ĐÁNH GIÁ GOD OF WAR 4

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About midway through God of War, Kratos và his son Atreus sit in a canoe in the middle of a lake, listening intently to lớn a disembodied head recount the tawdry & tragic dramas of the Norse gods. The head dishes with the guslớn of a gossip columnist & the smoothness of a public radio host. Kratos và son show the orator respect, only interrupting with the occasional question for clarification. That this serene moment doesn’t ring false, let alone veer into lớn tedium, speaks khổng lồ the tremendous heavy lifting done by the creators of God of War to lớn shift the tone, the style và the expectations of one of the most beloved but also most violent & debaucherous franchises in modern games.

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Last we saw Kratos, he still enjoyed getting hammered on a bottle of red, participating in a well-lit orgy và slaying Greek gods in ways that a teenager might storyboard onto lớn the baông xã of a ruled notebook. He và his franchise thrived on adrenaline, any inner turmoil serving as a springboard for ultraviolence, rather than an emotional well to lớn be drawn from. Times change, and the new God of War, part sequel (the story continues from where it left off) & part reboot (the adventure is slower and the characterization more thoughtful), has more heroic ambitions for the notorious antianh hùng.


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Kratos is a parent now, older, calmer & from what I can tell, inkhổng lồ the tiny home page fad. He’s taken part in an ancient form of witness protection by moving north and living in a modest cabin in the forests of the Norse realm of Midgard. Kratos is, however, no less a magnet for domestic tragedy. His second wife, the mother lớn his son Atreus, has just died và been cremated. And so, this particular adventure, at the outphối at least, has Kratos & his tween on a quest khổng lồ fulfill her final wish: that her ashes be carried lớn the highest peak in the realm.

(Yes, the game kicks off with a spin on the “woman in the fridge,” but mercifully, things become more complicated as the story unpacks itself.)


The gods and the past get in the way of good intentions, và rather quickly, Kratos and his son find themselves vivisecting undead soldiers, elves, trolls, ancients, & a number of other mythological creatures with silly names & even siller characteristics (e.g., the tatzelwurm, a poison-spitting, tunnel-burrowing walrus-tiger hybrid). Thank goodness. For all the changes to tone and ethos, this is still a God of War game, và you can feel that in the joy of the combat. Kratos doesn’t punch; he pulverizes. He moves like a boxer, shoulders set, legs grapevining baông chồng and forth. The way his ax zips inlớn an enemy’s skull, then baông chồng khổng lồ his hvà, is so smooth and natural that it’s easy lớn overlook how challenging it must have sầu been to lớn animate such a thing. (Fortunately, animation director Kristjan Zadziuk explains how the developers likely did it in this YouTube đoạn Clip.)


In the early hours, God of War feels, if not like a follow-up to the original game, then a creative sầu revamping. As the 2005 God of War took the individual great combat ideas from its time & blended them together, so does the new God of War for a new era. But the game doesn’t mix inlớn any style for too long. Without warning, the linear adventure, focused on fights and dramatic showdowns, bursts wide open, & the prephối paths of past entries give way to lớn a new, grand hub, its spokes taking the crew far beyond Midgard.

The main objective must be attended to, sure, but not now, not necessarily. Kratos’ goal has weight, but the world isn’t literally rotating around his every decision — an increasingly common và welcome change in AAA blockbusters. This relaxed pace frees you to lớn explore, & it frees Kratos lớn focus more on parenting than on saving the planet. On more than one occasion, he threatens a bratty Atreus that he will turn this canoe around và head straight baông xã home page, và it feels like he might actually vì chưng it.


In this way, the game has less in comtháng with Homer’s epic Odyssey than with last year’s memoir An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn, which serves as a rich, therapeutic và exploratory look at the author’s relationship with his father through the lens of the classical text. And like that book, God of War does it with wit and grace. The dialogue doesn’t put on a faux-Shakespearean haughtiness. Atreus talks lượt thích a kid, sweet and also selfish. And Kratos acts, in turn, lượt thích a father who has no clue how to lớn be a parent, & yet feels a profound need lớn protect this boy from the world and his own bloodline. God of War is awesome at times, in the true sense of the word, but its heart lives in the small ways this man and this boy are building and unbuilding their relationship.


