A True Cinematic Masterpiece
God of War Ragnarök had the daunting task to continue the saga of one the greatest games of all time. Not only does it achieve this, but it also manages to tell a fascinating story in an incredible manner. So, join me as I explore the cinematic masterpiece which is Santa Monica’s latest release.
Taking inspiration from titles like Rope, 1917 and Birdman, God of War Ragnarök includes a continuous camera shot that makes you feel as if you are on the journey with Kratos. While this was also used in its predecessor, as well as other games, its implementation in Ragnarök is masterful. The ferocity of each battle is intensified and every solemn moment feels intimate which helps to create a remarkable experience. You feel like an observer in this thrilling adventure through its immersive camera movement. As the narrative unwinds, you will follow different characters as their paths cross and this helps the story maintain momentum.
Kratos is a single father who is trying to raise his child the best way he can. Like most fathers, he wants his son to be a better version of himself and this mentality is relatable. Atreus is a teenager and has the desire to explore. While he respects his father, he wants to make his own choices which creates a brilliant dynamic between the two. Kratos knows that his son might have the solution to stop Ragnarök but due to his tender age, he still feels the need to protect him. Due to this, we see a different side of the Ghost of Sparta as he wrestles with this notion during the adventure. This inner conflict is beautifully communicated through mundane conversation as you wander the environment which continues to keep the narrative and its weighty themes ever-present.
One thing that can completely ruin a story is terrible voice acting. More often than not, it’s the child actors. Ensuring the nuances of their character are communicated solely through their voice is a difficult task. Fortunately, the young voices in Ragnarök absolutely nail it. Sunny Suljic as Atreus is fantastic. His slight angst attitude and his personal growth feel authentic. You can hear and see his inner turmoil as he battles with himself. His story arc is explored in a mature and sophisticated manner, which extends his journey from the 2018 release. Christopher Judge also evolves Kratos as we now see some vulnerability seep through his stoic exterior. The relationship with Alastair Duncan’s Mimir is also a highlight of the adventure. He seeks advice and uses the wisdom of his friend to alter his actions.
Bear McCreary returns to the franchise and does an impeccable job with the musical arrangement. His epic score heightens the intensity of key sequences which helps to make some of the most memorable moments in the franchise’s history. In addition, the beautiful soundscapes result in some truly stunning moments that faithfully communicate the emotive journey.
God of War Ragnarök has set a high bar for cinematic gaming. Which upcoming games do you think will hit the same standard? What would you like to see from Santa Monica moving forward? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter, and get even more amazing video game content through the links below.
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