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God of War: Ragnarok is that Good!

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Considering how successful and near perfect God of War (2018) was, it has set a high standard to be met by God of War: Ragnarok. To say the least, Ragnarok not only meets the expectation and hype that was set by the prior instalment. The developers also exceed all of it with improvements made to the gameplay, depth in story telling and the characters.

If you are someone who at all has some what of a peaked interest in God of War: Ragnarok but have not played the prior installment from 2018 and then definitely play the both in release order. However, if you were someone who had played God of War (2018) and were not sold on the gameplay or story then it might be in your best interest to wait for a sale perhaps. While I think everything has been improved upon and is better than the last game it is not a significant shift from what was that it would necessarily change someone’s mind.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

The story of Ragnarok takes the set-up established at the end of the last game and decides to utilize it as an excellent framing device and makes it an overall theme that services the direction of the story and is a tool to help further the development of Atreus and those the other characters that involved with him. By mixing the looming omen of Kratos’ death, the threat of Odin and the events of Ragnarok occurring across all the Nine Realms it creates genuine threat and tension in the game’s story that had me shaking in some moments worried about the fate of other characters besides our main leads that we have come to love. 

While Kratos is the face of the God of War franchise Atreus is undoubtedly the highlight of this game, but this is not to undermine the role and impact that Kratos has in the game. He contributes a great deal to the emotional beats of the story and is the reason why I teared up as much as I did experiencing this story. Atreus however is what drives the story, he is actively in this world trying to change his fate, his father’s and the fate of others that he has come across during their adventures. Such desire and drive leads Atreus to Odin however and that cascades the majority of the events that happens throughout the game.

One of these events leads Atreus to meet Angrboda who is another Jötun giant like Atreus which adds greatly to his own story that might act as set up for his own game one day seeing that the Jötun giants were presumed to have all been killed off. What has to be the most enticing moment of Atreus’ journey though is seeing how he interacts with Odin and other Asgardians. A highlight being Heimdall, whom I just loved to hate. Aside from our main characters though the brief stories we get from Freya, Sindri, Brock and Ymir as it relates back to Atreus’ story acts as amazing additions to help expand on their own tragedies that they foresee Atreus experiencing if he were to continue down a certain path. The characters and their stories truly are at the forefront of this game and is undoubtedly the priority by the creators.

A significant aspect of this series to consider though is the mythology that the game pulls from. As someone who merely has a brief and very loose idea of Norse Mythology I must say that the game has very interesting takes on events that transpire in mythology and twists them in ways that I did not expect. An example of this being the way the game decides to approach the idea of Atreus being the parent to the giant wolf named Fenrir. In the game’s interaction Fenrir was a normal wolf that Atreus had to let go but was able to capture its soul, and later puts the soul into a giant wolf named Gram, thus giving birth to this franchise’s iteration of Fenrir as a large wolf.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as the last but this time around it has been upgrade to be a bit more fast paced, has added a few new mechanics and the combat’s visuals have seen a refinement to make it so that seeing moments when the player is supposed to dodge or counter is easier than before. Unlike before though, Ragnarok allows the player to be Atreus.

While he is still a support character in combat for Kratos he does get his own combat style for players to use and personally I enjoyed using Atreus more than Kratos. His close ranged attacks combo very well into his ranged attacks which are the most satisfying to use when playing. As for Kratos, the game starts the player off with the same equipment players had at the end of the last game but without the skill upgrades. Nice additions made to the gameplay though is that the developers have added objects to throw or freeze and cliffs for Kratos to either jump off of to attack or areas for Kratos to briefly escape from combat.

Look, this game is better than the first, there is no doubts about that. Though the lengths that Santa Monica Studios has gone to to improve on it overall is what astounds me the most as a fan and gamer. I can not describe just how beautiful this game is and how profound it felt just to play. This game honestly sets a standard for video games for me and is honestly the reason why I purchased a PS5 so early on in the console’s life cycle, it was to experience this game to its fullest potential and I must say that I am a very satisfied buyer. Just absolutely phenomenal.

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