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Here Are The Best Skills To Start Off With In The New God Of War (Plus Some New Tips)

Update (28 April): Added the secret Muspelheim Tower treasure

Update (24 April): Added in Niflheim guide. 

God of War is an awesome action game with a breathtaking story and really fun combat mechanics. It’s also bats*** tough, especially if this is your first God of War game. Even veterans like myself had a tough time getting the hang of the more intimate and duel-esque nature of the game’s new combat system.

Fortunately, we’ve played a lot of it so we can give you these tips, tricks, and even a skill tree tip or four to help you out with the major meat of this game.

Disclaimer: we’re still playing the game on the hardest difficulty setting right now. And Jesus it’s friggin’ tough. You won’t hear tips on that mode anytime soon. 

But First, Some Basic Tips & Tricks


Parry, parry, parry.

The best offence is a good defence. This timeless rule applies here. If you parry at the right time, you get to recover first and counterattack. So practice the timing and get the frames down pat in the first few hours. After a few hours when the game throws even more enemies at you, the parry animation works to your advantage because its range affects enemies in front of you. So master it well:

The down d-pad button is your best friend.

In God of War, you will get a lot of indicators popping up to warn you if an enemy is going to attack you from the back. This is where you press down on the d-pad and then guard the attack.

When all else fails, press X to dodge.

Roll out if you see an unblockable attack coming your way; that’s usually an attack where a red circle flashes. Everything else can be blocked, parried, and reflected.

Don’t spam attacks (too often).

As fast as Kratos’ attacks are, they do have recovery time, especially with some moves involving the Leviathan Axe. This is where enemies will take a cheap shot at you. If you’re fighting Draugr grunts without shields? Spam your Lights and Heavies away!

Never back yourself into the corner.

There is nothing as frustrating as being mobbed by 3 unflinching draugrs and reavers and not being able to dodge out of the way. Be sure to actively roll away from corners when possible. It can be hard if you’re in the frenzy of a fight, but it makes you survive longer.

Push enemies off the cliffside/river/lava pool when possible.

You’ll still get XP and items if you use the “cheap” method of ringing out your opponents. This can also work on the Dark Elves, but only if they’re on their feet. The best weapons to push enemies is the Shield/Melee combo; Kratos has a Spartan kick that pushes enemies back a considerable distance. This tactic is especially useful when you’re doing Muspelheim trials.

Don’t start your first playthrough on God of War mode.

Trust me; you’ll regret it. We know you want to prove your hardcoreness, but there are so many changes and curveballs in this mode, you will “get rekted”, big time. Enemy patterns are tougher to suss out, and they can power up if you so much as damage them for a bit. Also, unlike games like Bayonetta, starting over on the hardest setting does not carry your loot, items, and upgrades over.

Just suck it up, play the entire game on either Normal or Hard, and THEN try out God of War mode.

The Best Skills To Start Off With

When you kill things or complete quests/sidequests, you get experience points. You need these to buff up Kratos and Atreus. Here’s a quick rundown on what you should get first per weapon.

Leviathan Axe


Executioner’s Cleave (Melee): Kratos charges up for a devastating one-target heavy attack. There are a number of enchantments that give you bonuses if you land an Executioner’s Cleave, so do get those, practice the timing of this move, and whack away. This is best used if Atreus has the grapple ability mid-game.

Grinding Storm (Melee): Hold R1 to do a spinneroonie multi-hitting axe attack after your first light attack. Very useful since it travels at a short distance and can hit foes around you.

Precision Throw Combo (Ranged): After landing a precision axe throw (weak points and headshots), press Triangle during the flash to recall the axe and cause the next throw or melee attack to explode on contact, inflicting Frost damage.

Guardian Shield


Block Break: Double Tap L1 to break an enemy’s block. Perfect against the Viken, the heavier Draugr, and those goddamn Dark Elves who can turtle you like mad.

Guardian Sweep: You hold R1 to do this attack after your first Light attack. You’ll do a sweep attack that knocks enemies off balance and deal a moderate amount of stun damage. When you’re bare-handed, you always want to get an enemy’s stun meter to escalate, so this is one early move that will help you in the long run.

Countering Strike: Press R1 after a last-second block (parry) to counter the attack with a  powerful shield strike. Good to keep lighter and medium enemies off your back.

Spartan Rage: Honestly, you don’t need to upgrade this one too much. The default homing superman punch move and multi-hitting fist attack is good enough.

