Low Expectations – I played God of War (2018) and Uncharted 4 (2016)

I actually bought Uncharted 1-3 for the PS3 back in 2015, but I disliked the arcade-style shooting in the first game and didn’t play the other two games. But, being a fan of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us and having heard only good things about the studio’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016), I bought it this month when it was on sale.

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These three gentlemen are up to no good in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

With Santa Monica Studios’ God of War (2018), it was a little different. I was aware of the series but never played it. A friend urged me to, and he and I have similar tastes in games, so when I saw that it was also on sale, I got that one too.

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Disliked this guy immediately.

So, I basically had no expectations when I started playing, which was a good thing. It took me a weekend to finish Uncharted 4 and roughly six sessions over one week to play through God of War on the easiest settings. Both are excellent in their own way and I am glad I found them. You really don’t need any background knowledge of the game’s lore to enjoy either. Which was a plus for me.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an action-packed rollercoaster
Uncharted 4 concludes the story of adventurer and thief Nathan Drake, played by the ever-charming Nolan North. It is action-adventure at it’s best. Trying to convince me to play the series, someone once described the experience to me “like playing an Indiana Jones-movie”. And Uncharted 4 is indeed just that.

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Not much going on in the beginning…

The settings crafted by Naughty Dog’s very able team offer breathtaking vistas and lots of opportunities to put your skills to the test. You will be required to climb around crumbling ruins, discover hidden vaults and clues inside said ruins, solve puzzles to get around and fight off a private army along the way. There are stealth elements, shoot-outs, car chases, betrayal, drama, brotherhood and a splash of romance and family.

But, let’s start at the beginning. After a job gone wrong, Nathan and his crew find themselves in prison. Fact is, though, that is exactly where they want to be. At first. A cruel twist of fate then leads to the loss of one of their number during their daring escape.

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Solving puzzles is the key to getting to the treasure.

Fast forward into the present, where Nathan Drake has settled down with his girl and taken up working freelance as a diver. And though tempted, he keeps turning down a lucrative offer that also promises great adventure. Fate, though, is not done with Drake yet. Very soon, he finds himself on a mission to hunt down a pirate treasure in order to save a life most dear to him.

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And another head-shot. I did not play this one stealthy at all.

What follows is the best action-adventure since LucasArts’ classics Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Monkey Island, worth every minute of my time. And though I played through in roughly seven hours, I felt very satisfied and content once the end credits rolled. It is a fun game, one that will have you laughing, crying and holding your breath, featuring witty dialogue, a great cast of characters and an epic story. So, if you haven’t picked it up yet, I suggest you give it a try.

God of War took my breath away
As mentioned, I had never laid my hands on any of the previous God of War-games. All I thought I knew was that the hero was more of a one-dimensional Greek demi-god anti-hero who likes to smash things with his fists. Not that I am against smashing things, I absolutely loved playing Castlevania- Lords of Shadow 2. But then, that one also came with a great story.

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The relationship between Kratos and his son Atreus seems tense at first. But things will change, that’s for sure.

So there he was, that grumpy, grizzly giant Kratos, felling trees for a funeral. I immediately disliked him for the way he was treating his boy, Atreus, but that is the point, right? Both father and son then embark on a mission to fulfill their wife and mother’s last wish: To scatter her ashes on the highest peak of the realms.

Santa Monica Studios are just as skilled at crafting landscapes as Naughty Dog is. This world full of vibrant colors, detailed textures and beautiful light and shadow certainly took my breath away. The creatures you encounter are fantastic and though you get used to the puzzles you need to solve to open up new areas to explore, I did not tire of them. The main attraction of the game, then, is the changing relationship between father and son, as Kratos reluctantly comes to trust Atreus to handle himself during a fight. Just look at his face when the boy drags him out of the Light of Alfheim. It is a beautiful story, that is for sure.

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Also, there be dragons.

If you are looking for an action-packed adventure that mixes intense battles against truly bombastic enemies, a father-son relationship worth exploring and the myths and mythology of the Norsemen, including gods, dragons and giants, you might want to give this one a try, too.

My next adventure will lead me to Japan, as I am anxiously awaiting the release of Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima come July 17th. I may be replaying The Last Of Us while I wait and throw in a Game+-playthrough of The Last Of Us Part II on the way.

Until then, keep on playing!