The memorable moment when God Of War (2018) was revealed at E3 2016 still lingers on the surface of my mind as we fast-forward to the current year where Santa Monica has driven this masterful story arc to an epic conclusion. It was one of the most phenomenal reveals I had ever seen, for what would turn out to be one of the best games of the generation. Now God Of War Ragnarok is finally here, and we have prepared a spoiler-free review for you to check out.
It is tough to even speak on the subject after going through the entirety of the game, admiring every single narrative beat, and being in complete awe of the story. The game is worthy of many different accolades, and I will tell you exactly why that is the case.
Story And Setting
Without spoiling anything, the events of the sequel pick up three years after the father and son’s quest to reach Jötunheim. Kratos senses the end of times, Ragnarok is approaching, and he thus prepares himself and Atreus for the inevitable by journeying across the nine realms and Midgard itself to prevent it at any and all costs.
Many familiar faces return as you are once again reunited with Brok and Sindri, the two dwarf brothers who are brilliant smiths and who aid Kratos and his son on their quest across the realms. Other noteworthy characters include Freya, whom we last saw during the previous game’s final moments when Kratos murders her son Baldur in front of her eyes, prompting the former Queen of the Valkyries to hunt down Kratos to the ends of the world.
We are also introduced to new characters such as Tyr, an imprisoned God whom we saw earlier in quite a few trailers of the game. Without going much into his character, fans will be delighted to unravel the mystery behind his enigmatic yet cold persona as both Kratos and Atreus must seek his help in order to pull the curtain from in front of the ancient Gods of the Norse Pantheon and uncover their secrets.
One of the coolest aspects of the game is that it remains largely true to the Norse Mythology stories and lore as one might’ve guessed already, but most of us still probably aren’t ready for how much detail it actually incorporates. If you’re already a fan of the legends, you will instantly notice the intricate details and easter eggs put into place here.
The Semi-Open World structure and combat of God Of War Ragnarok are generally improved across the board here as it is easily evident during the few hours with the game that Santa Monica Studio really took criticisms and feedback directed at the prequel to heart. But most importantly, the thing that most fans are probably wondering is; How much does it feel like a sequel?
There are different perspectives to go over here and the question can be fleshed out much more with each critical element of the game. The bottom line is that the refinements made to the combat and the tweaks to how quest progression and level design work have been totally revamped from the ground up.
While the Leviathan Axe may feel somewhat similar in how it plays and feels, there is no denying the fact that the Blades Of Chaos now feel better than ever thanks to some newly added improvements to the combat scenarios and exploration.
Kratos is now able to use the Blades to hook onto elevated structures and propel himself forward, which can allow players to discover a whole new layer of maneuverability, an element that was deeply missed by fans of the original trilogy. Speaking of returning elements, the Blades of Chaos now function much like their original counterparts, and Kratos is now able to dish out more moves that involve juggling and pulling enemies closer to you.
What’s more amazing is the fact that both of the weapons now feature mechanics where they can work in conjunction with each other, meaning that you will be in for a treat when you can switch weapons and pull off attacks to stagger enemies using the combined might of the Axe and the Blades. The finishers of these weapons, as well as Kratos’ melee attacks, have much more variety now compared to the previous title as well. The animations are full of gore and destruction, and they are eager to please anyone who missed the feeling of ripping their foes apart.
The level design and puzzle structure are vividly enhanced this time around as I found myself appreciating every bit of these intuitive sequences where I had to make use of both the environment around Kratos and Atreus, as well as be extra mindful of the timing in certain to achieve pinpoint accuracy in solving them.
The various set-pieces and objectives laid out for you in the world have a much bigger focus on incentivization, as discovering something hidden will lead to a more satisfying feeling than ever before.
Personally, the biggest highlight for me comes in the form of the side quests of the game, because without spoiling anything, they have been improved significantly. The biggest difference now is that the quality of the writing is much better, and the objectives are also more varied. Rather than side chores, they now feel like going on side adventures with the father-son duo.
So with such a riveting sense of gameplay, focused on providing fluid movement and making Kratos feel more in line with modern action games, combined with the fact that the world design is insanely marvelous to experience at every level, it is safe to say that players will be absolutely delighted upon playing Ragnarok.
Visuals And Performance
Santa Monica delivers another stellar-looking game with high visual fidelity that even stands toe-to-toe against the likes of Horizon Forbidden West, which is arguably one of the most detailed games of the generation. God Of War Ragnarok’s sheer beauty is impeccable, and you will struggle to find the words to describe it.
Of course, that might prove to be an understatement for those who don’t practically see any major differences between Ragnarok and the 2018 installment. The game might have greatly enhanced textures and models, but the subtle line is drawn when you begin to notice some of the reused assets and animations. This can lead to some mixed opinions by picky players, but in all fairness who really cares that they reused some of their own work? The game still looks phenomenal.
Furthermore, traveling to new and returning realms like Helheim is crafted with such an eye-catching sense of direction that exploring each of the levels feels magical. Whether it’s the gorgeous vistas and architectural structures across the Nine realms, or the photorealistic environments of Midgard, they’re a spectacle to behold.
In terms of performance and hardware capabilities, the PlayStation 5 version is the true star of the show here as Santa Monica allows players to experience the game through various different graphical modes. These include the purely performance-favored mode where the experience will target a 1440p-2160p resolution along with a targeted 60FPS framerate.
Furthermore, there are also options where you can simply maintain a locked 60FPS framerate with a 1440p display along with a quality mode that will allow players to maintain 30 to 40FPS with native 4K resolution. Most importantly, the game also has Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), a feature you may or may not be familiar with in other PS5 first-party titles too. If your display supports it, the game will allow you to achieve an unlocked framerate along with a 1800p-2160p expected resolution.
Lastly, standard PS4 users can expect a mode locked at 30FPS with 1080p resolution, but if you’re someone with the Pro model, you can have options to enable either Performance mode for a boost in the total framerate or quality mode to achieve a better experience.
God Of War Ragnarok is exceptional in almost every single way, whether it’s the bone-chilling soundtrack, heartfelt yet gut-punching storytelling, or the extremely satisfying combat. The storytelling is riveting and rich with a conclusion that will send chills down your spine as you embrace another curtain call to Kratos’ saga, but this time with his son and his humane side being at the center of the conflict.
While the game certainly feels all too similar to its predecessor in presentation, everything else is personified and taken to newer heights by Santa Monica Studio. Kratos is one of gaming’s most beloved protagonists, and while the game’s price tag on PS5 may be an issue if you’re someone who values their investment, experiencing the grand closure to the Father-Son journey that started all the way back in 2018 is a feeling that will surely live on in your heart for a long time.
This has been our God of War Ragnarok Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
- Path To Nowhere Review
- Resident Evil Re: Verse Review
- Star Ocean: The Divine Force Review
- Duty: Modern Warfare II Review
- Bayonetta 3 Review
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God of War Ragnarok Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
God Of War Ragnarok is exceptional in almost every single way, whether it’s the bone-chilling soundtrack, heartfelt yet gut-punching storytelling, or the extremely satisfying combat.
- Masterful Storytelling.
- The Lore.
- Dynamic Combat.
- Stellar Visuals.
- Great World Building.
- Oustanding Soundtrack.
- Unsubstantial Leap From Prequel.