A little iffy of God of War's combat so far (no spoilers)

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#1 Edited by Deathstriker (1083 posts) -

I'm a few hours into the game, probably about 20 minutes after the first boss fight and I find myself getting a little annoyed with the combat. I like the new direction they've taken the series from a story and world standpoint, but I'm undecided on the gameplay. I knew from the trailers and gameplay that it was going to be different, but every enemy taking at least 10 hits to kill when they can kill me in 4 hits wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I was a little surprised about that and how Dark Souls it is and not in the GOW or DMC style of action game at all anymore. The camera is sometimes a problem too, which they must've known about because they have the attack incoming arrows. With the camera so tight and you getting swarmed by enemies it's easy to not see all the enemies at once or for one to be 4 feet behind you and you not see them, so the incoming attack arrows help that problem but don't solve it.

I am playing on the second to highest difficulty. If the combat or dying so much starts to annoy me for real I'll take the difficulty down to normal. At this very moment, I'm fighting two armored/brute enemies and a revenant at the same time - they've probably killed me 4 times so far lol. This game is way more of a RPG, so I'm sure as I get more skills, armor, level up the weapon, etc the combat and the options that I have will be better. Hitting an axe against rock enemies isn't a great feeling, I'm hoping there are other weapons in the game too, one more focused on brute strength/damage like the Hercules weapons in GOW 3. The boss fight was a lot of fun, but fighting a bunch of normal enemies at once and the enemies taking so many hits to die plus the camera - that all feels at odds with me at the moment (I'll hopefully get used to it).

Anyone else who is playing this feel similar or surprised at the combat now that you're actually playing it?

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#2 Posted by nutter (1816 posts) -

Does the tight camera in combat feel like Hellblade at all? I thought Hellblade had some cool combat, if not super deep.

They solved the issue of not seeing melee enemies behind you by having voices warn you, which worked well thematically and mechanically.

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#3 Posted by Deathstriker (1083 posts) -

@nutter: I've never played Hellblade, so I don't know about the camera, but Kratos' son will yell "behind you" and stuff like that, plus there are the arrows I mentioned, which are kinda like "grenade incoming" indicators in FPS. When fighting a fast enemy who zooms around it can get kinda annoying to me.

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#4 Posted by imhungry (1096 posts) -

I'm fairly certain that the camera causing you to not have full awareness of enemies behind you is intended as a feature rather than a problem. It definitely adds a bit more tension when fighting multiple enemies. I enjoyed that a lot in Hellblade and it's even better here since you have a better tools to deal with multiple enemies.

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#5 Posted by nutter (1816 posts) -

@deathstriker: Sounds not too dissimilar from Hellblade, though I’d assume a bit more depth to the combat.

I really liked the claustrophobic feeling of Hellblade. It made combat scenarios feel far more intense than they would have with a more traditional/tactical view.

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#6 Edited by MiniPato (3009 posts) -

@imhungry said:

I'm fairly certain that the camera causing you to not have full awareness of enemies behind you is intended as a feature rather than a problem. It definitely adds a bit more tension when fighting multiple enemies. I enjoyed that a lot in Hellblade and it's even better here since you have a better tools to deal with multiple enemies.

Yeah I actually really like how much it reminds me of Resident Evil 4 in that way. This new GoW is all about crowd control and positioning and picking your enemies. You can use your axe to freeze a foe in place or inflict frost status to slow it down and use Atreus to further distract enemies. Don't get greedy and button mash on a single enemy for too long or else you leave yourself open to attacks from behind. It's like Resident Evil 4 meets For Honor which I find to be a more compelling combat system than the GoW games of old.

I like the crowd combat, but I will say the first one-on-one troll boss fight didn't feel particularly satisfying. A bit repetitive and long, but I imagine it'll improve as the game opens up with upgrades and weapon types.

