It’s pretty obvious at this point that the new God of War game has some serious differences to any that have come before it, but it’s not until you pick up the game that you realise that almost everything outside of the name and the main character have seen massive changes in design. Everything from the characters, to the camera, to the controls have changed.
I spent about two hours with the game and was consistently shocked from start to finish with just how much has been tweaked, added and removed from the previous God of War games.
KRATOS CAN’T JUMP
Yep, you read that right. Jumping has been a huge part of the previous God of War combat system, but Kratos can no longer jump in combat. He’s instead much more grounded and feels heavier in combat. Kratos can jump down off ledges or across gaps, but only when the circle button prompt appears. Whilst this feels like a step back (Kratos obviously forgot how to jump traveling across the world), it definitely makes the combat feel completely different and it’s probably a change that the series needed.
THE ICONIC DUAL BLADES ARE GONE AND THAT’S OK
I was definitely worried when it was revealed that Kratos would use an Axe rather than his iconic dual blades, but so far, I’m fairly confident that they’re going to be equally bad ass. You can perform both light and heavy attacks with your new axe. You can also literally throw it at any opponent (then quickly recall it at any time). You can even freeze enemies or potentially add other elements to it as the game goes on. What was most impressive to me is that the enemy reacts differently based on where you hit it. For instance, you can trip most enemies if you aim for the legs, then recall it back to you making it hit the enemy a second time on it’s way back.
THE GAME IS MORE OPEN AND HAS A WORLD MAP
Whilst unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any footage of the map, this God of War game is open-world to an extent. You have to uncover the map as you go through the game, and unlike previous God of War games, you’re able to travel between regions freely as the game goes on. The game is still linear in which areas you can access at what times (as far as we can tell), but there’s definitely more of a sense of you being in one world rather than previous God of War games where you seemed to be jumping all over the place.
THERE’S A HUGE AMOUNT OF CHALLENGES AND SIDE MISSIONS
Yep, Kratos has a bunch of stuff to do outside destroying other gods now. There’s not only side missions relating to the story but a bunch of challenges that you can complete along the way for extra XP. These are called labours and range anywhere from killing 300 of a certain enemy type or tripping a certain amount of enemies with your axe. This God of War game is going to have much more to do than any that has come before it.
ALL ENEMIES HAVE A HEALTH BAR
In previous God of War games, you’d just be hacking away at both smaller enemies and bosses until they either died, or a quick time prompt showed up in game to finish them. In God of War, every single enemy has a health bar as well as a stun bar. Once you stun an enemy (by repeatedly hitting them or kicking them against a wall), you’re able to hit them with a larger set piece attack which finishes them off rather than not. Each enemy also has a level, which indicates just how hard it’s going to be to take down. The colour of the health bar also dictates how hard the enemy is to defeat, ranging from green to purple in order of difficulty.
Larger enemies (which feel like boss battles) also have a health bar, but at the bottom of the screen. This is mostly broken up into segments, with each segment representing a different part of the boss battle.
THE GAME HAS NO CAMERA CUTS AND TAKES PLACE COMPLETELY IN THIRD PERSON
The first thing you’ll notice whilst playing God of War is that the camera is drastically different. The game essentially has no camera cuts, so through the entire game as well as cut scenes, you’ll be looking from behind Kratos’ shoulder. This means that you’ll need to look around in order to target different enemies, which is completely different to the fixed third person camera angle that we’re used to. It also makes God of War feel much more cinematic and story-driven, which I definitely dug.
KRATOS HAS SIX CORE ABILITIES
The new God of War is more of an action-RPG than ever before (although still quite light on the RPG front). Kratos has six key elements that you can upgrade by visiting stores along the game. These six abilities are Strength (increases damage), Runic (increases runic attacks), Defence (reduces damage taken), Vitality (increases max health), Luck (Increases XP and hacksilver gains) and Cooldown (reduces the time of recharge of special abilities).