God of War is finally here, bringing the next chapter of Kratos’ story to life. If you’re diving into the game, then you’ll probably notice that combat works a bit differently this time around. Instead of the Chaos Blades, Kratos begins his journey with a new weapon, the Leviathan Axe. We’ll go over some basic information you need to know about God of War combat, as well as talk about some advanced things you’ll want to keep in mind when taking down enemies.

God of War Basic Combat Skills

When you first begin your journey in God of War, you’ll only have a few combat options to work with. Some of these skills are more important than others, and here are the skills you’ll want to be sure to grab early on. Keep in mind, you’ll want to unlock the other skills listed in the Skill trees, but these are some that we found extremely important in the early hours of the game.

Freezing Throw

This is the only ranged attack you’ll have available for the Leviathan Axe at the start of the game, but it remains an important part of your combat arsenal even at later times in the game. This move is perfect for stopping enemies in their tracks, or even stunning larger enemies like Trolls. You’ll also rely on this move to stun enemies like the Soul Eater and the Stone Ancients. Make sure you know how to defeat all the bosses in God of War for more information on those enemies.

Executioner’s Cleave

This close combat skill is exceptionally important to combat and will be very useful for dealing with more difficult enemies. It requires a small amount of time to charge up, but once you get used to the timing, it can help you take out more heavily armored enemies in a much shorter time. Make sure you grab it early on if you want to make dealing with tougher enemies a bit easier.

Block Break

Getting this skill early will save you a lot of headache. As you progress further into God of War and explore the different realms, you’re going to find yourself coming up against enemies with shields. The easiest way to deal with these enemies is to make use of the Block Break skill, which can be unlocked right from the start. Pick it up and then double tap L1 near enemies with shields to break their blocks, giving you that window to attack that you’ve been waiting for.

Teamwork

Atreus isn’t very good at combat when the journey first begins, but that doesn’t mean that the father son duo is at a disadvantage. Unlock the Teamwork skill early on to give you the ability to get help from Atreus in sticky situations. It’s a nice option to have and will make a difference as you deal with more difficult situations.

Acrobatics

During combat, Atreus can sometimes climb onto the backs of enemies and start choking them out. This distracts them, giving Kratos a chance to move in for the attack. If you unlock the Acrobatics skill, then Atreus will learn how to perform a combo move with Kratos when you hit or launch an enemy away. It’s a nice skill to have access to, so grab it when you can.

Ferocity

Stunning enemies can be an extremely valuable tactic, so grab this skill to make the most of the stun system. Once unlocked, Atreus will be able to perform a variety of high stun raising attacks on enemies that he is near to. It’s a nice skill that pays off in the long run, so grab it early and don’t miss out.

God of War Combat Tips

Now that we have touched on some of the most useful skills to grab early on, let’s talk about combat itself. Like previous God of War games, Kratos finds himself dealing with a variety of different enemies. Each enemy has a weakness, so make sure you’re checking your Bestiary to learn more about each enemy by visiting your Codex and looking at the information you have available.

Dodge, Block, and Counterattack

Defending yourself is an important part of combat in God of War and you’ll need to make use of all of the abilities that Kratos has at his disposal in order to survive the enemies that the nine realms are going to throw at you. Learning how to dodge, block, and even counterattack effectively will save your hide more often than not.

Each of these abilities has its different uses, and not every enemy will be affected by one, for example, blocking attacks from bigger enemies may cost you health, whereas dodging isn’t always an option. Learn when to use each ability and pay attention to the swings and movements that enemies make to determine what their next move will be. Many enemies have different tells, which you can use to strategize and figure out what their next attack will be. Make use of this information to prepare yourself, and then dodge or block to negate any damage.

On the other hand, counterattacking is also not something that should be written off easily. Many times, when enemies attack, and you block, you can often break their attack, giving you a nice window for an attack. During this time, make sure you’re counterattacking as quickly as possible—avoid heavy and slow attacks here—and you’ll find yourself witling down their health much quicker.

Build Up Rage

Spartan Rage is Kratos’ special ability and when activated the Greek god can attack enemies with deadly punches that build up stun damage and slowly heal him. It’s a very useful ability, and you’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to build it up during combat, as you never know when you’ll need it to save your bacon. There are a ton of different weapon and armor modifications that can be made to increase Kratos’ rage, all of which you can learn more about by viewing the items’ information in your inventory. There are also small stones that can be broken—like Healthstones—to unlock additional Rage for your Spartan Rage Meter, and you can also find items in the Nornir Chests that can increase the meter overall, giving you access to more Rage.

Stun Enemies

If you’re dealing with a lot of enemies, then hammering away at them with your axe isn’t always the best option—especially if you have some heavily armored enemies thrown into the mix. Instead, put up your Leviathan Axe—or toss it away at a far-off enemy and recall it when needed—and switch over to bare-handed mode. This mode allows Kratos’ to focus on kicks and punches, as well as shield bashes, all of which will build up the stun damage on an enemy. Once the stun meter below the enemy’s health bar becomes full, you’ll be able to run up and press R3, triggering a powerful attack. On smaller enemies this attack can kill them, however it will only kill heavily armored enemies who are already close to dead.

Stunning enemies can also be done by shooting arrows at them using Atreus bow, so make sure you’re throwing in a few pressed of Square while aiming at enemies. This will help you out in the long run, making it easier to defeat groups of heavily armored enemies.

Combat in God of War is always changing, though, so you’ll want to keep these things in mind while also taking into account any new enemies that you might meet. Kratos will fight many enemies as he explores the nine realms and strives to complete his journey. To learn more about the nine realms and Kratos’ journey, head over to our God of War walkthrough and guide.