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#7 Posted by Efesell (4263 posts) -

@nutter said:

@deathstriker: Sounds not too dissimilar from Hellblade, though I’d assume a bit more depth to the combat.

I really liked the claustrophobic feeling of Hellblade. It made combat scenarios feel far more intense than they would have with a more traditional/tactical view.

You are also God of Warring the hell out of these enemies so it doesn't quite carry the frantic feeling of what Hellblade was going for.

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#8 Edited by Humanity (18502 posts) -

@nutter: it’s nothing like Hellblade - that games combat system was basically punchout. God of War is like a slightly slower paced character action game but instead of combo strings you’re mixing up special abilities on cooldowns.

The combat only begins to open up like 3 hours into it, after some latter story beats. The first “boss fight” that spurs you on your journey is nothing, like it’s still tutorial land at that point.

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#9 Posted by nutter (1816 posts) -
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#10 Posted by aktivity (461 posts) -

I'm really not liking the camera, but the kid doing call-outs really helps mitigate my annoyance.

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#11 Posted by Ares42 (4242 posts) -

@deathstriker: As I said in the other thread, I'm also playing on hard and I'm definitely there with you. The combat is just not delivering an exciting experience at all. At this point I'm basically just rotating between rune powers and Spartan Rage (and throwing the axe between CDs), as hacking away with normal attacks feels useless and leaves you way too exposed.

I'd say my least favorite change is the fact that the parry is now directional (and no longer cancels attacks). Combined with the camera it means you have to constantly reposition to have all the enemies in front of you, or you're just gonna have a bad time. The danger arrows does a decent job of letting you know where enemies are, but they are pretty much worthless for assessing threats.

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#12 Posted by Nodima (2554 posts) -

I immediately knocked the difficulty down a notch. I figured after getting at least 1/3 of the way through Bloodborne (I had made the giant arachnid things visible) I could handle this game on a slightly higher difficulty. I couldn't even make it past the first encounter; I will say, you'll find it remarkable how different the combat is just bumping it down to the normal difficulty. The enemies don't take too much more damage but you take significantly less.

I'd highly recommend to anybody the combat isn't clicking with immediately that they make their first playthrough on the default difficulty. Especially once you get into optional situations where the enemies are significantly stronger than you, I can only imagine the higher difficulties being intensely frustrating. If the game's leveling system were more like Bloodborne and you could sort of grind your way to higher levels it'd be one thing, but this game doesn't seem interested in grinding at all. I was in an encounter earlier with two heavies, one yellow and one red, and the red bar could still kill me in about three hits. I'd imagine several encounters would require damn near perfect execution on the next higher up if my experience with the first three enemies was any indication.

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#13 Posted by Efesell (4263 posts) -

It's very different combat so it's hard to compare to previous games.

I just think it feels really good though. That axe is great, the hits are really chunky. It's a good time.

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#14 Posted by CptPanda29 (216 posts) -

I'm just up to the first Troll (I think, giant thing with a pillar) and I'm considering bumping the diff down (on 2nd highest) just because combat is taking ages.

I know it's a different direction and all that, but the parry is really generous and getting swarmed by enemies just means backing up until they're all in my FoV and waiting for a parry - getting everything in a juggle and pushing them into a wall.

My hits with this magic axe feel like they do nothing, I'm fishing for juggles on the fodder guys and I genuinley got bored fighting the Troll it took so long. I do wish I could move the camera back too, Kratos takes a step forward with every attack and this giant enemy's torso and arms are obscured. That means get a few hits, back up, wait to dodge it's swings and get a few more hits in.

I can be more agressive on the smaller guys but I can't react to something I can't see. This backing up playstyle and the pitiful chipping away at health will have me dropping the difficulty just to get through it before tedium sets in.

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#15 Edited by Deathstriker (1083 posts) -
@ares42 said:

@deathstriker: As I said in the other thread, I'm also playing on hard and I'm definitely there with you. The combat is just not delivering an exciting experience at all. At this point I'm basically just rotating between rune powers and Spartan Rage (and throwing the axe between CDs), as hacking away with normal attacks feels useless and leaves you way too exposed.

