ℹ️ - God of War Ragnarök

 

Oh my God (of War), Ragnarök is finally here and, like the icy grip of Fimbulwinter itself, it will give you chills right from the outset. The game picks up the main events of the previous instalment almost immediately, and with timely reminders that "there are consequences to killing a God"!

- GOW RAGNARÖK // © SIE -


Having now played the first 5 hours or so – as much as the embargo allows for preview coverage actually – I can safely say that this is a game I am going to enjoy, and that if you are a fan of God of War (2018) then you are going to like this too. It is familiar in every way, just with more.


What is immediately clear is that it will be a spectacular conclusion to the story that began in that 2018 reboot. Kratos and Atreus may have another heartfelt adventure ahead of them, but the early sections also treat you to teases of the bombastic action and thoroughly entertaining encounters between the major characters. I've already seen enough to be fascinated by all of the elements in play, and can't wait to see where they will end up

- GOW RAGNARÖK // © SIE -


"But what is the photo mode like?", I hear you ask.


It is an important question, and we'll get onto that, but sometimes it is good to just experience the game and story without such interruptions. It is certainly pretty enough to enjoy either way, although it doesn't really feel like a huge generational leap over the last game.


Ragnarök is recognisably related and has an identical art direction, as you might expect, but rather than any visual transformation, this is about looking crisper and with a more refined level of detail.

- GOW RAGNARÖK // © SIE -


There is a little nagging doubt though, that the legacy support for PS4 might have held back the true potential here. The abundance of load-enabling tunnels and gaps to squeeze through are an indication of how much the game is doing to allow the old hardware to keep up. This would surely not be necessary if it was committed entirely to the current generation machine and its lightning-fast SSD.


"So, the photo mode?"


You know, it was interesting to me that in the recent build-up to this game, I found myself thinking just as much about whether the combat would be great again as I did about whatever features the photo mode might have. In short, the combat is still great, and Santa Monica Studio have again nailed the perceptible weight of the Leviathan Axe and the fluid use of the Blades of Chaos, all with genuinely helpful co-operation from Atreus & Mimir.

- GOW RAGNARÖK // © SIE -


A flimsy line about Fimbulwinter having dulled their edges is used to explain the stripped back skills and abilities, but it was never really an option to wade in with everything already maxed out. It doesn't take long to start unlocking things again though, and there are completely new abilities for both characters. Different shield variants also add clever new tactics, while the more varied enemies and mythical beasts will keep you on your toes.

- GOW RAGNARÖK // © SIE -


"Just tell me about the photo mode!"


OK, I get it you really just want to know if the photo mode is any good. Would you not rather just hear about being able to finally visit all of the Nine Realms though? Or how Fimbulwinter seems to affect each realm differently? No, fair enough... The photo mode. Well, here's the thing. In the current version of the game (v1.001.000), God of War Ragnarök has no photo mode! There is no shortcut button, the previous one is assigned to something else now, and there is no mention of anything photo mode-related in the options.

- GOW RAGNARÖK // © SIE -


That is not to say that the game won't have one sooner or later, but it is certainly not there right now. Let's remember though that God of War (2018) only received a photo mode in an update a full 3 weeks post-launch, and it would be pretty much unfathomable for Santa Monica to omit one entirely this time around.


I'm sure the studio could include the same tools they already had without too much trouble, so something that requires extra time is hopefully a good thing. This is entirely speculation on my part, but perhaps the fact that it is not there yet suggests that there is a new and significantly improved photo mode with all new features to look forward to.

- GOW RAGNARÖK // © SIE -


One way or another, I'll be back with a full review from a virtual photography perspective once any photo mode tools become available. Stay tuned...


Review available: 3rd November 17:00 BST.

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