God of War Ragnarok – Initial thoughts

I really enjoyed 2018’s God of War, in a way that I hadn’t expected. Not being a fan of the series, or, more specifically, never playing any of the games. I was nonplussed when it came out to critical acclaim.

Still, it turns out God of War was excellent. A real heavy narrative backed-up with gorgeous visuals, stellar voice acting and decent action. So you’d think the release of God of War Ragnarok would be enough to positively excite me.

Alas, previews just showed more of the same. Sure the continuation of the Norse chapter of Kratos and Atreus’ journey would be great, but is it just more of the same? And is that enough in 2022?

So, I’m about 10 hours into God of War Ragnarok and I’ve had a real hard time getting into it. Largely because of my own mental process. Do I need another version of the same game from 4 years ago? I don’t know……

Ragnarok - Meeting
 

What’s new?

So far, very little. Combat feels dated now, the game still looks and feels incredible. The axe throwing and call-back is still ridiculously satisfying!

But initial impressions are not of a game that is innovative or striking-out to enhance the series on a gameplay level.

God of War Ragnarok is truly just more God of War. I really struggled to go back to that linear approach. Closed areas with small room for deviation to find the inevitable chest or collectable. Enemies popping up seemingly to just slow down your narrative progress for 80% of the time.

The game, perhaps on purpose, feels stuck in time. Like Kratos himself, God of War Ragnarok feels older and feels like a relic in a more modern age.

Now, that’s not to say this is bad. And likening the gameplay to the life of Kratos himself has really helped me get a bit more on-board. It’s starting to click, and I’m looking forward to digging into the story.

Without spoiling too much, Atreus manages to be a bit more “hands on” now he’s older and more useful. So that’s a nice change. And I can’t comment too much more on what else is new, as I suspect I’ve not seen enough of the game yet.

God of War Ragnarok is absolutely a continuation of 2018’s God of War. “New” and “tweaked” are terms I’ll be considering as I play further through the campaign. The game feels almost like I’ve just picked it up after finishing the story of the previous game. It’s all very familiar, and actually, with some time to ruminate on that, it isn’t a bad thing.

We all know consistency at such a high tier of gaming is nigh-on impossible. So perhaps we should celebrate it?

Ragnarok - Freya
 

What’s coming?

I have no clue. I’ve had my suspicions and my snarky internal dialogue telling me “it’ll just do this, and then that”. I’m really hoping to be proven wrong and see some narrative twists and turns to really make it interesting.

All being well there will be some more significant changes to combat. As much as I love my axe and blades, it’s all just more of something I already had my fill, of.

God of War Ragnarok is seeing enough critical acclaim to make me think that I’ve yet to see the best of it, and I’m fine with that.

I’ve even heard numerous times that people have cried at the events of the game. If I can be so moved by a story and the acting, then perhaps I don’t care about how the game plays.

Games can be as much about the overall experience as they can be about that moment to moment action and feel and innovation. Look at how Death Stranding impacted me.

I’ve opened my mind and shut the contrarian within me, off for a while. God of War Ragnarok doesn’t feel new right now. But perhaps it doesn’t need to?

Ragnarok - Slag
 

PS4

It’s worth noting that I’m playing God of War Ragnarok on PS4, and I’ll be honest it looks stunning.

Sony Santa Monica have put so much care and attention to the build that I don’t really know if I’m missing anything by not having a PS5. That’s commendable in itself and well worth consideration of the overall package.

The game runs smoothly, the textures, models and motion are fantastic. What an achievement it is.

My PS4 is handling it pretty well, and I’m not even hearing any excessive fan noise or anything like that.

Hats-off to Sony.

The review

Normally I split these big reviews into three pieces. I don’t know how I’ll do God of War Ragnarok. It’s decent-sized game and deserves the full works. But with it being so similar to 2018’s release, I might just focus on the story.

I’m not too sure. Let’s see how it goes.

I absolutely must finish the game though, and I’ll try get some of it streamed, too!

Until then…..lets see where God of War Ragnarok takes me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.