I'd say my least favorite change is the fact that the parry is now directional (and no longer cancels attacks). Combined with the camera it means you have to constantly reposition to have all the enemies in front of you, or you're just gonna have a bad time. The danger arrows does a decent job of letting you know where enemies are, but they are pretty much worthless for assessing threats.

I've put the difficulty down from hard to normal and I'd recommend the same to anyone else who is having similar issues. I think hard just highlights the flaws of the combat system and the idea of having so many enemies at once, who take so many hits, the camera, not having a lot of health, Kratos not being very agile, and the block being directional wasn't a fun experience to me. Normal has been fun and it's not super easy, you still have to pay attention.

Fighting multiple special enemies who can one hit kill you is still and awful experience... I'm not sure what the devs were thinking there.

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#16 Posted by Justin258 (15548 posts) -

Between this and Horizon Zero Dawn, wider fields of view really should be more common than they are.

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#17 Posted by mordukai (8516 posts) -

Even on normal there are regular enemies that will take you down in 2 hits. I feel like a balance patch will come in soon cause I am not having any fun being taking down in 2 hits on normal.

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#18 Edited by RubberBabyBuggyBumpers (1002 posts) -

The combat straight up fucking sucks! I just gave up after a couple attempts on the lava troll, located inside the dwarven castle or whatever, after freeing the Otr. The combat feels clunky and crappy like the controls in Lords of the Fallen. I normally dig combat in games, but this one is leaving me feeling frustrated and I'm not having as much fun as I thought I would. It's a shame, too, because the scenery, graphics, and the father-son dynamic are all rather interesting. It's completely bogged down by the horrible combat.

@mordukai said:

Even on normal there are regular enemies that will take you down in 2 hits. I feel like a balance patch will come in soon cause I am not having any fun being taking down in 2 hits on normal.

There's also nothing more cheap than enemies killing you while you have your shield up. Came across a couple whose attack blew right through my shield.

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#19 Edited by Efesell (4263 posts) -

@rubberbabybuggybumpers: Attacks that can go through your shield are telegraphed in Red, attacks that you can block or parry are in Gold but a direct block on those will throw you off balance.

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#20 Edited by RubberBabyBuggyBumpers (1002 posts) -

@efesell: I figured that out after the first time. The second time I got killed was due to habitual shield button pushing.

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#21 Posted by FrostyRyan (2885 posts) -

It just seems like this post and some of the comments can be summarized by saying "hard mode is hard"

Yeah you're gonna have trouble with this new combat system on hard mode. It's hard.

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#22 Posted by Ares42 (4242 posts) -

@frostyryan: It's not hard, it's tedious. In some ways it reminds me a lot of Witcher 3 combat, except your defense options are worse. It's just a lot of dodging and running around. It doesn't have the great feel of former GoWs where you could have 8 enemies on the screen and you could still completely control the fight, or the satisfying feel of Souls combat (which these games sorta ape) where you can turn your offense into defense (or vice versa) against one or two foes without risking being flanked to death.

It's a system that forces you to play defensively, but then lacks the depth and tactics which makes that playstyle interesting.

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#23 Posted by mems1224 (2480 posts) -

The camera sucks and it feels like I'm hitting everyone with a foam ax. Not sold on the combat yet.

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#24 Posted by SethMode (1877 posts) -

I get that perfect hard modes should be hard and not tedious, but that isn't always the case. I also get not being sold on the combat. But bump it down to normal if you're still playing on hard and hating it, not really seeing the problem there.

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#25 Posted by Oodli (243 posts) -

For real just bump the difficulty down one notch, it's perfect on the normal one.

I too tried the second highest one first and after 3 hours I took it down to normal. It seems that anything higher then that is more suited to second playthroughs or if normal feels too easy later on in the game.

