11 essential God of War tips to know before you play

It's definitely not an overstatement to say that God of War is very, very good, and Kratos feels very much at home in his new Norse setting. However, it's worth pointing out that it's an absolutely huge game full of mechanics to learn, menu systems to unpick and upgrades to explore. Even if you've completed the story and are playing through the game again in New Game+ mode, it's possible there were some things you missed that could ease your progress. That's why it's worth having some God of War tips tucked inside your gauntlets before you get cracking (skulls). We’ve completed the main campaign, all of the side missions and eventually earned the Platinum, and these are the 11 God of War tips you should know before playing.

1. Smash everything and boost the Luck stat to earn more Hacksilver in God of War

Hacksilver is your main currency in God of War used for crafting, buying and upgrading your gear. You’ll find a lot in the game, in chests and other places around the world but you can also get some the old fashioned way: by smashing everything. Boxes, crates, vases and other things can be splintered to pieces and might spit out some money as a result. Also keep an eye out for hanging buckets you can knock down. You won't get a huge amount but it can make the different between affording new gear or an upgrade or not. You can even ram barrels and bodies when you’re in the boat for a payout. If you have a high Luck stat you'll also find more Hacksilver.  

2. How to make the best use of Atreus in combat

Kratos’ son Atreus is more than just a traveling buddy in God of War, he’s useful for combat and to find out more about the world around you. He mainly attacks with his bow and arrows when you tap Square, targeting whatever enemy is in the centre of the screen. Initially he doesn’t do that much damage but continue to upgrade his abilities and he’ll soon be able to stun and kill monsters. He can also choke enemies to weaken and stall them, and unleash a range of magic attacks so upgrade him as much as Kratos to make him a good fighter. 

3. Learn what Kratos’ stats do in God of War

There’s a bunch of different statistics in God of War governing Kratos’ abilities. Some are easy to understand, like Strength and Defence, which govern how much damage you can give and take physically. The rest can be a little confusing but basically if you want to use more magic then boost Runic and Cooldown which affects both the damage inflicted by magic, and how quickly you can use it. Vitality improves your health and reduces the stun effect of enemy attacks. While Luck increases the chance of activating a perk, as well as boosting the XP and Hacksilver you get. Whenever you do upgrade, make sure to check what the numbers are doing and if they're doing what you want them to do, and everything will come up Kratos.

4. Only upgrade the armour and gear you’re using in God of War

In God of War you’ll find two dwarves selling armour and upgrades. Every time you visit them you’ll find all the upgrades and their corresponding effects that you can have are shown. Now, be careful here because it’s easy to get carried away and spend money on what looks like an amazing stat boost, only to realise it’s not an item you’ve actually got equipped. Always double check for the big ‘E’ that shows something is equipped before you blow the cash on improving it.

5. Don’t ignore God of War's side missions if you want to level up faster

There’s nothing stopping you playing the game from start to finish following just the story. You’ll get all the things you need and pretty much see the whole game. However, if you branch out and do some side missions you’ll get more enchantments, upgrades and armour that will boost Kratos more. It's possible to end up with a quite powerful characters that's technically low level, but with high stats as a result. That in turn can help with some of the tougher side missions, monsters and post game things you can do. 

6. Sell all the collectibles in God of War, and your old armour

There are a lot of God of War collectibles and you don’t need any of them. Obviously you need to collect them as that’s kind of the point, but after that they're worthless and the game tells you so. Sell them for some decent money whenever you visit a shop. You can sell all your old gear as well, so once you've got more powerful stuff offload it. 

7. God of War’s Bestiary tells you how to defeat enemies

In the Codex option you’ll find a Bestiary where Atreus tracks all the creatures you meet, and by 'meet' I mean hack into friendlier pieces with the axe. Most importantly though, the more you encounter them the more information you’ll collect on weaknesses and ways to beat them. If you’re having trouble with a particular monster then have a quick read and see if there's a tactic you can make use of. 

8. God of War’s aiming cursor changes to tell you what you can hit with the axe

If you’re not sure what to do next, or how to solve a puzzle look around while aiming with the the axe. The cursor will change whenever it passes over anything you can either break with the axe, or stick it in. Somethings are obvious, like the links holding bridges and other things up, but somethings aren't and it doesn't hurt to check. It’ll also go red when you pass it over any frozen Draugr you might encounter meaning they’re not quite as frozen as they look. 

9. Change your Runic attacks in God of War if you’re having trouble defeating an enemy

God of War’s Runic Attacks are basically Kratos’ magic, unleashing powerful blasts of energy or throwing the axe in devastating ways. It’s easy to find your favourites and stick with them, but if you’re struggling with an enemy type or boss then have a look at your options. Things with splash damage are good when there’s a lot of things to kill, while options with range are best for stuff you don’t want to get too close to. And, if you boost your Cooldown stat, you’ll be able to use them more quickly. Just remember to change attacks before a fight as you can’t swap them out while they’re cooling down. 

10. Don’t be afraid to leave a puzzle, obstacle or monster in God of War and come back later if you’re stuck

Because God of War is more or less an open world game, it’s possible to find places you’re not really equipped for yet. That might be a puzzle or obstacle you can’t get past, or just higher level enemies that tear you to pieces without giving you a chance. If that happens just move on and remember to come back later when you’ve found what you need or just levelled up some more. 

And also, don't fret if you've missed any collectibles, whether that's the God of War Eyes of Odin or one of the 12 God of War Jotnar Shrines, because you'll be able to come back and collect them later.

11. God of War lets you save whenever you want

It’s not immediately obvious but you can save God of War whenever you want, not just when it autosaves. Just open up the menu with the option button or touchpad and tap Triangle for the in-game options. Here you’ll see the ability to save and load at will. You’ll also find your last 10 autosaves, handy if there’s anything you might want to redo or revisit.