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Spoilers, of course. Much more in the link. I loved exploring this world.
On Shuhei Yoshida's first playthrough of the game On GOW almost taking place in Egypt
I just beat the main story of God of War again and have more side things to do, but the replay solidified how excellent a game this is. It has so much going right and adds so much in comparison to the previous games. 1) Exploration - The original God of War games had secrets to uncover, but God of War PS4 is more "wide-linear," where it's not completely open-world, but it does allow exploration, back-tracking, and the like. Interestingly enough, it utilizes everything to the max. Even in my first playthrough, by the end of the game I still stumbled upon places I missed. And while they're not marked on the map (which is great and I'd like to see more games do that), you can look at the map and go, "Hey, there's an area that looks like it can be entered," and go there, and yup, it's an unmarked area. And then there's the density of the areas. Look up and you'll potentially see items you can shoot down, and they're items you'll use. Find side paths to explore, and you'll find treasures (not to mention the treasure maps that you need to use environmental clues to find). And the treasures are usually new moves, enhancements or some legitimately decent armor. I was changing my Runic attacks throughout the game because I'd explore, I'd find a new, say, light axe attack, I'd notice I like the increase damage or increased stun characteristics, and I'd swap it out. You can just be rowing around the lake and find items in the lake, or permanent stat upgrades around the lake, and they make it very easy to get the items (Atreus mainly takes care of it). You can enter another area and find a mini-puzzle to solve that opens up to a new path. There are just a plethora of goodies you can stumble across, optional enemy encounters, useful items, puzzles, you name it. 2) Combat - I wondered if a story-focused God of War would make concessions in the gameplay department, but the gameplay is aces. It's far more deliberate in this game, I feel. There's more strategy involved, partly due to the new camera angle; you have to be alert to enemy placement, which is why spamming is far less useful to anyone who remembers the tried-and-true   /\ combo. That combo is still useful, but I'm not winning battles spamming it. I also like the use of throwing the axe because you can recall it to help knock away other enemies. You toss it at an enemy (and might be able to pin them to the wall), other enemies are swarming you, and you can line them up and knock them off-balance by recalling the axe. It ended up being a really cool weapon despite not being the iconic blades, and even after expanding my arsenal, I still used the axe. Then you also have Atreus, whose combat ranges from stunning and incapacitating enemies, to being commanded by you with a simple [ ] button. He can open up secrets, detonate explosives, and stun/electrocute enemies. Rarely do you have to save him from something; he can take care of himself. 3) Story and Dialogue - The game easily has the best dialogue in the series. Compare 3 to this game, and it's night and day. The characters all have distinct personalities, and I remember all of them and can describe them pretty easily. The humor... I didn't even expect there to be that much humor in the game, but there are a lot of funny parts, both in the main story and in normal conversation while traveling. The dwarves who sell you things, for example, make fun of the fact that they're everywhere; the game has a lot of fun with it. Many other games have utilized character dialogue while traveling to add to the story, add to the characters and make the walk more enjoyable since you're not engaged in combat. God of War I think pushes it to another level. This is a much more fully-realized Kratos. He's not one-note. He grows. He lack of a sense of humor is his humor. His son grows. The secondary/side characters grow. All in all, I hope God of War PS5 takes it to another level. They have all the groundwork they need.