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Exceptional
God of War is the story of a man and his son on a journey to lay his recently passed wife to rest. It is difficult to convey just how beautiful, powerful, and amazingly crafted this masterpiece of a game is. Story God of War, technically the 4th mainline title in the series, takes place long after the ending of God of War 3 and acts as both a continuation of the story and a reimagining of the series. What used to be a non-stop, hate filled, machine of a series has been completely reintroduced as a meticulous, well thought out, journey highlighting the dynamics of the life of a god and the overall growth of a family. As this is a reimagining in the series, the developers have taken the time to briefly cover the information critical to the story, removing any need to play the previous entries prior to this one. What they managed to achieve with this change is nothing short of a miracle, deserving of every single award it has received in the time after its release. There are a couple of times where the tone of the characters felt odd, but these instances were few and far between as well as not terribly impactful. Overall, God of War provides possibly best crafted story in an action game to date and from now on will be all that I think of when I hear the phrase “life is a journey, not a destination”. Gameplay The standard cycle of gameplay jumps between fast paced hack and slash sections and slower paced puzzle sections. The combat feels relatively reserved early into the game. However, as you progress, it becomes more and more extreme, adding new weapons, combos, and flashy finishers. It generally feels somewhat difficult, but fair. My only gripe is that there never really feels like there is much punishment for dying. The shorter fights don’t take long to get through or move you very far back when you die, and the longer fights checkpoint you at each major interval. The puzzles are very simple for the most part, there were only a couple of points in the game where I had to stop for a moment and think of a way to get past a section. The developers did manage to get creative with the structures of some of the puzzles given that the tools to use in the game are limited. Spliced between the combat and puzzles, there are cutscene sections and associated quick time events. These sections are beautiful, very well designed, and don’t go overboard on the quick time events like they did in some of the previous entries. Frequently, these are tied directly into major boss fights and don’t interrupt the flow of battle as badly as one may expect from a cutscene/quick time event. The customization and the progression in the game centers around the three primary weapons and an array of defensive accessories. As the player progresses through God of War, they are presented with equipment, currency, and resources. The equipment is often not as impactful as what you can purchase in the store (in-game currency of course, nothing paid), but is fun to find around anyways. The currency can be used to purchase items, resources, and equipment in the store, upgrade equipment from the store, or to be turned into resources directly. I never felt terribly limited by the amount of currency I was receiving throughout the game as it scales directly with your progression in the game. Finally, the resources can be used along with the currency to upgrade equipment in the shop. The high tier resources are difficult to come by and generally are found from major bosses and the lower tier resources are found frequently from standard enemies. End game content is satisfying, but tedious at times. With a bulk of the content being collectables or grinding for Mist (an end game resource), the gameplay quickly loses its charm. So, I would personally recommend beating the game, but not necessarily going for the platinum as it’s going to be a slog of looking for collectables. The moment to moment combat in the end game is as satisfying as it is in the early game, so if you just want more combat, feel free to go for the completion or reaching for some of the post-game content. Art Every single area in God of War feels detailed, fleshed out, and fun to experience. Although there is an overall feeling of “cold winter” in all the areas, each one feels unique and fun to explore. The skyboxes are well detailed, the character models are all extremely beautiful and don’t feel out of place, and the equipment feels unique and well designed. Many times, I found myself gliding along the lake in the canoe and looking out into the distance at the monstrous figures and mountains just to take in the beauty of the game. Controls The controls are nothing special, but there is something to be said about figuring out a way to let a player control two different characters at once relatively fluidly. At times I found myself accidently putting away my weapons, switching weapons, or activating rage mode during battle, but other than those rare moments, things were generally smooth. The controls for Atreus, while difficult to memorize right off the bat, felt very easy to execute in the endgame (albeit a bit button mash-y). Sound Overall, the developers knocked the sound design out of the park in God of War. The voice acting is amazing to say the least. The conversations between the characters are engaging, entertaining, and just fun to experience through the entire game. The in-battle banter is smooth and enjoyable. The concept of a different story being told when traversing from one area to the next is amazing and put into practice very well. There isn’t anything about the ambient noise that feels annoying or out of place. While the music isn’t something that I would personally listen to in my free time, I can still recognize its beauty. It fits thematically into the game without a hitch and only ever complements the gameplay. I don’t necessarily have any love for the music, but it’s worth mentioning. I feel like I should also mention that the idea of having no loading screen in the game is appreciated and needs to be implemented more often.
