The new God of War is a harder, more complicated God of War. It’s influenced by a few more modern formulas, both in story and in combat — and that means God of War tips are going to be more complicated than just “mash harder.”
One of the first God of War tips people will tell you is the combat is a lot slower, and more reactive. The comparisons to Dark Souls are valid, and woe is the God of War veteran who wades into this sequel-ised reinvention mashing buttons like it’s 2005.
There might not be a stamina bar, but God of War is now all about smaller, more intimate fights. Four to six enemies will give you the same challenge fifteen enemies used to.
But that’s the obvious stuff. Here are a few things we wished we would’ve known when we started the game.
When in Doubt, Look Up
Much like the old 3D Zelda games, a lot of the puzzles in God of War involve just looking up.
Sometimes you’ll see an explosive pot you can cut down to blow apart the rocks that were blocking your way. Other times, you might see the runes that need to be hit for the nearby chest to unlock.
If literally looking up doesn’t help, try changing your viewing angle on things. A lot of the chests depend on searching for a new line of sight which reveals a target to throw your axe at.
Upgrade Your Gear Steadily
If you’re picking up hacksilver and killing the odd Odin’s raven when you see them, Brok and Sindri‘s available armour should be balanced for your power level. That means pick up whatever you can afford, whenever you get a chance, because you’re meant to have that at that point in the game. It’s simple, but one of the more important God of War tips.
The key thing to remember here is there aren’t really any strategic decisions to make. Sure, you can target magical damage by investing in Runic armour and coupling that with complementary abilities in the skills tree. But that’s as complicated as it gets.
Even more important than having a well-thought out strategy is just plain higher numbers. If you can get high enough stats to push you over the threshold of a new level, every enemy goes down one tier relative to you. That means purple enemies become orange. Orange enemies become green.
Those tiers have by far the biggest effect. Not only does a purple enemy take less damage and do more damage, it refuses to be interrupted by your attacks. Its stun bar goes back to zero much quicker. If it has a special ability like healing itself, the fight could go on forever.
For these reasons, even if a set of armour or gems don’t fit into your overall theorycrafting plan, just take the higher number.
There’s Often a Right Answer
Much of the time in God of War combat, there’s a correct strategy. That might mean evading to the side instead of evading backwards, or it might mean switching to your bare hands. It might mean using Spartan Rage to bring enemy numbers down to a more manageable level.
One Valkyrie in particular has an area of effect attack that hits the entire arena, is unblockable, and you can’t evade it. But one arrow from Atreus as she charges up will interrupt her.
This applies to trying different kinds of damage, too.
For example, Revenants (see below) are super weak to a few light arrows as you approach. Arrows are almost enough by themselves to cause the stun bar to fill up. By the time you get there, a few hits and you can grab.
If what you’re doing isn’t working, try out a few wildly new things before heading somewhere else. Try a block break. Try Spartan Rage. See if stun damage works, or magical damage. See if you can knock them over a cliff. Try mounting one ogre and riding it into another ogre.
Experiment, because once you find the right answer it’ll be much easier.
Side Areas in God of War
There are a couple of non-essential realms in God of War. They’re moreso challenge areas than story-based areas.
Obviously with a game this good, you’ll want to venture into them just to experience the content. But whether you do that before or after you beat the game is up to you.
Muspelheim is a zone you’ll unlock in the mid-game. It’s full of fiery goodness, and its challenges will give you items that help resist that fiery goodness. It should be said that there are resources in Muspelheim that you’ll need for some of the better mid- to late-game armour sets, like Smouldering Embers.
Niflheim is a unique realm which contains the shifting maze of Ivaldi. This maze reorganises and resets itself every time you leave it. It’s also full of a cursed fog that you can only handle for so long. Good tip — making armour out of resources found in the maze will GREATLY increase the time you can spend in there. You’ll notice it from the first piece.
Exploring the many side areas of the Lake of the Nine will give you resources like Aegir’s Gold and Scales of the World Serpent, which are used for things like upgrading waist armour.
You’ll make your life easier by going into these areas sooner, rather than later. Though make sure to mind the point above about upgrading your armour as you go, otherwise you might find yourself in a situation where everything outside of the main questline is too high level to take on.
Take Enemies Out of the Fight
At times, we felt like our most useful weapon was Atreus. That’s not just because his arrows are a distraction. Once you upgrade his arrows fully down the possible paths, they become a huge hindrance to enemies and can save you from unblockable attacks.
We found a few rapid-fire arrows from Atreus mixed with a few bare-handed attacks from Kratos (you can do both at the same time) was enough to fill the stun bar of most enemies, quickly taking out the first foe in any fight.
It’s also possible to freeze an enemy right at the start of every battle — making a 4v1 into a 3v1, for example — by throwing your axe. This is especially useful if you prefer barehanded combat anyway, which is high on stun damage.
Some runic attacks also take enemies out of the equation, such as Ivaldi’s Anvil, which freezes enemies in an area of effect. There’s a Valkyrie who spawns more enemies every time their numbers reach zero. In any type of permanently respawning enemy situation, it might be better to actually freeze the enemies instead of killing them.
We hope that helps you through your time in Midgard. Good luck!