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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Main character is willing to sacrifice everything to save his son and honor his late wife. Themes of duty, reverence, righting wrongs run throughout the game.
Positive Role Models
Though sometimes a bit distant, the main character does share wisdom with his young son while protecting him from harm.
The story explores ancient Scandinavian culture, religion, and mythology. A large majority of the human/god/demigod characters are white males.
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Ease of Play
The game's controls are different from previous entries in the series but are still mostly intuitive. Offers multiple difficulty options.
Violence & Scariness
Players use an axe, other instruments/weapons, and their fists and feet to kill gods and monsters, often resulting in blood, gore, dismemberment. Players rip enemies in half with their bare hands, smash heads to pieces with their feet, and slam axes into skulls, among other brutal actions.
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Dialogue includes "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." One character constantly uses crude dialogue when interacting with others.
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Products & Purchases
Part of an extremely popular action series.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that God of War is an extremely violent, bloody action game for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. Using sharp weapons, his fists and feet, and his son's bow and arrow, the main character kills countless people, monsters, and animals, sometimes in very brutal fashion, resulting in bloodshed, gore, and dismemberment. For example, players will be able to rip monsters in half with their hands, tear the wings from flying creatures, and bury axes in enemies' faces. Strong language in the game dialogue includes "s--t," "f--k," and "a--hole," and one character constantly uses crude terms/language when interacting with other characters, mainly in a store setting. This installment in the popular God of War franchise is the first one for the PS4. While controls are different from those of previous games, they're easy to learn, and there are multiple difficulty levels to reduce players' frustration.
Is It Any Good?
Though this adventure updates much of the franchise's iconic gameplay, it does so in a way that maintains everything great about the mature series. While God of War tries to show an older, more mature Kratos who has attempted to move past his younger, angrier days, he quickly finds himself dragged back into fighting with gods when his wife dies and he's left to raise his son alone. Which, as usual with this series, involves lots of exploring, a bunch of rock climbing, and a whole lot of smacking monsters in the head and chest with sharp instruments. It also means a spike in brutal enemy destruction, because Kratos is particularly creative when it comes to killing opponents. From impaling monsters to literally ripping a creature's face off with his bare hands, there's no stop to the brutality once you start the adventure.
This installment makes a number of notable gameplay changes. Initially, they might seem like minor adjustments, but their inclusion radically revitalizes the franchise's action. The tweaks include a new over-the-shoulder perspective, a player-controlled camera, and a hearty axe that not only can slice and dice with the best of them, but also can be thrown. Even cooler (no pun intended), the axe can freeze some enemies in place, and it can be used to encase devices, like a counterweight, in ice to keep a gate open. Kratos also gets a lot of help from the kid, whose bow and arrow can be used, when Dad commands it, to kill enemies or distract them so Kratos can kill them more easily. While the game does have a couple minor issues -- like accidentally using a health crystal when trying to pick up loot, or the incredibly tiny size of the text and button prompts -- the addictive combat, clever problems, and varied action make God of War not just the most compelling entry in this series since 2008's Chains of Olympus, but also one of the most engaging action games released.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.