God of War: Ragnarok – A fitting sequel
How do you follow up on one of the greatest video games of all time?
Making a sequel to the God of War seems like if someone tried to follow up Arkham Asylum, and yet just like Rocksteady did with their amazing sequel, Santa Monica brings God of War: Ragnarok to top their first game. With this, it reaches the heights of its predecessor and even surpasses them. Even as it captures your heart with its gracefully told story, it crushes your bones with its fantastically savage combat thanks to the outstanding writing, performances, and music that bring this vast Norse tapestry to life. All of this comes together to form a massive action epic that is sure to become a moment in the history of video games.
Fimbulwinter’s icy grip does not extend everywhere, and the game’s globe is still not as vast as in the original. However, there is a lot more territory for you to cover now. If you enjoy exploring, this is a fantastic opportunity; while certain areas are currently inaccessible, you may always return to them at a later time. Kratos now has more Rage modes and Shield forms, Atreus’ skill tree has more options, and there are plenty of runes, relics, and armour sets to choose from to accommodate practically any playstyle.
The Santa Monica Studio deserves a lot of credit for coming up with novel solutions to the game’s difficult combat situations and puzzles. The game may be a “hack and slash,” but there’s still some strategy involved in dispatching a particular foe. There are many different weapon and armour sets to try out, so you’re bound to find one that suits your play style. While progressing through the story, you’ll come across “Favours,” which are essentially side missions.
These can be done at your own speed well before you hit the crescendo. They are fun side missions that don’t take away from the pacing and the main story (Looking at you, PS4 ‘s Spider-Man and your Miles Morales Missions).
At its core, the storyline is a whirlwind of prophecy and sacrifice, continuously poking at the idea of fate and questioning whether or not blood really is thicker than the ink that creates it. In contrast to superficial treatments of these ideas, it digs deep into the motivations of each character and treats them with the dignity they deserve. It’s a fittingly epic ending to Kratos’ Norse saga, and it helps him put to rest some troubling memories from his time in ancient Greece, too.
Christopher Judge, who provides a thunderous performance as Kratos, frequently participates in witty, realistic banter with his equally superb co-stars. But there can be no doubt: this is Judge’s court, and he regularly presides over it. In his sorrowful voice and stoic demeanour, Kratos displays the effects of his horrific past. Also one can never get tired of him saying “Boi”
(Meme Credit to 9Gag)
Kratos himself and his story is the most notable aspect. Even though, God of War 2018 had a lot of emotional material to work with, the game exceeds in this aspect where it connects and has very well executed story beats. The game focuses on the leads emotions and their bond, makes for a surprisingly empathetic experience. This is especially true for Atreus, who has developed into a brash and gullible adolescent from a kind and naive toddler. He is in his teen rebel “I hate my parent” phase. Sunny Suljic does his best in the role and he completely annoys the gamer, on purpose with the way he reads his lines and his choices.
The way Atreus acts throughout the game is likely to anger many gamers. Without giving too much away, the prophecy at the end of the last game led him to make a number of dubious choices and rely a little too heavily on his emotions leading to Kratos having to deal with him the Kratos way.
However, the combat in God of War has always been the showy attraction that draws in a crowd to be astonished by its plot, and this is still the case in Ragnarok. At first glance, it may look like something you’ve seen before, and in some ways, that’s true. However, it’s not afraid to mess with your head by throwing you a curveball. Kratos’s blades whirl wildly, causing instantaneous, devastating harm to everyone they come into contact with. His axe swings are heavy and lethal, crushing his foes until they crumple like blood – stained confetti. In what is still one of the most satisfying button presses ever mapped to a controller, your axe still slashes through the air, burying itself meatily into anything unlucky enough to be in its path, before being recalled to your palm with a hearty kick from the DualSense controller’s haptics. Everything is unabashedly quick and indisputably spectacular, returning to the series’ roots in high-octane action.
The tiny elements in Ragnarok, like the etchings on a knife or the clunk of a cabinet door closing, are really beautifully done. It is expertly animated, with saliva-sputtering grimaces shooting towards the camera during the heat of battle and less-follically challenged adversaries of Kratos having hair that flows realistically.Whether ancient or modern, worlds are always a sight to behold. Many of these worlds look like they were plucked straight from a fairy tale, complete with gigantic plants and animals. An extra effort was made to go deeper into the mythology, and as a fan of the Nordic source material, it was a joy to see the many strange and wonderful ways in which the mythical beings, humans, and places they inhabit were given to life. Sony has released 2 videos going in depth as to how they designed the new creatures.
There are perilous new dangers in these uncharted realms. If the 2018 resurgence has any flaws, it might be the lacklustre diversity of foes. Ragnarok, on the other hand, has no such problem because its bestiary has been greatly extended to include creatures of varying sizes and shapes. There are the usual suspects like draugr and elves, but there are also new enemies like the Grims, who are pretty grim scuttling toad people, and my personal favourite, the Einherjar, Aesir warriors who harness the power of the Bifrost to make a section of your health bar glow before removing that chunk on the next hit. Each contributes to the total, and the difficulty curve is always interesting while ever being unjust.
Ragnarok is never content to rest on its laurels, challenging you in fresh ways right up to the final boss. Despite the apparently unending amount of praise I have for God of War Ragnarok, I have just scratched the surface; I have left out dozens of secrets and surprises on purpose. I won’t give anything away for those who are just about to start playing, but know that the story and gameplay deliver on, and even exceed, your highest hopes.
God of War Ragnarok combines action and adventure to create a fresh and unforgettable Norse story, and it’s a sight to behold and a thrill to wield. It’s a masterpiece from start to finish, with flawless script, outstanding acting, and exciting sequences. It’s true to its concepts and does justice to the sequel form by building on its previous incarnation while also venturing into new and fascinating territory. God of War: Ragnarok is a tremendous success that establishes a new benchmark, leaving many of its contemporaries in the dust. The fact that this success has been noticed at The Game Awards with its 7 awards is a testament to how broad and well thought out this game is.
Ragnarok is a worthy successor, carries the weight of being one successfully and gracefully. A great game to binge over the long weekend.
GG’s *best Kratos impression* BOOOOOOYSS!