Wishes For The God of War

The upcoming PlayStation 4-exclusive God of War is shaping up to be one of the most exciting games of 2018. Much of the game’s appeal comes from how much it seems to go against the series’ established mold: The story is more personal and subdued, and the action is complex, yet less over-the-top violent. While the game looks incredibly promising, we’ve still got a few ideas about what it needs to do to surpass its predecessors. Here are nine things we want from God of War.

God of War is set to release on April 20 for PS4, in three special editions for the game—the Collector’s Edition, the Stonemason Edition, and the Digital Deluxe Edition—jam-packed special physical and digital bonuses. For a look at how God of War is shaping up, watch the game’s latest story trailer. And if you’d like more insight on the game’s development, read our in-depth interview with God of War director Cory Barlog.

If you’re eager to see what the other exclusives on PS4 are, then check out our in-depth gallery covering all of the biggest PS4 exclusives coming in 2018. You can also look at our galleries detailing Xbox One exclusives, PC exclusives, and Switch exclusives.

Justify Atreus’ Presence

Kratos has always been the mainstay protagonist of the series, but accompanying him this time around is Atreus, who can aid Kratos in a variety of ways. Atreus seems to be an important part of the game mechanically; he earns experience whenever he engages in battle, eventually gaining new skills and abilities. The game’s controls even have a button dedicated to issuing commands to Atreus and interacting with him.

While this all sounds promising, we’re hoping that Atreus’ impact on the story is substantial. It’s one thing to justify Atreus on mechanical level, but if there’s nothing compelling about his role in the story, God of War could fall flat. We’re hoping the game elaborates on Atreus, and provides an arc that’s as compelling as the redemptive plight of his grizzled father.

Keep Us Feeling Small

One of the biggest changes in God of War is its new over-the-shoulder view, which offers a more personal, grounded perspective of the game’s world. Past entries relied on a fixed perspective to showcase how much larger the world was compared to Kratos, often zooming out to better display its immense sense of scale. Hopefully, none of this was lost in the transition to the new camera, seeing as these moments were some of the series’ most awe-inspiring.

Give Us Side-Quests

While God of War won’t exactly be an open-world game, director Cory Barlog has confirmed that it would be “open.” Given this structure, we’d love for the game to offer a wealth of optional quests and activities to complete, apart from the main quest. God of War is already estimated to take nearly 25-35 hours to finish, so partaking in side-quests would be a great way to make the adventure even more substantial than it already is—especially if they impact your experience in meaningful ways rather than exist to simply pad the game out.

Dial Back The Ultra-Violence

It’s fair to say that tearing open Cronos’ stomach in God of War III, and using a door to bash Theseus’ head into mush in God of War II, were among the most ruthless and memorable moments in the series. This level of gore and brutality has always been a series hallmark, but we’d like to see the latest game dial back on the ultraviolence.

From recent trailers, the new God of War already seems to be taking a more measured approach in its display of violence. Of course, it’s still pretty intense; Kratos uses a molten stone column to crush a beast’s head, and his son even sticks a knife right into the head of a ghoulish four-eyed creature. But all of this seems tame in comparison to the over-the-top kills of previous games. We’re hoping that the final game continues down this road, as too much violence would undercut the impact of the more grounded and intimate tone.

Don’t get us wrong: We’re not against the series’ penchant for violence, but God of War III pushed things about as far as they could possibly go. Striving toward replicating that level of gore–simply because that’s what past God of War games did–would seem redundant and unnecessary. We’d rather see the game use violence in a calculated way, by giving us a Kratos who’s doing everything he can to avoid vendetta-driven bloodshed, seeking to atone for past actions in order to better teach his son the right way to deal with conflict. It would be an impactful turnaround for the Kratos that we’ve come to know over the years.

Give Us A More Complex Combat System

God of War’s combat system has always been relatively simplistic and easy to pick up, but we’d love to see it become more intricate in this installment. Based on what we’ve seen of the combat so far, positioning seems to play an important role in fights. More complex maneuvers make their debut as well, like crowd-controlling attacks and the ability to throw (and call back) Kratos’ axe. However, it’s unclear how demanding the more flashy combos and setups will be. We’re not asking for Devil May Cry levels of complexity–but something more elaborate than button-mashing would be a welcome change-of-pace.

Go Heavy On The Norse Mythology

A big part of what made previous God of War games so captivating was seeing well-known Greek mythological figures come to life (and murdering them). With the latest God of War’s move into Norse mythology, the game ought to take full advantage of everything this particular pantheon has to offer. After all, Norse mythology has an abundance of fascinating figures, like Odin, Njord, and Heimdall, who would each be delightful to encounter on Kratos’ journey.

Give Us A Diverse Weapon Set

Compared to previous games, God of War’s arsenal seems stripped down, featuring only three primary weapons: an axe, a shield, and Kratos’ fists. It’s possible that more weapons could await us in the final game; however, the developers at SIE Santa Monica Studio could be opting to keep Kratos’ toolset simpler this time around. We hope this isn’t the case, as multiple weapon types have always kept combat fresh and exciting in the past. And if this game’s combat is as involved as it looks, then more weapons would be ideal.

Give Us Intricate Boss Fights

Throughout the years, God of War’s fights have gone down as some of the most intense and exciting battles in gaming. We’d love to see this tradition continue, with Kratos and his son pitted against the biggest baddies of Norse mythology. At the same time, we want to see battles yield more substance than style, requiring more involved tactics than simply dodging attacks and mashing out combos until an execution prompt appears.

Give Us A Memorable Supporting Cast

The God of War games have always been packed with epic stories brimming with action, drama, and a whole lot of blood. However, none of the previous games have much in the way of memorable supporting casts; after all, Kratos’ wrath-filled quest to inflict vengeance doesn’t leave a lot of room for additional characters (at least, not ones that last for long). Sure, we had Athena and Gaia—but they often acted within the periphery of the series’ narrative.

We’re hoping that this installment’s open structure allows for more memorable side characters to appear and impact Kratos’ journey with his son. We’ve spotted at least a couple of new characters in the trailers we’ve seen so far, and we’re crossing our fingers that they’ll stick around long enough for us to become acquainted with their personal trials and tribulations.