God of War (2018), without a shadow of a doubt, is a phenomenal video game. Developer Santa Monica Studios' new take on the series, putting the Ghost of Sparta, Kratos, in the land of Norse mythology, was a genius move. The game is universally praised for its stellar narrative, beautiful world, and robust combat mechanics. However, one common criticism the game received was regarding its boss battles.
The God of War series is mainly known for its bombastic action setpieces and spectacular boss battles. Seeing Kratos going up against the titanic Chronos or the almighty Zeus made for an epic showdown that left a lasting impression on players.
However, the new God of War has substantially scaled down the size and scope of its boss battles, giving players only a handful of unique bosses in the game. Despite that, the signature spectacle of the boss battles that fans have come to expect from a God of War game is kept intact with the new title.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author's opinions. There are also mild spoilers for God of War (2018).
God of War is memorable for these epic boss battles
5) Mattugr Helson (The Helheim Bridge Keeper Troll)
The biggest gripe players had with the new God of War title was its frequent recycling of bosses in side quests and even some of the main story quests. One of these repeated boss battles was against the Trolls.
These giant and tanky creatures are really fun to fight but don't offer much in terms of attack variations or combos, which is an issue given how much these enemies are repeated throughout the game.
However, one of the Trolls stands out for its unique attacks and narrative significance. Mattur Helson, also known as the Bridge Keeper of Helheim, is one of the most memorable Troll bosses in the game.
While most of the variants of this enemy only use physical attacks using the huge totem they carry, Mattur Helson uses teleportation mixed with a barrage of physical attacks to keep players on their toes.
The boss can also summon a horde of Hel-Walkers during the battle, which can easily overwhelm players if they are not careful. This is also one of the most memorable encounters in the game because it is the only boss fight (besides the Baldur fight at the start) where Kratos is alone and has to dig up his past to fight against the forces of Helheim.
The God of War series is stranger to huge, over-the-top boss battles. The series is essentially known for putting Kratos against behemoths like Chronos, who is a mountain compared to Kratos.
Naturally, players were expecting an encounter of a similar scale in the new title, and the game delivered on their expectations by letting players fight a literal Dragon.
Hraezlyr had a total surprise encounter during the first half of the game. Just as Kratos and Atreus relaxed as they got close to their destination, this enormous dragon came crashing down, halting their progress.
The cinematic presentation of the fight reeks of the old God of War, where Kratos tries everything from jumping on the dragon to cleaving the insides of its mouth to kill the gigantic beast. Hraezlyr can spew lightning from its mouth, which players can counter by throwing World Tree sap crystals toward the dragon.
After getting the massive health pool of the beast down to its last leg, the fight transitions into another cinematic setpiece where Kratos ultimately kills Hraelyr by impaling it on a large spike of crystallized World Tree sap, which explodes and destroys a large portion of the beast's neck.
3) Magni and Modi
Thor's sons Magni and Modi were a formidable duo that made for an entertaining boss fight in God of War. The battle starts with Magni landing on the battlefield while killing an Ogre and tossing it out of the arena with his bare hands, while Modi hurls his taunting words at Atreus to mentally breakdown the boy.
The fight's true challenge is balancing the two boss characters with their different attack patterns and vulnerability windows. The brothers also use a blinding attack where players need to defend themselves from their oncoming attacks that might come in any direction, this adds a bit of variety to the fight.
The battle against Thor's sons isn't a difficult one, but it sure is memorable, in part due to the uniqueness of the "duo boss battle" and also the amazing voice acting by Troy Baker and Nolan North, who voiced Magni and Modi respectively.
It is no surprise that Baldur's boss battle is among some of the best battles in the entire God of War series. Baldur is essentially the catalyst for our heroes' journey, forcing Kratos to take Atreus with him to the highest peak of all realms, despite the boy not being ready to undertake such a perilous journey.
Baldur serves as the game's final main story boss, which sees players fight the Norse God as he switches between two elemental states on the fly, requiring players to switch between the Leviathan Axe and the Blades of Chaos continuously throughout the battle.
The final battle is a cinematic spectacle, with Kratos and Atreus working together as a team to take down the seemingly invincible Baldur. However, the most memorable encounter with Baldur has to be the one at the start of the game.
Baldur's visit to Kratos at his home and their initial confrontation is a peak example of subverting expectations. Players have seen Kratos go up against the entirety of the Greek pantheon of Gods and besting them, but a scrawny-looking bearded man who sends the Ghost of Sparta flying through the roof of his house with an uppercut is something players never expected to see in the new game.
1) Sigrun, Queen of the Valkyries
The new God of War game follows a semi-open-world-like structure where players are free to explore various regions and even different realms at their own pace, even after completing the main story. The game also features end-game quests and activities à la traditional RPGs.
One such activity is hunting down the nine Valkyries scattered throughout the realms, imprisoned in their physical form in Odin's hidden chambers. These Valkyries are the most challenging combat encounters in the game, requiring dexterity, patience and skill to defeat them.
Players need to hunt down eight Valkyries and take their helms to the Council of the Valkyries, where the ultimate challenge awaits, Sigrun, Queen of the Valkyries.
Sigrun is the amalgamation of all eight Valkyries and can use all their unique abilities at her own will. Those previous Valkyrie fights were just a warm-up round for the real battle. Players need to learn the attack patterns and counters to all the attacks Sigrun does to defeat her.
Sigrun gives even the toughest Dark Souls bosses a run for their money, even in the normal difficulty setting, but once players learn her moveset and time their attacks and dodges accordingly, the Valkyrie Queen becomes one of the most exhilarating bosses to fight in any video game, period.
With God of War laying the foundation for a truly epic sequel, fans will wait patiently for what Santa Monica Studios has in store with the upcoming God of War Ragnarok, which releases on November 9, 2022, for PlayStation 4 and 5.