God of War Ragnarok, regardless of how it was received, was always going to be a wild blockbuster of a launch, simply given how incredibly successful and critically acclaimed its predecessor had been. However, its success looks almost guaranteed at this point where reviews have started to roll in and it looks like the critics have reached a consensus that God of War Ragnarok is one heck of a game and is right up there amongst the strongest contenders for Game of the Year.
Developed by Santa Monica Studio, God of War Ragnarok is the concluding chapter to the Norse saga of the franchise and even as the name implies, this game has a sense of finality to it. Some of the most common praises heaped on the game have to do with its improved combat mechanics and systems, which critics feel are an upgrade from the 2018 game.
This isn’t to say that the 2018 game wasn’t mechanically sound as it was, and still is, one of the most fun games to play on your PlayStation console. The sequel ups the stakes in a number of ways, adding all sorts of new mechanics in both combat and traversal and adding a ton of more complexity to combat arenas that have an added sense of verticality.
What are Critics Saying About God of War Ragnarok?
Combat and Presentation
It goes without saying at this point that God of War Ragnarok looks positively gorgeous, given the kind of production value at play. While most critics have avoided spoilers for the story, a common thread between most reviews seems to be that the game manages to outshine its predecessor with a more succinct and polished story that capitalizes on every setup from the last game.
Ragnarok had the unfortunate plight of following what is essentially one of the best games from the last generation. Although it would appear that God of War Ragnarok has finally broken the sequel curse and is right up there alongside other fantastic sequels such as The Empire Strikes Back and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
God of War Ragnarok was directed by Eric Williams, who previously worked on as Lead Designer on Combat and Systems in the God of War franchise. Cory Barlog, the famed director of the 2018 game did not return to direct the sequel although it looks like Williams has done a phenomenal job and Santa Monica has produced yet another hit.
Ragnarok's fights kicked my ass. I died considerably more times here than I did through the entirety of the 2018 game. It can get tough. Thankfully, the new verticality and environmental design is geared towards fast-paced combat.#GodofWarRagnarok pic.twitter.com/JSQmMOnANO
— Rahul Majumdar (@darthrahul) November 3, 2022
The combat is fast and furious still, and as a cool little cherry on top, God of War Ragnarok offers a wide number of graphics modes to the players. This includes presets that include HFR and VRR, so that means if you own a display that is compatible with VRR – you’re going to have a pretty sweet time with the game.
The game is, of course, available on the PS4 as well but it looks like running the game on the old console is liable to turn your console into a small plane engine. Critics have posted footage of the game running on a base PS4 and PS4 slim and the sound is pretty alarming. Nevertheless, despite however loud your PS4 may get – performance and optimization don’t seem to be an issue as the game maintains a steady 30 frames per second on the base PS4 while the PS4 Pro can run the game at 1080-1656p, Unlocked 40 FPS.
Can God of War Ragnarok Compete with Elden Ring for GOTY 2022?
2022 has been one cracker of a year and there are multiple games in the running for Game of the Year, including the likes of Tunic, Horizon Forbidden West, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and Cult of the Lamb. Although perhaps a shoo-in for the award is Elden Ring, FromSoftware’s magnum opus that has seemingly redefined the soulsborne genre with a vengeance and has demolished any preexisting ideas of what the genre was capable of.
On one hand, we have Elden Ring, which is perhaps the pinnacle of the genre and a game that will likely go down in history as one of the seminal games of all-time. On the other, we have God of War Ragnarok, a polished AAA title that bears all the hallmarks of the best PlayStation Studios’ games. The two titans will probably go head-to-head this year and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.