God of Skills
God of War's combat is fairly limited at first, but once you start acquiring more Skills, battles become more complex. Enemies only get tougher as the game goes on, so it helps that there are ways to defend yourself.
During the first five to six hours of your adventure, you don't earn a lot of XP. With so little to go around, you'll have to prioritize which combat skills to unlock. There's not a lot of wiggle room early on, so it's important to start thinking about which skills best suit your playstyle. But don't fret, you're not forced to unlock certain skills over others the whole way through; you'll eventually nab enough XP to unlock every ability on the skill tree. Until then, choose your skills wisely.
To help you get an idea over what skills are worth unlocking, we've gathered what we believe to be some of the best early on. But what skills do you like the most? Let us know in the comments below. For more guides, check out our progression system explainer and our feature detailing 11 tips you should know before starting. And be sure to read our God of War review.
Pride of the Frost
Pride of the Frost should be one of the first Skills you unlock on account of it allowing you to perform an area-of-effect finisher after the third attack from a standard Leviathan Axe combo. If you're ever attacking a single enemy, and then a couple of its friends suddenly enter the fray, try transitioning your combo into the Pride of the Frost for a powerful dose of crowd-control.
Block Break should be the next Skill you unlock. It's the go-to attack against shielded enemies, as it instantly renders them open to attack. You can also use it to stagger enemies; though, it won't damage them.
Executioner's Cleave is a bit slow on the windup, but it's a devastating heavy attack well worth unlocking early on. It inflicts high damage and is a good way to punctuate a combo--as long as you have an open window of opportunity to land it. But what makes the attack so satisfying to use is just how brutal it is; Kratos literally drives his axe into the unfortunate soul and rips straight through them. If an enemy is on the floor, stunned, or choked by Atreus, be sure to perform an Executioner's Cleave. You'll be glad you did.
Guardian Shield attacks are generally some of the most expensive at first--but they're well worth saving up for. A good first move to unlock is the Guardian Sweep, an attack that allows you to trip an enemy onto the floor. It can be a fantastic way to set up devastating combo finishers. For example, try linking a basic melee combo into a Guardian Sweep, and then call your Leviathan Axe to perform an Executioner's Cleave. Make sure to unlock Guardian Sweep sooner rather than later, as it's a great way to expand your options when using the Guardian Shield.
If you're a Dark Souls fan, chances are that Countering Strike will instantly appeal to you. A well-placed parry and punish against an enemy is always the most fulfilling feeling you can get in an action game. It takes time to master, but it's well worth the effort. And even if you're not that great at parry timing, you'll at least have access to the punishing shield bash you can inflict upon an enemy on the off-chance that you accidentally pull it off.
When enemies are keeping their distance from you, Whirling Storm is a handy attack that'll help you close the distance. Performed from a forward dodge, Whirling Storm is in no way a high-damage dealer, but it's a great way to start a combo due to its quick start-up time.
Guardian Justice is a great way to deal a ton of stun damage. Its wind-up speed isn't the quickest, but when you unlock its next-tier level skill, Guardian's Judgement, this move becomes the go-to finisher for any Guardian Shield combo. And if you're lucky, the attack can even launch enemies flying into nearby pits. Splendid.
Spartan Rage is an incredibly powerful tool that allows you wallop on enemies. However, it doesn't offer much in the way of crowd-control (at first, anyway). Raging Ultimatum is a great way to change that by offering you the ability to slam down a wave of energy with Kratos' strong attack.
Freezing Burst enhances the power Leviathan Axe, allowing you to charge up before throwing your trusty weapon. This skill comes highly recommended, as it not only increases the damage dealt but also inflicts frost damage.
Haymaker Crush is a fantastic melee skill that allows you to instantly close the distance on an enemy. It also inflicts a guaranteed knockback on small-to-medium sized enemies, providing you a window of opportunity for a follow-up combo.
Talon Bow Expert Combat: Teamwork, Acrobatics, and Ferocity
Teamwork, Acrobatics, and Ferocity are essential Skills to acquire for Atreus. They each allow him to assist you in different ways. For example, Ferocity gives Atreus the ability to inflict high stun damage attacks against incoming enemies, while Acrobatics allows him to combo off your launcher attack. Prioritize unlocking these skills, as they're not only useful, but cost relatively little XP.