Atreus/Talon Bow


Your son is pretty damn useful after he gets his bow and after you unlock the first few skills in his skill tree. Maxing him out means that he gets 4 special shots that recharge quick.

Shock Conduit: His shock arrows can be chained between multiple enemies. Go for this skill ASAP when you get access to it.

Teamwork: Atreus will help Kratos if he’s attacked, or an enemy if they’re in vulnerable states.

Acrobatics: While Atreus is choking an enemy, he can perform a combo if Kratos launches or hits an enemy from far away.


Blades Of Chaos

Say hello to Kratos’ old pair of friends! The blades are back, and they’re useful as ever in the mid-range attack department. Kratos can also pull off a Scorpion where he launches one of his blades to harpoon an enemy, then pull them closer to him. His follow-up attack from there can juggle enemies (see below).

Whirling Chaos – You hold R1 to perform this attack. This basically lets you hit multiple enemies multiple times in a short burst. Very handy for extra damage and it’s fast too.

Elemental Surge – press and hold the R1 when in aiming mode. When he hits an enemy, Kratos will detonate a ball of energy and launch all enemies within the blast radius of the blade. Good for launching enemies from far away.

Skill Tree In Video

Leviathan Axe

Guardian Shield

Talon Bow/Atreus

Blades of Chaos

The Best Talismans Early In The Game(via Polygon Guides)

Golden Talisman of Protection

This talisman lets you recover faster after being hit by an attack. It also increases your defence when you’re guarding with your shield. Best of all, it increases your parry window, which means you don’t need super precise timing for your parries and reflects.

Amulet of Kvasir

This talisman makes you slow time down when you dodge, like Witch Time in Bayonetta.

Brok & Sindri’s Secret Treasure (via Reddit)

Head to the Muspelheim Tower and stand in the circle at the top of the tower.

“To Reveal the great treasure stand inside the golden circle and look straight ahead to tyrs temple now look to the left brazier look back to tyrs temple look to the right brazier and back to left brazier”

“Having just looked to the left brazier now look back straight ahead to tyrs temple again now look down to the floor then look up to the right brazier and then back to the left brazier and finally look to tyrs temple to reveal the forgotten treasure”

You get the axe pommel for your troubles. It boosts up all your stats while adding an extra shockwave at the end of your light attack combos.

View post on imgur.com

Niflheim Guide (via Reddit)

Basic Map



  • V = Valkyrie.
  • R1, R2, R3 = Room 1, Room 2, Room 3. Enemies are randomized here.
  • B, grey circle = Booby Traps, from spinning blades to crushing walls.
  • B, square = beginning area
  • T= Treasure Room
  • E= Exit


  • After you run the Niflheim maze a few times, you don’t really need the map. However, this can help people who aren’t sure of where to go when you begin the grind.
  • Opening chests add to your Niflheim maze timer so that the opening animation doesn’t take anything away. In fact, you come out a bit ahead of time.
  • The spinning blades do not one-shot kill you. If Kratos is at max HP, they will kill you in 4 hits.
  • Killing the Valkyrie resets the Niflheim maze timer. She has less health than the others so don’t expect a long drawn-out fight.
  • Once you clear the Valkyrie out of that room, there will always be a rune-locked box in the first room. The runes are on spinners in the three corners. These spinners can have two correct runes, so sometimes you have to backtrack to get all 3 locked in. The runes are always in order of R1 – R2 – R3 from left to right on the box.
  • There will be a gong-locked box somewhere in the grey rooms. One gong will always be either on the far outside or inside of the maze.
  • Be sure you look down each path between rooms if there are two. You are looking for indents in the wall. Indents can have a gold, red, or brown chest.
  • If you fully clear everything you should come out with at least 5000 mist. The most I have gotten was a little over 10,000 mist due to multiple gold chests between rooms. You should also be accumulating about 50k or more hackSilver.
  • The 5,000 mist chest in the centre offers the best return. Do the tears last.
  • There should always be time between large rooms for all of your runic attacks to finish their respective cooldowns. If you walk into the room and spam all of Atreus’ arrows then use his summon, the summon should be ready for the next large room.
  • With 3 pieces of Mist Gear (the Ivaldi armour sets), you’ll finish the whole thing with around 1/3 to 1/2 of the timer left if you don’t have to backtrack to fix the runes.
  • The 5,000 chest is an axe upgrade (post-game).
  • The tears are a talisman that features an AOE weakness curse, and a hilt/pommel that applies weakness.

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