By: Benedict Ajayi
Sony Santa Monica Studio has delivered an amazing conclusion to the God of War series. The God of War series began in the year 2005, and the latest in its franchise was released in the year 2022: God of War Ragnarok, the first cross-gen title in the series, available on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The story follows the main character Kratos and his teenage son Atreus and the struggles they both face at Ragnarok—a prophecy foretold to happen in the prequel of the game after Kratos killed the Aesir god Baldur, the son of Freya.
The God of War series is undoubtedly one of the best video games to hit the planet, and it has an amazing story with intelligently written characters and follows, to an extent, the ideologies of Norse and Greek mythology. God of War: Ragnarok presents an action-packed thriller with impeccable beauty both cinematically and through the gameplay.
This conclusion to the series portrays a calmer, more intelligent, and more remorseful Kratos compared to his predecessor in the 2005 series, who was engulfed in rage and sought vengeance. Quoting Kratos, "then we would die seeking justice, not vengeance." This is a massive character development for Kratos compared to his previous self.
In God of War: Ragnarok, Kratos is more open to forgiveness and learning from his mistakes as he journeys with his son. The character development Kratos has had so far is one of the best I have seen, and many fans have appreciated it as well. Atreus also displays more dependability as he takes on challenges and paves the path to his desired future.
Playing God of War: Ragnarok was extremely thrilling and, to some extent, fulfilling, at least to a gamer like myself. It would be near impossible for me to believe that those who loved the last God of War would dislike this one. It was a huge improvement from the last, with several twists and turns that toyed with my expectations effortlessly. The struggle between our two protagonists goes beyond saving the nine realms; underneath, the true essence of family and togetherness is portrayed with ease.
The story is action-packed, with beautiful and engaging combat and cut scenes that make it seem like watching a movie. I was so glued to the story that I almost did not bother with the amazing sound, exquisite graphics design, or overall beauty of the game.
The game kicks off with a full-blown Fimbulwinter, and Kratos and Atreus are being chased by their former ally, Freya, for killing her son, Baldur, the big bad of the previous game. They manage to slip past her, and now they have to stand up against the consequences of their actions and prevent a prophesied Ragnarok—the end of worlds—as they scour the nine realms in search of answers to save the worlds. The nine realms are extremely impressive, with exceptional levels of intricate detailing, and the enemy designs are brought to life.
There are newer, slicker upgrades from the last game; Kratos acquires a new staff, accompanied by his usual combat weapons, that is, the Leviathan axe and Blades of Chaos. His defensive shield comes with new modifications that improve combat experience and open up several variations that can be applied based on the players’ preferences.
Atreus is given significant screen time this time around and controls a portion of the game. We get to see the story from his perspective, and this makes it much easier to connect with the character and follow the story perfectly. Each side character is given ample time to shine and have their moments. Characters like Thor, Brok, Sindri, Mimir, Tyr, Odin, etc. leave their imprints in the story as well. We also have to give credit to the voice actors, the sound, and the overall dialogue. They made conversations realistic and very engaging. There was never a dull moment during discussions, and this was a huge boost to the already beautiful cinematic view.
Each battle requires you to locate the weaknesses and fighting loops to deliver rapid-fire combos and combinations to finish off enemy troops and bosses. Although the battles are exhilarating, we are also tasked with solving puzzles and riddles as the story progresses, so there is a mix of action and tactics that requires only a good understanding of the plot.
David Jaffe, the creator of the God of War series, has managed to keep improving the whole concept behind the book. His initial motivation was to create a universe that felt like you were going upon a big adventure, and the idea of Greek mythology came into play. The violence and brutality of the game was something gamers of this genre actually liked, so he and his team decided to indulge in Greek mythology, seeing how their stories surrounded violence.
The director of God of War: Ragnarok, Eric Williams, revealed a couple of things Cory Barlog, the director of God of War (2018), insisted must happen in the sequel. Cory Barlog pushed to have it remain two games and not three, and the game would not be spun into a trilogy.
The developers at Santa Monica Studio burned through their midnight candles during the COVID pandemic to ensure an amazing output in the God of War Ragnarok game. To be honest, their determination has produced wonderful results.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say the game enchanted me from the first cut scene to the very last. The humor in the game always had me rolling. From the witty comments of Mimir—a self-proclaimed smartest man alive—to the near emotionless retorts from Kratos, the humor made the game all the more enjoyable.
A notable scene for me involved Mimir trying to engage Kratos with a riddle, saying, "Brother, out there is a riddle you would enjoy, and I am going to find it." Kratos replies sharply with a "Do not." Mimir pays no heed and proceeds all the same, saying "Once spoken, instantly broken!" "What am I?" Kratos responds with "Silence." You could feel the joy in Mimir’s tone as he responded, "Correct!" but Kratos replies, "I was not answering your riddle." These little, intelligently written dialogues improved the playability of the game, making it one that everyone can enjoy.
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