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God of War Ragnarok Review



OUR SCORE - 10/10


In 2018, God of War took us to the Norse lands. After making short work of the Greek gods, Kratos sought refuge in the cold north. Here he founded a family with Faye, but the quiet life soon came to an end. What followed was a beautiful, yet violent journey through different realms to fulfill Faye's last wish. During the adventure, a picture of the future for Kratos and Atreus was also sketched and it became clear that peace would not return soon. Now, four years later, we picked up the ax again and set off again with the duo.



God of War was originally a franchise that mainly emphasized action. As the series grew older and more parts appeared, the importance of the story increased. In the previous God of War that was taken to a whole new level because Kratos had something to live for with Atreus. The young man was prepared for a hard and dangerous life, in which he still had a subordinate role to his father. The result was an exciting development in a father-son bond, which continues in God of War: Ragnarök. Atreus is also a bit older now and you notice that he fights more freely from his father.



Kratos's continuous watchful eye hangs more and more like a shadow over Atreus, who, like any other normal teenager, has trouble with it. The sometimes stubborn choices that the young man makes can get him into trouble, but that is exactly how a child learns to develop. In this adventure, Kratos increasingly notices that he is losing his firm grip on his son, realizing that Atreus is becoming more and more mature. In this game you get to see that development well and that again shows the paternal side of Kratos, which is a unique insight into his character. After all, emotions are played with, where in the earlier parts it was mainly a (logical) feeling of revenge.



God of War: Ragnarök is, of course, much more than a story about father and son. The future of their living environment is at stake, due to previous actions and the combination of circumstances. We won't give details for the sake of spoilers, but we would like to tell you that the game tells a fascinating story about the gods, prophecies, giants, and much more. On the one hand, you enjoy the story through the many cut scenes that are presented between the setpieces and the action, on the other hand, the game is packed with side missions, books with stories to look up, and so on. This fills in the lore down to the smallest details. You can easily lose yourself in reading all the extra stories after finishing the game.



All this makes the overall story that God of War: Ragnarök presents you fascinating from start to finish. Expect surprising plot twists. What also plays a role in this is that you will again visit different realms. This way you set off again in Muspelheim, Midgaard, Helheim, Alfheim, but also realms that you have not visited in the previous game. So some realms are recognizable, but in many cases the developer presents you with a different part, so it doesn't feel like cheap recycling. The realms you haven't visited before are all really enjoyable because of the variety they form.

Each realm has a completely different style and atmosphere, so it is always a surprise what you will discover. At times you will really be amazed at the splendor that is conjured up on the screen. The eye for detail is excellent and we found ourselves several times just taking a moment to enjoy the carefully designed levels. However, there is also work to be done and this is reflected in the regular combat associated with the story, as well as the many loose battles, collectibles and other elements that are necessary with regard to progression.



Since God of War: Ragnarök, like its predecessor, has an open structure, all realms can be visited separately from each other. This is fine between missions, so you can always deviate from the path to do a few side missions or collect collectibles. There is plenty to do and to give an indication of it. We finished the story itself in about 28 hours and the counter is now at 45 hours and we still haven't done everything the game has to offer. So there is certainly no lack of content and most importantly: nothing feels superfluous or unnecessary, it all fits perfectly into the whole. Thanks to the good gameplay you will not be bored for a moment and that is mainly due to the excellent variety between puzzling in the environments,



A well-known story, were it not for the fact that the layout of the menu is very confusing. It is brought more into the style of the game and although the decoration looks neat, it is a jumble of information that is fired at you. This is because there are perhaps too many possibilities to customize the weapons when it comes to the elements… It is a continuation of the basics we know from the previous part, which is fine in itself. But where the previous menu was still clear, it is now just an unclear mess and that can be a bit inconvenient. Especially since there is a chance that you will overlook elements that can come in handy.



This is the only point of strong criticism of God of War: Ragnarök, because once you've set things up the way you want them, you fight like hell. Among other things, Kratos can attack the enemies again with his axe. Of course the Blades of Chaos are not missing and combining all this together, along with good timing of special attacks and blocks, makes the gameplay incredibly cool to behold. It's very smooth, which makes fighting in the game a real pleasure. The gameplay with the ax also feels much more streamlined, making that weapon even nicer to use. Think of it this way: the combat of God of War was already excellent, this feels just that little bit more refined thanks to the many fluid moves, the ability to quickly switch between weapons and brutal finishers. In short: every fight is a real pleasure.



The combat is one of the most important points in the gameplay of God of War: Ragnarök and it now feels better than before. But the other components also make a valuable contribution to the total package. For example, the many different puzzles, which are combined with specific elements or not, are even more diverse than before. The level design is also of an excellent level, so that you really have the feeling that you have made a new discovery with every step you take. This ties in seamlessly with exploring, which is a great pleasure to experience in that way. And then you have the many different characters, even more than in the previous part. It is striking that each of the characters is voiced with a lot of soul. This makes them feel credible and convincing.



Of course, the game does not lack a wonderful soundtrack, which can be called epic at times, so that Sony Santa Monica Studio delivers a great job in that area. Exactly the same applies to performance. We have already mentioned that the different realms look beautiful. This is due to the many detailed environments that look beautiful thanks to the high resolution of the textures. The draw distance is also more than excellent, which means that, just like us, you will take a moment to look around several times. We also prefer the 'High frame rate' mode, where the game runs at a high frame rate, well above 60. Here you are presented with a resolution of 1440p.



You also have the option to prefer a 4K resolution against a frame rate target of 40fps. However, the graphical difference is negligible, so we quickly switched back to the aforementioned option after trying it. That means that you have the best of both worlds and it is very nice to have a high frame rate in combat. In that case too, a high frame rate is ultimately preferred for the smoothest playing experience.


Simply put, God of War: Ragnarok is the perfect sequel. It builds upon the 2018 reboot in a seamless way that welcomes both existing fans and new players, while taking the story and gameplay to the next level. We complained that the bosses lacked variety in the first game, but here, Sony and Santa Monica have gone beyond our expectations with their efforts, and God of War: Ragnarok is sure to be a top contender for GOTY this year.

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