For as much as the contrarian in all of us would love to be sitting here telling you, “Well, ackshually, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin was the best game of 2022” – it wasn’t, was it? No, that accolade is reserved for God of War Ragnarok, a release so finely polished you can practically see your own reflection smiling at you from Kratos’ immaculately rendered pate. Try it, we dare you!
Santa Monica Studio kept so much of this sequel underwraps that playing through it for the first time was a genuine surprise. Make no mistake, it builds on the same immaculate blueprints as its predecessor, but there’s just so much here. The story goes in directions we hadn’t expected, and the gameplay manages to remain fresh for the full 50-60 hour excursion thanks to some smart additions and refinements.
The presentation across the board is sublime, and this expands to the variety of performances from a stellar voice cast, all of whom breathe life and personality into their alter-egos. The developer carefully navigates the line between sombre, serious, and laugh-out-loud funny, with Kratos’ sensitive side and deadpan humour both thoughtfully explored throughout.
The reality is that games like God of War Ragnarok don’t come around very often. It takes an extraordinary amount of money and an even more extraordinary team to realise a package as rounded as this. The side-quests are must-see material, the pacing is pitch-perfect, and the bosses live up to the scale and spectacle of older entries in the series. This isn’t a perfect game, of course – none are – but it’s just about as close as you can get.