Ladies and gentlemen Kratos and Atreus are back! After the bombastic reintroduction to gaming’s angriest protagonist, we have had to wait several long years for the next step in his journey to kill every Pantheon under the sky. Weclome to God of War Ragnarök.
Where do we go now?
It’s been years since God of War, it has also been years in game. Since the events of God of War rocked the Nine Realms Kratos, Atreus and Mimir have been holding up in Midgard living through Fimbulwinter the precursor to the fabled Ragnarok. During this period they’ve been training and holding off a vengeful Freya (they did kill her son so I get it).
Then the hammer drops. Thor, god of thunder arrives and with a whole pantheon of new and terrifying problems. From there our heroes must take up arms and defend the Nine Realms from the Gods of Asgard.
In 2018 God of War swept through the world of gamers and blew everyone’s minds. Between the compelling storytelling, the remarkable acting and the engaging gameplay mechanics it was worthy of every award it won. It’s a lot to live up to. Does God of War Ragnarök achieve this lofty labour? Honestly no it doesn’t but it gets damn close.
The main reason that it falters is that the gameplay of God of War Ragnarök is incredibly reminiscent of the 2018 title. Much like other late game PlayStation 4 titles, Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales, Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us Part 2 God of War Ragnarök treads familiar territory with its gameplay.
This is due to the usage of the same two weapons for a large portion of the game. Meaning the mechanics from the previous title are recycled. Thankfully a new weapon comes into play and with a whole new mechanic as well as associated puzzles are introduced. Also the battle system is relatively unchanged. It is more expanded upon with new abilities, skills and even companions for Kratos to battle against the forces of Asgard with.
I know you, godkiller
Where God of War Ragnarök excels in my opinion is its story and the world it is being told in. It is filled with tons of memorable characters with even more memorable stories. From the smallest squirrel to the largest god (it’s Thor) everyone is given backstories, motivations and character arcs. Also the world of God of War Ragnarök may have players revisiting all of the realms in the first game but they all have a fresh coat of paint. With Ragnarök almost in full swing many of the locations look completely different. They are also filled with all manner of new and brutal enemies. This doesn’t even take into account the many sidequests that litter each realm fleshing out this mythical world.
Add to this a compelling and tense retelling of the mythological Ragnarök and you have an unforgettable experience. Watching Atrues and Kratos hurtle towards Ragnarök and try to keep a grip onto each other is a bittersweet journey filled with blood, gore and glory.