A little context here: I started out by playing the remastered version of God of War III since it was free on PS plus and I had it in my library for a while. Instantly felt this game was amazing, and regretted not having started it earlier. Everything in the game was epic. The soundtrack, visuals of the settings (especially after killing Helios), the killing animations, the gore, the voice acting, the monsters, the sex. All of it. The boss fights were out of this world. The whole segment of fighting Hades in the underworld was a masterpiece from start to finish, and is one of the most memorable moments in my history of gaming. The setting, soundtrack, combat, and feel of the game meshed seamlessly. And most importantly, the game was just FUN. I don't remember having this much fun in a video game for a long time. The game didn't take itself too seriously as well, which forgave some of its shortcomings such as the repeated puzzles or lackluster cutscenes.
In conclusion, I loved it. And I knew I had to play the reboot. So I did. A couple hours after finishing God of War III, I instantly downloaded the new game.
I will say this right off bat: this is an objectively better produced, more polished game than GoW 3. And I'm not going to beat the dead horse narrative of "it doesn't feel like GoW" because it did – I enjoyed the renewed combact and the depth it entailed. But everything that made the predecessor game special falls short in this one.
Firstly the boss fights were severely underwhelming in this game and incredibly repetitive. It was a different color palette and variation for basically the same boss all throughout the game, and beating Baldur didn't feel nearly as satisying as smashing Poseidon's head into the floor, or beating the living soul out of Zeus's head as the whole screen turned bloody. The settings, music, and feel of the boss fights felt extremely underwhelming, and felt more like a chore to do rather than being fun. Which is a common theme for this game. I have beaten half of the Valkryies (just from side missions), and even though they are great to fight, I wish the studio had put the same effort into the main story boss fights as well.
Moreover, the lackluster enemies and uninteresting fights that accompany them, along with the worse killing animations, less gore, the less visually appealing battle arenas, it all felt a bit underwhelming.
What I did like, the dialogue, voice acting, the puzzles – which were absolutely amazing, the storytelling, and Valkyrie fights. Those things are great and all, but not what made me like the GoW 3 in the first place. Quite frankly, the gaming scene is bloated with similar narrative-driven games that fall short in terms of gamrplay. And it kinda sucks that this game went that direction too.
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