An adolescent Atreus is fantastic as he worries for Kratos and mocks him in equal measure
By Aditya Deshbandhu
A must-play game if you managed to obtain a PS5. Nearly perfect — summed up in two words, for a game that was five years in the making and one that draws the curtain on Kratos’ collision course with Norse mythology and the Aesir Gods. Ragnarök was always going to be a difficult one to make as the expectations were sky high, the format new, and the showdown with Thor blockbuster.
Add to this the challenge of portraying a much-loved superhero as a flawed antagonist – there was much on Santa Monica’s hands and it almost gets it all right. This is the kind of explosive first-party exclusive I bought my PS5 for and it has been worth every minute.
My early hours with Ragnarök on “give me no mercy” difficulty were quite a challenge as it took a while for my muscle memory to return. This time around, the game allows you to switch between the x and o buttons for interactions and dodging, and I was hewing enemies with my axe a lot quicker. I had also managed to acquire the limited edition God of War controller and I soon realised a newer controller is more difficult to play with as it seemed alien and a bit cold in my palms.
However, with my trusty PS5 controller, I was able to hold my own against whatever the game was throwing at me. I slew the annoying drekis and acid-hurling swamp creatures with abandon as I solved puzzles and equipped Atreus and Kratos with the best gear possible.
In terms of combat, this is a great experience that is only at times let down by certain game mechanics where you can’t land a crucial blow and refill health in one fluid motion or when you are ready to unleash a fierce blow only to realise that the game punishes you for attacking head-on. The combat mechanisms at higher difficulties are all about parrying and countering at the precise moment and it can seem a bit off at times. However, when you do master it, Kratos and Atreus can work in tandem as forces of nature.
Ragnarök’s plot focuses on Atreus’ tryst with destiny and his role as Loki as foretold by his giant heritage. As he finds ways to fulfil the prophecies about him, Kratos worries as a dutiful father willing to protect his son. As Fimbulwinter rages on and Ragnarök seems nigh, Kratos and Atreus must hold their own against Odin and Thor. The conflict doesn’t take long as the game has you fighting Thor and Mjolnir less than three hours in.
The dialogue writing is superb here and the character development top notch. An adolescent Atreus is fantastic as he worries for Kratos and mocks him in equal measure. Mimir and the dwarven smith brothers Brok and Sindri are back and they lighten up the conversation with some wonderful quips.
There’s a lot to remember and treasure here and I really think what makes Ragnarök click is the entire package. It’s not just great combat, or a great premise, or characters that you are invested in but all of them that complement each other as the game progresses. This is really an experience where the whole exceeds the sum of its parts. A must-play game for 2022 if you managed to obtain a PS5. Should be a game-of-the-year contender come December.