I finally finished God of War Ragnarök this weekend. It’s a great game, with creative interpretations of Thor and Odin that turned out very well. Thor’s a lumbering giant who’s highly able, even if overly loyal to his father. Odin’s got mob boss vibes, which is unconventional, but a gamble that paid off. The game is huge, and I was surprised multiple times thinking I’d gotten to the end only to find a whole new world to explore.
I 100%‘ed it unlike the 2018 God of War, which meant that I wasted a ton of time following YouTube guides to find artifacts and ravens. I downgraded the difficulty to “give me grace” for the last two optional bosses and don’t feel bad about it. They spam attacks like no tomorrow, have a criminal number of unblockables, and the target lock system kind of sucks, especially in multi-enemy fights.
It’s notable that although very good, for all intents and purposes it’s the same game as the one released in 2018. There’s new story and new areas (although with some reuse), but the game engine, game mechanics, upgrades/skills system, and combat are all practically identical. Development for 2018’s started in 2014, which means that back then it took five years to build a full game and whole new engine, wherein Ragnarok was six for a game plus some minor updates. I’m sure some of that was lockdown delay, but I kind of suspect the game industry is hitting a plateau for large projects in the same way NASA did for space missions, Lockheed Martin for fighter jets, or Oracle for databases. Horizon Forbidden West (another triple-A title) was the same – great game, but practically indistinguishable from the original.