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God of War Ragnarok Review – The Best Gaming Experience of 2022

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Let me just start off by telling you that this is easily the best game I’ve reviewed for 2022. Right from the get-go, it is a surreal experience, with the most mesmerizing environments that you will ever witness in a game.

Going into the game, God of War (2018) stood as the best title I have played to date. Therefore, I had a lot of expectations when I got my hands on the sequel and, man does it meet all of them.

Players should know that I played the game on default settings, which included 60 FPS with upscaled 4K visuals on the PlayStation 5. After going through all the other configurations, smoothness trumped the resolution bump. The first feeling you get while getting into the game is of a finished product, everything works as intended and has a feeling of polished finesse to it.

A Truly Immersive Experience

Santa Monica Studio has outdone itself with the implementation of PlayStation’s DualSense controller in the game. Through the incorporation of haptic feedback, players can feel just about everything that comes across Kratos and Atreus through the palm of their hands.

From the thundering and rumbling of the weather to individual attacks of the enemies, the controller acts as a vital component to the experience. If you felt that riding the boat was fun in God of War, then you are in for a treat. Riding the boat in God of War: Ragnarok comes close to being almost therapeutic, with the haptic feedback helping you feel every single wave that comes your way. The new way of traversal is sleds, which use the help of your trusty wolves, and riding them can make you feel the galloping and the screeching on the frozen lake when you bring it to a stop.

Combat is the core of God of War games, so naturally a lot of immersion comes from that part too. My only complaint would be the missed opportunity to utilize the adaptive triggers. Inclusion of adaptive triggers would have been the icing on the cake. The lack of adaptive triggers is probably a strategic move to help porting to PC easier. Other than that, the experience is sublime, and players will be able to feel every single punch and blow that the enemy throws.

On top of that, the feeling of cutting down your enemies with the Leviathan Axe and the Blades of Chaos has never been better. There are other implementations of the haptic feedback, such as sprinting through different environments, climbing ledges or chains or using the new grapple system. Cutscene situations and choreographed scenes feel much more immersive too.

Combat feels smoother than ever, with a lot of the attack styles transferred over to the new game. The experience just feels much more different this time around because of the DualSense controller. Moreover, there is a lot more to uncover in combat too, such as the new runic attacks and using all your weapons and shields to create a unique playstyle. Atreus is considerably stronger which allows him to pull off impressive feats. The increase in strength also makes him a powerful support character when compared to the previous title. This helps players focus their attention on the stronger enemies in the game.

The Beautiful Nine Realms

Santa Monica Studios left no stone unturned when it came to the visuals of God of War: Ragnarok. They weren’t lying when they stated that all the realms that players have visited in the previous title have changed drastically. Starting from Midgard, the entire realm is covered in snow and the lake has turned to ice. These changes make it almost feel like a completely new realm altogether.

As Fimbulwinter is upon us, most realms have undergone similar, massive transformations. These changes made the game feel more dynamic and beautiful. Alfhiem has completely changed too, as it’s now a desert-covered area that is plagued by earthquakes and sandstorms. Niflheim, Muspelheim, and Helheim are more or less the same as they were before.

The game comes with several new realms to serve the expanded scope and store. The first new realm is called Svartalfheim, or as the Dwarves like to call it, Nidavellir. Svartalfhiem is the realm of the dwarves and players will get to see all kinds of technological marvels that are ahead of their time in this realm. Svartalfhiem has a more tropical feel, with various geysers spread around the realm. Vanahiem, the realm of the Vanir is one of the most beautiful realms in the game, as you get to experience the beautiful flora and fauna that dwells in the realm.

Finally, I won’t share much about Asgard. But it will be different from your expectations. You will understand what I mean when you reach that point in the game. Such visually pleasing elements, topped off with one of the best background scores in a while, truly bring out one of the best experiences in-game. The design and development of these realms will make players want to explore the depths of each realm.

The Art of Storytelling

As we all know, God of War Ragnarok is a narrative-driven experience, and the way Santa Monica Studio does it is unlike any other. The game reinforces my belief that they truly are the masters of storytelling in the video game industry. The voice acting for every single character is supreme and there is so much emotion coupled with well-written dialogues and drama that it will have you hooked all the way.

Every scene and setting have been carefully crafted to create the maximum impact on the player. This helps you create attachments and get lost in different emotions from the diverse character roster present in the game. It has the perfect twist in the story that most players won’t be able to predict and a conclusion that everybody was aching for.

Story progression is excellent too. Players will understand the true meaning of Ragnarok and how it comes to fruition as the story progresses. Kratos and Atreus’ relationship has developed as well, and some of their interactions will have you siding with one of them. It will push you to put youselves in their shoes to understand their perspective better.

There is so much lore and backstory present in the game which can only be unraveled through side missions. This richness in the story and setting will motivate you to strive to complete every single piece of quest available in the title. During my playtime, I was constantly juggling between the main missions and side missions to ensure that I did not miss anything that this universe had to offer.

Kratos and the Lot

Characters are fully fleshed out in God of War: Ragnarok and the game provides us with the most diverse set of people with unique perspectives and goals they wish to achieve. Kratos has grown a lot and is more in touch with his empathetic side, as he opens up about his traumatic past. Atreus on the other hand is a growing individual who wants to explore new possibilities independently.

Then come the Aesir Gods, the upper echelon of Norse Mythology in Odin, Thor and others. Odin is nothing like the MCU All-Father that we are used to, as he is goal driven and he will go to any lengths to see his ideologies coming to fruition. Thor is a big brute that likes to smash stuff around, but he is also dealing with a lot of trauma on the side. Atreus and Thor are similar in more ways than one.

Brock and Cindri are as happy-go-lucky as they have always been, and players will love the banter that comes from the pair. Another terrific addition to the story is the evolution of Brock and Cindri into travelling companions. They accompany Kratos and Atreus on certain journeys and those interactions are some of the best in the game. Kratos also comes across the God of War from Norse Mythology in Tyr, and he is another character who might surprise the players.

Conclusion

God of War: Ragnarok easily gets my vote for the Game of the Year in 2022 (so far). The story, gameplay and visuals are the best in class, and it will set a benchmark for future games. Players that come to this title will get the most fulfilling experience and they will be completely immersed from start to end. Every PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 owner should get their hands on God of War: Ragnarok. Everyone should be a part of this adventure that sets a new benchmark for narrative-driving video games across the industry.

God of War: Ragnarok is the complete package and everything that you would need from a AAA title. It has a beautiful story, deadly combat and visuals that will mesmerize you till the end. No matter what kind of a player you are and what type of games you like, you should give God of War: Ragnarok a chance. It will surely leave you baffled with its beauty, rich story, and best-in-class gameplay. God of War: Ragnarok establishes a new hallmark in the video game development and design segments.

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