God of War Ragnarök is out next week!
The global review embargo requires things to be vague and I agree — the game isn’t even out yet and I would rather wait to write something when everybody has had a chance to play through it. So bear with me in my vagueness! I just wanted to write this to get other people excited to play it. I am here to build the hype. I have been holding onto the hype since they sent me the game, not allowed to speak to anyone, ready to explode. Here is a fraction of hype:
Ragnarök is such a perfect continuation of the 2018 God of War title that it is as if no time has passed at all, except the game has definitely been in the gym because every single part of it is hitting harder than before. I have never felt more powerful holding a controller? I have never felt more entertained. It’s like I’m leaning forward in my seat on the front row of a theatre and peering up at a stage, watching a play being told by gods and icons. I find myself believing every word. The writing has made me laugh out loud and cry. The writing has made me take screenshots just to capture some perfect lines. Everything has grown or settled. The characters feel more themselves; the combat is more emphatic; the art team have also been in the gym, designing some of the best NPCs I’ve ever seen, so good that I begrudge the fact they are only on screen for just a moment. Also, whoever was responsible for the meta-writing themes running through the script deserves a game writing award and a handshake. Amped up, all of it. The performances are chilling even when they aren’t meant to be, because it is bizarre to come to terms with what is still a relatively new space for those performances to happen in. Is it a game, or a play, or a film? It’s all of these things. The writing holds that together. I appreciate it so much! I also appreciate the new mini-boss checkpoint feature that you can toggle on; if you’re struggling with an enemy, you can create a checkpoint which means respawning with the enemy’s healthbar knocked down a bit so it feels like all your work is not in vain. From an accessibility standpoint, and an impatient one, I have made good use of this new addition.
Basically, you know the way sequels can spin their wheels, Santa Monica Studio have been able to build on top of all their previous work and hit the ground running. It is palpable. That’s what I mean when I say it’s hitting harder — Ragnarök is everything I wanted in a sequel because it’s more.
And that’s it for now. Hype, hype, hype. The game comes out November 9th on PS4 and PS5. I still haven’t finished it! It’s big. Good. My hands have hurt from playing it so much lol. I really need to take a break but it is so compelling.
When I posted my review of the 2018 game God of War, I was writing in 2020 — a year that saw me leave art coverage and get to grips with the form of games, because I was quickly realising that games were giving me something that exhibitions had never achieved: pure, unbridled entertainment that was still entertainment even if I was made to feel sad or scared or worried. It was playing that God of War title that put the world of visual arts into perspective. I couldn’t believe I’d ever stood in a room and looked meaningfully at a sculpture before when full-body, full volume, cinematic, hand-tingling experiences had been right there the whole time. I should probably follow up that statement with a polite ‘no offence to Fine Art,’ but 2 years later, I still feel completely justified in that position. Playstation gave me early access to Santa Monica Studio’s God of War Ragnarök and I am bowled over by the forcefulness of the cultural achievement. International art scene found dead in a ditch.