God of War is a soft reboot of Sony's long-running series of action games. While the originals were set within Greek mythology, the new title takes place after the original games within the world of Norse mythology. Kratos now resides in Midgard along with his son Atreus. After encountering a mysterious stranger covered in tattoos, Kratos and Atreus set out on a long and dangerous journey through the Nine Realms to scatter his dead wife's ashes from atop the highest mountain peak in Midgard.
Unlike the original games, God of War utilizes a freely controllable third-person camera. Kratos now makes use of the Leviathan Axe, which has frost-damaging capabilities to freeze enemies in place, and can be thrown and summoned back to Kratos' hand at will. Kratos also has a shield that can be used to block and parry incoming attacks. Kratos can also use his fists to attack enemies, this can stun enemies and allows Kratos to execute finishing moves. In addition, his son Atreus can fire arrows at enemies and summon animals. Attacking enemies and collecting certain items raises Kratos' rage meter. After it is full, Kratos can use Spartan Rage, which greatly increases his attack power and speed, making him virtually unstoppable for a short time.
In addition to combat, Kratos can also use the axe for puzzle solving, by freezing certain mechanisms in place, or destroying runes to unlock chests.
Exploration and combat yield experience points and silver. Both are used to upgrade Kratos' and Atreus' abilities, granting new combos or increasing attack power. Gear can be purchased and upgraded at shops to grant stat boosts to Kratos in an RPG-like fashion. Gear can also be further enhanced with enchantments.
The game takes place in a semi-linear world that allows for some degree of exploration and backtracking, and offers a number of side actvities and tasks.