Santa Monica Studio absolutely loves to cram its game full of neat references, secrets, and hidden details- God of War (2018) was essentially overflowing with them, to the point where we’re talking about them to this day. Ragnarok, of course, ups the ante in every way possible- which includes this area as well. There’s no shortage of hidden details and secret content in the game that many may have missed entirely, and here, we’re going to highlight several of them.
NOTE: There are major spoilers ahead for God of War Ragnarok.
When Kratos and Atreus seek out Surtr in Muspelheim, they also learn about his wife, the ice giant Sinmara, and even though she plays a crucial role in Surtr’s ultimate fate, she is never really shown on-screen. God of War Ragnarok’s post-game, however, does bring her to the forefront- very briefly, and still sort of indirectly. If you head to Niflheim after finishing the games and wander around the statues, you’ll her her eerily weeping in the distance as she mourns Surtr’s death.
The giant tortoise named Chaurli had a special bond with Freya in God of War (2018), in that he was quite literally her house, but of course, Freya’s lust for revenge in the years that passed after that meant she ended up being something of a distant friend to him, to say the least. If you return to Chaurli with Freya in Ragnarok’s post-game, you can witness their moving reunion, where Freya apologizes for neglecting him and promises to earn back his friendship. She also floats the idea of getting someone to watch over him on a more permanent basis, though we don’t have any resolution for that yet.
Since we first laid eyes on that damn big bird in Helheim in God of War (2018) and then never proceeded to see it in any other role throughout the entire game, we’ve been wondering what it was even doing there in the first place. That bird, known as Hraesvelgr, comes back in Ragnarok, though as part of a completely missable side quest. She essentially presides over the side questline that sees Kratos closing Hel Tears throughou the Realms, and you have to report back to her after closing all of them. No, she’s still not a boss fight.
God of War Ragnarok has no shortage of post-game content, all of which is, by definition, entirely optional and missable. Even within that chunk of content, there are certain things that require extra time and effort- like finding and killing all of Odin’s ravens, for instance. There are a great many of them, but if you do do that and then return to Niflheim, you’ll be able to take on the hidden boss known as the Ravenkeeper in what is definitely one of the game’s more challenging boss encounters.
Of course we were going to talk about Thor’s glory. It’s glorious- and not just because of its shape. It’s glorious because it jiggles- oh boy does it jiggle. Whether you’re looking at his belly in a cutscene, or watching it bob up and down while he’s serving as the companion character in Atreus’ gameplay sections, or even marveling at it in a boss fight, you can’t help but be impressed by the belly physics on display. Oh, and that scar that Kratos leaves on his belly that can be seen throughout the rest of the entire game? That’s a neat touch. After all, Kratos has a pretty gnarly scar on his own stomach as well.
PS ALL-STARS BATTLE ROYALE
This is probably one that you’ve heard of, given how widely it’s been pointed out in recent days, but given how amusing it is, it’s worth bringing up nonetheless. One particular conversation that Mimir and Kratos might strike up while you’re exploring sees the former asking the latter about a tournament that he fought in where he “did battle with beasts, scoundrels, princesses, the undead, automatons, and history’s greatest musician”. That, of course, is a reference to Smash Bros.-inspired crossover platform fighter PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, with the musician in question being PaRappa the Rapper. So yeah, it seems like that’s part of the God of War canon now.
Ever wondered what it’s been like for Mimir to live without a body? For several years, he has been a disembodied head, and in-gameplay conversations in Ragnarok can see Freya asking Mimir that very question. How did it feel, and does he regret it? Mimir, of course, doesn’t regret it one bit, and says that he’s glad to have paid for his freedom with his life.
God of War Ragnarok dives pretty heavily into Freya’s character, and plenty of it is also tucked away into missable optional content. One side quest in particular, called Freya’s Missing Peace, is one of the best side quests in the game, and essentially revolves around Kratos and Freya looking for and destroying mementos from her past that remind her of her time with Odin.
