June 10, 2023
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Sony’s God of War Ragnarok is set to kick off a slow year for hits – BNN Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) – Sony Group Corp’s God of War Ragnarok. debuted on Wednesday to positive reviews, suggesting it could be the catalyst the Japanese gaming giant needs for the end of the year without much success.

Critics love God of War Ragnarok. The game has a 94 on review aggregator website Metacritic, making it the second highest-rated original game of the year, just below the transcendent Elden Ring. IGN’s reviewer called it “a complete work of art from top to bottom” and “an almighty achievement”.

After breaking records during the pandemic, the video game industry has collapsed this year due to a lack of major titles, console shortages and the economic downturn. So the stakes are high for God of War Ragnarok, one of the fall’s few blockbuster games and the latest entry in one of Sony’s most important franchises.

God of War began in 2005 with a trilogy of obscene but fun games about killing Greek gods such as Zeus and Hades. In 2018, Sony rebooted the series with a new entry that ditched the crude sex scenes and reimagined series protagonist Kratos as a gruff but loving father. This game won accolades and was widely considered one of the best of the year. It has sold 23 million copies on PlayStation and PC. Four years later, a sequel has arrived, one that Sony hopes will meet or surpass the heights of the last release.

Playing God of War Ragnarok is beautiful and rhythmic, much like playing an instrument, except at the end of the song you can decapitate a worm demon with a giant axe.

Set in Norse mythology, the game takes place a few years after its predecessor during Fimbulwinter, the period of endless snow that is said to presage the end of the world. At the end of the last game, Kratos and his son Atreus discovered a prophecy with two key pieces of information. The first is that Atreus is really Loki, the Norse god of evil and the second is that Kratos is destined to die. This poses high stakes for God of War Ragnarok, and at the start of the game, Kratos and Atreus are already grappling with big questions about their relationship, their purpose, and what Ragnarok can bring.

I played about 15 hours of God of War Ragnarok and even though I haven’t finished yet, I enjoyed every minute of it. The combat is bright and deep, full of interesting choices and combos that let you tear through demons and monsters with abandon. Fans criticized the latest game for the monotony of its enemies, which were mostly variants of zombies, and the developers responded by packing God of War Ragnarok full of drastically different creatures to kill.

The fights are satisfying, highlighted once again by Kratos’ Leviathan Axe, which you can throw and recall to your hand with the pleasant press of a button. You can customize your gear and play with different special abilities, such as using your frost weapon to chill an enemy, then switching to your firearm to deal extra damage. I’ve never tried meditation, but I imagine the flow of combat in a game like this puts you in a similar state.

The designers at Sony Santa Monica, the studio behind the game, use all sorts of tricks to keep things engaging. There are meaningful side quests and many other interesting stories told by the talking head Mimir, the wisest of the Norse gods and a returning character from the previous game. There are various new gameplay twists that I won’t spoil but which clearly show after a few hours that God of War Ragnarok is trying to shake things up.

The story is also a highlight. God of War Ragnarok features villains that have only been teased before, like the thunder god Thor, whose bitter demeanor is miles away from his Marvel Cinematic Universe counterpart, and the malevolent sage Odin, portrayed to perfection. by Richard Schiff, better known as The West Wing. Toby Ziegler. Odin is the best part of this game. Every time he’s not on screen, I find myself wishing he was back. An early section, in which it takes one of the main characters on a West Wing-style walk-and-talk through Asgard, is a particular treat.

Fans fear that God of War Ragnarok looks too much like its predecessor. In some ways, it is. You’re still traveling to realms like Midgard and Alfheim, still throwing your ax to solve chain puzzles, still watching Kratos struggle to overcome his stoicism and connect with his son. But Ragnarok is bigger, better, and in some ways even more special than 2018’s game that was so successful. It’s a triumphant experience well worth everyone’s time. The game is available on the PlayStation 5, which has been in short supply this year, and the older PlayStation 4. In its recent results, Sony cut forecasts for its gaming segment and said gamers are reducing the number securities they buy because of “global macroeconomic conditions”. But the company also called God of War Ragnarok as a pilot to bring players back.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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