God of War: Ragnarök is Focused and Balanced compared to any other big release of 2022. The year 2022 has not been the best when it comes to AAA games, with most of the anticipated releases delayed into 2023 or beyond.
Two notable exceptions, however, were released by PlayStation and it is Horizon: Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarök. As expected, the two games experience considerable excitement from gamers and sales results to match them seeing as they are from a popular franchise.
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God of War: Ragnarök is Focused and Balanced
The two-game God of War: Ragnarök and Horizon: Forbidden West that made their debut in 2022 did far more than just launch. The games did so well and continue to plague so many modern AAA games – an overabundance of ‘content’.
The Size Problem
After launching Horizon: Forbidden West, it does not take very long before the players start to realize just how big the world is. As an ambitious image of post-apocalyptic western united states, there are tons of settings that you would be tasked with digesting when stepping into the shoes of Aloy for her final adventure.
To the Credit of developer Guerrilla games, Horizon: forbidden west looks undeniably gorgeous. From swamps to deserts, ruined cities to tropical beaches, the Forbidden west has a valiant job of catching the eye. And if you were to judge a game based on its looks, this year’s discussion of candidates for Game of the year would most certainly look different from the way it currently does.
But even with its size, Forbidden West still suffers due to its falling into a problematic habit increasingly found almost everywhere you choose to look with modern AAA game releases. Basically, the idea that a game is larger and even longer to play through sounds really great and appealing.
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Bigger and Longer Are not Always Efficient
But the thing is, bigger and longer are not efficient measures of quality when it comes to video games. If a game size is prioritized over the substance that is actually worth remembering or sticking around for, the game would ultimately become repetitive, predictable, and ultimately boring.
The Deal here is that Horizon is not going through this problem alone, and of course, the preoccupation with size over substance has become a recurring issue with AAA games over the last decade. Franchises like Assassin’s creed and Far cry have become particularly notorious for it, while recent releases like Dying light 2 and saints row are other examples of games to suffer from the problem.
Even the latest Halo game was prey to the size over substance issue, with the single-player campaign for Halo infinite arguably the most forgettable experience of the whole franchise even as it dipped its toes right in the waters if the open world.
The Substance Solution
As a direct example of just how to avoid the problem that is plaguing AAA games, newly released GOTY candidate God of war: Ragnarok has emerged as a very valuable demonstration on how to populate a game world in a manner that would offer a more fulfilling overall playthrough. Just how Ragnarök manages to commit itself to priority zing substance over size alone enables it to offer it’s present player what is a balanced and ultimately memorable experience.
It isn’t that Ragnarök especially lacks size, either. It is not the kind of tight, linear game of yesteryear which is expected to take a total of 8-10 hours to complete, even when accounting for the side quests and collectibles. Ragnarök world is generously sized and it features a diverse variety of biomes not entirely different from what Horizon: Forbidden west offers. The crucial difference between Ragnarök and Horizon, however, is in how Kratos-led adventures populate its game world compared to its PlayStation stablemate.
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God of War: Ragnarök Plays Different
The characters of God of War: Ragnarök is probably one of the most meaningful places to begin talking about the substance that allows the game to so effectively stand out. Kratos and Atreus as primary leads carry on with the winning dynamic that they showed in the previous title of the franchise, even if there is much less “boy” this time around.
And as with its predecessor, at any moment when it seems as if Kratos’ gruffness might tip over right into the territories of feeling forced or needlessly annoying, Kratos’ supporting cast would step right into the ship.
Naturally for a title to get such memorable and enjoyable characters, the Story of God of War also stands as a highlight. Drawing on the mysticism and drama of authentic mythology, Ragnarök’s story turns out to be well-developed and thought out, in turn encouraging the players to see the story through.
The game’s main and side quests feel overly repetitive, the puzzles are varied enough to not outstay their welcome and there is a layer of additional non-essential lore that a player gets to choose to engage or not engage with at their leisure.
The combined might of all these elements plays that God of War: Ragnarök to stand out, with a game world that players actually want to exist in. The comparative lack of substance like this meanwhile is what leads Horizon: Forbidden west and the many other games guilty of similar sins to become forgettable at best – or frustratingly dull at worst.