There has been a lot of discussion of all of the new things added to the God of War. However, many people seem to forget that combat is still the main part of the game. God of War has always been a very difficult game to play and this God of War Combat Guide is essential to your survival in its newest iteration.
Our God of War Combat Guide will tell you all about the combat mechanics and give you various different tips and tricks to help you kill anything that stands in your way.
God of War Combat
- Combat Controls
- Combat as Kratos
- Kratos Attacks and Combos
- Melee and Ranged Combat
- Combat as Atreus
- Combat Tips
God of War 4 does not have the camera angles that are so familiar with the series. Rather it uses a moving camera just behind the shoulder of Kratos and it helps you have diversity in how you can fight.
First of all, you need to know your character’s weapons and abilities. Combat is by no means the way it was where you had to mash random buttons and hope for a combo. It is much more methodical and strategic now.
|Equip Leviathan Axe||Right on D-pad|
|Equip Blades of Chaos||Left on D-pad|
|Switch to unarmed attack||Right on D-pad while Axe is equipped, or left on D-Pad while Blades are equipped|
|Quick Turn||Down on D-Pad|
|Change Atreus’ arrows||Up on D-Pad|
|Aim Leviathan Axe||L2|
|Throw Leviathan Axe||R1 while aiming|
|Call back Leviathan Axe||Triangle|
|Rolling dodge||Double-tap X|
|Spartan Rage||L3 and R3|
Kratos can perform a number of moves to help him in combat depending on the situation he is in. He has two weapons Leviathan Axe and Blades of Chaos, which can be upgraded to increase their power and unlock additional moves and attacks for them.
Below you will find some important combat mechanics to keep in mind while you are playing as Kratos.
Quick Dodge and Dodge Roll
During combat, if you want to get out of harm’s way, simply press X button and you will sidestep in any direction that you aimed for using the left joystick.
This can be performed even while attacking as dodge-roll and quick dodge are most important moves in any combat. In addition, while the animation is in progress, Kratos cannot be damaged thus giving him an invincibility window.
To perform a dodge roll, double tap X and give any direction with the left joystick to dodge roll in that direction. This allows you to create some distance between yourself and your enemy.
However, during the dodge roll, Kratos can be hit and it does not give him an invincibility window. The time it takes to recover from a dodge roll is also greater when compared with the time it takes to recover from a quick dodge.
You can also lock on a target using the R3 button. This saves you from centering the camera at the enemy again and again. If you want to quickly change your locked on target, use the right joystick.
While blocking, you must take the attack type into consideration. Certain types of attacks will make you stagger while breaking through your block while some attacks will not only break through your attacks but will also damage you.
When an enemy is about to attack, if the attack is flashing yellow, the attack will break through your defense and stagger you.
However, if you block it instantly, just as you see the flash, you can, not only block the attack but all consequently stun the enemy for a short moment allowing you to strike a deadly blow or even a combo.
If the attack flashes red, the attack will not only break through your defense but will also damage you. It is always best to roll away or sidestep these attacks that cannot be dodged. It is up to you to decide how you want to approach these attacks and ward them off without being damaged.
Use Environments in Combat
Your environment and surrounding play a vital role in the combat situations. They also provide you the best opportunities to take down the enemies easily. You can stun enemies using walls or push them off cliffs.
You can also use explosives lying around for an explosive finish. Your Axe will come handy in locations where enemies are standing near cliffs and pits. You can throw your axe at them to make them fall down to their deaths.
You can also pin your enemies on walls using your axe. The heavy axe throw attack will pin any enemy standing near a wall to it and Atreus can follow up with some arrow attacks to keep them pinned until you move in to finish them.
These special combat techniques will help you keep dealing maximum damage to your enemies.
This is a deadly move that acts as a finisher blow. This attack is slow and takes time to land so we recommend that you use it on enemies that are slow and their numbers have thinned down ideally to the last one.
You can also stun enemies before landing it or have Atreus hold them down in place for the best results. If you want to use this attack during combat, it is a serious damage dealer.
