The God of War saga started way back in 2005; a lifetime ago in the video game world. Launching in March of that year for the PlayStation 2, creator David Jaffe introduced us to Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta.As a Spartan warrior, Kratos and his men are facing dire odds when they pray to Ares, the Greek god of war. This simple prayer sets Kratos on a path of vengeance and destruction that ends with the death of Ares; allowing Kratos to assume the mantle of god of war. After ascending to godhood and slaying his father, Zeus, Kratos rejects the offers of Athena and disappears having avenged the deaths of his wife and child.
That’s where we begin.
—–CAUTION: SPOILERS BELOW—–
The latest installment, simply titled God of War, finds Kratos in hiding. As the opening scenes unfolds we find ourselves in Midgard, one of the nine realms of ancient Nordic mythology. We learn of the recent passing of Kratos’s wife, Faye, and of his son, Atreus. The father/son pairing must now fulfill the recently deceased matriarch’s final wish; spread her ashes on the highest peak in the nine realms but as is common in the life of the Spartan, the gods and fate have other plans.
At it’s the core, the game is still the rage-driven, hack-and-slash that it has always been, but the story is much more heart-felt and genuine. It is odd seeing Kratos, the father, when we are so used to Kratos, the Spartan warrior. However, it is a dynamic that works.
You can feel the conflict of the two personas each time Kratos speaks. Knowing his rage lead to the deaths of his first wife and child, Kratos is hesitant to embrace his old ways. Living as a mortal has taught him to control these impulses. Now imparting these life lessons he has learned over his countless years, Kratos tries to lead Atreus down a different path – a better path. Though he hides his true nature from Atreus, his son knows there is something different about his father.
Throughout the story there is a single common thread; sacrifice for family. From Kratos and Atreus to the feuding dwarf brothers, Brock and Sindri, even the spirits surrounding the Lake of Nine and the Nordic gods themselves, this theme resonates loudly. Tip of the ole’ hat to the writers for their amazing work on the story.
The only major change to the series is the Leviathan Axe. A gift from his late wife, the axe is imbued with frost elemental damage. The axe is the best of both worlds though. Much like the Blades of Chaos, there are both close-quarters and ranged attack capabilities. In addition to the runic attacks you can slot on the weapon, there is a projectile attack that can be used to reach those pesky ravens that Odin has sent to keep watch over you. Later you do acquire the Blades of Chaos and they are just as rewarding as you remember. Both weapons can be fully upgraded by Brock and Sindri, but you will need to find the appropriate resources to do so.
Now a few areas of note on your play-through. I highly recommend completing the challenges in Niflheim and Muspelheim before tackling the end game and especially before trying to face Sigrun, the Queen of the Valkyries. Your goal – acquire the full set of Ivaldi’s Armor of Deadly Mist and the Mistbourne axe pommel. The set gives massive amounts of stat bonuses but the best and most useful perk is the health regeneration and the pommel has a moderate chance to grant a health burst on any successful attack. It is not much but it will extend your life in combat. With this set and pommel fully maxed out, the Leviathan Axe and and Blades of Chaos with the Grips of the Valkyrie pommel maxed out, and the Shattered Gauntlet of Ages maxed out, you should now have twelve enchantment sockets. Fill all of the sockets with high level enchantments that fit your play style and you should break level nine. You are now close to Sigrun’s level and it should be more of a fair fight.
You will need to complete and repeat both areas until you have enough resources to fully upgrade your gear and both of the final resources needed for the Leviathan Axe and Blades of Chaos can only be acquired in these two realms – not to mention two of the eight Valkyries you must defeat in order to face Sigrun anyhow. It is a grind but the rewards are well worth the effort.
I do not want to give away too much of the twists and turns in the game, suffice to say, the new God of War installment is a worthy addition to the lexicon that is Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta and god of war.
Also, make sure to return home after you complete the story, you will be shocked.
Valkyrie Fight vs Eir (the easiest of the nine Valkyries in the game)
God vs Queen – Final Valkyrie fight vs Sigrun