God of War Ragnarok Review
God of War Ragnarok is not only a clear standout for Game of the Year, but one of the best games ever made. My spoiler-free review of an experience worthy of the gods.
If you're a fan of action-packed games with jaw-dropping graphics and an epic storyline, then look no further than God of War Ragnarök. This game is truly a masterpiece, featuring breathtaking visuals, addictive gameplay, and an immersive story that will leave you spellbound from start to finish. Whether you're a longtime fan of the series or just discovering it for the first time, this is an experience you won't want to miss. Sharpen your Leviathan Axe, and get ready to explore the nine realms in preparation for the world-ending war: Ragnarök.
God of War Ragnarok Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4
Release Date: November 9th, 2022
Developer(s): Santa Monica Studio
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A story that transcends the ages
From the very start of Kratos' journey, you'll be pulled into the story with more force than the Blades of Chaos. Before delving into Ragnarök, it's essential to play God of War (2018) before embarking on the latest journey. You'd be doing yourself a massive disservice by jumping in completely cold. The first game is a more focused, albeit grand experience, where as Ragnarök explodes into a massive magnum opus that uses 2018's journey as a launch pad into a massive potentially world-ending epic. The mainline story is easily twice the length of 2018's adventure, but even in with its massive size and scope, it is a masterfully told story filled with unforgettable set pieces and tight plot line. I have to admit, I was taken aback at the scale and scope of God of War Ragnarök, it completely shattered my expectations.
"The mainline story is easily, twice the length of 2018's adventure, but even in with its massive size and scope, it is a masterfully told story filled with unforgettable set pieces and tight plot line."
Ragnarök is coming...
Ragnarök kicks off with the frigid force of Fimbulwinter in full effect, Kratos and Atreus embark on an epic quest to uncover the truth behind a prophesied battle that threatens to destroy the Nine Realms. The story doesn't pick up immediately where 2018's God of War leaves off, but it doesn't take long before you're thrown into an unforgettable clash against the first of many Norse gods. From there, it's a non-stop rollercoaster of epic encounters, awe-inspiring moments, and heart-wrenching revelations that I won't dare spoil here.
"Kratos and Atreus must decide whether to prioritize their own safety or save the lives of others across the Nine Realms."
The end of the world, Ragnarök, is fast approaching. Kratos and Atreus must decide whether to prioritize their own safety or save the lives of others across the nine realms. Suffice it to say, this game will leave you on the edge of your seat from start to finish as Kratos and Atreus set out on their quest to fulfill their destiny.
Weaving together an incredible tale
The game masterfully weaves together multiple timelines, flashbacks, and puzzles to create a truly epic experience that will take you on an emotional journey unlike anything else in gaming. The quality of the story and deeper narrative in Ragnarok walks amongst the giants in film, television and beyond. The voice acting, character development, and overall storytelling are nothing short of flawless.
"The voice acting, character development, and overall storytelling are nothing short of flawless."
And the fact that it's all done in-engine with little to no reliance on cutscenes only adds to the richness of this experience. There were many times the story transitioned so seamlessly to gameplay, I didn't realize I was in control again. Along with the main questline's incredible adventures, the sidequests are just as epic. In fact, some of the best times I had with the game were with the more "off-the-beaten-path" missions.
"The immersive storytelling will keep you enthralled from start to finish - this is an experience for the ages."
If you're a fan of action games, epic adventures, or just great storytelling in general, then God of War Ragnarok is an experience you won't want to miss. The immersive storytelling will keep you enthralled from start to finish - this is an experience for the ages.
Ragnarok's graphics and performance
On top of the amazing story, both graphical fidelity and performance are truly next-level. There are a few better-looking games out there, but not by much, and not at this scale. When it comes to performance, the game runs so smoothly that it's easy to forget you're playing a video game at all. Whether you're facing off against hordes of enemies or exploring vast vistas, every detail shines with stunning clarity and jaw-dropping visuals.
The environments are beautifully crafted, deeply immersive, and detailed. There is so much visual variety it's dizzying, and all of it looks incredible. The game also has a nice mix of almost photorealistic scenes and more stylized surreal environments that are equally beautiful in their own right, with little to no jarring transitions. From the towering cliffs of Alfheim to the dark depths of Jotunheim, each realm is a joy to behold as Kratos journeys across them. The epic scale in environments and foes has returned from previous entries in the series. With high-resolution textures at 4K resolution on PS5, and best-in-class facial and character animation, it's like playing a movie made for the big screen.
"With high-resolution textures at 4K resolution on PS5, and best-in-class facial and character animation, it's like playing a movie made for the big screen."
But most impressive of all is how flawlessly this game runs on PlayStation 5. Over my time with this game, I experienced absolutely zero frame drops or hitching even when encountering massive hordes of enemies simultaneously. In over 30 hours of play, I only had to reload a checkpoint once due to a scripted event not initiating a prompt to progress, that's it. This is one of the most polished games I've ever played, for its sense of scale, and the fact it was in development during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's truly a bewildering techical feat.
Of course, the game's not just about pretty graphics and an amazing story. In addition to its engaging campaign, the gameplay is also extremely well-made. Each fight feels dynamic and challenging, with a great deal of depth in combat mechanics. Kratos' arsenal gives players much more freedom with how they approach each confrontation. Whether you want to go for the headshot or get up close and personal, there are so many options available that it never gets dull or repetitive. This also stems from the fact the enemy variety and encounters have been greatly expanded from God of War 2018. Enemies are active and challenging, and the boss fights are simply phenomenal. I was on the edge of my seat in every battle from start to finish.
"Kratos' arsenal gives players much more freedom with how they approach each confrontation."
To top it all off, God of War Ragnarok is incredibly fun to play. The cinematic sequences combined with seamless transitions between gameplay and cutscenes never get old, while the fast-paced action keeps you engaged and invested in Kratos' story at every turn. The range of attacks and combos, combined with the elemental damage system, makes fighting enemies feel like a complex dance at times - one that I spent hours learning to master and enjoyed every minute of.
In addition to normal enemies, there are also plenty of epic boss encounters that are as challenging and rewarding to conquer. Whether you're taking on a massive troll or a terrifying fire giant, you'll need to use all of your skills and wits to make it out alive. This makes each victory feel truly earned, which is what I love most about this game.
Ragnarok's sound design and voice acting
Whether the roar of battle or a quiet exchange between characters, Ragnarok offers some of the best audio and sound design I've ever heard in a video game. There is such an amazing richness to the audio, from the subtle sounds of nature to the thunderous booms of Kratos unleashing his full arsenal.
"There is such an amazing richness to the audio, from the subtle sounds of nature to the thunderous booms of Kratos unleashing his full arsenal."
The voice acting across all characters - including minor characters, bosses and main protagonists - is absolutely phenomenal. Christopher Judge and Sunny Suljic voice actors portraying Kratos and Atreus truly elevate the characters to new levels with their performances. Overall, there isn't a weak voice performance from the long list of characters you interact with throughout your adventures.
A Norse masterpiece
In a word, God of War Ragnarok is truly a masterpiece – an epic tale that deserves to be experienced by gamers everywhere. With flawless graphics, engaging gameplay, and awe-inspiring sound design, it is truly a game for the ages. If you love action-packed adventures with deep character development and an engaging storyline, then Ragnarok is definitely the game for you.
+One of the greatest stories ever told
+Dazzling artistic direction and graphics
+Incredible voice acting performances
-Menu system isn't always intuitive
Overall Rating: 40/40 (100%)
A copy of the game was provided by PlayStation Canada for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!
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