God Of War Ragnarok Review: An Emotional Masterpiece (PS5)

God Of War Ragnarok is an incredible finale to the God Of War series, as it sets itself far above many other PlayStation exclusives on its own pedestal. Despite doubts about how well a sequel compared to the incredibly successful God Of War (2018) would perform, Santa Monica Studio has managed to knock it out of the park again, with yet another masterpiece for fans to experience.

God Of War Ragnarok Review An Emotional Masterpiece (PS5)

With God Of War (2018)’s ending leaving many fans anticipating more exceptional storytelling, combat, and dialogue, God Of War Ragnarok manages to maintain it all and shine brighter while doing so. Following Kratos and Atreus’ journey throughout the nine realms, includes an emotional rollercoaster that fans will love to indulge within.

Ragnarok gives the best possible showcase of growth in a father-and-son relationship. It is a conclusion to the Norse saga, whilst leaving the door open to new stories to be explored.

God Of War Ragnarok is available on both PlayStation 4 and 5, for $69.99.

God of War Ragnarok Official Story Trailer (4K) | State of Play 2022

Story – Full Of Great Surprises

Given the events of 2018’s title, Ragnarok begins closer to the end of Fimbulwinter. With a grown-up Atreus and experienced Kratos, you are met with one of the most exhilarating openings to a game. After killing Baldur and saving his mother Freya from his wrath, both father and son are hunted down by their former ally. After escaping, the level of tension rises as Kratos and Thor finally come face to face. All of this occurs within the prologue of the game and sets up for a magnificent ride.

From the get-go, it was clear to see that both Kratos and Atreus’ relationship had evolved over the course of Fimbulwinter. Whilst it certainly is the case, the friction, and tensions between the two are still present. Atreus is desperate to find answers regarding the prophecies and the meaning behind his name ‘Loki’.

God Of War Ragnarok Review - Helheim

God Of War Ragnarok Review – Helheim

Without diving into any spoilers, the relationship between the pair is the core part of Ragnarok‘s story. Whilst there is definitely a heavy focus on the events leading to Ragnarok, the character development is exceptional. God Of War (2018)’s story was a clear presentation of Kratos’ attempt to change, and move on from his past of violence. This was juxtaposed alongside nurturing Atreus and ensuring a good level of growth toward spreading Faye’s ashes in Jotunheim.

This time around after acknowledging his prophesied death, you see aspects of Kratos unlike before. The same applies to Atreus too. His impulsive behavior and rebellious attitudes remain, but he also has a newfound level of maturity. Throughout the story, I felt a sense of Atreus’ attempt at independence, while conflicting with his father’s ideals.

God Of War Ragnarok Review - Kratos scolds Atreus

God Of War Ragnarok Review – Kratos scolds Atreus

Ending – Satisfying End But Felt Rushed

After the breathtaking entry to God Of War Ragnarok, the story’s pacing took a steady trajectory. This will give you time to let all the epic showdowns settle, as the story gradually kicks off again. Without spoiling events, I found myself incredibly engrossed with everything happening on screen. Despite my attempts to do more side quests and spend more time with certain characters, I could not stop playing the main story.

Out of all of Ragnarok‘s amazing set pieces, cutscenes, and dialogue, the only frustration I had here was how quickly events transpire toward the story’s final stage. I was very satisfied and jubilant regarding everything that unfolded, but it felt very rushed and gave me a lack of time to digest everything. Regardless, it was an unexpected but fitting end to a fantastic adventure, with gripping and exceptional storytelling worth experiencing.

Gameplay – Polished To Its Finest

Combat

Santa Monica Studio has adhered to the idea of not fixing what is not broken here. The combat in God Of War (2018) flourished due to its satisfying hits and the ability to quickly become accustomed to it. The same is replicated here and just like the story, developers have managed to double down on this. Weapons such as the Leviathan Axe and the Blades Of Chaos, along with a new weapon added to the roster leaves for a great spectacle.

There is a maintenance of move sets for each of the two weapons and the addition of new ones. Whilst much of the core combat is not changed, the variety in enemy types serves as an improvement. A large majority of complaints for Ragnarok‘s predecessor were its common enemy types. The juxtaposition of the new weapon and the new enemy types is appropriate, and it gave me more reason to switch weapons more often.

Charging up both the Axe and the Blades offers an incredible experience in maximizing the amount of damage Kratos commits. For those that loved the combat in the 2018’s title, Ragnarok manages to take the original formula and expand on it without it becoming congested.

God Of War Ragnarok Review - Svartalfheim

God Of War Ragnarok Review – Svartalfheim

Open World/Realm Travel

As confirmed prior to the game’s release, players would be able to travel across all nine realms. Whilst Ragnarok‘s world is full of life, one is not open to free exploration due to its story importance. Regardless, the vast open world is breathtaking and with much to discover and complete even in the main story’s aftermath.

My completion of the main story ended at around a playtime of 35 hours, with only just a few side quests completed. The remaining ‘Berserker Gravestones’ and multiple undiscovered favors, will leave for a long-lasting journey for many. The potential addition of new game plus is somewhat inevitable and will be a necessary addition due to the ending.

Soundtrack/Graphics – Epic Cinematic Experience

Soundtrack

Much like the first three God Of War titles and God Of War (2018), Ragnarok provides one of the standout original soundtracks among them all. Each and every sequence in this game came with a score that was befitting to the characters’ emotions and the overall tone of their actions. One of the biggest highlights among all is Atreus’ theme, which portrays an upbeat, adventurous, and joyful tone known as ‘A Son’s Path’.

God of War Ragnarök - State of Play Sep 2022 Story Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games

It very much reminded me of an Avengers: Endgame-like theme considering the story is a conclusion to the Norse saga. The entire soundtrack is an integral piece to the puzzle of this masterpiece’s creation and elevated my experience to a new level entirely. Whether these are during boss battles, intense enemy encounters, or just casual exploration within any realm, it served its purpose.

If there was a scene that wanted to convey a tearful emotion from a character, the soundtrack gave me that. If there was a scene that wanted to convey an intense battle sequence, the soundtrack gave me that. Every scene, sequence, and set of dialogue throughout this game was juxtaposed with how amazing the OST is.

Graphics

Given the availability for PS4 players still present, there is not much of a leap in terms of visuals from God Of War (2018), as that title looked great as it was. There is certainly the presence of lighting changes and a few visual upgrades, but it stands as one of the best-looking titles on PlayStation.

God Of War Ragnarok Review - Kratos In Battle

God Of War Ragnarok Review – Kratos In Battle

Regardless of whatever graphics option players choose, the visuals this game has to offer are stunning and have set a standard for a majority of PlayStation-exclusive titles.

Summary
God Of War Ragnarok is an instant addition to the collection of PlayStation classics, standing as one of the best games of all time. It manages to outdo its predecessor in every way possible and despite some of its issues with its ending and a few plot points feeling rushed, it does not take anything away from the masterpiece this title is. Santa Monica Studio continues to produce excellent and masterful experiences with Kratos, and the door is most certainly open for more.
Good
  • Fantastic Storytelling
  • Great Character Development
  • Addictive Combat
  • Fast-Pace
  • Spectacular Set Pieces
Bad
  • Ending Feels Rushed
9.5
Amazing