PlayStation 4 owners have been treated to some phenomenal exclusives since the console released in 2013. The likes of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn, and InFamous: Second Son are all standouts in their genres and will be remembered as the best the console has had to offer. The most recent exclusive game, Sony Santa Monica’s God of War, has received incredible critical praise, but where does it rank among other PS4 exclusives? Be warned, there will be some mild God of War spoilers ahead.
The God of War games have always been gameplay focused. From the series’ debut in 2005, the gameplay was all about gruesomely slashing your way through the Greek gods in cinematic set-pieces. It was always satisfying, but never very deep. 2018’s reboot, however, made the action smaller in scale, for the most part, focusing on what made the combat satisfying and why Kratos was a fun character to play as. The throw and recall attack with the Leviathan Axe is arguably the most satisfying single action in any recent game, yet there’s more to the combat than casually chucking an axe about. The enemy variety, which sees enemies be weak to certain types of attacks or elements, means you have to think about how you approach every encounter. The weapon upgrades, and entirely new weapons that you get later in the game, give you more options in each situation.
This is similar in other PlayStation 4 exclusives, like Horizon Zero Dawn, where each enemy has their own attack patterns and weak-points for you to exploit. That isn’t so much the case for the likes of Uncharted 4 where, while some enemies are more powerful than others, tactics don’t come into play on the same level.
The way each area of gameplay is connected so seamlessly in God of War also stands out. Weapons are often used in puzzle solving, and the father and son relationship is also a key part of combat, adding depth to both the action and the story. That’s something that makes God of War’s combat stand out among Sony’s other exclusives. Fighting bosses in Bloodborne certainly adds to your understanding of the game’s world, but in Uncharted 4, the climbing, shooting, and puzzle solving are usually separate sections of the game, doing little more than filling in the gaps between cutscenes. That’s not to say that those aspects aren’t great individually, quite the opposite in fact, but few games have the feeling that everything connected quite like God of War.