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God of War PS4 Review – Kratos Never Looked So Good

If you were a fan of the first three God of War games or the various side stories that were released on the PSP/Vita, the latest entry in the series is a huge departure from what you’ve played before. God of War on the PS4 takes some huge risks that are all ended up being wildly successful. They highlight what a positive change bringing more maturity to a well-known game/character can do for a long-running IP. While many may be turned off by the brutal difficulty the beginning hours of the game may hold, it is important to stick with it and get comfortable with the new mechanics. With an open world, side quests, and actual character development, this is God of War like you’ve never seen it before.

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God of War Like Never Before

Fans of the series will immediately notice that the first ten minutes does more to develop Kratos as a character than any game before it. The game opens with Kratos teaching his son, Atreus, the basics of wilderness survival,  showing a side of the protagonist that many didn’t believe existed. Instead of just murdering every being in sight, age has brought some restraint to our hero, allowing the game to take an introspective look at how murdering every Greek God weighs on his conscience and how he tries to hide from his demons. That’s not to say Kratos is an open book, in fact, he’s quite the opposite, only revealing his deepest thoughts when speaking to his son and when thrown into moments that shake our previously unshaken hero to his core. God of War is absolutely packed full of these kinds of intense moments.

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This game is packed to the brim with monstrous battles. Players will not need to go far to fight their next massive foe or group of enemies. A lot of this is thanks to the new side quest system that is full of unique adventures that are as fleshed out as the optional quests in The Witcher 3. Not only do the side quests offer visual splendor, but they deliver a deeper look into the relationship between Kratos and his son, Atreus. While Kratos may seem more vulnerable emotionally, that does not make him any less of a savage.  When pitted against some of the ugliest/scariest monsters Norse mythology has to offer, the Kratos the world has grown to know and love comes out.

The New Combat System

Combat has taken a huge turn in this entry. With every swing,  dodge, and block being deliberate and a keen eye necessary to watch the move of every enemy on screen, it’s unlike anything a God of War fan has experienced. Instead of relying on the hack and slash nature of the previous titles, the new game takes a few cues from Dark Souls and puts an emphasis on proper timing, blocking, and dodging.

Every enemy now has a combat level and if pitted against an enemy above a players gear level, the fight will be next to impossible. Even enemies that are at your gear level pose a serious threat and unprepared gamers will quickly learn not to underestimate even the grunts of the fantasy army. Kratos still uses his host of unique finishing moves that will make even the most vetted God of War fans cringe as enemies literally get torn to pieces.

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As previously mentioned, gear score is a huge part of moving forward. Completing side quests, exploring, and killing strong enemies will pay out in unique material drops that can be taken to the smithy and be crafted into new armor and weapon upgrades to increase Kratos overall level. RPG fans will recognize the color-coded equipment system with white being common and orange being top tier. Unique items have interesting perks attached to them that add spectacular bonuses to Kratos while in combat. There are even a few different armor sets for Atreus even though he doesn’t have a real health bar. Instead, his equipment makes him better in the different support roles he plays.

Final Thoughts 

God of War doesn’t feel like a sequel, it feels like a perfect restructuring of a series that was quickly growing old and tired in its ideas. This game is essential for any PS4 owner and could easily be a frontrunner for game of the year. The developer took a huge risk in fundamentally changing nearly every aspect of the game but ultimately, it is exactly what the series needed. Hopefully, other reboots will learn from the success of this game and strive to reach the same level of quality.

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Theseus Review: Avoid More Than the Minotaur

Theseus Review: Avoid More Than the Minotaur

Whenever a new PlayStation VR title releases, a sense of excitement follows. I begin to wonder what world I’ll get to take an active part in and experience through my very own eyes. Needless to say, when Theseus was first announced I was excited to avoid the infamous Minotaur in the labyrinth he calls a home while fighting creatures that dare to live in his kingdom. Admittedly, the 3rd person camera made me a bit wary of the title, but it was a perspective I had not yet experienced in VR and when done right could be a unique setup. Unfortunately, my concerns rang true, Theseus is a short and dull experience that ends long before you even have the chance to enjoy it and a price point that is far above justifiable doesn’t help either.

