Post-Game Thoughts on God of War Ragnarok

The latest God of War is a long journey that turned into one of my favorite games.

I finally beat Ragnarok. I actually finished it over the holidays at the end of last year. I clocked in just at the 36 hour mark. After doing post-game stuff like sidequests, getting more weapon/armor upgrades and other new things that opened up, I ended at a little over 43 hours with 29/36 Trophies unlocked for 71% completion. My initial impressions were that the game was shaping up to be really awesome. Once I was done with it Ragnarok ended up being one of my top games that I experienced. It’s also the first game I finished on the PS5 since I got the console in early November.

This whole article is going to have major spoilers.

My thoughts:

  • Ragnarok is a really long game. It took me forever to finish. I bought the game at its launch on Nov. 9 and it took me about six weeks to wrap up. If I was a teenager again I could probably beat this game in like a week. Even just the main story path takes a really long time, probably like 25 hours for the average player. Ragnarok felt like it’s more in line with the trend of games nowadays seemingly never ending and filled with so much content. It’s much different compared to the original games on PlayStation 2. I don’t remember God War (2018) being this long but I could be wrong. Ragnarok kept introducing new gameplay concepts and skills pretty deep into the game too. It did feel like a long journey.
  • The ending chapter felt rushed in some way, like something is missing or they ran out of time during development. On the ground level, there isn’t a sense of all those massive armies coming to Kratos and his team’s side for their attack on Odin/Asgard. You encounter Thor then Odin back to back, and the fights don’t feel that epic. The final part of the game did feel a little disappointing.
  • The ending has Kratos and Atreus embrace in a pretty heartwarming moment. This game probably has more emotion from Kratos than all the old titles combined. In the end Kratos finds out from another previously hidden prophecy that he will be a god that people love and legitimately worship. Kratos oddly looks like he’s almost going to start bawling his eyes out. This is actually the true, “final” prophecy out of all the events that took place. It’s kind of weird given all the people that Kratos brutally murdered and gods he killed in his old Greek life.
  • The game’s pacing could be up for debate. Part of me feels they could have cut about 10 hours of content and then added another hour or two to the final Ragnarok sequence and attack on Asgard. The other part of me really enjoyed all there is to do in the game. Towards the end of the game I was getting worn out from it all and was looking forward to finally beating it. The studio crammed a lot into Ragnarok.
  • I was curious if casual players who maybe knew God of War from the older titles would put in the time to actually finish a much lengthier game like Ragnarok.
  • There’s plenty of post-game content in Ragnarok. The game world actually feels oddly at peace once you beat the game. You can run into a lot of the characters and get some closure scenes. The sidequest missions do add a lot of value as well.
  • The acting is really awesome in general, but especially for a video game. We’re at the point now where the characters do feel really life-like, especially in their facial expressions. The major Sony first-party games have been on this for the last several years but games like 2011’s L.A. Noire used this technology and gave me a similar feeling. Christopher Judge does a great job portraying Kratos. Sunny Suljic as Atreus and Danielle Bisutti as Freya are both fantastic too.
  • The graphics, environments and character models are pretty incredible.
  • I loved the way all the gods are humanized in a down to Earth way. They all act like real people, with flaws, insecurities and quirks in their personalities.
  • This game actually got me pretty interested in learning more about Norse mythology. I’m probably going to check out the book Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.
  • Kratos is much more developed and has a wider range of emotions than he has had in the older games. His bloody past in the old games is kind of whitewashed but he was a crazy god too, up there in bad deeds with the rest of them. Kratos ends up having a lot of depth in Ragnarok, primarily in how his role as a father changed him. One of the stories is if Kratos can actually ever be redeemed and be a “good” god/being. In contract to Kratos, Atreus is actually a really positive character who hasn’t been corrupted yet.
  • Kratos and his relationship with Atreus changes a lot in Ragnarok, especially after his son runs away to go temporarily work with Odin in Asgard with the hopes of saving his father’s life from the fate of prophecy. I liked the conflict they had and how it ultimately makes their relationship stronger. Kratos finally lets Atreus be his own man.
  • I thought Kratos might actually die in Ragnarok based on the way the in-game prophecies were being told/teased to the player but I guess they aren’t going to kill off the face of the franchise.
