God Of War PS4 Guide: 11 Tips You Should Know Before Playing

Becoming a God

God of War on PS4 is a quite a different game from past entries in the series. It completely revamps combat, progression, and exploration with a bevy of new features and mechanics. As a result, when you first start the game’s campaign, some of these new elements may seem disorienting and unfamiliar.

It might surprise you to know that the game actually lets you spend time exploring a relatively open area packed with optional activities. There’s even a multi-branch skill tree containing an array of different attacks you can unlock with XP. Speaking of XP, God of War embraces RPG-like progression, allowing you the option to craft and upgrade armor. With so many new systems at work, we’ve gathered 11 tips to better help you play the game.

Have any useful tips that you don’t see listed here? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to read out God of War review. And for more guides, check out our progression explainer. You can also check out our gallery showcasing the game’s coolest Legendary armor sets.

Take Time To Explore Optional Areas

As stated, this latest God of War is far more open in structure. It starts out linear, but once you reach the Lake of Nine, the game allows you to explore optional areas and search for more resources. While you’re free to continue the story at any time, try to take time to explore, as doing so will net you extra Hacksilver, crafting resources, and equipment.

You can even find sidequests that yield their own unique stories and in-game rewards. All the while, the optional battles you engage in along the way will earn you more XP, giving you access to more abilities on the skill tree. God of War’s main story may be fantastic, but don’t ignore its side content. Hidden along the sidelines of every realm is a treasure trove of items and secrets well worth discovering.

Go Explore, But Explore Thoroughly

When you’re out exploring, make sure to investigate every nook and cranny of the environment. There’s always a ton of treasure chests around that are chock-full of items and resources. In addition, if you ever find any Runic Chests, take the time to open them up, as they usually contain valuable performance enhancing items, like Idunn Apples and Horns of Blood Mead, which increase your maximum health and Spartan Rage meters. You’ll rarely ever have to worry about runic chests or hidden treasure being ability locked, so be sure to search the environment closely for the solution.

Don’t Forget About Quick Turn

Due to God of War’s over the shoulder camera, you’ll often need to back off when surrounded by a group of enemies in combat. While you can roll out of most sticky situations, there are times when you’ll be fighting in areas that don’t afford a lot of wiggle room. Thankfully, there’s a quick turn ability, which is performed by pressing down on the directional pad. It’s a quick maneuver that might be a tad disorienting, but it can be a lifesaver when an enemy is about to hit you from the rear. Just try not to mash it, as you’ll likely quick-turn twice on accident, putting you back right where you started and completely open to a direct attack.

If the default quick turn button isn’t to your liking, it’s possible to switch to other configurations. Simply access the options menu and choose the configuration that best suits you in the gameplay section under settings.

Use And Customize Your Runic Abilities

While you might be inclined to utilize the default attacks and combos available to you to dispatch foes, don’t forget to use your Runic Attacks. These powerful special moves can be equipped to your weapons and are triggered by holding L1 and pressing R1 or R2. There are two types of Runic Attacks: Light and Heavy. The game features a variety of different Runic Attacks to equip, each sporting their own unique effects, attributes, and cooldowns. You can even upgrade them with XP to enhance their power.

They’re effective all their own, but a well-placed Runic Attack can make a powerful combo even more devastating and quickly turn the tide of any tough encounter, giving you an upper hand when your chances of survival seem low. You accumulate a wealth of Runic Attacks throughout your journey. Diversify your runic attack roster and experiment with them to see which ones best suit your playstyle.

Choose Your Skills Wisely

During the first five to six hours of your adventure, you don’t earn a lot of XP. With so little to go around, you’ll have to prioritize which combat skills you want to unlock. Combat skills, like Grinding Storm and Guardian Sweep, are great choices if you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed by enemy groups. On the other hand, if you’d rather focus on high damage output over time, then prioritize unlocking skills under the Rage Combat tab.

There’s not a lot of wiggle room early on, so it’s important to start thinking about which skills best suit your playstyle. But don’t fret, you’re not forced to unlock certain skills over others the whole way through; you’ll eventually nab enough XP to unlock every ability on the skill tree. Until then, choose your skills wisely.

Get Creative With Combat

As you’ll see from the Skill tree, there’s an abundance of maneuvers you can utilize in combat–almost too much at first. But don’t let that overwhelm you; these attacks can be used in a wide range of situations and strung together into a variety of powerful combos.

To be more effective in a fight, it helps to study what’s available to you. After acquiring a new skill, take time to understand its properties, like how long it takes to perform, how it affects enemies upon hitting them, and if it can be combined with other attacks in your repertoire. And once you’ve gained an understanding of how an attack works, consider which Runic Attacks would best compliment the combos you’re looking to create.

God of War leaves you a ton of room to be creative, so don’t feel like you need to fight enemies a single way. If you like being flashy in a fight, be flashy. If you prefer being more calculated with your attacks, you’re welcome to do that too. There’s rarely a wrong approach. As long as you understand the basics of guarding and dodging, you’re free to be as inventive as you like.

Make Atreus a Main Part Of Your Combat Repertoire

Atreus may not seem the most formidable ally at first: his arrows don’t do much damage and he doesn’t do much to assist you. However, as you progress, Atreus begins to pick up on new melee techniques and weapons, which make him invaluable in combat. For instance, he eventually starts jumping on enemies to choke them, providing you a window to punish them with a deadly combo. While maneuvers like this are helpful, the most effective weapon in Atreus’ arsenal are his Light and Shock arrows, which inflict powerful status ailments. We recommend using Shock Arrows during most combat situations, as they can immobilize enemies for a brief duration.

If you find yourself low on health and cornered by a group of tough enemies, Atreus can also be incredibly useful in drawing aggro away from you, giving you ample time to recalculate your attack strategy or search for nearby health items. He can even interrupt enemies out of powerful attack animations, sparing you from having to dodge or block them. And if that wasn’t enough, he eventually gets access to Runic Summons, which are incredibly useful for crowd control.

Pick a Playstyle And Stick With It

God of War allows you a surprising amount of flexibility to customize and tailor Kratos’s stats to your playstyle. With an array of armor and enchantments available, you can shape Kratos to fit into a variety of different class archetypes. For example, it’s possible to stat into the traditional tank class route by min-maxing strength and defense; you can even become a battle mage by enhancing Runic attack strength and cooldown timers. Take time to think about what statistics you value the most in combat, and stick with it, as the sooner you can funnel your crafting resources into a specific playstyle, the better.

Make Sure Re-equip Your Enchantments

In your journey, you’ll eventually purchase or discover a new armor set to replace your old one. It can be easy getting caught up in the excitement of equipping a new set–so much so that you might forget to re-equip all of the Enchantments from your old armor onto your new one. Unless you’re a fan of playing at a disadvantage, don’t make this mistake.

Grab Yggdrasil Dew

As you explore realms on your boat, you’ll notice half-arched trees scattered throughout the environment that yield a glowing item known as Yggdrasil Dew. This special collectable grants an instant bonus to one of Kratos’ stats, like strength, defense, or vitality. If you see these distinct looking trees anywhere in your travels, make it a priority to collect the Yggdrasil Dew attached to them. They’re well worth your time.

Complete Muspelheim And Niflheim Challenges To Nab Legendary Gear

Later on, you’ll discover the realms known as Muspelheim And Niflheim, which are completely optional. Without spoiling what you do in each realm, we highly encourage you to visit them and complete the challenges within. Completing them can net you special crafting resources used to make some of the best armor in the game.


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