God Of War Ragnarök, the review

Kratos and son Atreus face the fate of the gods in the most anticipated PlayStation title of the year

After hovering throughout the 2018 PS4 chapter, Ragnarök has arrived and its threat extends across the Nine Realms. On the one hand Odin tries desperately to avoid him, while on the other Kratos and his son Atreus, three years after the events of God Of War for PS4, they are fugitives with few friends and a lot to lose. Unraveling in detail the plot of God Of War Ragnarök it would be impossible, as well as a spoiler: just know that this game concludes the Norse narrative arc of Kratos and his son, and more than the previous one investigates the relationship between the two, which has become much more complicated since Atreus (or should we call him Loki?) discovered that he is a giant and has the burden of a difficult identity on his shoulders. These premises, from a narrative point of view, will lead the two protagonists towards the same destiny: to dig deep into themselves and question their whole world, while the latter risks falling apart and involving them in even a bigger war. of them. In the background (but not too much), a whole series of protagonists drawn from Norse mythology in a very faithful way compared to the legends: Thor and Odin of course, but also many other interesting and well written characters.

God Of War Ragnarök is the direct sequel to the 2018 reboot, and at the same time reveals everything that was only hinted at in the previous chapter: all Kingdoms can now be exploredand indeed some portions of these will be accessible only once specific skills have been obtained. Ragnarök relies heavily on replayability and exploration, and is enriched by a huge amount of secondary missions and collectibles. If the main adventure alone is already very long (about 25 hours of gameplay), a completist could easily exceed the 50 hours to try to platinum the title of Santa Monica Studio. Also because compared to the past, this episode excels in variety: as regards the enemies, the settings, but also the situations. The classic duo Atreus Kratos is in fact often replaced and, although we will always find ourselves in command or one or the other, we will be accompanied by different allies with specific abilities. An element that greatly enriches the already excellent combat system, which between attacks, parries, runic magic, arrows of different types, axes, blades and spears offers never boring clashes, although with a difficulty that is not always optimally balanced. The allies, however, in addition to helping are directly controllable with some actions, and are always able to give effective suggestions during the clashes.

Santa Monica Studio and the new director of the game Eric Williams then decided to do justice to the narrative arc of the saga set in Greece, that is to say to the old games, by peppering Ragnarök from minibosses and epic battles with huge creatures, a lack that in the last episode had made long-time fans turn up their noses. The game mechanics, with a second-person view from behind the back, remains the same and renounces the directing games and the changing shots of the past, but the weight of the history of the saga is felt more. The references to Kratos’ Olympic adventures are also more heated, and we will find out more about what happened in the fight against Zeus. Compared to a past with a more marked DNA action, however, this episode confirms his RPG ambitions with infinite possibilities of customization and increase of the character parameters. Building weapons and armor suitable for clashes, improving runic attacks, finding enhancement items, everything will be essential to be able to continue, also because as we said some battles, even at the lowest difficulty levels, will still be challenging. There is also no lack of environmental puzzles, this time more varied and thought out than in the past.

From the point of view of technical realization, there is no doubt that the work done by Santa Monica has excelled, both on PS5 and on PS4. The latest Sony and PS4 consoles allow you to choose between priority to framerate or resolution, but PS5 unleashes 60fps with 4K and allows you to fully enjoy detailed characters and majestic settings, beautiful, alive and full of details. Although rather linear, God Of War Ragnarök often tries to give the player freedom of action, and some areas that function as hubs have that open world flavor that, while far from transforming the game into a free exploration experience, allow you to enjoy the excellent level design to the fullest. Honorable mention for accessibility options, as rich as ever. On the other hand, the listless support for the PS5’s DualSense controller is a bit disappointing, which does not make the most of the HD vibration capabilities of the peripheral, as we would have expected from the most important title of the year on the console. It is a flaw, but one of the few in the game: at times a bit repetitive, with a balance of difficulty that is not exactly impeccable, but otherwise an impeccable work, deep, technically majestic and with a mature and satisfying gameplay. In other words, a true masterpiece.

Format: PS5 (tested version), PS4 publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Developer: Santa Monica Studio Vote: 9/10