Since God of War released on the PS4 back in 2018, fans have been clamouring for a continuation of the franchise, some because of the fun and tight combat, others because of the cliffhanger like revelation the game finished on.
It only took four years, but thankfully the wait is now over with God of War: Ragnarök, and fans worldwide can now experience another adventure with our favourite surly protagonist Kratos. The ending of the last game brought us the knowledge that there was more to Kratos’ son Atreus than we originally thought, with him being half God, half giant on his mother’s side. Atreus looked to have a central part to play the coming Ragnarök, with him being involved in a prophecy to not only stop Ragnarök, but also to kill his father.
The game picks up not long after the previous one closed, with Atreus and Kratos on a hunt, travelling home when they’re attacked by their previous ally, now foe Freya, who is intent on murdering Kratos after he killed Baldur in the climax of the previous game. After managing to escape back to their home, they get a brief respite before another visitor appears… Thor. Menacing and intimidating without saying or doing a lot, the first introduction to Thor gives players a feeling that the slightest thing could set of a huge boss fight, and that is exactly what happens.
It was always going to be a tall order to beat 2018’s opening boss fight with Baldur, but somehow the first fight with Thor does exactly that, with Ryan Hurst as Thor giving it his all to goad and taunt Kratos throughout.
That’s just a taste of what God of War: Ragnarök has in store for its players, with a story that’ll take you around the realms, first in search of Tyr, the Norse God of War, and then in search of ways to avert Ragnarök. A lot of the locations you travel to will look familiar from the last game, except now with a covering of snow thanks to ‘Fimbulwinter’, the precursor to Ragnarök that throws the nine realms into extremes of weather.
God of War: Ragnarök – Reinventing the Wheel
Santa Monics Studios clearly took the opinion of ‘if it isn’t broken, why fix it?’, as the majority of the features in the game are almost the same as the previous game, from skills, armor, runes and more. However there are some notable updates, with Kratos feeling significantly heavier in his damage dealing as he wields his Leviathian Axe or Blades of Chaos, to Atreus being far more help and far less irritating compared to his last outing.
God of War: Ragnarök is arguably the first Playstation Exclusive to really push the PS5, and it’s easy to understand why the studio decided against moving forward with the PS4 version. The graphics are unbelievable, from individual snowflakes falling to the floor, to being able to pick out the pained and annoyed looks on Christopher Judge’s Kratos’ face. Often overlooked in games, the sound design is top tier and with a gaming headset you’ll feel incredibly immersed in the world around you, which is aided by the fantastic voice acting from the entire cast.
Gameplay wise it plays more or less exactly like the last, with the father and son duo spending their time between quarreling and life lessons, to solving puzzles to progress and of course taking on enemies far stronger and bigger than themselves.
The story has twists and turns, some of which left me open-mouthed and wanting to shout at my television, and it has highs and lows that’ll excite and depress you in equal measure. If I was trying to be critical of the game I’d have to say that the boss fights of its predecessor certainly felt bigger in scale, but the ones in God of War: Ragnarök don’t disappoint either.
When I came to the end of God of War: Ragnarök I had two thoughts; disappointed that it was over and it was worth the four year wait, although if the next one takes that long I may cry. Whilst its been a good year for games, with some seriously stiff competition for Game of the Year, it really is hard to look passed God of War: Ragnarök for the title.
God of War: Ragnarök was played and reviewed on a code supplied by Sony Interactive Entertainment.