WARNING! There are some spoilers for the game ahead. Please read at your own risk.
When I played the first “God of War,” I didn’t know what to expect. The game was full of action, gore, sexual content and overall insanity. The story was good, but the main point of the game was full-on violence and, at 14, I was all about it.
Now in 2018 when I picked up the latest installment, even if I had seen all the interviews, and game coverage, I wasn’t ready for what the game really did for me.
To give you context, I live with my nephews because they are going to school under a student visa. Since they got here a couple of years ago, I’ve tried to be an example for them and failed in the attempt. I don’t have the patience a couple of teenagers need. I was indifferent and cold, mostly because I was always wondering, “How can you do that? That’s dumb!” every time they did childish things or misbehaved. I would leave the corrective action to my parents, unable to see the importance of my opinion to the kids.
Then I played the new “God of War” and, boy, this game is good!
The combat system is amazing, the customization of attacks and items are so well done, making the grind for better gear more exciting. The music is majestic, filling every environment of the game with emotions, but definitely the best part of the game is the story. The narrative is simple, Atreus’ mom is dead and Kratos has to fulfill his wife’s last wish, taking her ashes to the highest peak of all the realms.
At the beginning of the game you realize that Kratos’ and Atreus’ relationship is non-existent, mostly because Kratos believes that he is not good for his son, and honestly you can’t blame him since he is the one that killed his father (Zeus) and destroyed Olympus in past installments.
As you continue through the game, you come to realize that even if Atreus has no real relationship with Kratos, he still loves him and cares about him because he is his father. By the time you as the player have created a relationship with these two characters and start screaming at the TV, “Give Atreus a hug, you are his father!” or want to jump into the game and give him a hug yourself, the game shows you that those same emotions are going through Kratos’ head. Thanks to the journey, the non-existent relationship between father and son takes life and while Kratos is trying to make his son a warrior, Atreus is teaching him to be the father he needs.
When you get to the middle of the game, the “Boy” (as Kratos calls him excessively) falls ill and you are sent to the depths of Helheim to find a cure for him. This is by far my favorite part of the game. Kratos is forced to remember his past, accept it and move on for the sake of his son. He becomes the “Daddy of War.” After this, the narrative focuses on how telling Atreus that they are gods makes him arrogant (a sign of real adolescence) and careless, even forgetting their objective and disrespecting his mother’s memory by calling her “a mere mortal.”
By the end of the game, Kratos and Atreus have that relationship that they so desperately needed, leaving you, the player, in tears, ready to go hug your dad. For me, it helped me understand my nephews and how being their dad’s brother makes me more their father figure than their grandparents. I can sincerely say that after playing this game and understanding the topics it touches, I became more open to my nephews, their needs as they grow up and the wisdom I can pass on to them. Growing up is the journey of our lifetime and we all need good guides to make it through.
It’s surreal that at my age I was able to relate to one of my favorite characters, and honestly that’s what makes good games: Franchises and characters that grow with you and stories that you are able to relate to (not the Killing Norse monsters and gods or the talking severed head.)
That is the beauty of this game and why many major game channels call it a masterpiece and the game that defines a generation.