There’s still a fair amount left to complete. 2 more zones, a bunch of Valkyrie (in a later post), a dragon, some quests. But the story is done. Minor spoilers I guess inside.
I’ve talked about the early parts of the game. Kratos and his son Atreus have a quest to spread their wife/mom’s ashes on the highest peak. They directly meet the world serpent, Mimir, Baldr, Magni and Modi along the travels. They also meet a pair of dwarven brothers who help with crafting. The story seems small but ends up growing into a really neat epic tale, that explores the Norse mythology before vikings. It works.
The meme of “BOY” makes sense in this game. As much as it applies to Atreus and Kratos’ rough exterior, it also applies to Kratos. Atreus ends up learning a whole lot given his sheltered upbrining, but it’s Kratos that finally understands his place in the pantheon. He hides his story from Atreus for most of the game, and in a cathartic moment finally reveals it all. It’s Atreus’ response to that, and Kratos’ acknowledgement of his past sins that makes this entire arc work.
Along the path they learn about the various nordic gods – in particular about the marital woes of Odin and Freya, the destructive will of Thor, the higher learning of Tyr, and the fate of the Jotun (giants). You get to see the Bifrost and Yggdrasil. You get a great feeling that the presented world is integrated and cohesive. The underlying efforts to integrate the lore – in particular with Mimir’s stories while on the boat – make it feel like the world is lived in, even if there are only a handful of NPCs.
It is also a beautiful game. I cannot recall any other PS4 game where I saved as many screenshots. The final shot of the game…wow. That was someone’s imagination, and someone else’s skill to make it reality. Superb.
There are 2 main twists in the story. After the first, there’s a bit of a dip in how Atreus is portrayed, without much justification. It rights itself eventually and grows a lot from that point. The final twist I saw coming from earlier on (given that I like Norse mythology and a main part was missing from this story), but the actual reveal is very impressive, and quite sad. There’s no credit screen either, just a somber Kratos telling Atreus the origin of his name while they walk back towards home.
You don’t actually visit all 9 realms, and I’m ok with this. The 3 remaining realms are way more complicated and lively than the rest of the game, at least in terms of lore.
I agree with the lead dev, in that the game is story complete and does not need any DLC. I don’t see how that could ever be adequately contained in typical DLC. It’s not like Odin’s house is DLC – that’s more like sequel territory.
God of War is so far beyond what the previous GoW provided, and clearly has taken the new single-player story driven mechanics to heart. It bears note that Naughty Dog bears the burden of this trend swap, what with Uncharted and Last of Us. Games since then have improved on that model – Horizon and now God of War included.