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Piggyback rides, puzzle smashing and troll hunting in God of War

by: Randy -
More On: God of War (2018)

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Here's five minutes of fresh God of War gameplay, and boy is it some of the hardest-hitting stuff you'll find in any action game.

Kratos & Son face off against a troll, Kratos with his axe and his boy with his bow and arrow. The troll attacks with a pillar the size of a minibus. I think the troll wears yellow body paint so it stands out from the greens and browns of the natural environment. And the minibus hammer is emblazoned with fiery emblems, probably so you'll know that this troll can also throw lava at you. 

One of the video's commentators states matter-of-factly that each troll is based on legit Norse mythology. If so, Google isn't much help on a search for this Brenna Daudi troll. Not getting a lot of backstory that way. But who cares? This isn't God of Wikipedia.

While the video cuts from that fight to some cave spelunking, the commentators find the camerawork remarkable. It never takes control away from you, and it's seamlessly stitched together like a one-take on a film. The camera is closer than ever, bringing more intimacy together with Kratos and the player, and also driving home the impact of those fights. Whoops, there's a fight with a couple wolves. Sorry, doggos. 

Hey, no more button mashing to open chests. But God of War (2018) isn't afraid to pose a few lite puzzle-solving elements in the room, too. Don't get scared. Kratos just had to bash three symbols before the chest would open—no big deal. 

There's some climbing. Your boy piggybacks onto Kratos, and that's where we can see the camera take a couple liberties, showing off a grand waterfall in near distance, or other sharp cliff edges nearby. Still looks like you're very much in control, though. And the boy also comments readily on your surroundings, especially during quieter moments between the thrashings. Nice that they're doing some things to slow things down once in a while. These environments are mostly just made up of trees and rocks—good ol' Viking stomping grounds, for sure—but with just trees and rocks, the environmental artists really go to town. It'd be a shame if you just hit the sprint button the whole time without approaching the game with any kind of explorer's eye. But don't worry too much about that either: there's plenty of urgency built into the script, too. There won't always be time to stop and smell the flowers.

God of War is on track for that 4/20 release date.