E3 2016: Kratos Returns With a Beard in New God of War

Kratos is back, starting off Sony’s E3 conference with a gameplay demo of a bearded Kratos and his son chopping through a forest environment.

The demo started in a hut, the camera following the boy into a hut where we hear a gruff voice address him—a much older Kratos, now bearded and weathered, worse for wear. His rage has subsided a bit, but he’s still quite fierce, as he proves later.

God of War is typically a Greek affair, but Sony is branching out with the latest one. There’s much more of a Norse vibe in the new game, with an older Kratos and his young son lightly crunching snow under their feet before getting attacked by monsters stylistically unlike any previous game.

It’s a quieter game than past ones from the look of the demo, pulling the vibe of The Last of Us with the protective dynamic between Kratos and his son as well as the general environments. The game featured a quick fight against a giant monster that resembled fighting a boss in Dark Souls, with a slower pace and deliberate rolling. The combat isn’t as arcade-y as past games, with close-up angles and heavy, brutal hits. Kratos is still able to summon Spartan Rage, a power from the previous games that let Kratos go into a frenzy.

Quick-time events seem to be gone in the new game, with Kratos rushing the monster and launching into an elaborate attack cut scene without any button prompts showing up. Kratos manages to subdue the beast and yells for his son to finish it off with an arrow, but his son hesitates and ends up shooting Kratos instead, prompting Kratos to finish the beast off himself.

The gameplay demo ends with a quiet moment between the two getting interrupted by a dragon flying in, hammering in the Norse vibe before the title screen shows up. Sony isn’t going for anything fancy with this latest God of War game, simply calling it “God of War.”