10 Beginner’s Tips For God Of War

by Joe Juba on Apr 20, 2018 at 10:55 AM

After the long wait since its original E3 reveal in 2016, the new God of War has finally released. That means plenty of gamers are just diving into this new world and learning how Sony’s Santa Monica studio has reinvented the series (read our review). We certainly don’t want to spoil any of the surprises, but we do have a handful of tips that will make it easier for you to focus on what’s important without sweating the small stuff.

Exploring can always wait
Unlike previous games in the series, this God of War has a large, open area full of optional content. That means you can choose to pursue the story missions, or paddle off to various islands and cliffs in search of quests and loot. If you’re in the mood, you should definitely explore, because you will find plenty of great stuff. However, you should never feel obligated to do so; you won’t miss any major opportunities if you neglect the side content for a while and focus on the main story. It’ll be there waiting when you’re ready.

Sell artifacts
Most areas have an artifact set, which is just a collection of specific items, like masks or toys, that you find lying around (sometimes in out-of-the-way places). You should always sell these. They can fetch a decent amount of hacksilver (God of War’s primary currency), and they serve no other function. Plus, you don’t need to wait until you have the full set; once you find an artifact, it’s registered to your collection for good, so you can sell it without losing anything.

In fact, sell anything you want
Because you can buy back any equipment you sell (for the same price you received when you sold it), there’s no reason to carry around stuff that don’t think you’ll use. Did you find some armor that is inferior to what you’re wearing, or favors stats that don’t suit your playstyle? Sell it! You probably won’t miss it, and if you do, getting it back just involves a trip to the shop.

Go ahead and spend those materials
Do you have a bunch of Svartalfheim steel, but aren’t sure if you should use it or save it? Use it. Different tiers of equipment usually require different components, so stockpiling a bunch of early game resources won’t help you upgrade late-game gear. The general rule is: If you like a piece of equipment and you have enough materials to upgrade it, go for it.

You can probably open that rune chest
Some games train players to think that anything that seems inaccessible at first will probably be reachable later once new abilities are unlocked. While that’s true of certain things in God of War, it does not apply to the chests that are locked by three runes. These puzzle-like scenarios usually involve searching an area for three runes attached to bells or stones, then activating them to open the chest and claim the reward. Some of these are tricky, but in almost every case, you have the tools you need to do it as soon as you come across the chest. In my playthrough, I only encountered one rune-locked chest that was not possible to open when I first found it (in the area in front of the Witch of the Woods’ house, if you’re curious).

Invest in Atreus
Kratos is awesome, and your first instinct is probably to unlock all of his different moves as soon as possible. That is understandable, but consider this: Many of the abilities you buy for Kratos are intended for specific situations, like when he is sprinting or has just parried an attack. However, Atreus is useful in practically every situation, since the ability to deal damage and stun foes is always handy. You don’t need to make Atreus your top priority, but his general utility makes him more valuable than several of your more context-dependent options.

Don’t forget to upgrade attack runes
You can purchase and improve techniques for Kratos and Atreus by spending experience in skill trees. That’s nothing new, but with all of those skill trees gathered in one place, it can be easy to forget about the other way you can spend experience: upgrading attack runes. Located in a separate part of the menu, you can pour experience into your light and heavy runes to increase damage, add new effects, and more. The wide variety of runic attacks means they can have a big impact on combat, so invest in the ones that look fun and interesting to you.

Go ahead and use resurrection stones
With a special item, Atreus can eventually revive Kratos when he falls in battle. This is obviously useful during major encounters, but you don’t need to save these stones for rare circumstances. They are trivially cheap (especially the base-level option), so feel free to use them anytime you die. The worst that can happen is you need to restock the next time you’re at the shop.

Do the dwarves’ favors
The world has a few different NPCs, and some of them give you tasks. While they are all worthwhile and pay off in different ways, you should prioritize the requests from the dwarves Brok and Sindri. Not only do these quests feel the most deliberately crafted, but the reward for seeing all of their threads through is definitely worth the trouble.

You can always change the difficulty
Unless you start on the hardest setting (which is locked in and can’t be changed), you can freely switch among the difficulty modes with no consequences. You can bump it up if you want to push yourself to explore the versatility of the combat system. On the other hand, you can bump it down to render some of the post-game challenges trivial. Be careful with that last one, though; even if the game doesn’t punish you, your sense of accomplishment will probably take a hit.

If you want to know more about our experience with God of War, read these spoiler-free answers to fans’ burning questions, or watch us play the game's first two hours.