Trust me, swallow any silly pride you have about this and do it, you'll be having a blast after that.

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#26 Posted by Ungodly (444 posts) -

I feel like I’m having the same experience with the combat Jeff Gerstman did. Wasn’t feeling it at first, but now I’m really enjoying it. The witches are the only thing I have trouble with now, but only when there’s more than one.

My biggest problem is in not using the shield. I’m playing this like a Souls game, and juking and jiving all around. So I’m not utilizing the counters, but still having fun. I should also say that I’m playing on normal.

Online
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#27 Edited by Justin258 (15548 posts) -

How far in are you guys? Dan said in his review that it took a little while for the combat to really start doing much for him, he seemed to have the same problem you guys are. But then it clicked and he wound up liking it, if I'm remembering his review correctly. Maybe it's just the first few hours that are kinda rough?

I saw my brother playing it earlier and it seems like a challenging game.

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#28 Posted by Heltom92 (843 posts) -

I'm also playing on the second highest difficulty as I heard the combat gets too easy later on and it is definitely tough, I'm enjoying the challenge though.

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#29 Posted by TobbRobb (6558 posts) -

I hated the combat for the first few hours. It seemed to play into my fears that I had going into it. But after a few upgrades it feels noticeably better. And once i started parrying instead of dodging for most attacks I found that more enjoyable too. The dodge just doesn't feel all that great, which is sad because that's usually what I live for in action games.

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#30 Posted by Humanity (18502 posts) -

@tobbrobb: Theres a talisman you can find which slows down enemies when you last second dodge that gives the combat a Bayonetta-lite vibe. The parry is way more useful though, especially after you upgrade it to deflect projectiles and you get a talisman that greatly increases the parry window.

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#31 Posted by TobbRobb (6558 posts) -

@humanity: Wow you can increase the window further? I already found it pretty easy to do. At least in comparison to Souls or DMC parrying.

Slow down sounds neat, but I feel like the hop is little unreliable and the roll creates too much distance for me. I think there's invinciblity on the hop? But it seems kind of tight and a lot of enemies track you if you don't do it really late, where I feel like the invincibility doesn't have time to trigger. Maybe I just don't understand where the window is.

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#32 Posted by Ares42 (4242 posts) -

So, I just got to a point in the game where the combat changes drastically, allowing you to be way more aggressive. At least against normal enemies, the one boss fight I've done after was still pretty much the same. But we're talking almost 10 hours into the game though, so I dunno....

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#33 Posted by Deathstriker (1083 posts) -

@ares42: Can you go into more detail with spoiler tags? I'm curious about which point you're talking about.

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#34 Posted by Ares42 (4242 posts) -

@deathstriker: You get a new weapon set which has much better "normals".

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#35 Posted by CptPanda29 (216 posts) -

Checking back in after (REDACTED FIRST REAL BOSS ENCOUNTER) and I enjoyed the hell out of that fight. Still on the same difficulty as before and there was a lot more back-and-forth between me and the enemy.

Then back to regular enemies and it's almost unbearable. I'm sick of this stupid axe already and when these monsters start throwing projectiles the camera is nowhere near equiped for this.

Combining it behing halfway up Kratos' arse at all time, only giving direction indicators when they're fully offscreen and the indicators*-to-action time being way longer than it should (especially with how slow moving the projectiles are).

I've died to projectiles exclusivley. The strategy is to drop everything and rush them before they can get one out. Sidestepping didn't work as they turn on a dime and you have to watch them like a hawk as you can't see them casting for the enemies in your face - again with no indicators as the camera is pointing that way.


From seeing how awesome this combat can be on a tightly made one on one encounter with a enemy with character it's really bumming me out going back to these boring grey zombies. How much of the hours spent on this game is going to be grinding these power ranger puttys until the next boss? At the very least the old GoWs would swarm you with guys and you'd carve through them with fluid combos. The new combat DOES WORK for the personal encounters but I'm dying a slow death waiting for the next one churning through the rest of the game.

