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Sony kicked off their E3 2016 showcase as strong as ever presenting their newest title in the God of War series, simply named “God of War”. The gameplay demonstration played on the PlayStation 4, so from a hardware standing point, Sony did not yet reveal anything new.
The God of War demo starts out at a mellow, almost cinematic pace, with a young boy in a cold environment. He is beckoned to a hut where Kratos, his father, the protagonist of the God of War series, reveals himself to the audience.
In stark contrast to previous titles, he appears older, more weathered, and his voice is, for a lack of better words, less shouty. The greatest change, however, is the beard. It suits the new character, but it also manages to define his new demeanor better.
Kratos decides that the time had come for his son to learn to hunt properly. He was also hungry. In Spartan manner, the two leave the hut and begin to track deer.
The environment was beautiful and snowy, but more importantly, it was distinctly not Greek, the setting and mythology in which the action of all previous titles was set in. The minimalistic game interface confirmed the non-Greek setting and mythology when several prompts were first displayed with a beautiful arrangement of Nordic runes.
The hunting expedition quickly escalates into combat as several Draugr-like undead attack Kratos and his son. With a brilliant and paced display of military martial prowess, Kratos uses his weapon, a bearded ax with frost abilities, to dispatch his foes. His son assists in the fight by not getting into trouble, a valuable lesson that all younger video game characters should learn.
Also in Spartan manner, the hunt for deer resumes after the combat, making no further note of the fallen enemies. It is yet unclear if this is happening because Kratos won’t let a few undead side-track him from his hunger or because the environment itself is littered with the undead.
The troll fight that follows is absolutely gorgeous. The visual streamline between animations, the perfectly chosen music, the faded, non-intrusive interface, all give it a cinematic feeling of epic proportions. In contrast to other God of War titles, the fight included more dodging and less quick-time events. The Spartan Rage power is still present, and it was a feast for the eyes.
After the troll fight, the hunt for deer resumes for a second time and with precise application of his father’s advice, Kratos’ son fells a stag with shimmering ice crystals growing out of his antlers.
The gameplay demonstration is an attempt at presenting the rites of manhood, a boy and his father hunting in a harsh environment, learning to rely on one another. And it would have been a beautiful and emotional moment with a lesson everybody could ponder for the next minutes. Sony, however, ended the demonstration with an epic Nordic dragon flying overhead, teasing the viewers with a third fight that nobody got to see.
The new God of War logo also has Nordic runes etched all across what used to be the Omega symbol. That symbol has now joined resembling a blood circle or an ouroboros.
The Gameplay trailer was fantastic. God of War was always popular and acclaimed, and it’s good that Sony is bringing it back while also changing the setting to one that is somewhat more popular now.
How do you feel about the new God of War? Did you enjoy the slightly slower pace of gameplay? What is your take on Kratos’ majestic beard? Let us know.
Image Courtesy of PlayStation’s YouTube channel.