The Leviathan Axe can freeze enemies with special attacks or by increasing the frost meter to the maximum. Attack these frozen enemies to shatter them.
Only enemies that can be frozen are eligible to be shattered. Some enemies that are immune to frost cannot be shattered. You can also push these frozen enemies off the cliffs and ledges to instantly kill them as well.
Kratos builds momentum by landing successful attacks in quick succession on enemies. If an enemy manages to hit Kratos, the momentum is lost and Kratos must start from the beginning once again.
Increasing the momentum means you can deal more special attacks on enemies such as the Frost or Burn attacks.
The regular damage done to enemies is also increased by a certain percent. You should try to keep your momentum going for as long as possible for maximum combat effectiveness and damage.
Higher momentum means higher damage. A single hit can break all your momentum so be careful.
Spartan Rage returns in God of War, which is similar to rage modes of previous titles. To activate it, you must first fill the orange meter on the screen. Press L3+R3 to activate it and unleash a damage hell for your enemies.
During this mode, you will deal extra damage and also get access to some more power moves. Kratos also cannot be damaged during this mode.
Most of these attacks are unlocked as you progress through the game. You do not have to wait for the bar to be completely empty to turn the rage mode off. At any time, you can press L3+R3 again to turn Spartan Rage off.
You can fill the rage meter by dealing damage to enemies, collecting orange runes or taking damage as well.
The following are some simple tricks Kratos has up his sleeve which allow you to enjoy a variety of combos and execute special moves that add on to your gaming experience. He fights at both close and long range.
You can use your melee weapon to deal both light or heavy strikes and form combos with it. It will also charge your weapon to deal elemental damage. You also have the chance to launch your enemies into the air and deal additional damage to them.
Just look out for the pop-ups during a fight and hit the button they say instantly, or if it is vibrating then you need to press that button rapidly until Kratos executes a move.
You also have the option to drop your weapon and use your fists that will stun the enemy. You can then call back your weapon do deal easy damage.
You should be able to see the Stun Meter right below an enemy’s HP bar, and know when to move in, and when to be ready for dodging. The quicker you build the stun meter, the faster you can defeat the enemy.
The good thing is, the fastest way of building the Stun Meter and stunning an enemy is by using fists and ordering Atreus to fire arrows.
You also have the option to drop your weapon and use your fists that will stun the enemy. You can then call back your weapon do deal easy damage. You should be able to see the Stun Meter right below an enemy’s HP bar.
Easily, the fastest way of building the Stun Meter and stunning an enemy is by using fists and ordering Atreus to fire arrows.
The axe that Kratos has can be used both in close and ranged combat. You can charge and throw the axe at the enemy and if aimed rightly, you can land a headshot. And the good things is that this attack deals an equal damage as the melee attack.
Therefore, you can use this against enemies that do not allow a hand to hand combat, keeping a safe distance.
Additionally, you can even trip your enemies if you aim for their legs. It is a useful move that allows a window of opportunity to attack decisively and also a fun hobby while roaming around fighting the skeletons.
Atreus ‘The Boy’
Atreus will always fire arrows in the direction you are facing; however, you can target an enemy by pressing R3 and command Atreus to focus-fire that particular enemy using the ‘Square’ button.
It is important to note that Atreus does not have an unlimited supply of arrows. During the start of the game, he will only fire three arrows before automatically replenishing them. Once an enemy is stunned for a brief duration, walk up to it, and press R3 to execute it.
In this journey, Kratos’s son Atreus will be a vital ally. He has a powerful Talon Bow that he can use to shoot arrows at your enemies. He also has a multitude of different arrow types that help in clearing different types of blockades and lighting up dark areas.
Apart from dealing damage to enemies, Atreus’s arrows can also stun lesser enemies making them easy to finish off.
Try to use Atreus to isolate enemies. Atreus works really well as a distractor and is quintessential to killing certain enemies. Atreus’ arrows can be aimed through the ‘Square’ button but it has a small cooldown during which you will not be able to use it.
Learn to time his arrows perfectly so that you can take out waves of enemies with ease.
