Ever since it was announced that God Of War would finally be making its grand return/reboot on PS4, fans have been anxious and alert to any reveal, leaks or trailers. After the third installment over eight years ago, there’s been cash grabs in the form of DLC’s, prequels and yes…PSP’s. The wait would soon be over though; In just under a month, God of War is set to release on April 19th, but ever since the announcement for the game, fan’s anxiety have changed from eager anticipation to careful consideration and there are reason’s why.
First thing that threw me off was when I noticed that Terrence C. Carson voice of Kratos in all previous installments was not going to take part in the new franchise rather Christopher Judge would play the Spartan going forward. Now, this would make sense if the reason for replacing him did.
According to Games Rant, Director Cory Barlog had this to say about the decision:
“The way we shot all the previous games, we were able to have a different body actor than the voice actor, so the voice actor could do most of their work similar to an animated film where they just did all V.O. work in the studio. Doing what we wanted to do with a camera that was never going to cut away, we had a lot of scenes that required two characters to interact physically on the stage.”
Excuses like this tend not to hold weight when you consider Marvel managed to de-age Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym for Ant-Man in 2015 and did the same magnificently to Robert Downey Jr. in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Point is we’re in an era where one’s physical attributes should not deter a studio from dedicating its talent and craft to working hard on a project especially a character as iconic as Kratos and considering Carson has been a part of the franchise since 2005. It’s no wonder fans have so far unsuccessfully petitioned for Carson’s return to the franchise. If excuses like this were allowed to slide, we may still have silent cartoons instead of now legendary voices like Tara Strong, Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, Nolan North, etc.
The real reason why Carson was sadly let go in favour of Judge however, was because of the latter’s chemistry with Sunny Suljic, the boy who plays “Atreus”. Kratos’ son in the game. Basically two new comer’s to the franchise fired the face…or voice that started it all. Can you imagine Hugh Jackman not playing Wolverine for the final time after seventeen years because he didn’t have a good chemistry with Daphne Keen? I’m speechless. Here’s what Judge said about the screening process:
“We did a chemistry test, and I didn’t find out until later that they really did ask Sunny for approval.”
But all of this don’t bug me as much as the Atreus kid. He looks and sounds annoying. Unlike the loveable Ellie from Last Of Us. The point of giving Kratos a companion much more a kid I really don’t know. The lure of Kratos and his adventures was that sense of “me against everyone”. “Everyone is an enemy”. That rush you feel when facing ghouls and demons alone and chopping them off so gloriously. You still get that in this though, but you’re no longer alone. You no longer feel that adventure, it looks story-oriented and although the franchise has done brilliantly plot-wise, that hasn’t necessarily been the focal point of God of War. I mean this game’s predecessor was as straightforward as they come. Just kills some Gods.
Here’s what Barlog said about developing the combat mechanisms for this year’s God of War via Playstation:
“The two things we had talked about early on were like one, we don’t want to make an open-world game. Two, we don’t want to just mimic dark souls as much as we like that game.”
He then goes on to say:
“…That’s when we really started embracing the fact that not all God of War just has to be charge in, hit and then sort of wake up when everything is over.” “We just didn’t have that strategic element, that cerebral engagement. And all of the pieces we put together through development, put the player in the position that they have to think as they’re fighting”.
As soon they began stripping away one of Kratos’ most beloved elements, the game started losing value. This man is a raging god who wiped out all the greek gods/godesses including Zeus. We don’t need him to be tactical with a shield and an axe, we need him to wield two blades to the max.
The game is yet to launch but fans are already displeased with what they’ve seen so far especially the 15 minutes walk-through that dropped this week. One of them, twitch streamer (Pinujay), long-time fan of the series and a hardcore adventure game player shared his opinion on the game:
“I know the new God Of War game-play is like Bloodbourne or Dark Souls, which were pretty awesome looking games but God of War precedes these games, and the game-play mechanics were already awesome at the time. All they needed to do was improve on it…like make it more fluent, sort of like the Batman series on PS3. It appears the developers at Santa Monica were too connected with FromSoftware developers. Like why is Kratos looking like he is in a 1st/3rd person hybrid RPG game. The game-play looks so damn slow-paced and enemies seem to have health bars? Really? In any case, the game looks okay, It does take away the fun factor and puts more emphasis on strategy rather than combat.
In all, Developers can take cues from Naughtydog. When Nathan Drake returned after a seven-year hiatus, they didn’t make him an old spiteful pessimistic sob (which depending on the direction they took could’ve been pulled off). The game-play was still brilliant but with slight improvements.
So far, with the way this game looks, it would’ve been best if they just made Atreus the lead character with Kratos completely absent from the game so It can fully resemble the myth it’s trying to be.