Four years ago, one of Sony’s greatest video game franchises released a game that took the world by storm…literally. Five years after the conclusion to the original trilogy, God of War (2018) demolished records, reinvented the franchise, and humanized the bloodthirsty titular God of War, Kratos, in a way no fan could ever have imagined. Now, four years later, the promise of Ragnarök has finally been released, and the game could not be any more amazing.
Santa Monica studios has been hard at work over the last few years working on a sequel that would live up to their 2018 staple. With the fourth game being as amazing as it was, how does God of War: Ragnarök stack up?
The Story of Ragnarök – [Mild Spoilers for God of War (2018)]
The story of Ragnarök takes place three years after the ending of the previous game. Kratos (Christopher Judge) and his son Atreus (Sunny Suljic) have successfully stopped Baldur from seeking revenge against his mother, Freya (Danielle Bisutti), but at the consequence of beginning Ragnarök with Baldur’s death being the catalyst that begins the mythical Fimbulwinter, three years of snow and ice.
However, Atreus’ mother and Kratos’ wife Laufey’s last request of having her ashes scattered from the highest peak in all the realms has led to the duo to learn that Atreus’ real name is Loki, the mythical God of Mischief and Languages. With Atreus questing to learn the truth behind his given name, the duo is confronted by Thor and Odin in an attempt to prevent Ragnarök from beginning.
Kratos, as always, doesn’t take kindly to the threat, setting off a chain of reactions that leads the duo to search for the Norse God of War in an attempt to wage war on Odin and prevent the destruction of the Nine Realms.
While the story is still deeply seeded within the many retellings of Norse and Scandinavian Mythology, the story also holds weight as a family tale, continuing the character growth introduced in the 2018 entry between Kratos and Atreus. Kratos, finally free of the chains that hold him to his past and with a prophecy over his head that might lead to his death, begins to train Atreus to survive him once he is gone.
The relationship portrayed within the game does amazing to assist in building upon the character development introduced in 2018’s title and is definitely the core of the game’s story. However, unlike the previous game, this time you get to experience their relationship from both perspectives.
The Gameplay of God of War: Ragnarök
Those familiar with God of War (2018)‘s gameplay won’t find themselves strung out to dry. The game mechanics are all carried over from the previous title. However, the game’s way of progressing through the campaign can grow a little stale. The game focuses on four main aspects: Looting, Combat, Cutscenes, and Quick-Time Events.
The Looting definitely is worthwhile, as the more Hacksilver you collect, the better upgrades you can get from returning characters Brok and Sindri, the dwarf blacksmiths and friends of Kratos and Atreus. Unlike 2018’s entry, the game starts you off with both the Leviathan Axe and the Blades of Chaos, allowing you to upgrade both of them with interactive skill trees that make your weapons that much more powerful.
The Combat, on the other hand, can get repetitive as Kratos and another companion (not always Atreus) are forced to cut down the same enemies over and over to progress through the story. The one saving grace is that the game allows and requires you to travel between the Nine Realms in order to collect what you need to prevent Ragnarök.
The difference in the realms leads you to fight different enemies with different weaknesses. Some require Ice Attacks which you can use the Axe for. Some require Fire Attacks which you can use the Blades of Chaos for. And for those special enemies, Atreus is equipped with upgradable and unlockable arrows you can use to defeat enemies and solve puzzles.
The Quick-Time Events are all relatively simple. If you’ve played one before, you know what to expect. Mostly relegated to boss fights, the QTEs are always fast and easy to do. The bosses, on the other hand, aren’t so simple.
Some of the bosses you will encounter include the God of Thunder Thor, who is much different than most people would assume him to be, especially those who are looking for a hunky Australian with an affinity to make dumb jokes.
Others include the Wolf of Helheim, Gram, but one enemy to watch out for is Freya herself, who is after Kratos for killing her son in the previous installment. Each boss has unique QTEs, but most of them are also your typical “avoid the attacks and target their weaknesses” style fights. Learn to Dodge and Block and you should be relatively good to go.
Is Ragnarök worth buying?
Sitting pretty at the current average gaming price point of $60 USD, Ragnarök stands as an entertaining title worthy of the franchise. With a story that echoes the past entries while also telling an intricate tale of father and son, this entry will be sure to surprise and overjoy fans of the 2018 title. Though, as an Xbox player, I feel for those who are unable to enjoy playing this game.
The game is currently exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and 5. However, with God of War (2018) releasing on PC earlier this year, it isn’t out of the question that a PC port for Ragnarök will come as well.
You can purchase God of War: Ragnarök right now on the PlayStation store, or pick it up in stores today! For future updates on God of War content as well as other games to look out for, keep an eye on The Illuminerdi and be sure to follow our Twitter for more updates!