God of War: Ragnarok brings Kratos’ Norse mythology era to an end, but not before it’s spent a good 40-50 hours on being one of Sony’s best third-person action games: something that pushes the genre forward in terms of artistry and technical wizardry , but also how its characters are portrayed.
As a drama, it spans the tonal spectrum from acclaimed HBO drama to Wrestlemania, and is packed with some of the best action extravaganza the series has ever had (which is quite an achievement considering the entire series beginning with Kratos leaping over a shipwrecked fleet to kill a hydra), but also plenty of quiet, reflective moments that allow the pace to breathe.
It also offers a wonderfully unique take on the gods themselves. In this portrayal, Odin comes across as the head of a crime family, something like Tony Soprano or Vito Corleone: powerful but fearful. Jealous of his status, willing to make great sacrifices to protect his wealth, but ultimately ill-equipped to withstand the changing times. It’s in stark contrast to the heroic, benevolent, alien version of the character we’ve seen in things like Marvel’s MCU. But dare I say it’s probably a lot closer to the source material: the old gods were hard to please.
God of War installments often feel like a barometer of industry trends, illustrating and illustrating what video games are in their year of release. It’s fascinating that (like 2018, but more so this time) this one can arguably be described as a midpoint between The Last of Us and Skyrim. It’s linear and character-driven, but full of open-ended exploration. It’s anchored with a gritty realism while being an epic fantasy spectacle of light and magic. The best of AAA is right here, in this great greatest hits bundle from PlayStation Exclusives.
The fact that this is still a last-gen game at its core (albeit one that’s best played on PS5) suggests we may have reached a plateau here: it’s conceivable that video games could be like that good as never before, and improved technology to build and operate them just isn’t going to bring the kind of revolutionary advances we’ve become accustomed to in the first few decades of this medium’s relatively short life. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be exciting or groundbreaking: it just means we’ve reached a point where the value of the painting is decoupled from the quality of the brushstrokes.
With the latest top-notch AAA game running on decades-old hardware, we may have just reached the point where our beloved medium is powered by imagination rather than technology. As for the barometer readings, I would interpret that as sunshine ahead.
https://www.vg247.com/god-of-war-ragnarok-casts-odin-as-a-mob-boss-in-a-deft-blend-of-the-last-of-us-and-skyrim God of War: Ragnarok casts Odin as a mob boss in a clever mix of The Last of Us and Skyrim