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SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via isys.com.vn
All of which is khổng lồ say that the game is relaxed khổng lồ the point of bordering on indifferent. Many of God of War’s most interesting surprises are optional, branching from the game’s sturdy throughline: secret rooms giving way to lớn hidden caverns winding lớn towering statues or belligerent dragons — which I would have missed altogether had I just followed my compass to the next objective. You don’t find collectibles; you find entire chunks of story tucked behind a mossy wall or under a tropical isl&. God of War, lượt thích last year’s Nier: Automata and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, rewards the player who inspects its immaculately designed world as if it were a hidden object game.


Also optional are the spoken tales I mentioned earlier, the ones told by the disembodied head. Whenever you step from the canoe onlớn dry lvà, the head hushes up, and lượt thích a courteous tour guide, promises lớn eventually piông chồng up his yarns where he left off. I got the most enjoyment from letting hyên finish, though. This applies khổng lồ everytoàn thân Kratos meets during the journey. I encourage you to hang in the water. Lounge around the shops. Don’t rush inkhổng lồ battle when characters are speaking to lớn you. Set down the controller, take in the scenery and listen to lớn what they have sầu to say.

By journey’s over, of course, the fate of the world is at play — baby, bathwater — at which point God of War is thoroughly spiced with the gristle of trò chơi of Thrones. Ice zombies, a skeuomorphic tabletop maps, some occasionally stilted dialogue about the history of powerful family legacies that had hitherto been mentioned only in passing. The game’s one glaring weakness is this occasional mimicry of the iconography established by George R.R. Martin và his fantasy forebears. The art kiến thiết excels when it tries something different, such as the buglike dark elves and ghastly white elves, neither of which look lượt thích elvish cliches.


The rare riff on other fantasy epics would be more bothersome if the game didn’t so confidently hold its own alongside its contemporaries when it comes to sheer scale. I’m hesitant lớn call the biggest moments in God of War setpieces, since they don’t operate in the fashion setpieces normally would. Some involve sầu heavily choreographed fights và gargantuan explosions. Others, however, make Kratos a diminutive sầu object in the frame, lượt thích when he’s dwarfed by a sea serpent that, coiled, must be the size of a small thành phố. One of the most memorable moments has Kratos (with the player maintaining control) parting a lake, creating long chasms of waterfalls that extend inkhổng lồ the horizon. No blood or guts, just beauty.

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These visuals don’t boil down to glorified matte paintings. Unlike in other action games, where spectacle happens around the hero while they fight inside a controlled arena, Kratos & Atreus step into lớn these dense backgrounds. That massive sầu lane in the lake becomes a pathway to an elven kingdom, filled with fights and puzzles. The giant serpent rests languidly around the world’s central hub. And the camera never cuts away. There are no load screens. From the opening frame, through the credits và beyond, the camera lingers behind Kratos, the story proceeding in real time. God of War takes place in one shot.

The unedited long take is a bit stress-inducing, at least at first, lượt thích watching a movie & not being allowed khổng lồ blinks. But as the game established its more chill pace, I appreciated the refusal to lớn cut away from Kratos & company. I felt more like a participant in the world, rather than someone watching the adventure from outside it.


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SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive sầu Entertainment
As a technical achievement, the single shot is mind-bending, a never-ending “how did they pull this off?” Open-world sequences seamlessly transition into lớn cinematic showdowns into lengthy trips in the canoe — without a stutter. Because the game can’t cut away, or skip ahead in time or space, you must follow Kratos on every step from one location to lớn the next. As a result of the decision, the world is big and condensed all at the same time. There’s a lot lớn see, but God of War’s designers have sầu been creative sầu in how they minimize backtracking. Generally, you can see where you’re going or where you came from, as paths through castles and cliffsides have you doubling baông chồng, creating shortcuts or secret passages baông xã khổng lồ the main route. (You eventually gain access lớn a tool that makes travel simpler & faster, all without breaking the game’s single long camera take. It’s neat.)


