Given how well received God of War’s reboot was in 2018, Sony Santa Monica had the daunting task of coming up with a sequel that expanded upon 2018’s mechanics and lore, while adding in a ton of new content to make it stand out from its predecessor. And while that is a tall order to fulfill, Sony has somehow lived up to the task and crafted a better sequel in (almost) every way.
Ragnarok takes place after the events of the 2018 reboot with father and son bracing for Ragnarok aka the Nordic apocalypse due to the events that transpired in the reboot. If you haven’t replayed the reboot recently, there’s a quick recap you can watch from the Main Menu. This should bring you up to speed before you head out on your epic adventure that includes exploring different realms, fighting a host of new enemies and doing whatever you can to prevent Ragnarok.
Ragnarok is structured a lot like the God of War reboot where you’ll play through some cinematic linear levels – and can then – at your leisure, explore the semi open-world ones. In those larger areas, you can embark upon the main quest, or hunt for side-quests to further explore the realm or earn better loot. Much like the 2018 reboot, loot plays a big role in Ragnarok, but much like the reboot, it doesn’t seem super fleshed out. Sure the system is a bit deeper than it used to be, but finding newer pieces of gear wasn’t a very exciting proposition especially since most of them came with minor upgrades. As a result of this, we just kept upgrading our starting gear for nearly half the game.
Kratos too can be upgraded in different ways, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. Hunting down apples and horns will gradually improve your health and rage bar, while the XP you earn from killing things can be used to upgrade your arsenal and learn new moves. Unlike the reboot, you start Ragnarok with both the Leviathan axe as well as the Blades of Chaos. Both weapons still possess their elemental abilities – so the axe freezes while blades burn, but this time, certain enemies can only be damaged with certain elemental attacks. If you’re the skilled kind, you can even mix and match your attacks and enemies once frozen will take more burn damage and vice versa.
Again this isn’t something you haven’t seen before; it’s just a more polished and satisfying version of what you experienced in Ragnarok’s predecessor. But what you probably haven’t seen in a while is just how violent Kratos used to be. Sure he did his fair share of chopping, cutting and maiming in the GOW reboot but Ragnarok takes decapitation and brutality to new levels. And finishers will also change depending on enemies – and the weapon you possess, so keep experimenting.
If there’s one thing that quite didn’t land in our opinion would be the game’s pacing. Many sequels suffer from this – and Ragnarok is no different. The game fires on all cylinders for the first few hours and the pace just tanks after ten odd hours (or more depending on how much side content you play through). Sadly we can’t discuss this segment because it falls into spoiler territory, but this particular section feels like it went on forever – trying to cram in way too much lore and exposition. Thankfully after that, the game picks up again and there’s more than enough bloodshed to whet your appetite.
God of War Ragnarok is definitely a game that deserves a spot in your PlayStation library. It improves upon almost every aspect of its predecessor and is an absolute technical marvel as well. Those of you expecting a radically different sequel – or a game that will reinvent the wheel may feel a bit short changed. However if you go in expecting more God of War, this game won’t disappoint.