*near pink purple indicators for range with red for melee are you f*cking serious?

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#36 Posted by Efesell (4263 posts) -

Anything that uses projectiles I just have the boy riddle with arrows, they typically don't have the health to withstand it and if they do they turn their attention to him until an axe lodges in their face.

The second class of enemies have been mixing in way more range and melee per encounter and those are the fights I've had the most fun with honestly.

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#37 Edited by Deathstriker (1083 posts) -

I've switched from hard to normal, which fixed most my problems with the combat, but the enemies that can one hit kill you is an awful experience. One hit kill enemies should be removed from the game or reserved for the highest difficulty. It makes me not want explore and do side missions since that's where they usually are. Now when I see a little portal and have the option to open it I just skip it. The fights should be hard, since they're supposed to drop good loot, but one hit kill enemies just feel cheap and the fights are boring since it's usually the same strategy over and over depending on the enemy type. I'm hoping for a patch to change this. Also, if Kratos' roll had more range it would help. He's too slow for these types of enemies.

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#38 Posted by Rydemption (69 posts) -

Im about 15 hours into the game and i have to say its one of the most versatile combat systems ive played in a while. While it takes time to open up options and give you some sick tools to work with its almost always something fresh and engaging.

Finding out ways to adapt is one of the cool things that the system lets you do, not just a single way to fight and the fluidity is enhanced when you are picking youre runes later on to fit your play style.

For me for example, I LOVE charge moves so the charged axe throw and executioner moves were on my priority list, ways to use these can be simple and land into advance maneuvers, executioners move can actually put you into an invulnerable state if it connects and it has saved me a bunch but overall its just friggen cool. Axe throwing is a good option for keepaways and there are even runes that buff you for headshots being stregnth or health over time if that suits you.

Tldr: this game gives you options if you arent feeling it one way try another, theres enough there for you to enjoy

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#39 Posted by RubberBabyBuggyBumpers (1002 posts) -

I've gotten gudder. I parry and counter-attack quite a bit, and it has saved my ass quite a number of times. Boy and his rapid firing electrical arrows have turned the tide of several close battles, too.

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#40 Posted by Ares42 (4242 posts) -

Finished the game and tried doing some of the combat challenges and stuff, and I can firmly say that no, I'm not a fan of the combat in this game. Even setting the difficulty to easy their challenging encounters still feels messy and the whole thing comes off as fitting a square peg into a round hole. There's just no coherence between how the moves and attacks you're given functions and how the encounters are designed. I mean, if you're gonna have rapid non-blockable attacks, then give me a dodge that is actually capable of avoiding them. Also, most of the rune powers are completely useless since the strongest opponents in the game will just ignore you and smash you in the face (or just dash out of it mid-combo) while you spend 5 seconds locked in an animation.

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#41 Posted by Efesell (4263 posts) -

I dunno, having now started practicing the stance swaps and extended combos I think it flows really well.

I do think the runic stuff is a bit of miss, since I've basically found one good one for each slot and never saw a reason to change to anything else.

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#42 Posted by mems1224 (2480 posts) -

After playing a bit more and finally being able to unlock more things I've started to enjoy this game more. The first few hours are awful and inexcusable. They hold way too much back and hold your hand way too much and drip feed you the game's features. You're not reinventing the wheel dudes, I can figure out how your basic rpg systems work and how to fucking slot a gem into an armor piece. Still don't like the camera but at least I feel like Im doing some damage to enemies now.

