Game review: God of War Ragnarök
God of War as a franchise has always been one of the most popular PlayStation-exclusive game series of all time. The series started back in 2005 on the PS2 console, and many games from the franchise have been released since then.
The first God of War games were heavily action-oriented, containing epic boss battles and a fixed camera. Even though many people like the first three games of the series, the prequel released in 2013 called God of War: Ascension wasn't as well-received.
To give the series a much-needed new look, developer Santa Monica studio changed the franchise with the 2018 release of God of War on PS4. Instead of using a fixed camera system, God of War featured a behind-the-character camera and also had a new combat system.
It was also the first time in the series that the main character, Kratos, had an ally. In the 2018 video game, Kratos is joined by his young son Atreus who helps him during combat. Thanks to the success of God of War, Santa Monica has now released God of War Ragnarök in 2022 for both the PS5 and PS4 consoles.
God of War Ragnarok is set three years after the last game, and the pair want to prevent Ragnarök from destroying Asgard. Kratos is also a wanted man as he killed Baldur, who was the son of both Odin and Freya. Freya used to be a friend of Kratos and Atreus, but her son's death has made her seek revenge.
There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, although I'm not going to spoil any of the juicy parts. All I'm going to say is that Atreus and Kratos will meet several new characters in the story, and some will be big enemies or helpful allies.
One of the newer characters added to the game is Thor, and Kratos will have an early boss battle with the God of Thunder. Freya is also a character to watch out for, and she will battle Kratos and Atreus early on in the game as well.
Before I talk about the gameplay, I have to say God of War Ragnarök is easily one of the best-looking PS5 games of all time. The character models are exquisite to look at, and the level design is epic and beautiful.
The game also has many visual settings that you can set. The two settings I stuck with were Performance and Resolution. In Performance, the game is set at 60fps, and the gameplay looks buttery smooth during fast combat. If you choose Resolution, the graphical fidelity is high, and you get the best 4K graphics that the PS5 can deliver.
In terms of gameplay, God of War Ragnarök has similar combat to its immediate predecessor, although some new features have also been added to the game. Kratos' main weapons are still the enjoyable Leviathan Axe and the fiery Blades of Chaos from the original games too.
The Leviathan Axe works similarly to Thor's hammer, as Kratos can call it to come to him at any time. The axe also has cool ice properties that are really helpful to enemies that use fire. The axe can also freeze water, and this is important when you need to solve some puzzles.
The Blades of Chaos are fast chain-like weapons that have a fiery aura to them. Aside from setting enemies on fire, they can also be used to burn away poisonous plants that are fixated around chests that Kratos may want to open.
The last weapon that Kratos gets his hands on is a special golden spear. This spear is really powerful, and you will need to use it if you want to beat up a specific boss in the latter half of the game. The spear is pretty cool because you can use it to explode parts of the environment or even to get across high cliffs.
Atreus is also a big part of God of War Ragnarök, and Kratos will need him during many parts of the game. As controlled by the AI, most of the time, you can tell Atreus when to use his arrows to kill enemies and some boss fights. Some of his arrows are also helpful when you need to open specific doors during the nine realms, too.
Speaking of enemies, you have to face several epic boss battles, too. The cool thing about bosses is that the game's accessibility features give you visual cues as to when you should avoid or block attacks. If you play on the easier difficulty settings, they even allow you to have checkpoints during some boss battles too!
There are parts of the gameplay I cannot even talk about because it's something that Santa Monica has hidden during the game's marketing campaign. All I am going to say is that it makes the game feel different and adds a bit of variety to the gameplay. You'll know what I mean once you get your hands on the game itself very soon.
God of War Ragnarök does not have a multiplayer mode like God of War: Ascension, but this does not mean you won't have a fun, long time with the game. Ragnarök took me around 24 hours to complete all of the main missions and some side quests. Many more hours are expected if you want to 100% the game or try to get all of the trophies!
God of War Ragnarök is also very accessible as the game is kind to newbies and people who need help solving puzzles. If you are stuck on a puzzle, the AI characters will always give you clues on how to solve them. You can even press the R3 button to guide you to the next area.
God of War Ragnarök is a near-perfect game because I don't have any flaws I can name. The only thing that might disappoint some people is that you cannot skip cutscenes. The game doesn't have a photo mode yet either, as that feature is coming in a future update instead.
Overall, God of War Ragnarök is easily the best game I have played in 2022, and it is arguably the greatest PS5 game ever made. I would even go as far as saying that Ragnarök is my favourite God of War game of all time. If you have a PS5 or PS4, you should pick up this game ASAP!