We’re back with another game review and this time it’s the return of Kratos and Atreus for the much anticipated AAA game – God of War Ragnarok. As a sequel to the popular 2018 God of War, many fans have been clamoring to know what happens next in the father and son’s epic journey across Middle-earth and the Nine Realms.
For disclosure, I have never played a single God of War game series before this one since I only had a PS1 before (and the first one came on PS2). So this game is reviewed with a fresh pair of eyes and yes I know it’s weird to read a review by someone playing God of War for the first time. But trust me, I enjoyed it, mmkay?
“But Abel, how are you going to review a game you’ve never played before?” you might ask. Well, good thing I have some prior knowledge of God of War (2018) thanks to the countless “BOI” memes online, as well as catching EVERY God Kratos kills in God of War (ft. @The Completionist). Also, it was a good thing that Santa Monica Studio included a story summary before starting the game. At least I get to know who the important characters are.
Good to have a recap since it’s been 5 years
The first 9 minutes of the game (no spoilers)
Based on the character dialogues, the places you have been in the previous games are the same, but with many changes. To start the game, Fimbulwinter has already taken place in Midgard and it plays an important role in Norse mythology, as it foreshadows the events of Ragnarok. If you have some knowledge about it, you should have an idea of what and who to expect.
I played God of War Ragnarok on PS5 so it goes without saying that the graphics are just top notch. All the attention to detail like textures and facial expressions are delivered excellently, which even impressed my wife on what a modern AAA game looks like. The lighting dynamics, the actions, the mythical monsters, heck, I bet you could even count the number of hairs on Kratos’ beard if you wanted to.
Fortunately, not all rich people experience Fimbulwinter
Each map is large
Excellent dynamics between light and shadows
There is much to explore in the 9 realms
The light reflection very closely mimics how your eyes would see in real life
Occasionally there are some nice quiet moments after a series of matches
Another Norse mythology tale brought to life in a game
Behind the scenes to design the creatures and characters
Not all locations are covered in Fimbulwinter ice, and it’s still not as open-world as the previous title. But the realms are now much larger for you to explore. This is great if you like to explore, even if there are some places you don’t have access to yet, you can always come back to them later. Speaking of bigger, there are also more options compared to its predecessor, as Kratos has more Rage modes as well as shield forms, Atreus’ skill tree has been expanded, and there are plenty of choices for runes, relics, and armor sets for almost all of your playstyle preferences.
In terms of game mechanics, I really have to give credit to Santa Monica Studio for thinking out of the box on the challenging battles and puzzles. Even in normal mode (Give me balance), I had a hard time defeating many mini and main bosses, but this may be because I’m not used to it. I got the hang of it towards the end of the game, and I think you would too. Granted, it’s a hack-and-slash game, but it still requires some strategy to beat a certain enemy. You’ll eventually find a playstyle you like thanks to the number of stat choices for weapons and armor sets you’ve been given.
Lots to read if you’re looking for a good armor set
Equip your weapons
You can check out how the battle mechanics work here
As for the puzzles, there are a couple of them that literally took me half an hour. Sometimes I felt stupid, but it turns out I just need to look around hard enough. If you find that too bothersome, you can actually access accessibility mode and adjust some settings to make the hints appear. For example, you save time by making the environment white and the hints bright red.
In addition to the main campaign, you can also be tracked by “Favours” (side quests) along the story. When I was on a mission in Svartalheim, I couldn’t resist exploring a large lake nearby just to see what else there was before moving on. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time looking for available treasures and coming back later to unlock more valuable items. You can certainly take your time to do these long before the finals.
For example, you can specify that the necessary things should be highlighted to make progress easier
It’s good that they integrated accessibility so that everyone can play
Of course, the main highlight is none other than the story. As a single player story driven game, I didn’t expect how heartfelt it would be at the end. I had some ideas about the relationship between father and son (Kratos and Atreus), but it goes pretty deep and taps into their emotions for a very relatable game. This is a lot for Atreus who has grown up from a child to an annoying and naive teenager.
I think many players would be annoyed by Atreus’ behavior throughout the game. Without spoiling too much, he made a lot of questionable decisions and followed his emotions a little too much due to the prophecy foretold at the end of the previous match. And because of his impulsive actions, Kratos had to deal with him sternly, the Kratos way.
How do you top the story from God of War 2018?
Kratos and Atreus’ relationship gets more complicated, but rewards players with a heartfelt ending (warning: it might even make you cry)
Like the real world, I think everyone can relate to the dynamic contrasting relationship between Kratos and Atreus. The game not only explores their bond as well as other complex emotions dealing with grief, loss, trust and perhaps most importantly – acceptance. Even for a stoic character like Kratos, he also showed his vulnerability despite being an adult and hardened killing machine in some scenes.
There’s a quote by Kratos that really struck me, I’m just paraphrasing here, but it goes, “When an animal is wounded, it must stop running or it will bleed profusely and die.” So in the same way, when we run from our problems, we carry that burden in our hearts without knowing that it is bleeding. Other than that, other supporting characters (including Thor) have a role to play and are developed quite well.
30% done, only 70% more to go!
As of this post, God of War Ragnarok has already sold 5.1 million copies since its debut on November 9, 2022, making it the fastest-selling first-party launch ever on PS5. As you can see, I love the game and it’s easily one of the best games on PS5 (and PS4) to get. It has everything that a modern single player video game needs – visuals, great character developments, a heartfelt story, exceptional background music, epic and challenging battles, tough puzzles, expanded game mechanics and a much larger map to explore.
This review may seem a bit short, but I won’t reveal too much and you should experience the game for yourself. I finished the story in 36 hours, but there are still tons of side quests, collectibles, and other mini-boss fights to do. For RM299 I think so The replayability of the game makes it well worth your time and money spent. Anyway, God of War Ragnarok is truly the gaming material of the year! If you’ll excuse me, I’ll complete it 100% to show my love and appreciation.