Published on November 4th, 2022 | by Tory Favro
God of War: Ragnarok Review
Summary: God of War: Ragnarok is just that; an experience to be treasured.
With the first God of War game being a critically and publicly acclaimed game, it was a real wait and hold your breath time to see if developer Santa Monica would deliver the goods with their sequal God of War: Ragnarok.
With baited breath we waited, as little tidbits of information made their way through the Internet webs to our screens, unless of course you are like myself, and avoid all of this sort of thing like the plague! Finally, the moment arrived in the form of a 12 figure alpha numeric code. Ragnarok, was here.
It’s been a long time since I was excited as I was for a sequel to a game. Of course I realise, there have been other times that I’ve looked forward to a follow-up title, moments like the BioShock games, Metal Gear Solid, and of course the Batman Arkham titles. But this was a game that is special, this is a game with a story that almost any player can feel something whilst undertaking. Did they deliver? Was the lightning to strike twice? No pun intended of course! I’m here to tell you almost without any hesitation, this game is everything that you want it to be and then some.
Taking place shortly after the first God of War game, we are immediately thrown back into the world of Kratos, the Greek God of War and his son Atreus. If you have not played the first game I really do suggest you do it immediately, it is something absolutely magical to play and contains storylines that you really need to experience for yourself. For those who cannot be bothered or only want to take advantage of next-generation graphics, there is a prologue that will show you what happened in the first God of War game, and as good as it is, it does no justice to just sitting down to a satisfying campaign and figuring out just how complex the father-son relationship is between our two protagonists.
As much is the first game was a father-son story, it is as well here, however with some delicate intricacies thrown in. Atreus is older and trying to make sense of the world that he inhabits whilst still trying to please his gruff father. It was weird to see the slight changes to Atreus from the first game, in particular he has filled out and as he still has the same voice actor playing the role so his voice is still the same, yet oh so different. Kratos is still the gruff bearded warrior that we know and love, struggling to make sense of the Norse world that he inhabits. Add to that a son that he rapidly feels that he does not understand who questions everything, and has secrets and powers that even Kratos himself does not have the answers to. It is to this end they make their way through the world, realms of existence in fact, to seek answers.
One of the challenges with doing this review, is that it is so story rich, the game that is, that I do believe it would be negligent to just give you spoilers throughout. My aim is to let you know whether the game is worth playing or not without hinting at things that may affect how you feel when undertaking this beautiful tale.
From a graphics perspective, Ragnarok is utterly stunning. You have a couple of ways you can play this, either in performance or graphics modes. I did try both, and I struggled to see the difference between the two. There was a little bit more shine and polish in graphics mode however it was tampered with a slight reduction in frame rate. I really wanted this game to be the best it could be hence I played in performance mode with the exception of the time that I was testing for this review.
Ragnarok plays silky smooth, regardless of what is going on on screen, effects taking place or even the general environment. I could not fault just how amazingly this title was from start to finish. I was also lucky playing review code, but despite the fact that Santa Monica released a patch to fix a couple of little issues, I experienced absolutely no problems with the title whatsoever at any stage playing the game. Which is exactly what you want particularly when playing a triple A title.
Audio is stunning throughout, and totally suits the mood of the game. The soundtrack will be something that I look to purchase, as I did with the first God of War game. Battle sounds feel authentic, and the cinematic score rises and falls depending on the action on screen. Voice acting sounds perfect and echoes and audio cues feel valid as the game environment changes. This is just something that has been a labour of love, and shines, and once again really hammers home the reason why Playstation has really made sure their exclusives are the reason to make their console the one of choice.
Of course, you will see many mythical entities from the Norse Pantheon including Odin, Thor, and many more. After the initial tutorial stage at the start of the game, you are thrown into intense combat and a storyline that should have your heart pounding. If it’s not, please go see your doctor, you just might not have a heart! I will let you know one thing in case you’re wondering, our favourite head on a belt is back, Mimir, eyeful one was very happy with this. Everything good about the game the first go round is featured immediately, which should reassure returning players, and fascinate those who are giving this a crack for the first time.
Environments are stunning, and the difference between them as you venture through realms, just as you did in the first game is testament to the environmental designers of Ragnarok. You really do feel as though you’re playing a new title with each area, and the way to traverse those areas is very different from the last game. Sindri is back to help you along with his bad tempered brother. They do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of lightening the story, they also provide you with means of upgrading your gear using things you find along the way. This is by no means a looter shooter, but I would strongly recommend you smash and bash everything that you come across in this game. It is something that I probably spend too much time doing, but in a game as gorgeous as this, I did not resent it once.
I would recommend you keep a box of tissues nearby, this game as a father hit me in all sorts of different ways saying just how lost at times Kratos was in dealing with Atreus. The teen going through the struggles of young adolescence, Kratos not understanding why he is not simply being blindly obeyed as he has been for all of his sons life. I think it is something that we all go through as parents when our child makes the transition from total dependence to trying to get a sense of who they are in the world. This being made more difficult with Atreus having a mysterious origin that is unexplained due to the fact his mother having many unspoken secrets about her own history before she passed away.
By the end of this game you will feel exhausted, exuberant, the best of all you will feel fulfilled. This is nearly a perfect game. In fact the only part of the game I struggled with at all, is the fact that even more than the last game it felt very very linear. Invisible walls will stop you at every turn, and whilst I do understand this, it is frustrating to see a figure as tall and strong as Kratos not being able to step over a small rock, or on it for that matter to advance up the tiniest of inclines. I’ve always detested this method of advancement, but, in all fairness, I cannot think of a better way to have tackled progression.
It just feels a little bit odd at times. This is the smallest of complaints about a game that is so stunning and majestic, just like its predecessor, I guarantee you’re going to be talking about the story and the feelings you had playing the game for a very long time to come. It’s moments like this that made me so very glad to be a PlayStation owner and have the opportunity to have this experience. Imagine immersion to the extent that you leave your lounge room and spend your time with Kratos the God of War as he hacks and slashes his way across creation, On a quest to help his son understand himself and his relationship with the universe.
If you are on the fence with this game, trust me, this is a title that you will regret missing out on if you wait for the price to go down. It is so heavily story dependent that there is no way you will be able to go on social media without inadvertently finding out things that should be a pleasant surprise discovered within the game itself! I implore you to make sure you grab your copy at launch so as not to miss a single special moment by yourself and not through the experience of others.
God of War: Ragnarok is just that; an experience to be treasured.