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The Journey into the Labyrinth

Theseus revolves around the characters journey into the labyrinth to escape the limbo he has been cast into. There’s spiders, a minotaur, and one helpful ghost, but that’s it. The game’s lack of NPC’s wouldn’t be so concerning if it did more with the ones it had created. In the short time I explored the maze I fought a cumulative 16-20 generic spider enemies, followed the ghost to the objective, and defeated the minotaur without swinging my sword at him. Also, if my description of the story seems somewhat lackluster it’s only because if I said anymore, the hour and a half long story would be ruined. While there is nothing wrong with a short game, charging $20 for the experience is a ripoff.

The third person perspective is a cool take on VR that could be used to set up some cool scenes. Unfortunately, Theseus’ take on the idea caused an uneasy feeling in my stomach and made little sense in a game that was about tight corridors and fighting spiders. Although it wasn’t the developers direction, the game would have benefitted from a first person perspective.

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Gameplay and Mechanics 

The gameplay involves climbing up walls, climbing down walls, walking down halls, running down halls, and lazily swinging at spiders. The combat was so dull at some point I tried to just walk to the next objective until an invisible wall impeded my progress that would only disappear when the enemies were defeated. Fighting involves swinging a torch with triangle and swinging a sword with square with no other control choices available, movement and strategy also felt very limited. While the game may take place in a labyrinth at no point was I ever left questioning which way to go. Pro-Tip, a game about a maze should never be a linear experience.

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Final Overview

Theseus is a collection of ideas that could have been really cool if executed properly. The graphics were great and the character design was creepy in a good way, but ultimately the game fell short in too many areas to justify it’s unusually high price point. If you are looking for a new VR title to pick up, Theseus should probably not be on your list.

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Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Review

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue

It’s been 12 years since the last core Kingdom Hearts game. Finally, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue feels like the last stepping stone before the third entry. 2.8 is another uprezzed collection much like Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 but misses out on not including a game from the main series. This time around players are given Dream Drop Distance (the 3DS game), Birth By Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage (a short section from the PSP game), and a collection of cutscenes from the mobile title Unchained x. While there is plenty of content, it is nowhere near as substantial as the prior remasters but manages to remain fun with what is delivered.

Developer Square Enix put a lot of work into making the old 3DS title, Dream Drop Distance work on the PS4. Playing the game feels way more comfortable on a Dualshock controller then it did on the clunky 3DS gamepad. The combat flow feels smoother and getting invested in the worlds is easier when you can see everything that’s going on. That being said, this is still an apparent 3DS port. Touch and motion controls were a big part of the title and they don’t always translate well to the PlayStation. The game also plays differently than a core Kingdom Hearts so newcomers beware,this is not a traditional Kingdom Hearts experience.

Sora and Riku: Dynamic Duo

Dream Drop Distance relies on a gimmick that has the player switch between controlling Sora and Riku. A drop meter is added underneath the health bar and when the automated timer runs out the player is forced to switch to whichever character they were not using. Seeing the two heroes stories develop simultaneously is entertaining, but the invasive drop system ruins the experience. Once the drop timer runs out, no matter where you are or what enemy is being fought the game force switches your character. I had too many instances of long boss encounters having to be restarted because of this new system. Also gone is the traditional buddy system. Sora no longer fights alongside famous Disney characters. New to the series is the spirit partner system that has players create pets based on the enemies you fight. Using these new partners, our heroes are able to utilize spirit link attacks that let Riku fuse and Sora combo attack with their respective monsters. These new abilities are fun to use but only add to the chaos of the combat system which sometimes feels a little too hectic.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage

The next entry available to players is “Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage.” This snippet of the PSP game Birth By Sleep has been completely remastered in the Unreal 4 engine. The new style is a first glimpse into what Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to look and play like. The combat is fast and fluid and the story gives a good impression of what’s going on in the events right before the third core game. Aqua is an awesome hero and the new option to customize your character’s appearance is an entertaining distraction. The only downside to this experience is that it is not terribly long. I managed to complete 0.2 in 2 hours 45 minutes on normal difficulty, albeit without finding a ton of the secrets that the game has hidden. This small section of gameplay leaves you wanting so much more, but unfortunately that is still a ways off.

Overall Kingdom Hearts 2.8 is a welcomed addition to the series, but at the end of the experience it only leaves a desire to play the main games. This title is a treat for fans who need something to tide them over while waiting for Kingdom Hearts 3. Newcomers to the series will be left confused and should wait for the re releases of 1.5 and 2.5 on the current gen consoles before sinking money into 2.8. If you’d like a look into what the game looks and plays like, we have a Let’s Play at the bottom of the article that will give more insight into the game.

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