From going on a journey to the highest peak of all the realms to challenging the rulers of Asgard, God of War Ragnarök continue the acclaimed God of War series from where it left off. While there may exist a few hiccups here and there, a few missed opportunities, some unexpected bugs, and gameplay that’s wholly ripped off God of War 2018, the game manages to keep you engaged throughout its lengthy story and doesn’t disappoint, for the most part.
The game brings the same formula brought by God of War 2018. By the same formula, I meant bringing the entire gameplay of the previous game down to even the same animations while tweaking some things to make the gameplay a bit more enjoyable than in 2018.
Making combos easier to execute certainly makes it more enjoyable and encourages experimenting with other weapons, runic attacks, arrows, and companion abilities. The game is best played on Give Me God of War or Give Me No Mercy; the difficulty of the bosses and enemies makes the game more exciting going into a fight, the gameplay being straightforward, and the gear not being that complex doesn’t make it that discouraging.
Speaking of the bosses, the quality and quantity of the bosses were improved tenfold. Gone are the days of only having 4 or 5 unique bosses in God of War 2018 that are reused for most of the game. God of War Ragnarök has great bosses with a lot of variety; there are reused bosses, but they don’t overstay their welcome; they are only there for side quests and some activities, which is good for what they are.
In general, the combat is just the same as God of War 2018; even the new content doesn’t do it any favors when comparing them, it has the same feel, and you could bring your knowledge of it and still feel like you’re playing the same game which is a shame since this game had a lot of potentials if they tried some new things with it. Still, maybe that experiment will begin with the next God of War game.
The nine realms in God of War Ragnarök somewhat failed in its mission to expand the Norse world, with realms like Midgard left ravaged thanks to Fimbulwinter, removing any of the great and beautiful areas in God of War 2018, Alfheim wasn’t as big as expected other than its deserts, and the other realms, with the exception of Svartalfheim, were pretty bland overall.
God of War 2018 had fewer realms but still had beautiful areas, with Midgard taking most of the game’s time but still looking stunning with its different areas. If this game had more time to flesh out everything, it would’ve been much better than what we ultimately got.
Since God of War 2018 never had any DLC, it would be tricky to predict how the realms could be improved without significantly increasing the game’s length. Either way, it mainly attributed to spending too much time in certain realms of the game, like Svartlfheim and Vaneheim; more time in Helheim or some of the primordial realms, like Musphelheim and Niphelheim, would’ve been much better for the game’s story.
The story of Ragnarök starts great with the threat of Fimbulwinter and the repeated attacks from Freya; after these daily routines for Kratos, Atreus, and Mimir, the story is pretty exciting with great twists and sequences, but the ending flips everything over its head, with a boring ending and multiple mysteries from God of War 2018 not followed up upon or even mentioned, as well as a major plot point is completely wasted in the end and ultimately turns to a huge waste of time. A shame since if that single ending were executed properly, we would’ve been looking for a definitive masterpiece from Santa Monica.
The long campaign of God of War Ragnarök does not disappoint and keeps you excited to see what happens next throughout the game, from the early to the mid-game being the game’s highlights. The late game is where things fall apart in terms of missed opportunities, illogical storytelling, boring endings, and final bosses. Truly a shame that they ultimately couldn’t live up to the expectations set up by God of War 2018, but they were near-impossible expectations that Cory Barlog set on the team, only to work on something else later on.
It’s hard to give this game any more than 8 out of 10; it fails to have the greatness of 2018 but manages to keep you excited throughout the early and mid-game, with interesting story twists and sequences. Here’s hope that the next God of War will exceed expectations, and will no doubt be set in the Egypt or Japanese mythology, thanks to the Giants having the same knowledge as Tyr, who was said to traverse mythologies, and the existence of them being confirmed in 2018. Good game, but just not enough to be genuinely great.