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The upcoming God of War Ragnarok is Sony’s 2022 crescendo, opening on November 9. I played the first few hours of Ragnarok on PlayStation 5, and oh boy, if it’s anything to go by, this sequel is going to be a blast.
There’s a lot I can’t say because of spoilers, but the first thing that struck me was that Ragnarok is gorgeous. Kratos and Atreus’ Midgardian home is surrounded by the snows of Fimbulwinter, making it a darker place than ever, and it looks amazing on PS5. During the preview period, the two also visit Svartalfheim, home of the dwarves. Its marshy terrain and populous town stand out visually from other locations in the Nidavellir series. Atreus and I both stopped to gasp when we first reached the circle.
Combat has also been improved, with Kratos’ signature weapons – the Leviathan Ax and Blade of Chaos – available from the start. Kratos has several more moves at his disposal that he didn’t have at the start of the last game, and more enemies he can use them on. I played on medium difficulty and found the combat relatively easy to pick up and learn, though I’d like to play against tougher enemies before making a final decision.
There is an opening battle between Thor and Kratos that is particularly satisfying to play. Gameplay speed tuning is most prominent here. It’s not a hard fight by any means – if anything, it looks like Thor is playing with his food. But it’s absolutely amazing to watch, especially since Thor is the first character to give Kratos a real run for his money in a while. I’m not going to go into detail, because I think it’s something everyone deserves to experience for themselves.
Kratos and Atreus: Dynamic Changes
One thing that always struck me as odd about God of War 2018 was its selective memory of previous games in the series. This isn’t a complete reboot – Kratos is the same person throughout the series. But among his many, Very Of the acts of violence in the original games, the only one that the 2018 title explicitly alludes to multiple times is the m*rder of his father, Zeus. I understand why — Kratos treats his son Atreus the way he does because of the destructive “relationship” he had with his father, because he desperately wants Atreus to break the cycle. And be better than that.
What the game fails to mention is what started the whole mess. For him to simply tell Atreus that “I killed my father” is leaving out a lot of complex background that would put the verb into context. One crime Kratos has historically never squared himself with is the rage-fueled m*rder of his first wife and her daughter. The end of the 2018 game implies that he has reconciled with her, but he doesn’t tell Atreus. And, if Ragnarok’s opening hours are any indication, he hasn’t mentioned his firstborn to anyone yet.
At the beginning of Ragnarok, several other characters are on Kratos’ case because of their children. Freya is angry at him because he killed Balder. Thor is angry with her for killing Magni and Modi. Even Atreus, now a teenager and far less afraid of his father than before, has some opinion of Kratos’s skills as a father. If they really wanted to hit Kratos with an uncomfortable truth, either of them could easily point out that Kratos is only one-for-two for not killing his own offspring (so far).
Something about the growing tension between Atreus and Kratos makes me wonder if this particular fact will eventually come up in the conversation. It certainly feels that way. Some causing a gap between the two. Looking forward to learning more about the journey we take.
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