Editors’ Choice 2018: Why God of War is One of 2018’s Best Games

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Editors’ Choice 2018: Why God of War is One of 2018’s Best Games

Santa Monica Studio delivers a deeply emotional experience following the unforgettable journey of a father and son.

God of War defies hyperbole. Almost every effusive thing you may have heard about Santa Monica Studio’s hit is borne out through gameplay. It’s a study in contrasts. It’s brutal, but sensitive; fast, but methodical; huge and sprawling, but intimate and focused; loud, but quiet.

It is first and foremost a fabulous action game. Experts will love the infinite ways they can approach any given battle. Novices will appreciate that they can smash on R1 and R2 and wail their way through the game effectively, if a bit inelegantly. Kratos’s boomerang-like Leviathan Axe is a masterclass in satisfying weapon design, adding weighty impact to every fight. His fledgling son, Atreus, boldly fires both colorful quips and helpful elemental arrows into the fray as well.

It’s a big game, too, with lots to see and do. God of War is famously set against the wondrous backdrop of Norse mythology — another pantheon for Kratos to make waves in. Speaking of water, exploring the Norse realms as father and son is hugely rewarding. Every moment spent battling Draugr, helping Wayward Spirits, and soaking in the vivid world is a delight.

Somehow, though, the giant ogres, dragons, cat-lizards, and jaw-dropping vistas all play second fiddle to the rocky relationship between father and son. If you really want to know the true secret behind God of War’s artistry, the reason it won so many critical accolades and such ardent love from fans… well, look to its uncanny insight into dysfunctional families.

Kratos isn’t a good role model, or even a particularly good guy. But he’s trying to change his ways, to “be better.” His inexperience as a father — rendered in a brilliantly subtle, award-winning performance by Christopher Judge — is both awkward and moving. Underneath that gruff exterior, you see, Kratos is scared: of the responsibility of parenthood, and by the reckless anger he sees in his son, an anger that serves as a mirror to his own deicidal past.

Atreus, meanwhile, would rather be almost anywhere else than traveling with dear old dad. He bristles at Kratos’s attempts to control him, and resists his cautious approach to danger. He’s smart and spirited, but he’s young and impatient.

Against all odds, the connection between this unlikely pair deepens and matures over the course of their epic quest. They grow and learn from each other. And, layer by layer, they gradually shed the psychological armor they’ve both built up. Until, by the time the game ends, they’ve become a true family.

God of War’s story is remarkably deep and personal. Material of this caliber is rarely explored in the interactive medium, and the execution here is virtually flawless.

God of War is one of the best games of the year, and the generation.

What was your favorite game of 2018? Click here to vote in the PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year 2018 Awards!

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  • Correction: THE best game of 2018

  • Because this game had an excellent way of story telling, in the beginning it was difficult to consider Thor as villan but game makers absolutely convinced it’s players and made them curious . Honestly I can’t wait to fight Thor or Odin for that matter.

  • One of the best God of War games I’ve ever played. It helps a little if you play the other God of War games first for full character development of understanding the main character in full. But what I love about this game is you don’t have to do that unless you’re a die hard God of War fan like me. The graphics are amazing, the story was perfect in every way and the controls were amazing. The only thing that bums me out is how short the campaign was, but a great marketing strategy because I’m just waaaay too excited for the new one to come out to continue the story.

  • Article is a bit leading before the GOTY is announced. Lucky to have played Spider-Man, God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 this year and enjoyed all of them but if i had to choose one it would be Red Dead without a doubt.

  • I really, REALLY wanted to vote for Spider-Man as the game of the year in most categories, as I just finished playing it recently – but on a little reflection, I couldn’t really give it the edge over God of War. This was an exceptional game, one of the greatest video gaming experiences I’ve had.

    I haven’t defeated every Valkyrie yet – those battles are insane – but I completed the story and my kids were just entranced watching several sequences. As a (hopefully more functional) father, this was a compelling game in just SO many ways.

  • I think it is best. But in open world it is not. My fav. Game of year is Spiderman and just cause 4

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  • I think it is best in non open world. My fav. Is Spiderman just cause 4 in 2k 18
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  • It’s not beat saber, it’s not in VR, flat games literally have no depth.

  • Game of the year. Hands down.

  • True masterpiece. Deserved all awards and hype. Thank you Cory!

  • This game has redefined my expectations of the level of quality I will expect from action rpgs… it is such a masterclass of design in nearly every way. There’s really no question that this deserves GotY. As amazing as some of the other games this year were – Dragon Quest 11, Megaman 11, Fe, Dead Cells, Spider-Man, and Celeste to name a few – God of War is a masterpiece that will likely make many ‘best PS4 game’ and ‘Best games of the past decade’ lists when those start happening on the next year or two.

    As far as the entire generation of PS4 games go, I would put it behind only Nier: Automata, Journey and Persona 5… the type of game that gets argued as the ‘best in its genre’ for years and years to come. The type of game that redefines the standards we take for granted.

  • Awesome game,didn’t want it to end. SPOILER – Thor appears and I’m like,no way…And I thought the other realms would open with DLC’s;but they said no extra content. I’m in my 40’s and this game is up in my top 5 with Skyrim and Witcher 3…10 out of 10

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