- Total Score - 10/1010/10
Kratos and Atreus are the heart and steel that forge God of War Ragnarök into a flawless and fitting end to the Norse Saga.
Developer – Santa Monica Studio
Publisher – Playstation Game Studios
Platforms – PS5, PS4
Before its release, God of War had over 100 reviews, all going into the game’s incredible transformation from the previous entries in the series. The graphics and presentation of its story are entirely different in their approach. The evolution of Kratos as a lead character, his son Atreus adding a new layer of depth and heart to an otherwise bleak, one-note main character, resonated with critics and fans alike.
All of that is true, and it’s all riveting and helps God of War evolve from a cool-looking action game to one of the best action-adventure games of all time. That much is true, and if that’s all it was, it’s still a fantastic game and easy to recommend for newcomers or veterans alike.
Our experience with Ragnarök was a bit different. God of War Ragnarök continues Sony’s push into deep accessibility options, making the game much more enjoyable for players of all skill levels and disabilities.
The combat, in general, hasn’t been changed much but honed and refined from its predecessor. Each weapon has new options for freezing or burning, and you must use them during single fights to walk away unscathed.
Without giving too much away, various story sections will switch up the combat mechanics. They are always welcome additions to the sandbox and weapon experience God of War provides. They add new forms of combat and traversal but never diminish the returning weapons in any aspect whatsoever.
God of War Ragnarök returns the previous RPG features, with new additions for each option and options to choose from. Runes, armor, hilts, and more, but never go into a hardcore loot direction. You can get XP, and you level up, but it’s not done through farming.
It isn’t a game where you can power level or use co-op; the action is always pure. Every combat encounter is designed and balanced according to what you will have on hand in the game. Every enemy is placed with a purpose, and as hard or impossible as every battle seems, you can always get through it.
Accessibility and Action go hand in hand.
- Written by Rebecca Ellis, Deaf Editor.
Once again, Sony is leading the forefront of widespread accessibility for players with disabilities. Motor, visual, audio, and physical, many gamers such as myself are usually left with our hands in the air as everybody boats about the next great game we can’t experience fully.
God of War Ragnarök brings 70 plus accessibility options to the forefront, on top of numerous difficulty levels. Ragnarök was an experience I could play, feel, and enjoy throughout my runtime due to many of the options Santa Monica has designed and implemented for players like myself. Sony has published a complete list of accessibility options in the link here.
Kratos and the journey he embarks on with a growing child, I can’t identify with being a father. Still, I identify as a widower, and the bond that grows despite an unfillable void can’t be replicated. Still, Ragnarök made me cry and truly touched those emotions. It provides an emotional catharsis, on top of gameplay bliss in its smooth action, now more accessible than ever.
End of Accessibility Discussion and my thoughts.
Every tool and move in Kratos’s set of skills is needed and pushed to the limits. The throwing axe goes from being a neat gameplay tool to pivotal for every encounter. Much like the pistol in Resident Evil 4, aiming it at legs to stagger enemies to set up more devastating combos or grab attacks is crucial. During a climactic fight with Thor, your defensive skills will be tested early in the story. It leads to a white-knuckle combat experience that isn’t afraid to tone down the yelling and fighting to be introspective and let you soak in its narrative and characters.
You will also see new areas beyond snow and ice for a change. Actual people living in the world immediately make the game feel alive. This is a welcome change; the only better thing is the vast accessibility options. Similar to the Last of Us Part 1, Santa Monica has made sure to include opportunities for vision, hearing, and motor function disabled players. It’s groundbreaking and even contains options everybody can take advantage of.
This intense, pulse-pounding action experience is only lifted by its fantastic story and narrative drive. Each layer of Kratos and Atreus is peeled back and explored in depth. Kratos has grown more somber and caring, and Atreus bolder and more confident. Their resolve and character dynamic elevate this sequel far above its predecessor.
You can tell that Santa Monica loves videogames in every aspect of Ragnarök design. Secrets, puzzles, combat arenas, it has something for everybody. It knows what it’s giving you and can almost sense when a mechanic is about to overstay its welcome or you wish for one aspect to change and become more pleasant. At those moments, Ragnarök always delivers that slight pivot to the story’s flow, adding the element you thought it was missing.
God of War Ragnarök is a once-in-a-generation experience. It goes alongside Halo, Ocarina of Time, and Shadow of Colossus as games I wish I could forget about to experience it fresh all over again.