God of War Ragnarok Review – Is It ‘Too Bloody’?


What do you do after creating arguably the best video game ever? Sony Santa Monica is in a similar position to Francis Ford Coppola when he made the follow-up to his gangster movie classic The Godfather. The second chapter of the Corleone saga, like God of War: Ragnarok, focuses on a furious young relative who is under intense scrutiny. This allows it to match the quality of its forerunner and even surpass it in some respects. The script, acting, and score are all top-notch, bringing to life a vast Norse tapestry that will both capture your heart and break your bones. Everything comes together to create a massive action epic that is sure to become a landmark in the history of video games.

God of War Ragnarok Review

This is not one of those sequels where everything will make sense without playing the previous game, or at least watching the associated story recap, since Kratos’ journey begins up a few years after the closing revelations of 2018’s God of War (which is probably too brief to serve as anything but a jolt to the memory). Like one of Odin’s ravens, his son Atreus is caught up in the events leading up to Ragnarok. Atreus has spent the intervening years getting stronger, learning about his Giant name “Loki,” and attempting to convince his father to trust him, all while Fimbulwinter, a time of instability that presages Ragnarok, has arrived in full force. Kratos beams with pride as he watches Atreus show he’s no longer a child, and there are emotional references to the hunting scene from the 2018 God of War. However, Ragnarok doesn’t waste any time getting into the action, and the first stage of this new trip is to leave the freezing land of Midgard in search of a missing Norse deity in the vast and varied cosmos.

Ragnarok’s ambitions are significantly more extensive than those of 2018’s plot, which may be better conveyed in its entirety. This sweeping epic kept me on the edge of my seat as it continually twisted my expectations without ever getting disorienting. Its grand goals are almost always realized with breathtaking efficiency, and the forward motion never flags as you rush to the climactic climax. Including the time I spent on a few minor side quests, the total time I spent on this excursion was slightly over 28 hours.

At its core, the story revolves on a prophecy and a sacrifice, and it questions again and over again what it means to believe in fate, and whether or not blood truly is thicker than the ink that writes it. Rather than providing simplistic interpretations of these ideas, it digs deep into the motivations of each character to show them the respect they deserve. It’s a wonderfully epic ending to Kratos’ Norse saga that also helps him put to rest some troubling memories from his time in ancient Greece.

A bereaved mother is an unstoppable force because she is the source of both pain and wrath, which can easily turn into hate. Freya, played brilliantly with renewed ferocity by Danielle Bisutti, is a formidable antagonist in this sequel, and her shadow is considerably deeper than before. Ragnarok benefits from her expanded emotional range; she is no longer simply a forest witch who helps out the heroes.

Alastair Duncan’s severed head accessory Mimir continues to provide abundant levity and exposition, while Sunny Suljic’s acerbic, teenage tongue of a brasher, more confident Atreus provides regular comebacks. Several of the new members of the massively enlarged group give outstanding performances, with Laya DeLeon Hayes, who plays the mysterious Angrboda and exudes an irresistible intensity, standing out. Ben Prendergast’s Tr is endearingly feisty; he’s charmingly nuanced as the Norse God of War. While still providing you enhancements, the foul-mouthed Brok and the timid Sindri continue to deliver their special brand of dwarven charm. As they play a much more significant role in the tale this time around, they frequently provide humorous asides and a wealth of useful information.

Composer Bear McCreary is also back, and his score is as relentless as the dwarven smith brothers themselves. Along the way, you’ll hear some incredibly lovely music, and during the dramatic action scenes, you’ll hear blasts of raw symphonic strength. Even in Performance mode, which prioritizes a high frame rate, the game’s great costume and world design are on full display. The etchings on a blade and the clang of a cabinet door are only two examples of the care that went into making Ragnarok. The animation is superb, with bloodcurdling grimaces hurled at the camera in the midst of battle and realistic hair movement on Kratos’ less-follicularly challenged opponents.

However, in the latest God of War (2018), Kratos underwent one of the most amazing transformations for a character in video game history, going from a bloodthirsty revenge machine to a father merely trying to do his best while grappling with the sins of his past. While the thrill of shedding an ocean’s worth of blood may have been exhilarating at the time, the consequences of his actions continue to weigh heavily on our formerly enraged Kratos. Santa Monica Studio embraced their legendary character and made him even better by embracing the possibility of crafting a deeper, more intricate story, much like Kratos wished Atreyus would attain his full potential.

Kratos and Atreyus have returned for God of War: Ragnarök, four years after this incredible change, and Kratos’ development is still remarkable. When we were initially introduced to Kratos in 2005’s God of War, he was enveloped in flames, drenched in blood, and staring crazily into the player’s eyes. However, before starting Ragnarök, we witness a bearded Kratos in a cave, his expression one of doubt, pain, and perhaps, for the first time, dread. After the events of God of War 2018, Kratos realizes how easy it would be for him to lose the only family he has left in Atreyus, and this is in stark contrast to the original series, in which we saw what happens when Kratos loses his wife and child and the absolute destruction he can lay down after having what matters most ripped away from him.

God of War’s filmic ambitions are driven home by multilayered narrative, great acting, and magnificent set design, and they are never let down by the game’s rock-solid technical prowess. The 2018 reboot’s signature approach of a single, unbroken camera shot is back for Ragnarok, this time snaking its way through the entire event in the manner of the world serpent Jörmungandr. While the technique’s initial shock value may have worn off after four years, it is still a remarkable accomplishment with several new tricks to show off, and it serves to further elevate the cinematic quality of Ragnarok.

However, the combat in God of War has always been the showy attraction that draws people in to be astonished by the plot, and Ragnarok follows that trend. At first glance, it may look like something you’ve seen before, and in some ways, that’s true. However, it’s not afraid to mess with your head by throwing you a curveball. Kratos’s blades whirl wildly, causing instantaneous, excruciating harm to everyone they come into contact with. His axe swings are so powerful that his foes crumple like bloody origami as he cleaves them. In what is still one of the most pleasurable button presses ever mapped to a controller, your axe still slashes through the air, burying itself meatily into anything unlucky enough to be in its path, before being recalled to your palm with a hearty kick from the DualSense controller’s haptics. It’s entirely true to the series’ roots in high-octane action and looks and sounds fantastic without trying to hide the fact that it moves at a breakneck pace.

All of it is blatantly fast and unquestionably spectacular, returning the series to the kind of frenetic action that made it famous in the first place.
Kratos willingly impales and rips apart every enemy thrown in front of him, and there is a fair amount of excessive violence on display. Although you won’t witness the return of dozens of opponents on screen at once that spawn in wave after wave, some elements of those older games will likely make an appearance in arenas, which are typically confined locations packed of threats. Although there is more of a focus on classic action, Ragnarok is still more impressed with Nathan Drake’s gold than Bayonetta’s platinum. Now, frenetic, almost comical action has to take a back seat to cinematic spectacle.

The axe’s dynamic mix of heavy attacks and ranged power feels mostly the same as you remember (and that’s no bad thing), but the way you wield the blades is clearly different. There’s more of an emphasis on using them to lure foes toward you or juggle them in the air like hot potatoes, as well as on using them to snag and throw other players. They’re more like how they were in the first games, but with a brilliantly modern twist. When I state that Ragnarok improves upon the already brutal combat in God of War, I say it without qualification or qualification.

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