  • There are really no big, epic boss fights with big set pieces like in the old games. I expected that when you fought Odin but that fight is more “standard” compared to what the series has done before.
  • The game features tons of customization options for the weapons, armor, accessories and special attacks, so much so that I couldn’t keep up with them all. By the end of the game I still somehow was underleveled in comparison to a friend of mine even though I did a lot of upgrading and collecting. Ragnarok surprisingly had a lot of RPG elements and many different ways for a player to approach the game.
  • I generally really enjoyed the game’s combat. The camera is annoying at times though.
  • Adding the Draupnir Spear later on in the game is cool. I liked the weapon and ended up relying on it a lot for combat.
  • My approach to the game’s combat was basically to use all three weapons, especially against different enemies who had weaknesses to a certain one or required you to use specific attacks to even damage them. For harder enemies or boss fights I would spam all the special attacks at once and try to use them again once they replenished.
  • The combat can get pretty intense, especially when there are a lot of enemies or a boss with a long health bar. You’ll do a ton of dodging/rolling, blocking and counterattacks. Nothing sucks more than dying during a boss fight when they had maybe just a few attacks left to finish them off. That happened a lot to me in this game but for the most part it never felt cheap. I just had to adjust my strategy.
  • Kratos’ Spartan Rage abilities are also expanded with new options, like Valor for healing and Wrath for a powerful attack. These were good additions, especially the Valor ability.
  • I didn’t like the power where you could explode/burn things with either Atreus’ or Freya’s Sigil arrows in combination with Kratos’ Blades of Chaos to unlock new areas or secrets. I found it annoying to properly link the chain together.
  • Freya becomes an even more important character who ends up joining your party as a second to Kratos when Atreus is off on his own. She’s another complex character that grows a lot during the game. I really liked her.
  • The crater area that opens up later on in Vanaheim feels like it could have even been downloadable content. It definitely adds around 5-7 hours of extra gameplay to finish everything. It surprised me considering that it becomes available near the end of the game yet adds so much extra things to do.
  • The total number of players who beat Ragnarok is impressive, especially for how long the story takes to complete. As of this post, 42.4% of players earned the gold Trophy “Ragnarok” that you get for beating Odin. The silver trophy called “Funeral for a Friend” tied to the post-game scene of Brock’s funeral that the player has to initiate had a lower rate at 30.1%.
  • I liked Odin a lot, even though he’s the main antagonist against Kratos. Richard Schiff, the actor playing him, did an awesome job delivering his lines and interacting with the other characters. Odin has a likeable personality but then ultimately exposes himself as a true piece of crap. You finally see this firsthand, not just from all the stories told in both games by the other characters’ personal experiences. How Odin looks as a character made him seem more realistic, with his receded, gray hairline and the way he carries himself. He looked like somebody’s dad would.
  • Kratos wife Faye is still weird to me. I’m still confused about their whole relationship. Even Kratos doesn’t really know much about her. There’s an optional sidequest where you find out that his wife fought Thor, which caused the destruction of the crater area in Vanaheim. Kratos knew nothing about this. Mimir is basically like, well everyone has their secrets. That’s a lame way to brush away how awkward that storyline aspect is. In all the flashback cut-scenes both Kratos and Faye seemed absolutely miserable together. It does look like Faye used/manipulated Kratos to be the one to finally kill Odin. Deborah Ann Woll, who played Karen Page in the show Daredevil, is great in this game too.
  • I’m still confused how Kratos is still even there in the Nine Realms after facing all the Greek gods. I don’t remember much about the old games but this detail seems a bit ambiguous. The characters in the game do know a lot about Kratos’ past life, which is interesting.
  • Through some sidequests Ragnarok potentially hints at possible other lands for future games. Kratos in Mexico, Japan or Egypt would actually be pretty awesome.
  • Another theme of the game that I liked is making the most of the time you have and with the people in your life. As I get older that’s something I think about more.
  • I liked Atreus a lot. His growth as a character is something that’s a major highlight of the game, especially as a teenager still discovering who he is. Ragnarok is very much a game about Atreus as it is about Kratos. I think Atreus could star in his own game or at least some spin-off similar to Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
