God of War: Ragnarok is likely to be remembered as one of the greatest games of 2022, one of the best entries in the God of War series, and one of the top PlayStation exclusives in a growing collection of standout exclusives. It’s a rare game that both meets and marvelously exceeds many expectations.
Ragnarok shows in a variety of ways why Triple-A sequels are frequently among the most eagerly awaited games in a given year, but it also highlights the hazy condition of the sequel market.
God of War Ragnarok begins during the terrible anomaly known as Fimbulwinter, a few years after the events of GOW (2018). Even though Midgard has frozen over and become even more hostile, Kratos and Atreus have managed to survive while avoiding the ferocious onslaught of a grieving Freya.
It is essentially a direct sequel to the first game in this regard. The plot advances swiftly, introducing new characters, situations, and objectives at a breathtaking pace. This time around, the cast is significantly bigger and includes many well-known characters as well as a tonne of new ones from the Norse pantheon. Every character has a role to perform, and GoWR does a fantastic job of giving each one some weight.
However, it takes some time for the main plot to get underway. While the 2018 game’s ultimate objective was obvious from the outset, Ragnarok occasionally seemed to be on the wrong track. Many of the game’s big plot points in the first half feel like filler that simply serve to position our characters for the following development. While none of these moments are unenjoyable, the story occasionally meanders in ways that obscure the broader plot.
But even with a less distinct emphasis, the story is presented particularly. The conversation is razor-edged and alternates between insightful observations about the status of the world and passionate, heated rants about familial love and destiny.
God of War (2018) changed the franchise’s combat dynamics, making the series’ battles more tactical and focused. Ragnarok adds some interesting new elements to the new design while not making a significant change to the formula in the same way. You’ll follow fairly similar upgrading paths to increase the stats of the Leviathan Axe and the Blades of Chaos and unlock new talents.
However, a few recent enhancements provide an additional incentive while also allowing for greater personalization in your approach to the fight. For instance, using Kratos’ skills a specific amount of times will enable special upgrades for many of them. There is also a brand-new, distinctive piece of gear that can be completely customized to fit a range of playstyles.
The ability to rank-upgrade every set of armor has improved it as well. You have the option of completely specializing in Strength. Additionally, armor sets work together to provide specific benefits when used in battle under certain conditions.
The level of customization has been increased, which gives the battle a more focused feel. While a single approach might not be as effective against every kind of enemy, I could make my go-to attacks and abilities effective in almost any circumstance. And because I had a specific objective in mind, I felt more like I was controlling the conflict than like I was responding to it.
In addition to the action, Ragnarok is jam-packed with puzzles, treasures, and side quests that can easily extend the game’s length from 20+ hours by an additional 10 to 15 hours. The amount of stuff available is staggering, and even after about 25 hours, I still feel like I’m missing out on a lot of it.
Audio and Visual
The game is breathtaking, with sweeping vistas and beautiful environments. The character models in particular are astounding, and many of these characters look significantly better than they did just four years ago.
The animation team at Santa Monica Studio deserves some serious accolades for the work they’ve done here, most notably when it comes to Kratos himself. The way this man emotes is astonishing, especially in some of the later cutscenes. I’ve never seen video game characters move like this, and it’s one feature that does make this game feel truly current-gen.
As the music director for God of War Ragnarok, Bear McCreary once again demonstrates why he is among the best composers working today. The music is flawless, hitting the ideal blend between serious and humorous. Ragnarok has a little more levity and brightness than it did in 2018, and McCreary’s compositions accentuate these moments with beautiful trills that suggest adventure and enthusiasm. Similar to this, the music’s tense periods are characterized by deep bass and gloomy chords that perfectly complement Kratos’ cold demeanor.
An outstanding sequel to one of the greatest video games ever created is God of War Ragnarok. In addition to adding its flavor to the mix, it somehow succeeds in capturing the enchantment that made the previous game so exceptional. Although it lacks some of the intimacy of its predecessor, the plot is nonetheless an exhilarating rollercoaster of mayhem. The crowning achievement of Sony Santa Monica, God of War Ragnarok, will likely stand alongside the 2018 release as one of the greatest accomplishments in gaming history.