God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla Review - Screenshot 1 of 4

God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla is the best kind of DLC — it makes an already fantastic game even better. Available for free to all who own God of War Ragnarok itself, this is an epilogue to the main story that gives you a very good excuse to dive back into the action. Not only does Valhalla contain some valuable narrative beats to enjoy, it does so while putting a roguelike spin on the brilliant combat, giving you effectively limitless challenges to conquer.

Following the events of the main game, Kratos is anonymously invited to a mysterious secret entrance to Valhalla. Curious what it could mean, he and Mimir find this secluded location and, with the help of the Valkyries, head into this new realm to make sense of it all. It turns out Valhalla is reflecting Kratos' memories back to him, meaning each area he enters — presented in a random order — takes place in locations with which he's familiar. Each time you start a run, you'll face randomised encounters and earn randomised rewards, going through it again when you reach the end or you die on the way.

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Truth be told, Valhalla is more of a roguelite; rather than starting from scratch every time you enter Valhalla, you can unlock various permanent upgrades. This includes increasing Kratos' base stats, improving the rewards you find during a run, and unlocking room for more perks. The DLC eases you into things gently, steadily introducing more layers after each attempt. What's more, the first few times you go into Valhalla are more guided by the story, so you don't really need to concern yourself with maximising your build in the early goings.

Honestly, we're pleasantly surprised by how much of a narrative there is here, and where it goes. We don't want to spoil anything if you've yet to play, but Valhalla is essentially about Kratos coming to terms with his past and who he is as a person — and a god. There are some wonderful moments in this DLC that fans of the God of War series will love. There's more to this freebie expansion than the fairly low-key reveal trailer suggests.

While the main draw for most will be the story content, Valhalla also serves as a reminder that God of War Ragnarok has excellent combat. It took us a while to shake off the rust, but once you're back in the zone, the punchy, aggressive bouts are as satisfying as ever.

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You're free to use all of Kratos' weapons, but the start of each run rewards you with a weapon-specific perk, which will encourage you to stick with one for the duration of that attempt. From there, each run sees you entering combat rooms (with a reward once all enemies are downed) followed by peaceful Sanctuaries, where you can spend currency on per-run upgrades. The roguelite elements have been woven into Ragnarok's combat system very well; perks and other rewards amp up your stats, give you Runic attacks, add numerous passive buffs, and much more. The game's terminology for all its systems can be a lot to remember, but all those abilities and skills feed handily into a roguelite structure. It's cleverly done.

Once you've defeated specific enemies called Valhalla's Chosen, you earn the right to move up to the latter part of a run, where the challenge ramps up a little. Once you're past the first few attempts, this becomes a gauntlet that gets harder the longer you take to complete it. This part of Valhalla is a neat way to change up the structure, but it's all on one quite large map, and it's sort of maze-like. With a bar ticking towards increasingly tough enemies, it can be frustrating when you get lost in the corridors between enemy encounters.

With that done, there's one final boss between you and a victorious run — and it's a new fight made for Valhalla. It's an engaging battle that's slightly different each time, and a good way to cap off each trip into the realm.

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All told, it'll probably take maybe five or six hours to reach the credits and see the majority of the story. Once you're past this point, Valhalla becomes an endlessly replayable rogue-lite mode, albeit with a few more narrative bits and bobs to discover. While runs can become easier and easier as you unlock more permanent upgrades, you can easily increase (or decrease) the difficulty with five settings, harder ones offering more rewards. If you crave more ways to engage with Ragnarok's combat, Valhalla is ideal, and you're getting a great epilogue as an added bonus.


God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla is a brilliant addition to a brilliant game. Not only does it remix the core title's combat in a compelling, highly replayable roguelite mode, it does so with Santa Monica's usual cinematic style, weaving in meaningful story that'll keep you hooked while it lasts. Fans of the series really shouldn't pass on this — and, because it's totally free, there's no reason to do so.