God of War Ragnarok is going to be huge in nearly every regard. The sequel to 2018’s God of War will let players visit all nine realms of the Norse world, parlay with giants, and will bring an end to the saga of Kratos and his son, Atreus. With the power of the PS5 at its disposal, God of War Ragnarok is aiming for scale and spectacle.
If what we’ve seen so far is any indication, Ragnarok is God of War to the nth degree – bigger, bolder, and filled to the brim with new baddies. With more combat options for Kratos, two major antagonists to contend with, and a bratty son to keep in check, it’s no surprise that God of War Ragnarok is on our Big in 2022 radar.
God of War was astonishing in many ways. It took a notoriously brutal franchise and humanized it, giving players a chance to explore a semi-open world for the first time ever, and revamped the series’ combat system. Fans were shocked when, after the game’s opening, they were given a boat and basically told “go on, explore this world.” With six of the nine realms laid out in front of them, God of War let players veer off of the mainline campaign story and explore a bold new world.
God of War Ragnarok will take that semi-open world concept and blow it up to giant-like proportions. According to the PlayStation Blog post (opens in new tab), the sequel will let players visit the entirety of the Nine Realms – that’s three more than the last game, if you’re keeping track. Using new and old traversal systems (a sled and a boat, respectively), players can go to the “previously unreachable locations” of Vanaheim, Svartalfheim, and Asgard. And the six realms you were able to explore in 2018’s God of War will have new areas, so expect this sequel to be much, much bigger.
We know from the gameplay trailer that Midgard is experiencing Fimbulwinter, the icy prelude to Ragnarok. But it seems that isn’t affecting all of the Nine Realms, as the trailer shows verdant lands and sunny villages. It seems like the boat used for traversal in God of War will be utilized in the areas not touched by Fimbulwinter, while a new, wolf-drawn sled will help Kratos and Atreus get around in the snow-capped lands.
With new lands comes new enemies, so expect to come up against some formidable foes, including what looks to be the guards of Asgard. “The realms have grown harsher,” teased senior community manager Grace Orlady, and we’ll see that reflected in the new creatures Kratos and Atreus will be forced to face. And with Freya and Thor equally pissed off at the father/son duo, there will be some serious challenges ahead. Naturally, they’ll need some new weapons to take on the dangers of these harsher realms, and Sony Santa Monica is only too happy to provide them.
Unto the breach
2018’s God of War revamped the combat system, giving players a chance to upgrade and build out skill trees for both Kratos and Atreus. God of War Ragnarok will further expand upon an already expansive tree, offering up new attack abilities, a new Runic Summon for Atreus to bring into battle, and a variety of shields that will give Kratos different abilities. As we reported in September 2021, God of War Ragnarok director Eric Willliams confirmed that Kratos will get a few shields to choose from, each of which will have “different defensive options and abilities.”
“The reason we’re doing this is we really want to open up expressive choice to the way that you build your Kratos,” Williams said. That means that the expansiveness of the original will only go further in the sequel, giving players a chance to carve out their own unique God of War Ragnarok experience – a feature that should also help increase its replayability.
God of War’s combat feels kinetic and incredibly physical, but also allows for a level of flexibility you might not expect from something so hard-hitting. That Ragnarok will double down on this unique feel only means players will get an even more enjoyable combat experience. Expect Kratos and Atreus to battle together in ways that will seem almost balletic, especially as you progress through their skill trees.
Power of the PS5
You can’t discuss God of War Ragnarok without discussing the PS5, as the console’s arsenal will only further bolster the impressiveness of the sequel. Ragnarok will be released for both PS4 and PS5, and we haven’t seen anything so far to suggest that the cross-generation launch is holding Sony Santa Monica back. In fact, the God of War Ragnarok PS5 footage we have seen so far is undeniably impressive, a further showcase of the visual spectacle that Sony’s first-party exclusives.
While God of War Ragnarok doesn’t have a release window just yet, it’ll be an important release for PlayStation in 2022. This is the year that we’ll start seeing the results of Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax, with the release of Bethesda’s Starfield and Arkane’s Redfall, not to mention further details of Xbox’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. Sony will want to spend this year reminding players that PlayStation is home to exclusives that push visual, gameplay, and performance boundaries in the new generation. That’s the weight shouldered by Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, and Ghostwire Tokyo in the spring, and will be carried by God of War Ragnarok into the fall.
Everything about God of War Ragnarok screams “new-gen”, from the detail and spectacle of the visuals to the scope and depth to the combat, all of it enhanced by the DualSense – which should hopefully layer in another point of connection from our hands to Kratos’ world. God of War Ragnarok may very well define this era of PlayStation gaming, establishing itself as a giant amongst men. All we need now is a release date.
God of War Ragnarok will release on PS4 and PS5 sometime this year.
All throughout January, GamesRadar+ is exploring the biggest games of the new year with exclusive interviews, hands-on impressions, and in-depth editorials. We’re also checking in on big games from previous year to see how they’re faring in 2022. For more, be sure to follow along with Big in 2022.