God of War Ragnarok Review: The Boy Is Back in Town

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Angry dad is coming back, somehow angrier and dad.

In God of War Ragnarok, Kratos is still a very sad dad. But four years after Sony’s Santa Monica reboot of God of War in 2018, his own misguided parenting attempts aren’t that important.: his son Atreus — a young and inexperienced flaw in the first game — is now a clumsy teenager and a more experienced fighter. although with the same naive charm.

Kratos still commands Atreus roughly, but it is the boy who is the driving force of the story, and the narrative of the sad father from the original game is now shifting to how Kratos can take a step back and let Atreus make his own decisions leading to the father. and the son is dynamically moving to partnership. Mimir, the Scandinavian god of knowledge and wisdom, also returns, as well as the disembodied head — riding on Kratos’ belt and providing context, a convenient indicator that enemies are behind you (because he is tied to the back of your belt), and a small icon. the amount of pathos.

Later, you’ll even manage Atreus for a while—although it doesn’t feel significantly different-with another companion. However, the chat between Kratos, Atreus and Mimir is a highlight that carries a lot of quieter moments of the game. Kratos is funny just like Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy is funny, with humor ripped from his seriousness while everyone around him plays along with him. I smiled a few times while playing, and Christopher Judge (Kratos), Sunny Suljik (Atreus) and Alastair Duncan (Mimir) deserve praise even for the mundane chatter while you move from one goal to another. Several times I’ve been slow before getting to the goal so that conversations play out, and, reader, I hate to be idle.

My lateness with the appearance of any heroic deed next on Kratos’ list was helped by visual effects. You start the game in the snowy wastelands of Midgar, gripped by an apocalyptic winter. It’s amazing snow, but it’s just snow. However, soon you will travel to different worlds, visit Svartalfheim and see the beautiful views and incredible effects of water and ray tracing.

This is impressive in several ways. The accuracy is excellent, which is what I expected from the PS5 at the moment, but also because the artwork is excellent. However, the fantastic locations you explore are phenomenal and help you forget that you are, in fact, exploring a series of small areas, instead convincing you that you are exploring a big world.

The same applies to the monsters you encounter. In the very early stages in Midgar, you encounter raiders, and they are vaguely humanoid and vaguely selfless. Aside from fighting with the hilarious villain Thor, you’re basically just hooligans and throwing a bunch of people into the snow with your giant evil fists. However, as soon as you start moving on, your enemies become more and more strange and wonderful.

Not that it mattered to me, I was just there to beat them with an axe. The fight is intrusive because there is real weight in breaking God of War Ragnarok. Kratos thrashes furiously, but every swing of Leviathan’s Axe still has weight, and you feel a slight resistance as he breaks free with his trademark Chaos Blades.

Kratos is a big guy and his fighting style is strength and fury, he avoids speed and agility, and every time you fight a lot of different threats in the game, you get a unique experience. The release of Kratos’ rage still seems formidable as he moves like an enhanced version of himself, moving through arenas to knock people down with his bare hands.

Elsewhere, the weapon has the same sense of power as in the 2018 reboot, but with a few additional benefits. Now you can charge your weapon to give it a little elemental thrill before girding some enemies, and the game’s skill trees include some interesting abilities that you can use in combat.

Take into account the fact that Atreus will now be stuck on your behalf to distract enemies or deal with them, in addition to the fact that you jump into battle from time to time to hit someone with your bow, and you have a combat system that is elegantly based on God of War. .

The only disappointing thing about God of War Ragnarok is that, from a mechanical point of view, there is little innovation in it. Compared to the last game, you will still fight a lot, grumble and solve puzzles. A favorite corn in game development is breaking the rope to make things fall, and you’ll be doing it in Ragnarok more than you could ever imagine. See also pulling objects out of the way and shuffling along ledges. This is what is the bread and butter of a movement-based adventure game like Uncharted, but here I would just like to use this time to take my very specific skill set (mindless killing, god killer, being bald and evil) and just dive into new fights.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time: God of War Ragnarok is a blast. It’s just that after the 2018 reboot, Kratos and the franchise became more mature, and I was hoping for a bolder choice.

God of War Ragnarok is released on November 9 on PS4 and PS5. We played on PS5.

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