July 24, 2024

New Year, new gods- What to expect in God of War Ragnarök

Sony’s latest release is a great reminder that PCs can hold their own against dedicated devices and consoles when it comes to gaming.

For those who may have missed out on the previous release, this could spark a love story for the ages.

Story line & Gameplay

For starters, we need to establish the fact that Kratos was Athena’s best murder man until he was betrayed. That betrayal let to his decision for vengeance. A vengeance that would see him kill all of the gods (including his not so beloved father, Zeus).

Kratos leaves a godless Greece and wanders into the Norse lands, where he gained a wife (who has just passed away at the start of the game), a son named Atreus, and a very impressive beard.

The story is as simple as it is immersive because they only start out with a simple aim of just wanting to spread their wife/mother’s ashes on a big mountain. Kratos and his son aren’t out to do anything extraordinary. They aren’t looking for a fight or anything like that, but end up walking into a bunch of them because, apparently, Midgard (where they live now in the Norse lands) has been a nightmare land of evil trolls, poison witches, and zombies for the last century or so. Much of the game is basically playing through to uncover the events that led to the ruin of Midgard.

The fight scenes have always been epic to say the least.

Some people have said that there’s a lot of similarities with games like The Last of Us and Uncharted especially in its puzzly moments—hoisting young Atreus up a ledge to kick down a rope and jostling dilapidated supports to make a bridge are pages straight out of the Naughty Dog playbook—but these familiar puzzles get to have a lot of fun with Kratos’ superhuman strength.

It’s both cool and funny how often Atreus ponders how they’re going to cross a gap just as Kratos lifts a beam the size of six cars or spins an entire building like it’s a windup toy. Where Nathan Drake looks for a chain to lift an ancient pulley, Kratos simply throws his axe at the gears so hard that they spin. For a character that used to mostly show his toughness by killing every living thing in the room, it’s nice to see Kratos throw his weight around the world itself. 

Lifting big rocks wouldn’t be near as fun without the back and forth banter with Atreus (or as he’s often called, “boy”). It’s not exactly a new narrative trick to pair a strong silent type with an inquisitive youngster, but unlike the developing relationship of Joel and Ellie, Atreus and Kratos already have a layered rapport that’s steadily peeled back over time. It’s obvious from the jump that the two aren’t close. Atreus is determined to prove he’s ready to make the journey and pressured to live up to Kratos’ high standards (“Do not be sorry. Be better,” Kratos tells him after taking a careless shot at a deer). Kratos, meanwhile, is an emotionally distant father who projects his own issues on other people.

Their relationship evolves organically as they take on the world together, but Sony Santa Monica was smart to let side characters do some heavy lifting as well. One character introduced halfway through is easily the best part of the game, a wise old grandpa figure brimming with useful advice and stories to fill the dead air while the trio boat around Midgard.

Expectations are really high for this new release and we’re hopeful that the graphics, if not for anything at all, will be much better than the 2018 release of the game.