  • Kratos raising Atreus to not be like him at all and preparing his son for when his father wouldn’t be there anymore is one way that Kratos might be trying to make up for his own past.
  • Atreus as a playable character works really well, with his bow, melee attacks and special transformative Spartan Rage powers. Much like Freya (who you never fully control), he has a similar combat style and attacks. I enjoyed playing as him.
  • Atreus’ sequence where he meets the girl Angrboda in Ironwood from the Jotunheim realm is beautiful. The visuals were incredible.
  • Atreus and Angrboda do make a good pairing. Hopefully future games explore their relationship more.
  • The whole story about fate, freedom and if life and our choices are already determined does make you think, since everything in the game came true anyway.
  • Many of the characters in the game are trying to amend for their pasts. Most of the characters can be viewed as “bad” and selfish people. In an optional sidequest for Mimir you help free a giant sea creature called the Lyngbakr that he imprisoned to impress Odin. In another sidequest Kratos actually wants to help a spirit reunite with his son, which before he probably wouldn’t even care about. Atreus is really the one who is still pretty stable and pure despite everything thats happened.
  • I really wish they would have gone more with the mask and what’s behind the mysterious rift that’s hidden in Asgard. This is pretty much dropped during the ending. It would be cool if they explored it in future games. The story’s shift kind of went from Odin trying to prevent Ragnarok to him wanting to gain all the knowledge from the rift using/manipulating Atreus to make it happen.
  • Thor is a great character. Portrayed by Ryan Hurst, this Thor is more complicated compared to the pop culture version most people would recognize. In Ragnarok he’s an alcoholic who relapses and disappointed his daughter yet again. I liked the way they portrayed him in the game. His daughter Thrud is another great character who it looks like becomes the new Thor during a post-game scene.
  • This whole time I thought Ragnarok was an actual Armageddon-level event that would destroy the world, not a creature/person summoned to fight on the side of the person that called them. It was kind of shaping up to be like you would actually have to fight Ragnarok as well but that never happened.
  • Why is Atreus actually Loki? I still don’t fully know.
  • The game’s musical score, especially in the last chapter, is excellent and pretty epic. It felt like a movie.
  • The regular conversations that take place between gameplay and traveling with the characters are exceptional and do add a lot to the game.
  • The boss fight between Kratos and Heimdall deep in the game is a turning point since Kratos brutally kills him after holding off as long as possible. I liked the struggle Kratos had with this decision. Mimir was basically all shocked afterwards too, since Kratos went over the edge and also would be causing war against Odin. I liked Mimir’s reaction to this fight. In the end, another prophecy came true even though everyone tried hard to avoid it. The game did this scene really well.
  • Brock’s death as a key plot point worked really well. It was sad because he was a likable character and someone Kratos considered to be a friend. The toll this loss took on his brother Sindri is done well in the game too, as is Sindri’s attitude shift. I liked how afterwards he called out Kratos and Atreus for basically being selfish and only caring about how others could help them.
  • Odin being Tyr the whole time was a crazy swerve. I didn’t see it coming but I guess the signs were there hinting at the deception. There’s a sidequest during the post-game where you free the real Tyr from the prison he’s actually in and it feels like such an afterthought. Afterwards Tyr starts doing yoga at various locations you travel to and it feels weird that nothing more is explored or explained with his character.
  • Atreus has the power of transferring spirits into other creatures and presumably people. I hope they also explore this more in future games.
  • Jormungandr, also known as the World Serpent, time traveled during his background fight with Thor near the game’s ending, which is a really cool idea and explains how he got in Midgard. Atreus basically created him in Ragnarok after putting a giant’s spirit into a regular snake he rescued while in Ironwood that grew into the massive creature.
  • There’s a cool Easter egg nod to Ratchet & Clank in one of the collectable poems.
  • Atreus just disappears during the game’s ending/credits and you can’t play or travel with him again. His departure was kind of weird. He talked about wanting to find the rest of the giants and apparently just couldn’t wait. That’s probably going to be the focus of the next game. Freya is a great companion to Kratos by the game’s ending so Atreus leaving doesn’t sting as much.
  • Gna, the new Valkyrie Queen that’s an optional post-game boss fight, is hard as hell. I could barely survive a minute.
  • The Valkyries have some great outfits though.
  • Overall Ragnarok is a success in gaming for its characters, storytelling, acting and scope of gameplay.

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