While there are many different elements to the new God of War game, you’ll be spending most of your time battling Norse nasties with Kratos’ ever-reliable frost axe. Before you get stuck in with Sony Santa Monica’s latest and greatest, as part of our God of War guide, we figured we’d compile some combat suggestions to help the beginners among you get started on the front foot.

God of War: Combat for Beginners

On this page, we'll be sharing some combat suggestions for beginners.

Don’t Rush

Regardless of what difficulty you play God of War on, you’re going to want to approach each combat encounter with a degree of caution. Pay attention to your surroundings, make note of which directions enemies are coming from, and put your own safety first. While this game generally isn’t as punishing as, say, Bloodborne, many of the same principles apply. It’s all about managing crowds, so don’t go rushing into a horde and get yourself overwhelmed. Use your dodges and rolls (assigned to the X button) to create space, and throw your axe if you want to chip away at an enemy’s health from a safe distance.

Throw Your Axe

As mentioned above, throwing your axe can be a great way of causing damage while maintaining a safe distance from your foes. Remember that you can also use it to freeze some enemies in place, allowing you to use your fists on another antagonist. Try to pay attention to where all of the enemies are and effectively manage the space. Later upgrades in the axe skill tree enable you to lock on to multiple adversaries and body parts, meaning that you can throw your axe and incapacitate groups of enemies for several seconds, giving you precious time to collect resources or deal with other threats.

Know Thy Enemy

God of War has a massive codex that includes lore and strategies for every enemy in the game. Some foes require unique tactics – Revenants, for example, will largely remain invisible unless hit by one of Atreus’ arrows – so make sure you know how to fight each and every opponent. As the game starts to mix and match these foes, you’re going to have to come up with strategies on the fly. It’s best to take out weaker, flying enemies first for example, as they can interrupt your attacks on the ground and break your stride. Also, consider that you can mount some of the larger troll enemies once you’ve stunned them enough, allowing you to wreak havoc on the rest of the grunts on the battlefield.

Atreus Is Your Friend

While the game may be all about Atreus learning how to become a man, the youngster is actually an essential part of combat. Not only are his arrows required to defeat some enemies, but he’s also superb at helping you to manage space by distracting enemies and incapacitating them. Keep in mind that Atreus’ arrows inflict stun damage, and once an adversary is shaken, you can sprint in for a finisher using the R3 button. Make sure you’re frequently upgrading the Talon Bow and purchasing skills for Atreus, because you want him to be able to reload as quickly as possible, otherwise you will struggle in later fights. Get used to relying on him; you can’t do this all on your own.

Get Out of the Way

God of War has a quick-turn button mapped by default to down on the d-pad. While this sounds like a small thing, it’s actually essential given the game’s camera perspective, as it means you can quickly retreat. Again, it’s all about crowd management and using space effectively. If you’re surrounded – there’s an indicator that will point out any incoming threats around Kratos' waist – then quick turn out of the way and put some distance between you and your foes. Getting overwhelmed is the easiest path to a premature death.

Always Have a Resurrection Stone on Hand

Early on in the game, you’ll be able to purchase Resurrection Stones from the various shops in the game. Make sure you’ve always got one of these on-hand, as it means that Atreus will be able to revive you should you fall in combat. It essentially gives you an extra life, and while the cheap Resurrection Stones only revive you with a minuscule amount of vitality, they’re still super useful if you want to avoid having to restart at the nearest checkpoint.

Pay Attention to Kratos’ stats

Early on in the game, Kratos’ gear won’t really have much of an impact on the kind of character that you’re creating, but as you progress you’ll unlock armour that recovers health and adds other essential perks to your attack arsenal. Our advice would be to just pay attention to the type of gear you’re using, and take note of what it’s actually doing. In some instances, you may want to spec towards strength, but other scenarios may demand a more defensive approach. There are options available for all eventualities, so spend a bit of time looking at how your stats are distributed and what you need to do to achieve your objectives. You can learn more about what Kratos' stats mean through the link.

Do you have any other God of War combat tips and tricks to share? Are you a total novice when it comes to character action games, or have you beaten Devil May Cry on Dante Must Die difficulty? Throw your axe in the comments section below, and check out our God of War guide.