnacle of the Kratos’ character development; to learn from one’s mistake and to guide the next generation.

Going back to the overall story of the game, it was both refreshing and saddening to play a game that wasn’t centered on Kratos, but instead is about the rise of Boy- I mean Atreus through the eyes of his father.

This was nicely written and implemented and it would be a sad yet fulfilling moment to play and see Kratos ending.

God of War (2018)” is one of the greatest games of the year so far. It was given high praise by game critics and sold over three million units worldwide. Being the seventh installment within the franchise (six if you don’t count the mobile game), it had a lot to go up against. While enhancing and building on its own success, the new installment delivered what made the franchise the masterpiece that it is while at the same time, changing and adapting to the times. “God of War (2018)” has without a doubt done justice to the franchise while securing a spot in gaming history.