Three things from God of War we want for Ragnarok (and one we don’t)

By Lee Brady,

God of War Ragnarok's PS5 and PS4 release date is coming up fast. So, to prepare for Santa Monica Studio's next AAA PlayStation Studio title, we're looking back at our favourite things from God of War 2018.

With God of War Ragnarok's release date nearly upon us, we've been revisiting Santa Monica's PS4 God of War to get ourselves in the mood (not to mention almost all the God of War games on PS Plus). Not only have we decided it's about time we got to see the remainder of those nine realms, but we've also compiled our top three design choices from God of War 2018 we want to see in Ragnarok — plus one thing we definitely don't want to see, just for good measure.

God of War 2018 and RagnarokIt's your not-boy.

Our favourite things from God of War on PS4

After watching the excellent God of War Ragnarok State of Play trailer and footage of Ragnarok's weapon signature moves, we're fairly certain we're going to see this one in Ragnarok when the game comes out, but the number one thing we want more of is that crunchy God of War 2018 combat.

Having Kratos swing and fling the Leviathan Axe over the course of God of War 2018 delivers unto the player a high that is remarkably difficult to replicate in any other game, so we're just going to need more straight from the source. The new elemental powers Ragnarok brings to the Axe and the Blades of Chaos look so good that it has us thanking the stars this game survived its development hell to get this close to launch.

The next best thing about Santa Monica Studio's 2018 title is how God of War nailed the open-world formula. At TrueTrophies, we've been rather critical of the current state of open-world games — particularly when our eyes turn towards the Assassin's Creed series. In our Assassin's Creed game rankings, we couldn't help but vent about how games like Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Assassin's Creed Odyssey make their worlds so unnecessarily vast, filling each square digital mile with useless tiny trinkets, presumably as a means to help the sleep-deprived nod off while playing.

If Assassin's Creed is the poison, God of War 2018 is the antidote. Our hopes are that Ragnarok can turn this kind of world design from a single good example into a modern video game trend. God of War 2018's visually distinct realms and varied map geometry are only icing atop a good design cake, in which each layer is composed of intersecting optional quests, all within a reasonable distance from one another and easy to distinguish on a map. We pray God of War Ragnarok's nine studios hasn't led to some kind of 'too many cooks' scenario and these design flourishes make it into the next title.

God of War 2018 and RagnarokStill marvelling over how they pulled this off.

Finally, our third favourite element of God of War 2018 is all about the game's story. Back in 2018, we were utterly blown away by the depth and nuance God of War managed to achieve in its reframing of perpetual revenge machine Kratos. To think that the character could go from horrifying acts foreshadowed in retroactively hilarious PS2 manuals for the original God of War, to relatively relatable gruff 'Dad of Boy' is a writing feat on a scale we might never quite truly comprehend.

Our only hope for God of War Ragnarok in terms of story is, simply, more. We just want to spend more time with these characters, and we're pretty sure we will ultimately get that — after all, the game's length in cutscenes is roughly three and a half hours. We just love these characters, their relationship to one another, and the Norse god filled world around them. Give us more story threads to explore and we'll absolutely take them, Santa Monica.

God of War 2018 and RagnarokIt's a beautiful future ahead.

The one thing we're not fussed about from God of War 2018

One thing we can't say we're pumped about from God of War 2018, and judging by this Push Square story we're likely going to see again in Ragnarok, are those dull segments where Kratos squeezes through a tight gap. According to Kurt Margenau, the co-game director of The Last of Us Part II, these 'squeeze-throughs' might not always be placed to seamlessly hide loading screens, which on some level makes their frequency in games like God of War 2018 all the worse!

Margenau explains that the squeeze-throughs actually have more to do with level design and narrative design than loading the game, writing in one tweet: "We used squeeze-throughs to valve the player in to prevent them from going backwards." In another tweet, Margenau elaborates: "For us a squeeze-through is more for dramatic effect, wanting to close you in real tight before popping you out into an open space, or guaranteeing you’re entering the next space from an exact angle."

God of War 2018 and RagnarokAlright, maybe it was Uncharted 3 we were thinking of.

This makes a lot of sense, and back in the Uncharted 2 days when the squeeze-through was just catching on, that dramatic effect might have been quite effective. In God of War 2018, however, these tight gaps have well outstayed their welcome and any dramatic effect to be found after clearing those rocks has been lost as you struggle to figure out whether you should be pressing directly forward on the analog stick to end the little interactive cutscene, or if you should be following the tight camera to a weird, diagonal-sort-of input.

Either way, it's a small quibble, but it's easily one of the features we find most frustrating about God of War 2018, and it'll be a shame if these are prevalent in God of War Ragnarok in order to help the PS4 version keep on top of loading that gargantuan file size. That one qualm aside, we very much hope God of War Ragnarok gives us more of what we love about the original and chops its way to the top of our best PS5 games list. Let us know in the comments what you would like to see in the upcoming game!
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Shadow x Sonic Generations), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium games), and his secret third eye on junk he really likes (Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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