Atreus has a number of different combat and defensive moves that he can perform if certain criteria are met in combat. You can find a complete list of Atreus combat and defense moves below.
Atreus Combat Moves
These moves deal damage to enemies and are attacks that help Kratos defeat enemies. You can find the list below:
- Grapple – Atreus gets behind a staggered enemy and mounts it. He can jump off it and fire an arrow in its head dealing a lot of damage as well. He can also perform a ground pound in this situation if Kratos launches it in the air by kicking it down. He can also aid in pushing enemies around such as in pits.
- Bow Sweep – Block or Par an enemy near Atreus to have him run over and sweep the enemy off its feet using his bow. This will cause a slight stun effect as well on the enemy.
- Overhead Smash – Trip an enemy near Atreus and he will run over to the enemy to perform a follow-up overhead smash dealing a slight stun effect on the enemy as well.
- Shoulder Charge – If an enemy attack that is not in player’s view, Atreus will run into him with a shoulder charge or at least intercept the enemy.
- Bow Launcher – If Kratos knocks an enemy in Atreus direction, Atreus will launch him into the air allowing Kratos to continue the combo.
- Wall-Stun Follow-up – Wall stun an enemy near Atreus and he will keep him stunned using his arrows.
- Ogre Grapple – Letting Atreus behind an ogre makes him climb it and make it angry which makes the Ogre smash the nearby ground and enemies.
These moves are intended for Atreus own defense against enemies. Kratos can also add up to these moves to spice them up. You can check out the moves below:
- Quick Evade – Atreus performs a quick dodge and fires an arrow at the same time.
- Dropkick – Atreus can intercept an attack with a dropkick that can stun and stagger the enemy allowing Kratos to finish the enemy off.
- Bow Melee and Arrow Juggle – Enemies close to Atreus can be hit away with a melee combo, which not only deal damage but can also stun them.
Remember to prioritize flying enemies as they can easily interrupt your attacks. The enemies on the ground will not be as much as a threat so it is a good strategy to create space between you and enemies on the ground as you take out your foes in the air first.
Try to use the Runic Attacks and the Enchantments to the best of your knowledge. They can help you define your playstyle and are essential at later stages of the game when the enemies are really tough to beat. It is best to check out our God of War Enchantment and Runes Guide for further help with them.
Remember that Atreus, the son of Kratos, will also help you in your battles.
He will fight on his own most of the time to deal small amounts of damage or to cause a distraction, but you will be able to command him to prioritize certain targets later on in the game. He might also end up stunning enemies which leave them massively vulnerable to your attacks.
You need to manage your space. Remember to try to isolate the enemies rather than facing them all at once. They will overwhelm and kill you if you do that. You can dodge or roll by pressing or double-tapping the ‘X’ button.
The dodge button will allow you to avoid damage and counter enemies whereas the roll is perfect for retreating and creating space between you and your enemies.
If you are able to use the shield at the right time, you will be able to parry enemy attacks. Beware though, as certain attacks will still penetrate your defenses.
As you progress through the game, you will be able to get certain skills of your own that will break through the enemy defenses and deal damage to them – no matter what they try to do.
Enemy Resistance Types
Since elemental attacks and weapons are now a thing, different enemies also come with special elemental resistances that render certain attacks useless against them. To reduce an enemy’s resistance, Atreus can grapple with them.
Some of the skills have the ability to break through this resistance. These include finishing attacks and some purchased skill attacks.
For more details on different types of enemies, be sure to check out our Enemies Guide as well as Optional Bosses Guide and Bosses Guide in which we have covered both the Main Bosses and Minibosses in great detail.
You can use different tactics to reduce enemy resistances such as Frost and Weaken debuffs. Sometimes you will earn Gifts of Strength in some perks which increase the impact of Kratos’s attacks which make it easy to break through enemy resistance.
You can also use Permafrost and Immolation to increase impact temporarily.
Using Enemy Debuffs
There are four different types of enemy debuffs that you can exploit to deal some extra damage to your enemies. Two of these debuffs can be performed by Kratos while remaining two are performed by Atreus. You can find their details below.
