God of War Ragnarok: The Final Preview

God of War Ragnarok: The Final Preview

God of War, made by Sony Santa Monica Studio in 2018, is one of the best games ever made in terms of how it combines combat and story. God of War: Ragnarok has a lot to live up to, and so far I’m glad to say that I’m loving the first few minutes. I’ve been able to play through the first 5 or so hours, and what I’ve seen so far is an interesting, emotional story with bits of Kratos violently ripping things in half mixed in.

If you don’t know what happened in the 2018 God of War or just want a quick review, there’s a summary on the main menu. This has become a norm for PlayStation games, and I hope it stays that way. I like to set aside a lot of time to play a new game I’m looking forwards to, like God of War Ragnarok. Having that synopsis helps me remember the tone of the first game as I begin this new adventure.

And that tone shows that Kratos and Atreus understand each other and care about each other. Today, they all want to stay alive and work to stay safe during the Fimbulwinter, which lasts for three years. During the first parts of Ragnarok, it’s clear that Atreus is not like his father at all.

He spends more time talking to the animals they meet, like the wolves that pull their sled or the octopus that sends him off with a gift. Even when his father had other ideas about how to handle a situation, he decides to do it his way, even as Kratos tries to teach him from his own past mistakes. In Ragnarok, Atreus has grown up a lot, and you can hear that growth from the first time he speaks.

Atreus and Kratos are great matches because of their different personalities. Kratos seems happy to keep his head down and, most importantly, keep his son safe while Atreus wants to find out what’s going on in the world. He finds it hard to admit that his son might have something to teach him, and it looks like he’ll also have to learn to trust Atreus’ instincts as they travel together.

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Changes To The Game We’ve Seen So Far

Also squishy? After dismembering a Draugr mini-boss, I named it the Hateful. The team has included weapon-specific finishes, so Kratos won’t constantly use his hands or Blades.

“That’s one of the biggest comments from the last game,” Bruno said. “We had weapon-specific kills for the first time in a God of War game. In prior games, you used the Blades of Chaos or Kratos’ hands. This time, you’ll earn a different kill using the Axe or Blades. We also included new opponent kinds.”

The Hateful is one of the new mini-bosses in Dragur’s holes. Like me, you can find these off the beaten road. If I know a story beat is approaching, I’ll go the opposite direction to find every item first. Because I chose the toughest difficulty, I’ve run into tougher foes.

God of War Ragnarok The Final Preview

Give Me God of War mode is tough. Any error led to health loss or the “try again” screen. It also forces you to take your time, evaluate how each encounter unfolds, and choose the ideal armor and shield for parries. Unscathed island travel is thrilling. Bruno shared some combat suggestions if you’re planning to tackle this difficulty like I did.

“God of War Ragnarok has more traversal and combat mobility. You can grapple ledges to add verticality to combat. That’s inspired by past games when Kratos could do that. We wanted to bring back some fan-favorite moves from earlier games.

The midpoint boss battle checkpoints made this difficulty setting more palatable if you made it to the second or third phase. If you clear a checkpoint when low on health, Kratos will be given enough to halt the rapid heartbeat noise and give you time to find health on the ground.

In just this short period, we encountered a massive, angry Bear, a viciously large Lizard that spews area-of-effect lightning attacks, the Hateful mini-bosses who use fire and will burn off your life bar in a flash, and Thor.

Amazing Thor combat. The fight was a highlight, from his swagger to how he taunts Kratos. To avoid spoilers, I’ll add the hammer moves were enjoyable to dodge and the thundering slaps were great to parry and follow up with a hard hit to Thor’s head.

God of War Ragnarok The Final Preview

Father And Son Cinematic Trailer

Atreus is an important part of my build, though. I had unlocked several abilities for him that made him a much stronger ally in battle. His arrows do a lot more than just stack stun damage. Sonic Arrows make a vortex that makes enemies float in the air, making them easier to stun. Atreus is not afraid to fight back in battle and throw a few punches of his own.

“This time, we wanted to show that he’s gotten better at fighting since he’s been training with Kratos for three years during Fimbulwinter. So we gave him a lot of close-range moves as well. So that when you’re close to the enemy, you don’t feel like he only has arrows. Then we have a lot of cool close-range attacks.

He still jumps on enemies and holds them as he did in 2018, and some options let Kratos have a little more control over him than he did in 2018. So, I think the fact that he has both long-range and close-range attacks makes it seem more natural that he’s working with and helping Kratos during battles.

As my preview window comes to an end, I’m eager to keep traveling with Kratos, Atreus and Mimir. I’m very excited about what the team has in store for the road ahead. I hope I’ve made you want to hear more, and you will on Thursday, November 3 at 9:00 AM PDT / 12:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM GMT / 5:00 PM CEST, when our reviewer posts his thoughts here on IGN. In the meantime, I have a few more enemies I’m looking forwards to destroying.

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