God of War: Ragnarok Review – The original God of War was released back in 2018 and was awarded Game of the Year by many gaming and media outlets, along with other numerous awards. I was actually playing it about 1-2 years ago so the memory was still fresh when I’ve started playing and reviewing the recently-released sequel, God of War: Ragnarok (on the PS5).
The original game was praised for its story, graphics, art direction, sound, combat system, memorable characters, and many more. Thankfully, all these treats remain in the sequel and while the new game may feel like an expansion to the original (due to many similarities), it is okay and I’m sure this game will also win many awards like its predecessor. Yes, God of War: Ragnarok is that good and if you’ve played the original, then you must continue on with your journey and will not be disappointed.
Please note that this review may contain spoilers – though I’ll really try not to reveal anything big as I don’t like spoilers. Saying that, screenshots may contain spoilers of its own (like characters you’ll meet or enemies you’ll face).
The story continues on with Kratos and his son, Atreus, in search for answers of what they saw on the final scene of the God of War and as the threat of Ragnarok grows closer. Will they succumb to their fate? There is a short recap option on the main menu to refresh your mind as it might have been a while since you played the first game.
And if you’ve played the first game (well, you should, before playing Ragnarok), you’ll feel like home here. You’ll still see (and play) your beloved characters and the game still has that impressive graphics and atmosphere. You will be travelling through the whole nine realms this time compared to the original, and each realm will have its own distinct setting, atmosphere, and types of enemies. The design team had emphasised before that they wanted each realm to be different from one another and they’ve definitely succeeded in making this happen.
Muspelheim is brimming with lava, fire, and heat – in contrast to Niflheim with its majestic jungle and beautiful landscape. And yes, the landscapes of all realm are stunning on their own, the creatures are varied, and you’ll also meet a variety of Norse gods – along with some of their history and background to unfold and read.
Combat system will also feel familiar here if you’ve played the first game. You’ll have to juggle between different weapons, with a mix of light and heavy runic attacks, along with some light combo to complete. Some skills with certain weapons can further be exploited by switching to a different weapon while hitting your enemies. Switching and utilising these element attacks are powerful and make combat seamless yet powerful for advanced players. If you just want to stick on using one weapon, you technically can, 90% all the time.
And yes, you can still throw your Axe and recall it back like before too. There are some new Runic attacks and moves for sure, and a few extras to make attacks a bit more powerful and varied when customised.
The shield makes a comeback too but this time around, there are plenty of different types of shields available that you can craft and equip according to your playstyle. The one I use is more forgiving to land that perfect parry and can lash out a quick counterattack after. But if you are a blocker, you might want to craft the heavier shield that can block heavier attacks.
Most puzzles are similar to the previous game; if the game wants you to go left, just go right first as you’ll most likely find a chest or two to open. Some puzzles might take a while to solve, but none of them are ever frustrating. Your companion also gives a hint or two after you are scratching your head for a while, which I really appreciate. I find that I’ve never had to search online for an answer because I ended up figuring things out even if it may take a while.
In fact, Playing God of War: Ragnarok rarely feels frustrating because there are options that you can change to avoid unnecessary “time wasters”. For example, you can change the game’s overall difficulty setting, turn on miniboss checkpoint (i.e if you’ve taken the boss to half-health (or lower) and you die, the boss will spawn with just half a health), longer time on time-based puzzles, etc.
Another interesting game design is that your adventure is a single, continuous one and that really adds more immersion into the game. When you’ve done with a place, there is always a shortcut back into where you come from (so you don’t waste time having to travel all the way back again. Companions’ banter also helps in filling the story gaps and understanding each character more as you explore and progress through the storyline.
Apart from the main storyline, there are collectibles and side quests you can complete to gain more experience, crafting components, and sometimes a new armour set. These side quests (called Favours) usually have a story behind them and worth completing.
God of War: Ragnarok Review Conclusion
There is no doubt that God of War: Ragnarok is going to be one of the prime candidates for Game of the Year (again). It’s brimming with deep lore, great gameplay mechanics, breath-taking design and graphics, memorable characters, great voice acting, soundtrack, and many more.
With the help of great voice acting, great facial and body animation, and script, God of War: Ragnarok will keep you on your controller as you unfold the story towards the end.
God of War: Ragnarok is definitely one of the games that should be on top of your list for this upcoming Christmas holiday season.
I completed the whole game within 36 hours (including Favours, but not the ones where you have X amount of things to do or kill).
Disclosure: God of War: Ragnarok review licence was supplied for reviewing
The sequel to God of War (2018) may feel very familiar but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is just an expansion to the original. It’s still a masterpiece
- Stunning visual and audio design
- Memorable characters
- Epic story and lore
- Great combat for both beginner and advanced gamers
- Have many options you can turn on to make the game less frustrating (if you want to)
- A single, continuous take of the whole game
- Some parts of the story may bore a few (if you just want non-stop actions) like when you have to collect some food for a kind of animal (don’t want to spoil the story here). And it takes a while too
- Lots of familiarities to the original, it’s more of a Part II than a sequel