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You should play God of War Ragnarok (2023) on Playstation

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Having slayed my way through the epic 2018 God of War, I was itching to return to the brutal beauty of the Norse world. Ragnarok did not disappoint! Picking up right where the previous game left off, we find Kratos and Atreus facing a Fimbulwinter unlike any other – a relentless frost tightening its grip on Midgard with each passing day. As whispers of Ragnarok, the prophesied end of times, grow louder, Kratos and Atreus find themselves thrust into the heart of the storm.

The first thing that hits you is the stunning visual upgrade. Sure, it feels familiar at first – you’re exploring similar environments and battling recognizable foes. But then, key story moments explode with breathtaking detail. Imagine battling enemies bathed in the harsh, cold light of the Fimbulwinter sun, the snow glistening off their armor. It’s a constant reminder that you’re playing a next-gen experience, like revisiting a beloved show only to discover they’ve completely revamped the set design for the new season.

The combat remains familiar yet refined. The satisfying crunch of the Leviathan Axe and the brutal swing of Kratos’ blades are back, but there’s a new weapon in the arsenal that changes the game. This third weapon adds complexity and keeps the combat fresh, making every fight exhilarating.

But the heart of Ragnarok lies in the ever-evolving relationship between Kratos and Atreus. Atreus is no longer a wide-eyed boy. He’s a young man wrestling with his own destiny, and a shocking revelation throws a wrench into their dynamic. Atreus grapples with his newfound identity, while Kratos desperately tries to shield him from the dangers it brings. This tension adds real depth to their interactions, making you invested in their journey.

You also get to play as Atreus in certain sections. While not quite as satisfyingly brutal as wielding Kratos’ rage, Atreus holds his own damn well. He’s no damsel in distress like some (cough Mary Jane in Spider-Man cough). Atreus’ combat style is unique and complements Kratos’ perfectly. The game masterfully utilizes its established characters, giving everyone enough screentime through well-integrated companion sections.

There were moments of frustration, like some early puzzles and encounters that relied heavily on trial and error. But these moments are fleeting compared to the grand scope of the narrative. The story unfolds at a breakneck pace, filled with epic boss battles against familiar foes and brand new threats fueled by vengeance. We encounter other Norse gods who play significant roles, adding another layer of intrigue. The narrative is packed with tough choices that will have you genuinely pondering your options, and Mimir’s signature dry wit provides much-needed humor throughout the intense journey.

Ragnarok isn’t just a bigger and bolder sequel; it’s a deeper and more personal experience. It explores themes of family, legacy, and the choices that define us. It delves into Norse mythology in a way that’s both respectful and thrilling, and the consequences of Kratos’ actions in the previous game come crashing down in epic fashion. It’s a game that will stay with you long after the credits roll, leaving you wanting more.

Santa Monica’s Surprise: The Free Valhalla DLC

Speaking of wanting more, Santa Monica Studio surprised everyone with the unannounced Valhalla DLC! Unlike some shady DLC practices where content feels cut from the main game, Valhalla feels like a genuine gift to the fans. It’s not a full-blown expansion, but rather a post-game content accessible after you’ve finished the main narrative. This epilogue takes you to a new realm, Valhalla, the legendary hall of the slain in Norse mythology. Here, you’ll encounter new enemies to battle and uncover additional lore tidbits that add a bit more closure to the overall story. While not essential, Valhalla is a nice bonus for those who crave just a bit more time with these compelling characters.

The Verdict: A Must-Play for Action-Adventure Fans

Whether you’re a seasoned God of War veteran or a newcomer to the series, Ragnarok is a must-play. It builds upon everything that made the first game great, with a more intricate story, nuanced characters, and a world that feels even more alive. Newcomers can also jump right in, as the game does a great job of catching you up. So grab your axe (or your new favorite weapon), unleash your inner Spartan rage (or channel your inner Atreus), and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

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