This review contains spoilers

Long story short: Beautiful game with a wonderful story, but had an unsatisfying combat loop and too many puzzles.
God of War Ragnarok lived up to the hype for me, thanks to its wonderful and bittersweet story. Some of the story moments will stay with me, including but not limited to Atreus and Angrboda's fight with her grandmother, fighting Garm, Odin's ultimate deception, the assault on Asgard and, of course, Brok's passing. There were so many moments that felt like I was transported to a movie theater, watching something so intense that you forget everything and just live in the moment. An absolute fantastic story that had me teary eyed in the first 15 minutes, and left me wanting to find out how they would wrap up Kratos and Atreus's journey in the Norse lands.
The gameplay, however, felt a little flat even with the addition of the Draupnir Spear. Enemies would jump out of the woodwork every 5 minutes just to add some form of combat, and some of the waves felt like they went on for too long. While they added some fun abilities to each weapon, it got tiring killing waves of ads and the same type of miniboss depending on which realm you were in.
There were also too many puzzles for my taste. Nothing was ever straightforward on the path, and sometimes you just want to proceed with riding the elevator without spending time figuring out which geyser to freeze. I appreciated the accessibility option for puzzles to nudge the player in the right direction.
One more gripe I had was the dead world. They advertised this game by making the nine realms a highlight, but some of the realms were absolute slogs and felt like fillers (looking at you, Helheim). Svartalfheim was exciting because you were visiting the homeland of the dwarves! The concept art showed dwarves working their gadgets and machinery. However, when you arrive and every resident hides from Kratos, it becomes a dead world with absolutely zero NPCs other than characters with plot armor appearing. To put in perspective, NPCs in Horizon Forbidden West were in every camp, even the small ones, and they all had some kind of dialogue. It felt like I was running around in a busy, bustling world. With the exception of Asgard, this was one of the biggest disappointments of Ragnarok, because it felt like the story driven characters were the only population in all the realms.
Overall, the story still makes it a fantastic game that left me wanting more Kratos. I look forward to seeing where his story takes him next, and perhaps a touching reunion with grown Atreus.

Reviewed on Dec 06, 2022