God of War Ragnarok review: A 'true' PlayStation 5 exclusive

A key art for Sony's PlayStation exclusive, God Of War: Ragnarok.
Sony's latest exclusive for the PlayStation consoles, God Of War: Ragnarok, releases on 9 November 2022. (Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

The launch of God Of War: Ragnarok feels like the PS5's coming of age.

Almost two years ago, the Sony PlayStation 5 was released in November 2020, and it came with a whole bunch of day one exclusives like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the Demon Souls remake.

Truth to be told, those exclusives were subpar in the visuals department in my opinion, simply because it was in the early life-cycle of the PlayStation 5, and they were created on game engines that were mostly meant for the previous generation of consoles like the PlayStation 4.

The PlayStation 5 has had a slew of great looking games since then like Stray and Gran Turismo 7, but the latest in the lineup of exclusives for the console, God Of War: Ragnarok, really pushes the boundaries on how great a PS5 game can be — both visually and also gameplay-wise.

Now, I am generally a PC snob.

Almost all games I review get reviewed and tested on my PC, just because everything looks and plays better, and the PlayStation 5 will only see some use when there are exclusives that I will need to take a look at.

God Of War: Ragnarok convinced me that the PlayStation 5's hardware could actually match a really powerful PC, if developers know how to push it.

I wish that game developers for future PlayStation 5 titles will strive to tax the console as hard as Santa Monica Studio has for this latest instalment in the God Of War series.

Spoiler-free review

Without going into any kind of spoiler territory, God of War: Ragnarok is probably the first game that I would call a 'true' exclusive for the PlayStation 5.

Its visuals are astounding for a console game (and especially at 4K resolution), akin to something which I would expect from a PC running an Nvidia RTX 3090 GPU.

A lot of the environment and character models are extremely detailed and crisp. The stunning visuals from the gameplay trailer weren't a lie.

When it comes to gameplay, Ragnarok has the most refined combat system out of all the God Of War games, with a lot of freedom to combo into moves and be creative.

The last time a game totally floored me with its combat system was Devil May Cry 5, and that game had multiple avenues to be creative with its overall system.

You feel like a boss (or a god, rather) playing as Kratos, and with the new and added mechanics, the flow of the game matches the pace and carnage of the story. It builds upon the mechanics that were present in God Of War 4, and then some.

The highlight of the game for me is the implementation of the directional haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers found on the PlayStation 5's DualSense controller.

The last time I actually had a great feel for this was with the PlayStation 5's demo game, Astro's Playroom, two years back when the PlayStation 5 was released. I never had an experience like that in any other PS5 exclusive game after, until God Of War: Ragnarok.

The are a variety of directional feedback when weapons return to you, when there are environmental changes, and even little things like weapon effects.

This made the game so much more immersive, and I definitely enjoyed the game so much more due to the DualSense 5.

I will just sum it up my experience into to a single sentence:

It is a game that you should experience if own a PlayStation 5, even if you are not a die-hard fan of the God Of War series.

I totally understand why there were so many non-spoiler clauses that I had to agree to from Sony to review the game, and not in a bad way.

The story is captivating (even more so if you are a fan of the series), the pacing of the game is perfect, in my opinion. and there is a lot of freedom in the battle system.

You will realise that your PS5 is actually a very capable machine after experiencing the game's visuals and mechanics. It is one of the few games that beautifully utilises all the little tricks the PS5 has to offer.

Even if you own a last-generation PlayStation 4 (Sony offers a version for that console), the game is good enough as a great action-adventure game, just that you'll probably not feel any different from playing something like God Of War 4.

Please buy and play the game if you have a PlayStation 5, is all I have to say.

Game of the year? Nah, definitely not. That still belongs to Elden Ring for 2022.

But I would say that it is the best game to really experience all the features and capabilities of Sony's latest console.

Rating: 9/10

Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting bodied in games or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.

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