4 Things The First God Of War Ragnarök Reviews Told Us

"God of War Ragnarök" is almost here, and the first reviews of the game are painting a fairly clear picture of what we're going to be playing for hours on end starting November 9, 2022. It's one thing to watch a trailer or read what the game studio itself has to say about this new PlayStation exclusive, but it's another thing entirely to read what the reviewers have to say about it. Some of them have already sunk nearly 100 hours of gameplay into the title, and while each review has something new to add, some sentiments echo throughout all of them. Spoiler alert: the game is most likely going to be awesome.

This upcoming installment marks the ninth part of the "God of War" franchise, and it arrives as a direct sequel to the 2018 "God of War." While the 2018 release already established itself as a staple, earning highly favorable reviews across the board, it should come as no surprise that the game studio aimed to top those previous scores with "Ragnarök." For reference, the 2018 "God of War" had a 94 Metascore on Metacritic combined with a 9.1 out of 10 User Score. This time around, we will once again follow Kratos and Atreus, father and son, on their journey.

By all accounts, the 2018 "God of War" was a tough act to follow — but now, reviews of "God of War Ragnarök" are telling us that Sony Santa Monica may have managed to hit that mark. Here are some of the things we've learned from this early set of reviews. Slight spoiler alert if you want to go in knowing absolutely nothing about the game, but rest assured that the reviewers held back on any major spoilers.

The combat system received some welcome updates

It seems that the combat system in the next iteration of the "God of War" franchise kicks things up a notch. The system was already pretty robust in the previous installments, but now, there are more weapons to choose from, more ways to use them, and more options for each of the two characters. While the focus is on Kratos, Atreus also gets a lot of the same options that let you customize your gameplay and find new ways to defeat the plentiful enemies you meet along the way.

Multiple reviews talk about the way Kratos now uses his weapons. OneMoreGame reports that both of them can now be imbued with frost or flame, altering their signature moves. Whether you choose frost or flame will also alter the way you choose your gear, meaning that players can stray from cookie-cutter builds and add some flair to their gameplay. If you use a certain skill enough times — which, again, is affected by the element that you chose — you'll be able to upgrade it and make it even more powerful.

New Sigil Arrows take it all one step further by letting Atreus uncover new areas, discover treasures, and solve puzzles on top of enhancing his combat skills. This honestly sounds pretty cool, but some reviewers are split on the matter of Sigil Arrows. For example, The Verge's Ash Parrish remarks that they're too complex to use for puzzle-solving tasks. This will likely be one of those features that players either love or hate.

It's not all about Kratos anymore

There's another huge change in "Ragnarök," and it can be split into two things. For one, the cast has gotten bigger, and our two heroes receive help from multiple characters throughout the game. Two, you no longer have to play just as Kratos — you also get to control Atreus directly, and it's a wildly different experience than playing Kratos if Forever Classic Games is to be believed. 

Atreus, unlike his father, is not a god — he's half-god, half-giant. He's not as hard-hitting as Kratos and seems to be more of an agile, range-based character, relying on his bow and his Sigil Arrows to carve his way through enemies and obstacles alike. Atreus can stun his enemies and he can buff his companions, and he comes with a different version of the Rage ability, which the reviewers seem to have enjoyed immensely.

Kratos and Atreus both team up with an ensemble of characters, including Brok and Sindri. Aside from those, there are plenty of other noteworthy characters in the game. Mimir, the joker, makes another appearance; Thor and Odin are formidable as ever, and Freya particularly impressed The Verge with how real she was as a character.

The world has gotten much bigger

"God of War Ragnarök" takes you on a journey across all nine realms of the World Tree, and it seems like it's going to be a highly immersive experience. Reviewers note that this game is huge, with plenty of opportunities for exploration and chances to discover new secrets. OneMoreGame talks about the fact that the previous iteration of "God of War" kept you away from some zones, but this version lets you roam through all of them, ranging from the plains of Asgard to the confusing jungles of Vanaheim.

Each area is unique in its design and lore. While some of the criticisms about the previous "God of War" talked about the repetitiveness of the quests, Sony Santa Monica seems to have taken that feedback to heart and tried to create more compelling stories and missions. Gamepur notes that even the side stories and quests in "Ragnarök" are meaningful: they help you learn the people of the zone and make you care about the characters more than the simple "go collect 10 of this or that thing" types of tasks usually tend to do.

With that said, some of the zones can get a little confusing, particularly Vanaheim. It's easy to get lost and it appears that the direction system doesn't always help you find your way around. Again, this will vary from player to player, so you may find it perfectly sufficient.

The story will blow you away

If there's one thing that decidedly echoes throughout each and every review, it's this — the story in "God of War Ragnarök" seems to be incredible. We don't want to spoil the previous game for you, but suffice it to say that the characters have grown — especially Kratos, surprisingly enough. Although Atreus is getting older and growing up, and this is a prominent part of the story, it's Kratos who has changed for the better, and the relationship between father and son is the driving force behind what appears to be an outstanding game.

EGM remarks on the fact that everything that happens in the game takes place only because Kratos and Atreus are both active protagonists. Their choices and their actions serve to drive the plot forward, and the story seems to be void of convenient things that happen just because the pacing needs it. This satisfying feeling, according to reviewers, is achieved because the characters are complex, which gives more weight to what they do and say. Many reviewers note that the quiet moments in the game hold the most weight, and the ever-changing dynamic between Kratos and Atreus may have you searching for tissues to wipe your eyes with.

All in all, the early response to the game has been outstanding. The game's current Metacritic score is 94, with many reviewers giving it a perfect 10 (or the equivalent) and praising it in every way possible. If you're still on the fence, these reviews certainly all seem to say one thing — buy "God of War Ragnarök" and try it for yourself.