It sounds Dark Souls-ish because it is Dark Souls-ish. That comparison extends to lớn the combat, which — especially in the extremely difficult postgame nội dung — does a good (if imperfect) impression of everybody’s favorite masocore series. Borrowed inspiration isn’t limited to lớn the Souls franchise. Fights involve sầu an unusual but effective hodgepodge of genres: Ax melee attacks handle like an old-fashioned beat-’em-up; ax throws work like a sniper rifle, the weapon returning to Kratos with the tap of a button; Atreus (whom you can commvà to lớn fire arrows) behaves almost like an RPG tiệc ngọt thành viên, flanking large enemies & stunning packs into lớn position for attacks.

In fact, God of War takes a good giảm giá khuyến mãi from role-playing games. Gear can be purchased or found, then upgraded or modified, to increase Kratos’ status, which is displayed on the pause screen lượt thích a tabletop character sheet. The ax, the shield and the bow have nâng cấp trees. Kratos’ fanciest attacks are called runics, & you assign one light and one heavy runic attack at a time. Runic attacks replace complex combos, and are performed with a simple tap of the shoulder buttons. No pressure to master reflexes & motor skills. Instead, precious brain juice can be spent on strategy: Does a zone gọi for attacks that stun large groups of enemies, setting up a sequence of brutal takedowns, or does a big trùm warrant narrow but powerful damage-dealing blows? Tough battles are made easy when treated like puzzles khổng lồ be solved with the right combat approach.


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SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment
None of this is explicitly clarified by the game, nor does it need to be. You won’t see tutorials, just small reminders of which button corresponds to which move. God of War embraces a certain degree of ambiguity, freeing the player lớn discover their own methods, and tackle the journey how they see fit. Same goes for the story. Kratos và Atreus’ quest takes them in and out of the dramas of other people and kingdoms, & their involvement isn’t clearly rationalized as good or bad. Early in the game, Kratos tells Atreus a tale of sailors who drank seawater and believed they heard the Call of their families, the voices both pleasing them & driving them mad. It’s a brief moment, but it subtly establishes a distrust of one’s perception that’s reflected and refracted by the central storyline.


This ambiguity works because it’s intentional, not a bysản phẩm of poor storytelling. Even small details pay off. Brief anecdotes parallel core themes. Seemingly inconsequential decisions have sầu major repercussions. Like the game’s world, the story folds in on itself, inviting you to lớn re-examine where you’ve sầu been và reconsider where you’re going. There’s a musicality lớn the structure: The central hub that Kratos & Atreus visit between adventures acts lượt thích a chorus, with each spoke of their journey its own verse. Atreus & other characters gently guide the player toward priorities, though they just as often mention a bundle of side quests that are just as worthy of your time. Simple chatter usually has a purpose, either moving the story forward, or nudging you, wittingly or unwittingly, in a new direction.

I’ll skip spoilers and specifics, but even core mechanical thiết kế choices, things that seem gamey và intangible, are given narrative purpose by the end. God of War is, in a single word, holistic. Every aspect is excellent on its own, but more importantly, it all serves and accentuates the larger vision.

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A decade ago, director Cory Barlog helped establish the God of War franchise as an iconic gory and debaucherous đoạn phim game romp. While its antihero, Kratos, had pathos (he killed his wife and daughter in a fit of rage, his skin forever grayed by their ashes), it served little dramatic purpose, rather existing as a grimdark excuse for his god-slaying và orgy-having ways. Barlog — now older, a father — has returned to the series with a small army of talented designers, many of whom served on the earlier games, lớn make good on that rich but neglected potential at the francises’ core. There’s still plenty of gore, but now the guts have sầu meatiness. Some die-hard fans may fear this isn’t really God of War. I suppose they’re right. It’s even better.


Platform PS4 Publisher Sony Interactive sầu Entertainment Release Date Atruyền thông quảng cáo đôi mươi, 2018 PS4 Score 10 Developer SIE Santa Monica Studio
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God of War was reviewed using a final “retail” PlayStation 4 tải về code provided by Sony. You can find additional information about isys.com.vn’s ethics policy here. The game was played on a PS4 Pro on Performance mode. For PS4 Pro users, God of War offers a display mode with 4K resolution, but it had frame-rate issues in our tests. The game was also tested by the isys.com.vn team on a standard PS4 & exhibited no major performance issues. Screenshots were captured on both PS4 Pro và standard PS4 in 1080p resolution.