God of War has been an incredible game to play. I consider it to be the game of the year, already. About a week ago I finished the story part of the game and even still long after that I’m still playing the game. I personally tend to more of a one and done type of gamer, very rarely do I go back into a game after I’ve beaten it.

God of War has been a little different for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been waiting for so long for this game and I feel as if I stop playing now then all I’ll have is memories of the best game of the year. I can’t let go. Who knows if we’re going to get any DLC or have to wait on a new game altogether. I’m getting my money’s worth. So, what have I been doing since I finished the first episode of the Norse god soap opera that is God of War? Retracing my steps.

That’s the replay value in GoW this time around, aside from the ridiculously hard mode aka Give me God of War mode that you can try if you dare, there are a plethora of side quests that you should probably do, if not to go platinum in the game but at least to power up Kratos to be the ultimate God of War. Here’s what I’ve been doing and I strongly suggest you do the same.

Valkyries

There are other things that you can do right away after finishing the story in God of War. There are challenges you can take on, but there’s nothing more likely to make you want to throw your controller against the world like battling the Valkyries. After you finish the story, it’s first thing the game tells you is available. They’re scattered across all 4 available realms and you need to have gotten the giant’s chisel to access them via the hidden mirrors found throughout the game. There are 8 Valkyries in all. Eir, Rota, Geiderful, Gunnr, Kara, Hildr, Olrun, Gondul and the bad ass queen herself Sigrun. Each of the Valkyries have a different fighting style and abilities. Each Valkyrie has an unblockable move and moves you can block and parry. Figuring this all out is the problem. There has not been a more frustrating experience in God of War then fighting the Valkyrie. The key to it? Patience. You’re going to lose a bunch of times but eventually you’ll catch up to their patterns. Make sure you have a resurrection stone (not a Beserker stone). Use Atreus to knock the Valkyries out the sky if you’re not good with throwing your axe (like me). Atreus is also useful with his crows or wolf summon, take advantage of it. Use your runic attacks from the beginning of the battle. You’ll need every edge you can get because the valkyries get harder. Sigrun the queen of the Valkyrie will use of the other 8 Valkyries to kill you. Be at least level 7 but preferably level 8 or 9 if you want to take this challenge on.

Find the remaining Normir chests

Throughout the story there are special chests that will give you special Idunn apples or special horns to increase your health and rage meter. If you didn’t find them before now is the time to go back and get the rest of them and max out both meters. The more of both meters that you have the more effective you’ll be overall. This isn’t new to God of War but you should definitely go back and do it.

Travel to the other realms

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While you can’t visit all of the realms because they’ve been sealed by Odin, the ones you can visit have a ton of secrets and goodies that remain to be uncovered. If you expect to get a Platinum trophy this is a must. Muspelheim and Niflheim are the two realms that need to be explored. Not just for reasons of loot and rare gear but for the two Valkyries that also exist there. Hildr is on Niflheim and Gondal is on Muspelheim. Neither of the two are easy fights but getting to Gondal is a challenge all on its on. You have to beat the 17 trials of Muspelheim just to have the “pleasure” of fighting her and it ain’t easy. Hildr forces you to fight her on the clock. If she doesn’t kill you then the mist of niflheim will. As with every other challenge, I can’t stress enough. Make sure you are at least high level 6 if you want to take on these challenges although it’s best to be level 7 or better.

Go back to the Lake of the Nine

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The Lake of the Nine is chock full of things to do. Now that the lake has actually lowered and you have more access to the towers and other beaches. Take advantage. The Towers have realm tears that if you were brave enough to open them know that there are badass enemies to fight (hopefully you’re stronger than them by now). The Towers themselves have to bit to complete a task. There are more hidden beaches that have normir chests and valuables that you weren’t otherwise able to get. You can now.

Starting over on the harder difficulty level

As reluctant as I am to do so, I’m actually going to start over and play GoW on the hardest level and see how long it takes for me to say “f–k this, I quit” I’m not a masochist. Frustration and I don’t do well but I also have a huge ego and for all that is pure in gaming I’m going to do this. Why not?

2 weeks (and some change) later, still playing

Just to reiterate, God of War as it stands right now is the game of the year and if you’re playing this game then I’m sure you have no disagreement. If you haven’t played this game, where have you been? God of War offers you so much not just in terms of constant action but with the number of things you can do during with game with side quests and after the game (Valkyries, Niflheim, etc). Two weeks and some change later, I still play and I’m not bored. Once I do get bored then I’ll have some questions.

The burning question I’ll have about GoW is what happens next? Are the realms of the Norse world we can’t access just going to lay closed or are we going to gradually get DLC that opens the new realms up. Will it be free? If they charge us, how much will it cost? Will we see Thor aside from the secret ending, Is Freya going to come to her senses or will she be a woman scorned and go out of her way to kill us, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Waiting another 5 years for a new GoW is not an option. We’ll have a whole other console by then. Hopefully, the good folks who create God of War will have some news for us soon. Until such time, do everything you can in the game now. Enjoy

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Mike Bitter is a born gadget head and true lover of technology. It all started with computer classes at age 10 and his first PC the Tandy 1000. From then on he found his love and he became a gamer and a PC builder and has not stopped since. He specializes in hardware, troubleshooting and custom PC building. He’s known as the “fixer” amongst his friends whenever there is a problem with a PC or a Mac. He’s also fully immersed in all things that pertain to the world of computers and gaming. He's an 80's baby and he grew up watching technology evolve from the NES to PS4 and from the Commodore 64 to the iMac. He has a unique and minimalist perspective on technology and is here to help the average person to understand technology today.