A quick warning: If you haven’t played 2018’s God of War, please note that this review will have some spoilers from the first game, as Ragnarok is a direct follow up to the reboot.
God of War Ragnarok picks up from where its predecessor left off. Kratos and Atreus are on the run from Freya, who is out to take Kratos’ life for killing her son Baldur. Odin is tightening his grip on the nine realms, and Fimbulwinter has set in. Traversal between these lands has become difficult, and Odin’s minions scour every corner of each land.
The quality of writing from the reboot continues in Ragnarok. Diving deeper into the mysteries of this world ending event, as well as each character’s role in it. The narrative is everything a sequel to God of War should be. It hits each emotional note perfectly, whilst maintaining tension between the title’s protagonists. The sense of humour is also next level, with many of the jokes and one-liners causing me to crack up. If you enjoyed the story in 2018’s entry, you will absolutely love the narrative here!
Wielding the Leviathan Axe in God of War Ragnarok
Okay, so diving into Ragnarok, you already know what to expect. The mechanics are largely similar to the previous entry, with some touch ups to make combat feel a bit smoother. Enemies are also easier to stun, especially when making use of Atreus’ support abilities. On that point, there are a variety of new abilities available, both for the Ghost of Sparta and his *ahem* “BOY”. These skills as well as a host of other new upgrades and features are a very welcomed addition to Kratos’ latest outing, as Atreus is now a much more active support when you come up against the various creatures and foes in the nine realms.
However, one feature did get relegated to being optional. And that is the quick turn ability. By default, it is not mapped to any button on the controller. You instead have to go searching for it in the gameplay menu, and map it to a swipe input on the touchpad. I guess Santa Monica Studios must have realised just how useless the quick turn is. But it is nice that they have still implemented it for the few that do actually use it.
A Less Angry Kratos
One other feature which has seen a slight downgrade is the Spartan Rage. In Ragnarok, it’s more like a Spartan Exasperation, as Kratos seems to do far less damage with it than in the previous title. However, it did receive some other perks with it which more than makes up for the God of War’s slightly softer approach.
God of War Ragnarok also rectified a big issue with 2018’s entry. And that is the lack of boss variety. Anyone remember those troll-like creatures that we had to fight several times that were just re-skins of each other? Well, thankfully, Ragnarok did away with them and instead features a whole new range of bosses of various shapes and sizes! These new encounters are much more unique and offer different challenges. Sure, some of them you can just wail-on with the Leviathan Axe, but I would not advise this approach for each battle. Otherwise, you may find that Kratos will become more ghost than spartan.
God of War Ragnarok’s Stunning Landscapes
As expected, God of War Ragnarok looks absolutely stunning! Each of the nine realms has been recreated to take full advantage of the power of the PS5. And it really pays off! Each area is designed really well to remind you of your previous journey through them, whilst still keeping things fresh so that you don’t just feel like you’re trudging through the same old places again. All round, Ragnarok seems bigger than its 2018 counterpart, with more options for exploration in each of the realms. The game also does have a graphics option which allows you to choose whether you would prefer to prioritise image quality or framerate. I chose image quality, and honestly, I haven’t had any noticeable performance issues.
God of War Ragnarok does everything that a sequel should do, excellently! The narrative is a perfect follow-up to God of War’s story, featuring truly breathtaking landscapes throughout the nine realms. Overall, God of War Ragnarok is a stellar entry in the series that belongs on every PlayStation owner’s shelf.
By Samuel Incze – Reviewed on PlayStation 5
God of War Ragnarok is a perfect example of how a video game sequel should be done. Showcasing a narrative that faithfully continues the story from 2018’s reboot, Ragnarok has many surprises hidden away in its stunning realms. Each realm looks breathtaking and takes full advantage of the PS5’s hardware. The gameplay is exactly what you would expect, with various touch-ups and upgrades to make this feel like a true next-gen experience. If you own a PS5, this belongs on your shelf!
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Santa Monica Studio and Sony Interactive Entertainment. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website