"What is this?" asks Kratos, God of War's gruff hero, as a giant eye filled with fiery veins rises up out of the water, blinks open and stares at him.

Kratos could have mistaken it for yet another foe, because, up until that point, God of War has asked you to take out all kinds of them. He's been attacked by skeleton zombies, lumbering trolls, and Baldur, a fickle Norse warrior full of one-liners.

But Kratos has lost his trusty axe. He threw it into the sea. He can't fight something that size without it. Instead, he turns to his son, Atreus, and asks what it is. "It's the World Serpent," he chirps. "He's friendly."

As the serpent rises out of the water, growls something indecipherable and slithers away, Kratos tells Atreus to "stay calm". The kid's eager reply? "I am! This is great!"

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Great? It really, truly is. Everything about God of War, from the superb animation to the stunning scenery to the perfectly executed fight sequences to the surprisingly emotional story, exudes absolute excellence.

Yes, you should believe the hype. God of War isn't just going to top Game of the Year lists come December, when the history books are written, it will likely be among this generation's greatest adventures, among The Last of Us and Horizon Zero Dawn.

Much of that comes down to something not much taller than five feet. Yes, Atreus is the key to giving Kratos and God of War its beating heart and soul. He's beside Kratos in everything they do: flinging arrows, distracting trolls, alerting danger and asking all those annoying questions you'd expect from a kid his age.

Their relationship is charming, a truly rare father-son adventure in a triple-A title, it made me wish my boy was old enough to play this with me. Coupled with brutal head smashing and a story that will keep you enthralled until the end, this is a killer combo from a beast of a game.

God of War

Platform: Playstation 4
Rating: R16
Verdict: Mayhem, carnage, brutality - and a little kid