“God of War,” which launches as a PlayStation 4 exclusive on April 20, is a major technical achievement that raises the bar for all other video games.
While we’ve already shared many of our (very positive) thoughts on the game itself, we also wanted to highlight the important ways in which “God of War” nails the little details.
Take a look:
1. “God of War” kills the loading screen, and it’s a beautiful thing.
Sony’s Santa Monica Studios did something with “God of War” that’s never been done before in a video game: It’s made a complete video game that takes place in one continuous shot, in real time, with no loading screens at all. The game’s cinematics, or movies where you don’t control the characters, are seamlessly woven into the actual meat of the game, where you play, fight, and explore. The result is a level of intimacy and immersion rarely explored in the video game medium.
2. You can pause and quit the game at any time — even in the middle of a fight, or a cinematic.
This is a nice little touch that only some of the best video games do, but it’s certainly appreciated here in “God of War.” Since the game does take place in one continuous shot, it makes it feel like you can “pause the movie” at any given time, and come back whenever you feel. It’s a game that respects the player’s time.
3. Characters will tell stories — but not if you’re in the middle of an activity.
Without giving anything away, you’ll meet plenty of different characters on your journey, and some of them even come along with you.
And it’s great to have company, because the side characters in “God of War” have lots of great dialogue and stories to share – but the game is extremely good at timing these things so you’re not getting an important speech in the middle of a fight.
The game saves these great quiet moments for when you’re not close to any action – like while you’re on the way to a destination, for example. It’s a subtle touch that shows an understanding of how and when to keep the player engaged.
4. The user interface organizes the game’s many complexities in an easy-to-understand format.
I don’t want to show off the user interface just yet – “God of War” isn’t even out to the public yet – but personally, one of my favourite aspects of the game is what you see when you press Start.
The main menu, which you can access at any point in the game, has everything you need: It lays out your gear, weapons, and skills – which are all upgradeable in various ways – but it also contains much more than that, including detailed maps and a complete guide to the environments, creatures, allies, and enemies in the game.
There’s a lot of complexity in “God of War,” but none of it is hard to find, or to learn. Thankfully, a great deal of thought was put into making the menus both complex but approachable.
5. You can tweak the HUD to your liking.
The game, by default, presents you with plenty of important information in your HUD, or heads-up display. You can see your character’s health and weapons, as well as enemy statistics and a map indicator of where to go next.
The nice thing about “God of War”: You can choose to turn all of these options off, or back on, on the fly. I liked turning on my map indicator unless I absolutely needed it, like if I couldn’t find the next objective on my own.
The game also has an “Immersion mode” you can toggle, which quickly turns all of the indicators off, in case you want to forget you’re playing a game at all.
We’re just scratching the surface.
There’s a ton to explore in “God of War.”
But before you experience the game for yourself, take a look at some of our other previews for the game:
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