- Kratos faces his terrible past as players journey through Greek Mythology once again.
- Reliving moments from the original God of War games and hearing Kratos’ old theme is a treat for God of War fans.
- Elements from the Greek Saga also make a return to create the ultimate God of War experience.
As a fan of the original God of War games, the Valhalla DLC for God of War Ragnarok felt like a gift from Sony Santa Monica. It has so many callbacks to the original titles, I’m in awe of what the developers have brought forward this time around, redeeming Kratos’ character and jam-packing the DLC with tip-top content. It feels quite unreal that this was a free update.
Note: This article contains major spoilers for God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla.
The Spartan Confronts His Ghost
The entirety of the DLC is focused on Kratos coming to terms with his past and accepting that he is not what he used to be. In doing so, we go through certain main events of the original God of War games, and the studio even references events from the not-so-loved God of War: Ascension.
Nostalgia did play a huge factor, but I am not lying when I say that a revisit to Greek Mythology would elevate the narrative to even greater heights. Looking at Kratos realizing his mistakes fueled by revenge as he journeys through Valhalla almost made me a bit teary. He regrets everything that he has done and simply does not want to become a God again.
Rolled credits on God of War Valhalla. Really misjudged it. Absolutely stellar. Would have paid for it easily. Cannot wait to see what they do next pic.twitter.com/kzYmeM09DK
— Paul Tassi (@PaulTassi) December 14, 2023
When Kratos realizes that he is more than just a monster, more than what everyone else sees him to be, that is where God of War Ragnarok’s narrative peaks. Slowly but surely overcoming these regrets of selling his soul to Ares and killing his own wife and child, our God of War learns from these memories and tries to be better for the sake of the realms that he would soon rule.
And he is not alone in this journey as he was in the original games. Now, he has Mimir, Tyr, Freya, and the Valkyries by his side, who continuously give him advice and help him overcome the horrors of his past. Mimir plays a huge role, and he almost acts like Kratos’ brother, listening to his pain and making him feel better however he can.
Helios also makes a return in the DLC and his interactions with Kratos just shows you how much Kratos’ character has grown over the years. Old Kratos would instantly kill Helios if he tried to insult him as he does but the new and mature Kratos shows patience and thinks before he acts as is expected.
Everything comes full circle when Kratos becomes the God of Hope at the end of the DLC, and this makes the events of God of War 3 make even more sense. When everything else is lost, there remains hope. Hope has always remained with Kratos, whether he realized it before or not.
He would now help Freya in bringing peace to the Norse Realms, not as a God of War but as the God of Hope. This is the ending that pays respect to the original games, all the while giving Kratos his much-needed redemption, and it further solidifies the fact that Kratos is one of the best characters ever written!
Christopher Judge delivers an amazing performance in the final section of God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla, where Kratos confronts his younger self, overcomes his past, and takes the throne once more. The emotions delivered by Judge’s voice acting felt phenomenal, enough to make a man cry.
The God of War fan inside me was overjoyed to see The Three Judges in the distance as I was playing through Valhalla. I knew at that moment that we would be revisiting Greek Mythology but I was not ready for the amount of fan service that would be presented once I ascended to realms to arrive at Greece. Greeted with The Three Judges, I felt like I was back in God of War 3 trying to escape from Hades.
It doesn’t just end there; there are many sections from the original games that have been remade in Ragnarok’s engine. The updated visuals give these sections a breath of fresh air, all the while staying true to the original source material. Everything from architectural design to the scattered pots on the ground, every little detail was true to the original titles and just shows us how much the developers care for this franchise.
The visuals and narrative are not the only departments in which Kratos’ past was showcased; there is a huge gameplay factor in play here as well. When L3+R3 appeared on screen as I was fighting through a recreated section from the original God of War, I knew that I was about to be blown away with nostalgia.
I was definitely not disappointed when Kratos pulled out the Blade of Olympus, which was one of his staple weapons in the original games. This is one of those nostalgia-driven moments that hit emotionally and can be compared to the scene when Kratos pulls out Blades of Chaos in God of War 2018. Again, this is just another gift from Sony Santa Monica to us God of War fans who have been following the franchise for decades.
— ⚡️Mystic Voltsy⚡️ (@xvoltsy) December 13, 2023
Since an original weapon made a return, it also makes sense for the original enemies to return as well. And the Valhalla DLC is full of original God of War enemies including the Cyclops, Wraiths, Sirens, and many more. All of these foes have received not only a visual upgrade but also new movesets to complement the new combat system that was introduced in God of War 2018 and improved upon in Ragnarok.
You can even unlock the original young Kratos as a cosmetic. The new model looks amazing in Ragnarok, and the developers have even allowed us to use the classic look as well as the Blade of Olympus in the new game plus mode of Ragnarok, which is another nice gesture from the developers. Honestly, playing Ragnarok again using the classic skin almost feels unreal.
Music Befitting A Spartan
The fan service of the Valhalla DLC comes to an end with the returning spartan theme of Kratos from the original trilogy. Bear McCreary has masterfully composed and recreated the original theme by infusing it with the Kratos’ new theme in Ragnarok.
So… did ya hear anything cool in that #GodOfWarRagnarokValhalla trailer?
— Bear McCreary 🐻🎶 (@bearmccreary) December 8, 2023
I got chills when the original theme started playing during my battle in the Greek Arena, and all my memories of the original games came rushing back to me with it. The creative implementation of the old theme in a new OST was an intelligent decision as it not only captures the beauty of the original games but builds upon that to provide an even better experience.
Oh, and by the way, if you loved the title, here is a video for curated suggestions to some of the best games like Ragnarok out there.
Sony Santa Monica went above and beyond in creating this DLC for us God of War fans. It has everything that I could ever hope for and more. I was not expecting such an amazing callback to the Greek Saga in terms of narrative, gameplay, and music, but the developers have blessed us with the ultimate gift. Narratively speaking, Valhalla gives Kratos the perfect conclusion whilst keeping in view the events that have occurred so far in the entire franchise.
God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla was released as free DLC on December 12, 2023, for both PS4 and PS5. Our review writer Huzaifah Durrani gave God of War Ragnarok a stellar 4.5/5 score in his review, and it was his Game of the Year for 2022.
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