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
«That Ending!»
This game is as close to perfect as an arcade racer can be. I'll get straight into it.  The main mode is World Tour. This sees you complete different types of race/event in three separate parts of the world: US, Asia and Europe. You'll compete in standard races, road rage events (take out as many opposition cars in the given time limit), eliminator races (every lap the racer in last place gets eliminated until it's a 1v1 race to the finish), Face Off races (a 1v1 race where you win your opponents car if you best them) Grand Prix tournaments (4 races in a row and the best racer overall wins), Burning Lap/Special Event races (complete a lap as quick as possible in a specific car) and Crash events (cause as much damage as possible). The amount of variety is absolutely insane. The three most interesting ones are Road Rage, Burning Lap/Special Event and Crash. The takedowns in Burnout look incredible and Road Rage makes the most of this. Having events dedicated to wiping out every racer you see is about as mindlessly fun as this game gets. Burning Lap/Special Events are races aimed at veterans of the game. You will be expected to never take your finger off the boost button to get gold in these races, and some of the latter events require you to boost for 3 minutes straight, around cars and obstacles, hitting every turn absolutely perfectly, and a single crash will ruin your chances of getting gold. Oh and you're driving a Formula 1 car, which means so much as grazing a pavement will make you spin out. Then there's crash mode. I... don't like this mode. At all. The crashes look fantastic and Criterion pushed this heavily in advertisements for the game, but it boils down to luck a lot of the time. Also, restarting an event takes you to a loading screen, then to the race start menu, then there's a three second countdown, THEN you get to retry. What a slog.  I could talk about this forever. The gameplay is as tight as it gets. Learning courses inside out is rewarding and knowing exactly which lines to take when you're boosting around is the most satisfying feeling ever. The courses look fantastic and take you through beaches, forests, mountains and cities. This also came out just before racing games started obsessing over open worlds. This is a matter of taste but I much prefer linear racing games that focus on the actual RACES over driving around a boring hub world.    I never played the multiplayer barring some split screen with my brother so I won't talk about it much but I highly recommend finding someone and playing a few races with them.   The graphics hold up well for a game that came out in the early 2000's. Nothing mind blowing but great for the time, especially the Xbox version. It runs at 60fps and never dips, which is impressive and important for a game with such a heavy emphasis on high speeds and tight turns. The blur effect can occasionally be a bit heavy but when you're driving at 180mph it's to be expected.  The sound effects are again, decent, but nothing amazing. You'll get absolutely sick of hearing the engine revving when you're going max speed whist boosting, especially on Burning Lap tracks where you're not expected to stop boosting at all. People will either love or hate the soundtrack. Much like the Tony Hawk games, fans of indie/rock/metal will probably love this. It's got everything from The Hives, to Fall Out Boy, to From First To Last. But I suspect the much maligned Stryker FM will land firmly on the 'hate' side for most people. The charismatic radio host will comment on your race as you progress. It's fun.. initially. Then he starts repeating himself. And for a game you can sink 30 hours into, he doesn't have nearly enough lines. That being said, I don't mind him, and you can turn him off in the settings. Fret not.  There are some negatives - there's zero customisation available, the car selection is limited and there are far too many Crash events in my opinion. But none of these affect the experience much.  Not gonna talk about this anymore. It's the best racing game ever. And it's like 4 quid. Buy it 
Exceptional
Finished on April 20, 2019 *Certified as Masterpiece* +Art Style/Graphics. +Characters. +Gameplay. +Map/Levels design. +Minigames. +Music. +Port Optimization. +Side Quests/Stories adds a hefty amount of content and diversity to the game. +Story. +Voice Acting.   -English translation sometimes is bad written. (Not the way the casual conversations are done, but the way the sentences are elaborated within the subtitles). -Game sometimes switches to windowed mode after pressing alt+tab, regardless if there’s another app open or not. -Not all conversations have voice acting. -NPC have repeated faces in their majority.
Wild West Sims. It's a big open world, but it has no soul.
Finished on April 21, 2019 +Cinematic atmosphere. +Gameplay. +Graphics. +Music. +Port optimization. +RPG-like upgrades. +UI presentation. +Voice acting.   -No side quests. -Story.
This game is pure beauty. I had so much fun while playing it and completed last night, now I don't know what to do. It's not a simple pixel art game, it has so many details, twists, a great story behind. I hope Sabotage and Devolver make a sequel for The Messenger!
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«Underrated»
«That Ending!»

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