God of War (PS4)

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
God of War (PS4) Game Poster Image
Bloody, gory, mature myth-based action/adventure is amazing.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

Though sometimes a bit distant, the main character does share wisdom with his young son while protecting him from harm.

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

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.

Sex
Language

Dialogue includes "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." One character constantly uses crude dialogue when interacting with others.

Consumerism

Part of an extremely popular action series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that God of War is an extremely violent, bloody action game for the PS4. 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byAndy J. April 14, 2018

Why this game series is now okay for teens.

While God of War used to be an ultra-violent and gory video game series, the latest entry has changed a lot. Not only has the violence been toned down a lot, bu... Continue reading
Adult Written bySimon M. April 20, 2018

The kid is a good influence...

This game has managed to turn an anti-hero into a (slightly) good role model for kids. Yes, there is combat in this game, and the protagonist almost always kill... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJoshification April 23, 2018

A great story line with bearable violence

God of War has a great storyline. It is one of the most beautiful games i have ever seen. The violence is heavy in some parts but only for 2-3 seconds, otherwis... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byKidOnTheWeb420 April 22, 2018

Not too violent

All the blood is fantasy. No swearing. All the fighting is against mythical monsters and is not realistic. A must get for everyone

What's it about?

In this new beginning for the GOD OF WAR series, Kratos has left Greece and the civilized world for the snowy woods, where he and his wife had been raising their son -- until her recent death. When a mysterious stranger attacks their home, Kratos and the boy head for the mountains for what quickly becomes an epic adventure. Aiding them in their quest is a fluid, intuitive mix of both updated and classic gameplay from this long-running hack-and-slash action series, including a more modern camera perspective and some deeper customization options.

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 2018's most engaging action games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about video game violence. In God of War, you frequently kill monsters and animals. Do you think you'd feel differently if you also killed other people? Why do you think that is?

  • Talk about mentoring. In this game, Kratos tries to teach his son how to survive. What can you learn from his teaching style about how you can pass along what you know? How would you change his teaching style?

  • Discuss Norse mythology. God of War is rooted in ancient myths and legends that people used to believe. What do you know about the Norse gods? Where else have you heard the names Thor and Odin?

Game details

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