God of War Ragnarok

 

Is God of War: Ragnarok Another Cross Generation Game?

While Spider Man 2, and Wolverine were also announced in Sony’s last week game showcase ( each with its respective trailer) as PS5 exclusives, not much actual gameplay was shown, so it is hard to gauge how “next generation” the two games will look.

However, we did get an extensive (by comparison) look at God of War: Ragnarok. Along with Horizon Forbidden West, Ragnarok is the game that I look forwards to playing the most on the PlayStation 5 (and PlayStation 4).

We have raved about the previous God of War’s greatness here (see our review), and God of War: Ragnarok did not disappoint in its trailer. The game seems to be running on PS5 hardware, and while it looks sharper, and there are some enhancements in texture quality (though this is hard to appreciate with precision on the youtube trailer).

God of War: Ragnarok remains a game that has to play by the base PlayStation 4 hardware’s limitations. Which, to be fair, isn’t much a problem. The first game still looks better than most “next-gen” and cross generational titles that we have played, thus far.

Sony’s first party studios remain ‘best in class’ in terms of visuals, and God of War: Ragnarok looks as epic, and as enticing, as one who played the first game in the Sony’s Norse gods saga would expect.

I have read some people complaining on Social Media about God of War: Ragnarok not looking much better than the previous incarnation, and I agree. Ragnarok is not a generational leap, but at the same time, I am not bothered by this, as I still find this game to be an amazing looking title.

The Story Continues…

God of War Ragnarok Freya

The previous title ended up in a bit of a cliffhanger. The new trailer only served to rise my level of anticipation for this title, and my desire to continue Kratos and Atreus’ story is at an all time high.

Sony Santa Monica Studio published a small summary of what we can expect (story wise) from God of War: Ragnarok:

Atreus is desperately curious. Like most young people, he wants to understand who he is more than anything. In this case, he wants to understand who he could be. The mystery of Loki’s role in the upcoming conflict is something that Atreus cannot let go of. He wants to keep his family safe, but Atreus also doesn’t want to stand by and do nothing while conflict consumes the Nine Realms.

Kratos, still bearing the knowledge of his past mistakes, wants to spare Atreus the bloody lessons he learned from his conflict with gods. He wants to keep his son safe, above all, and their confrontation with Baldur has vindicated the belief that only tragedy will come from further entanglements with the Aesir.

Together, Kratos and Atreus will have to make a choice about which path they will take. Whatever they choose will define the fate of all those living in the Nine Realms as Ragnarök approaches. – Grace Orlady Sr. Community Manager, Santa Monica Studio

In the first game, we got a glimpse at Kratos ‘the caring father’, rather than simply Kratos the ‘god killer’. The development between him and his son, Atreus, earned that title many Game of the Year Awards, and rave reviews.

Santa Monica Studio can definitely tell a story, and I think that they have set a very high bar – with the first game – for this sequel’s plot line. Thankfully, the trailer managed to live up to those high expectations with the quality of its writing (and Hollywood caliber voice acting).

I will not post Santa Monica Studio’s full blog post (though the link is above for those wanting to read it), because I know that some of our readers have yet to play the first entry, and I don’t want to spoil its wonderful storyline. Either way, we can expected Freya, and the Thor to be the main antagonists in this entry, which (as a fan of all things ‘Viking’) is exciting.

Gameplay Additions

Combat God of War Ragnarok

Combat (brutal, and violent combat) has always been this series’ calling card. The previous game slowed the pace down, made it more of action-RPG than previous entries. 2018’s God of War did not only feature a much better, and fleshed out plot than the previous games in the series, but it also shook up the series’ gameplay formula dramatically.

Santa Monica Studio took heavy inspiration from the The Legend of Zelda/Dark Souls school of design.  God of War’s interconnected hub world, puzzles, and strategic skill (and level) based combat made it a richer experience than previous God of War games.

Santa Monica Studio aims to improve from what was already a wonderful combat system – in the 2018 game – with God of War: Ragnarok:

It would not be God of War without a healthy serving of visceral and spectacular combat. You’ve been able to see just a hint of new attack abilities, a new Runic Summon for Atreus, and of course, the return of Kratos’ legendary weapons.

As a team we’ve worked hard to take our learnings from God of War (2018) and improve upon combat to feel fresh, yet familiar. With God of War Ragnarök, one of our main goals was to push player choice in combat. Whether it’s through hard hitting combos, a mastery of elements, or clever defensive tactics – you will find plenty of opportunity to fight alongside our duo in a way that feels uniquely expressive.

Whatever your choice of combat strategy, the enemies that await in God of War Ragnarök will be ready. The realms have grown harsher, and a whole host of new creatures from across Norse mythology will test your skills. From the trailer you can see what happens when Kratos finds himself under the hooves of the Stalker or grabbed between the jaws of a Dreki, and that’s just the beginning. – Grace Orlady Sr. Community Manager, Santa Monica Studio

The trailer showed new enemy types, and what I have to assume are large sized bosses. All in all, God of War (even the old PS2/PS3 entries) has never disappointed in combat, I don’t expect the game to disappoint here.

Truly, I actually expect God of War: Ragnarok to surpass all of the expectations in every area imaginable (save for visuals – maybe – as it is a cross-generational game).

Why Sony Went the Cross-Generation Route With God of War: Ragnarok

I have to assume, that a lot like Forbidden West, God of War: Ragnarok began its development on the PlayStation 4. Also, chip shortages, and the rise of the ‘evil scalper empire’ have kept PlayStation 5s away from customer hands.

Sony has been forthcoming about how they can’t really afford a ‘Game Pass’ like service with AAA games appearing on it ‘Free of Charge’ on day one. Sony’s first party games cost over 50  million dollars (without marketing costs included) to make. That number  will rise to $200 million in this generation (God of War, and the Last of Us 2 are rumored to have cost over $100 million dollars to make, each).

Basically, Sony’s cross-gen approach comes down to this: There are over 115 million PS4 units out there, and only 11 million PS5s. If they want to recoup on their huge investments (and maximize profits) these big time games need to appear on the PlayStation 4, as it is likely that, unfortunately,  PS5 shortages will continue all way through 2022.

Thus, God of War: Ragnarok will make its way to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 sometime in 2022. We can hardly wait!

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By Samuel Rivera

An avid video game player and book reader, Samuel has been playing video games for the last 31 years. He has played nearly every PS1 JRPG known to man, and loves Ocarina of Time more than any other game.