Are you ready for the most epic adventure of the year?
Here we are, gents! The adventure begins today! God of War: Ragnarok is about to enter our lives with the rampage of his moot, wonderful hero, Kratos.
THE MAGNUM OPUS OF SANTA MONICA STUDIO
Since 2005, this massive work of Santa Monica Studio has delighted us with its brutal violence, intriguing graphics and gameplay innovation, but most importantly, it has taught us about the cultures of the past. The Greek mythology came first, followed by the Norse mythology in 2018.
I believe it is unnecessary to discuss a series that has been widely discussed, is on everyone’s lips, and has made history, as I now consider it general culture even among non-videogame fans. However, I’d like to say a few words about my initial reaction to this final chapter, which has been overdue for four years.
A PERSONAL THOUGHT:
I’d like to make a premise for those who are familiar with the first chapters but not the last ones, and vice versa.
With the release of God of War in 2018, which some mistakenly thought was the fourth chapter of the series (excluding the prequels, of course), we witnessed a true revolution.
I’m not so much referring to the new graphics and gameplay, which are absolutely stunning, as I am to the narrative revolution.
In fact, Kratos is a completely different character in the 2018 GOW, not only because he has aged and gained wisdom, but also because his character has matured.
Although he has always had some three-dimensionality, we were accustomed to a character in his own simple way, with objectives and emotions that are not exactly obvious, but nearly so. In a nutshell, the warrior archetype.
However, his arrival in the Norse lands heralds the birth of a new hero. A man who constantly questions himself, first and foremost, and who carries with him a renewed moral stature that he feels obligated to pass on to his young son, initially a “takeover” and later a valid ally.
Atreus has changed everything, including the nature of Kratos and the gameplay, as well as the nature of the narrative itself, which has an Oscar-winning feature-length script.
God of War works because it is straightforward, linear, deals with archetypal themes and characters, and gets right to the point, striking at the core of our most primal emotions. As a result, it is extremely effective, and Ragnarok will not be outdone, as it has been in the past.
BUT LET’S START THE NEW GAME!
Santa Monica has figured out how to make us happy. They discovered the key and presented it to us with a new, but not overly so, appearance. They still put us in our comfort zone, and for that alone they should be loved.
Graphically, there are no significant changes, but given the levels reached in 2018, it was reasonable to expect that qualitatively, we would be roughly at the same point.
In any case, everything is more vibrant, including Kratos’ red marks, which appeared faded in the previous title. They are beautifully lit here, as if to communicate that our hero is ready for battle, one of those battles that will most likely remind him of his days fighting big gods like Ares.
The details of the scenes, which have always been numerous, are now even more accurate and evident, but in a perfect balance, in which the gaze is never lost and can still focus on paths and objects of interest, without any effort.
We can see right away that Kratos and Atreus have a strong and collaborative relationship. Of course, Atreus is now a teen, and his already volatile temperament appears to have taken on the typical connotations of a boy his age. Indeed, we see from the first scenes that he has secrets, which Kratos does not accept in what he believes should be a relationship built on complete trust, not only because they are father and son, but also because they are companions.
But, like any teenager, Atreus wants to grow up and discover who he is, especially if his role in the world is already defined and there are those who know what his fate will be.
Last but not least, because these are my first impressions after about an hour of play and there isn’t much time to do a more in-depth analysis:
well … Drumroll… We finally get to see Faye‘s face! Kratos’ magnificent companion, the giantess and Atreus’ mother. She will make her first appearance in a dream, and we will immediately realize how important she was to our hero. She is both a powerful and sensitive figure. But, let’s be honest, we all expected her to be that way.
That being said, there isn’t much else to say except that God of War Ragnarok is and will be mammoth. An experience that goes beyond simple entertainment. It will be an emotional experience, but above all, a formative one, as it always is, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in this world for all the hours that Santa Monica wanted to give us and for those following the other games that I will undoubtedly play.
(All the drawings are by Chiara Roscini)