The Leviathan Axe can perform Frost debuff on the enemies with its attacks. With each attack, the frost meter builds and if you manage to completely fill it with repeated axe frost attacks, the enemies are frozen to the ground.
They are unable to move in this condition allowing you to deal some serious damage to them.
Some special attacks and runic attacks can freeze enemies with a single attack. If the enemy is completely frozen, you can shatter them by attacking with some heavy attacks. Keep in mind that some enemies are immune to frost and they will not be frozen such as Hel-Walkers.
Burn is the debuff caused by the Blades of Chaos. As you attack with them, the burn meter will start increasing. If it reaches the maximum, the enemies will be set on fire and they will get damaged overtime unless the fire is put out by some method.
This fire also interrupts their attacks rendering them unable to land combo attacks. However, just like Frost, some enemies are immune to burn such as Draugr.
Weaken can be cast on enemies by firing Light Arrows from Atreus Talon Bow. This will cause them to become weak and unable to resist much to attacks.
They will receive increased damage and will be much easier to deal additional effects such as stagger, stun or launched in the air. You can upgrade Light Arrows to further increase Weaken’s effectiveness.
Similarly, Shock Arrows fired from Atreus’s Talon Bow causes shock to enemies. If shock meter is filled, enemies will be frozen in place and arc out lightning damage to nearby enemies.
Smaller enemies are also stunned in the air if they are hit with a shock arrow in the air allowing you to move in for the final blow. Upgrade these at shops to increase their combat effectiveness.
Enemy Vulnerable States
Sometimes enemies will enter special vulnerable states that will allow you to deal some extra damage without the worry of them attacking back. They will receive extra damage during these states. However, these states only work on smaller enemies. You can find out their details below.
Keep attacking an enemy to build up the stun meter and then once the meter is full, go near them and press R3 to interact with them in this state for some damage dealing.
A light throw attack using your axe can send an enemy spinning if it lands on its head. This will cause them to spin around and expose their back to you, ready for some damage dealing.
Aim at your enemy’s leg and throw your axe to trip them and make them vulnerable for some attacks. This works very well against enemies carrying shields.
Stagger an enemy into a wall to wall-stun them. Each attack then deals double damage and keeps them stunned. Best to be followed by Atreus with some arrow attacks.
Deal a heavy attack and if it causes the enemy to fly back into a wall it will be a wall bounce dealing them extra damage and filling the stun meter by 85 %. This can be easily performed by the heavy attack of Axe, basic hand combos, and some light shield parry attacks.
Ground Bounce and Off the Ground
You can make an enemy bounce back in the air that is airborne by attacking them in the air or you can lift them off the ground with some Blades of Chaos attacks as well. The enemies will be vulnerable during both these stages.
Now that you know all that; before you dive in, to swinging axes and throwing blades, you need to know some basic tips to help you keep safe. The following are some basic tips:
- Be sure to know your environment and always proceed with caution and be sure not to run into hordes of enemies. Collectively, they will overcome you and you will end up dead.
- Use your axe frequently. In-game, you will encounter several enemies that use splash damage at close range and it is hard to avoid during the fight. The axe comes in handy here, you can aim and throw it, and the good thing is that it keeps coming back, being retractable.
- Atreus is a good lad. Atreus is the son of Kratos, who will accompany you throughout the game. He shoots arrows at your command and helps you in combat. Make sure to keep making use of his abilities.
- Know your enemies. You will encounter enemies with different abilities and fighting tactics, that you need to be well aware of, in order to tackle them. Revenant, for instance, will remain invisible for the most of the time.
- Here, you need to make use of Atreus’s arrows which will make it vulnerable for a short while.
- Avoid damage as much as you can. Kratos has an ability to quickly retreat and avoid damage. It is an easy trick though it comes a lot in handy.
- Manage the crowd and your space. During combat, take out the minions first, although they deal minimal damage, it can pile up to your ultimate demise. Also, know the space you can move in while in combat. Keep moving and attacking on small windows.
- Use resurrection stones. Be sure to keep at least one on hand all the time. They essentially give you an extra life and will make sure you survive each time Kratos falls.