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God of War Ragnarök review - one of 2022's best games

God of War Ragnarök takes the series to a new level, and it on of 2022's best games

God of War 2018 told the story of Kratos, a Greek god living amongst the Norse, in a single cinematic shot. It mimicked those Greek stories, passed through generations orally like campfire tales, evolving which each telling. It did also mean that the camera stuck right up Kratos’ backside for pretty much the entire game, unable to pull back and let you drink in the sights and sounds, or give you massive battles like the original trilogy.

It felt the same way narratively, with Norse gods plotting away in the background, while the game is unable to zoom out and let you see the scope of the tale at hand. For an intimate story of Kratos learning to be a father, it works well, but it also meant that there was much more to see, and God of War Ragnarök finally shows us what was lurking in the background.


The camera doesn’t cut away often here, and when it does it’s artfully hidden away. But this allows that camera to stray, both from Kratos when roaming the world, and off to side characters, allowing them to engage in deeper, more meaningful stories. God of War’s world isn’t just Kratos slaying everyone anymore, he must learn to coexist with Norse gods, and therefore they deserve time and attention too, to enrich the world as a whole.

That means there are more characters, with a cast that has doubled, and many of them have fully developed story arcs that make you care about them over the course of the adventure. Some of this is up to par with the best video game writing you can find in triple-A titles, to the point that simple background characters with idle barks even seem to have some real thought put behind their words. It’s a far cry from that original trilogy which simply revolved around bludgeoning gods with your fists.

The actors truly bring the characters to life. Christopher Judge’s more contemplative and reflective Kratos feels caring but remains as dangerous as ever. Sunny Sljic’s Atreus feels more mature and stronger than before, while Ryan Hurt’s Thor is silent yet menacing while walking into rooms by the stomach. These are award-winning performances, no doubt.


While in the last game Kratos’ mission to scatter his deceased wife’s ashes on the highest mountain alongside his son kept getting delayed, here your objective changes over time, so you’re constantly reaching goals, achieving, and then finding new challenges lying in wait. But the journey was also about Kratos teaching Atreus how to hunt and thrive, while he himself learned how to be a more gentle and caring father. In Ragnarök we can finally see how Kratos has changed over time.

Atreus can now take the lead. Instead of being helped up every cliff face, Atreus goes on ahead, setting the path for Kratos to follow, and in battle he runs in to smash enemies before retreating and letting loose arrows. Anyone that played the first game will immediately recognize Atreus’ newfound independence, no longer requiring Kratos’ assistance in all things. He doesn’t even get called “boy” anymore, despite how iconic Judge’s cries were in the original.

While battles play out similarly to before, Kratos is a more nimble and agile fighter. You can now grapple around arenas, and slam down on the floor to blow back foes. It still manages to feel heavy, but it no longer feels like Kratos is a massive tank that you must navigate around the battlefield.


Dodges and rolls can cancel almost any move, making combat more responsive and forgiving. Late-game bosses will put all of your skills to the test, as you juggle your dodges, rolls, parries, and slams in order to chip away at a huge health bar. Coming out on top is both satisfying and massively gratifying. The expanded variety of foes to fight along with combat styles and weapons makes Ragnarök a far more interesting game than its beloved predecessor.

Of course, the story is still incredibly strong, with moments that can be considered to be truly jaw-dropping. It didn’t seem like any game could throw Elden Ring from the coveted Game of the Year top spot, but Ragnarök may have done it.

It’s a joy to explore all nine realms, each of which is realized with green algae rivers, rich forests, windswept deserts, and of course, those icy glaciers that the Norse are known for. The list of locations you’ll visit and explore is distinctly videogame-y and could’ve been directly inspired by the worlds of Super Mario Bros. 3, but that’s certainly not a bad thing.


This game, and this Kratos, are entirely inseparable from what has come before. This is a continuation of the story we saw in God of War 2018, and also a reflection on the original trilogy that made Kratos the iconic character he is today. If you’re a fan of the previous game and you still haven’t been spoiled on the upcoming story, then this just might be one of your favorite games this year, and potentially of this new console generation.

Score: 10/10

Version tested: PS5.