Yeah, it’s a dirty listicle finding it way onto AusGamers, but given what the content actually is, it was the best way to go about it. God of War has just dropped to retail in the wake of a wave of critical success
and is, largely, the talk of the gaming town
. Or Midgard village. Whichever.
This is a very different God of War for the old gods out there, and a different kind of action-adventure game for the new. So we thought we’d put together a quick and easy list of basic tenets you should be following given the size and breadth of content ahead of you. Some of this will be obvious to some, but believe me when I tell you A LOT of players tend to ignore playing games -- with these tips in mind -- of this nature. So, grind your axe and get to Draugr killing, you sombitch.
Be a God of Financial Sustainability
Early on in the piece, it’s not really revealed just what the game-world economy is or how collectibles work. Despite the fact there are chests and hidden areas everywhere. Resources are scarce in Midgard, and a lot of them are realm-specific, too. So when you finally meet Brok and eventually his brother, Sindri, you’ll be carrying enough junk to start your own ancient nordic IKEA. But don’t be afraid to sell a lot of it off. The Toys and other collectibles throughout are just that: “collectibles”. Eventually the main blacksmith location at the Lake of the Nine will proudly display your collectibles collection. Moreover, as you progress and the combat challenge gets harder, Hacksilver is going to be your friend. Don’t hoard your runes or leftover bits of armour -- sell, sell, sell.
Be a God of Well-Managed XP Hoarding
Opposite to the above, hoarding XP can actually help you out in the later stages of God of War. The game’s difficulty spike (especially on any setting above Normal) is pretty steep and enemies gain new transformations, types and abilities once you move beyond the “first act”. The more XP you have, the more quickly you can Upgrade your abilities across both Kratos and Atreus. And it’ll be around the midway point that you likely settle on specific abilities across both characters. This tip also cleverly leads into the following two mentioned below, so bank the advice for the time being. Oh, and all that XP.
Be a God of Fatherly Inclusion
Atreus is one of the better AI companions to grace a game of this nature, and as you progress through the game, his abilities, confidence and helpfulness grow. Almost organically. So much so, that it can be easy to forget you have a bit of agency over his support, and when you finally get to Muspelheim you’ll need to be totally in charge of that support (the combat Challenge that asks you survive 20 enemies without getting hit, in particular). And let’s not even get into the Valkyrie combat challenges. So just remember that Atreus isn’t just story set-dressing, he’s super-helpful especially in crowd-control situations because a lot of his moves and basic arrow usage, which you can control, interrupts enemy movesets and allows for exploitable openings. Oh, and make him get rid of Nightmares immediately. You won’t regret that bit of advice.
Be a God of Neighbourly Helpfulness
God of War’s story is pretty fucking good. It’s wonderfully-paced and drives the player forward. But don’t be distracted by good storytelling, because the peripheral parts of this game-world will help you handle the heavier load later on. Specifically, do your Favours, explore the Lake of the Nine to the nines. When you find a Rune chest, solve it. Health is a major factor to combating the game’s complex and ever-expanding combat challenge and remember to revisit places every time you get a new ability or upgrade. This is classic
Metroid game-design where character growth in strength and ability is awarded all around you -- not just in combat. On top of this, you’ll learn much more about the game’s disruptive norse lore because Santa Monica Studios has been kind to us, and delivered a fully-voiced exposition system through both Atreus and Mimir as you row those boats.
Be a God of Never Giving Up
Which sounds stupid, because Kratos never gave up. I mean, he killed Zeus. But what I mean here is progression in God of War isn’t entirely gated. It’s worth your time getting as much done as you can to be as strong as you can to handle the endgame content, but the game doesn’t lock you out after all’s said and done. Moreover, it doesn’t just throw you back in a pre-endgame Checkpointed game-world, and allows for actual reflection on your achievements. It’s super-refreshing in this way, and attempting the elusive 100% completion is doubly rewarding because the game-world never stops acknowledging you, or trhowing game-world and disruptive lore exposition at you. What I will say, however, is don’t be afraid to go back home to your cabin and have a nap. You honestly won’t regret it.
And that’s it. Most of this stuff will become second nature if you play the game how Santa Monica Studios wants you to play it. But people who rush through for story, or ignore upgrading and progression systems will find it hard unless they play on Normal or below. Most of all though, just take your time and embrace this magnificent beast of a game. Sequels and new content will absolutely arrive (there are two locked realms post-ending, after all), so for now, you might as well soak it all in and embrace the brilliance that is God of War.