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#43 Edited by Alucitary (408 posts) -

A really important move that I never saw them actually tell me about in the tutorial is the perfect block/parry ability, and that completely changed the combat for me. I'm playing on the hardest difficulty and at the start it felt like the only option for me was throwing the axe from range, but the parry allows you to get in and feel fairly safe + allows you to do huge damage. For combat I get close to the mob and just pay attention to the enemies weapon and the enemy indicator arrows. If an arrow turns red I just roll, if the enemy attacks and all the arrows are white, I parry. If the arrows are still white after the parry I do the R2 charge attack. If there is a Revenant or archers I take those down first while dodging. All of the moves come out pretty much instantly, most importantly the shield, the key is getting the muscle memory down on executing what you want to as soon as you need it. Since there are so many moves that's kind of the most difficult part though.

I had to do the fight at the marketplace after you fall through the bridge about 50 times, but after that I breezed through all the combat. I just unlocked the unarmed leg sweep, and got the ability that lets Atreus attack downed enemies and It's getting even easier. You have to pay a lot more attention to combat overall, but as long as you know the tells, manage your positioning, and know how to execute the moves by muscle memory nothing is too demanding.

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#44 Edited by RubberBabyBuggyBumpers (1002 posts) -

Got served by one of the valkyries. It took a few tries to get the fight down. It was the one (Kara) where she summons 4 or 5 enemies during the battle, nonstop. It was some bullshit! I just went super aggressive on the sixth try and beat her. I fought another (Gunnr) and did the same thing. I didn't let up, parried, and reposte her attacks, and did the runic combos once they cooled down. Gunnr is sensitive to fire. She went down within 2 minutes. As for the other one on "fire mountain." That one is some serious bullshit.

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#45 Posted by baymax042 (4 posts) -

Combat is pretty good in my opinion. It is more tactical and slow. But I still wanted the combat that is similar to Bayonetta or DMC.

The new rpg mechanics are cool too but if the combat was similar to earlier God of wars it would be a goty for me.

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#46 Posted by TobbRobb (6558 posts) -

Combat just gets better as you along! I started out not liking it at all, it slowly turned into tolerance and now (many hours in) I actually quite enjoy it. It's a combination of how limited the moveset is initially and how quickly it expands, and the learning curve of playing with the awkward camera angle. Which, for the record, still isn't a good camera angle for a melee action game with crowds of enemies.

I also really love how they integrated the kid into combat. As the story goes along he becomes actively more useful which both plays into the mechanics being more engaging and powerful and his growth as a character. It's really well done.

The only instance where controlling the game actively pissed me off was a puzzle sequence where you have to hit 3 bells with your throwing axe in quick succession and it included two 180s, precisions aiming and awkward turning. Thankfully nothing similar has come up again. And I also have a minor nitpick where a lot of unblockable moves have insane tracking, it feels like a forced QTE almost where I HAVE to dodge it with a well timed roll. I get that they want you to mix up your defensive actions, but at least let me walk out of it if I know it's coming. Having good pre-emptive positioning is a core skill of action games that feels like it gets ignored by several enemies. And it just looks stupid that this big leaping attack just homes in on me mid air....

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#47 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3637 posts) -

@humanity said:

@nutter: it’s nothing like Hellblade - that games combat system was basically punchout. God of War is like a slightly slower paced character action game but instead of combo strings you’re mixing up special abilities on cooldowns.

The combat only begins to open up like 3 hours into it, after some latter story beats. The first “boss fight” that spurs you on your journey is nothing, like it’s still tutorial land at that point.

Punchout?

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#48 Posted by Humanity (18502 posts) -
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#49 Posted by ATastySlurpee (630 posts) -

@deathstriker: Learn to Use the d-pad down button... Trust me.

I love the combat. Thought it would be weird at first, but once I got used to it, it seems natural at this point.

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#50 Edited by Nasar7 (3223 posts) -

The combat is limited in the beginning which goes well with the "Kratos is old and out of practice" narrative the the bosses taunt him with. After you start investing in the skill tree and learn to use Atreus it really opens up and combined with the different armor sets allows for different playstyles. I also went down from hard to normal after the first encounter because it was a slog but maybe later in the game you could switch back if you want. Idk, the difficulty on normal seems perfect to me.

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