Combat in God of War is brutal, tactical and varied; the secret to victory is knowing how and when to combine Kratos' many different skills.
Hold L1 to raise Kratos’ Guardian Shield. It can guard you against damage in a range of situations, but it's not full-proof. Watch for a yellow circle appearing around an enemy attack: this indicates if it can be blocked.
If the circle is around an enemy attack is red it's unblockable. Tap Circle once to side step an incoming swipe or, for a bigger attack, quickly double-tap Circle with the left stick held to roll away clear of the impact.
Tap L1 right before a blockable attack hits and you'll be able to parry it with your Guardian Shield, knocking the enemy back and leaving them wide open for a brutal follow-up.
Atreus’ long-range support can be an invaluable asset in tough encounters. Simply tap Square and Atreus will fire a shot from his Talon Bow. By default, he’ll target the enemy Kratos is locked onto, but you can command him to fire at a specific target by aiming with L2 first.
As you progress through the game’s story, Atreus will gain access to different arrow types, each with its own unique effects. Simply tap the Up directional button to switch between arrow types.
As the boy grows more confident in combat, he’ll also be able to subdue enemies with melee attacks, leaving them open to follow-ups from the Leviathan Axe. You’ll first have to unlock this ability through the Skills tab in the pause menu.
If a particular creature is giving you trouble, Atreus’ bestiary can be an invaluable source of information.
From the pause menu, navigate to the Codex tab and then select Bestiary. Here, Atreus logs all of the enemies encountered along the journey, and adds notes on enemy-specific strategies with repeated encounters.
Blocking, dodging and parrying like a god? Clued-up on the best strategies from the bestiary and still struggling? You might just be under-leveled.
Beneath each enemy’s health meter is a number indicating its level. If their level is higher than Kratos’, it might be too much. Explore the world, upgrade your gear and come back stronger.
As you explore Midgard (and beyond), you’ll come across new pieces of gear for Kratos which enhance his core stats. By upgrading gear at the blacksmith’s to improve these stats further, you’ll find encounters much easier to manage. Be sure to pick the right gear and enhance the right stats for the situation.
Determines Kratos’ raw power. A higher strength stat results in increased damage for all standard, non-Runic attacks.
Determines the strength of Runic abilities. A higher Runic stat equals stronger elemental damage, but does not increase the damage of normal attacks.
Helps to resist the impact of incoming attacks, reducing damage sustained from all types of foe.
Increases the chance of additional abilities from armor and weapons enchantments being activated in combat and also increases the amount of XP and Hacksilver you acquire.
Increases Kratos’ maximum health and resistance to being staggered. You can also boost Kratos’ maximum health by collecting Iðunn Apples, found in locked Nornir chests around the world.
A higher cooldown reduces the wait time needed to activate Runic attacks, summons and talisman abilities. These special abilities are unlocked gradually as you progress through your journey.
Beyond your god-like strength, you'll need to ensure you're properly armed for battle. This means collecting, crafting and upgrading your armor as well as taking care of your weapons.
Your enchanted Leviathan Axe is the first of two weapons you'll wield (excluding your bare fists). It can be upgraded throughout your journey to add powerful new moves and increase it's physical and elemental damage attributes.
Each piece of Kratos' armor can be replaced, customized and upgraded to attune Kratos' strengths to your preferred play style. Collect dozens of pieces and numerous full sets (each of which can be mixed and matched with one another) and bring the right materials to dwarves Brok and Sindre to have them upgraded.
Alongside Kratos' armor, you're able to equip a talisman to your build that will not only bring its own benefits to your key attributes, but will also add a special unique runic ability that can be activated by holding L1 and pressing the X button.
Some armor pieces contain sockets into which you can insert runic Enchantments. These Enchantments come in a range of types and rarities and alongside augmenting your key attributes, will also add specific perks that can be activated in battle.
While not as comprehensive as Kratos' armor and skills, Atreus still has a number of options and upgrades to consider.
The opening hours of God of War find Kratos far removed from his violent past and living a life of relative peace. As he sets forth into the world of Midgard, brutal encounters and new threats will reawaken his dormant powers.
Completing quests, overcoming enemies and progressing the story will reward Kratos with experience - though the exact amount will depend on your Luck attribute - which can be used to unlock new techniques and upgrade others.
Kratos and Atreus have four full movesets that can be expanded over the course of the adventure: two you'll have at the outset and the others you'll discover as you progress through the game.
Using experience you can add new attacks that combo with existing ones or augment your favourite attacks with follow up moves and techniques. In order to access some of these, though, you'll need to enhance your weapons first, so spend your experience points wisely.
Contains two skill trees, one for Ranged Combat options and one for Close Combat.
Contains two skill trees, one for Shield Combat (including all of your bare-handed attacks) and another for your Spartan Rage abilities.
Contains two skill trees, one for magic combat (that adds unique magical effects to Atreus' attacks) and another for Expert Combat.
Throughout your adventure you'll collect dozens of Runes that augment Kratos and Atreus' weapons with special moves and abilities. Each of these can be upgraded using experience points.
Upgrading Runic abilities will not only improve the efficacy of these attacks but may also modify them with additional attacks and effects.
Discover some of the terrifying creatures you’ll encounter on your perilous journey. Witness their transformation from sketch, to digital painting, to fully animated in-game character.
Undead warriors whose souls were too fierce and stubborn to leave the mortal realm, their twisted forms have rendered them slow and predictable. Use this to your advantage as you parry their sluggish attacks.
It is said that no one troll in Midgard is the same, but each of these monstrous creatures shares something in common: immeasurable power. Even the Guardian Shield will struggle to deflect their mighty blows, so watch for their attacks, dodge and counter.
Vile witches deformed by their zealous devotion to Seiðr magic, these creatures are too nimble even for the swiftest cleaves of the Leviathan Axe. Use Atreus’ arrows to stun them before moving in for the kill.