Right off the bat, God of War Ragnarok’s post-game makes it clear that the new Valkyrie queen Gna is still a threat that needs to be dealt with. As the absolute toughest boss fight the entire game has to offer, she’s essentially the very last thing you should be doing, which means a large number of people may never get to it. If you do take the time to get to it and actually beat her though, you’ll find that it was well worth the effort. Gna is, without a doubt, one of the best boss fights in the game.
The reveal that the Tyr Kratos and Atreus rescued from Svartalfheim and spent the entire game with was actually Odin in disguise all along hits pretty hard. But of course, it does also leave you wondering- where’s the real Tyr? You can find him at the bottom of an abandoned Aesir prison in Nifhleim after the end of the main story. He has some interesting things to say, and you can find him in several other Realms after that point, so make sure to seek him out.
Like its predecessor, God of War Ragnarok has a number of different sets of collectibles to find. One particular set is essentially a list of elaborate secrets referring to other first party PlayStation titles. You can find 14 poems written by the writer Kvasir throughout the Realms, and if you pay a little bit of attention to them, you’ll realize that each poem is referring to a particular PlayStation title. From Horizon Zero Dawn, and Death Stranding to Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, and even MLB The Show, there’s healthy representation for a number of PlayStation franchises in here.
KRATOS’ FAVOURITE POEM
One particular conversation that Kratos and Mimir have while they’re picking up the Kvasir collectibles reveals that Kratos has a personal favourite poem of his own- one from his homeland. He talks about a poem describing the Trojan War, revealing that he was at the city of Troy, that things went down differently from what the poem describes- and that, understandably enough, he prefers the poem’s version of events.
Ratatoskr may not be God of War Ragnarok’s most prominent character, but he’s certainly become something of a fan-favourite- him and all of his ghostly spirit squirrel personas put together, in fact. You can interact with them anytime you want by striking the chime at Sindri’s house- but what happens if you do it repeatedly like a crazy person? Many of you may have tried it already, but if you haven’t, you should. Suffice it to say, Ratatoskr is baffled by Kratos’ insistence to keep striking the chime.
We spend quite a bit of time in Asgard in God of War Ragnarok, the vast majority of which has Atreus as the playable character, and though the Realm is essentially just a collection of rooms in Odin’s hall for the most part, there’s still some interesting things in there that are technically missable. For instance, there’s a number of different conversations that you can hear about NPCs, many of which not only add intriguing flavour to the lore and to the world, but can also provide some interesting context for the main story itself.
Easily one of the best side quests in the game, and found pretty early on as well, but it’s a little bit out of the way, so if you’re largely sticking to the main story, you may miss it entirely. The entire quest revolves around Kratos’ attempts to free a chained whale (known as a Lyngbakr) at Mimir’s request, who was the one who chained it in the first place long ago in an attempt to impress Odin. It’s an excellent quest not only from a design and exploration perspective, but also because it provides incredible insight into both Mimir and Kratos’ characters. Bottomline is: don’t miss out on it.
Longtime God of War fans will be very familiar with the poor boat captain- an unfortunate soul who, in the series’ Greek era, suffered at the hands of Kratos’ casual brutality and disregard for innocent lives on a number of occasions. After Kratos frees the Lyngbakr in Svartalfheim from its chains, if you head into the journal, you’ll see that the creature reminds him of the boat captain from all those years (probably centuries) ago, and how he regrets having wronged him (which is putting it mildly).
Upon being asked by Freya about one of his adversaries from his homeland, Kratos decides to tell her about Medusa, queen of the Gorgons, and how her gaze could turn people to stone. He tells here that there were two ways to deal with her- either turn her gaze back at her with a mirror, or take off her head. Which way did Kratos choose? Freya asks that question as well, but it is, of course, a silly question. It’s Kratos we’re talking about here.
Have you ever heard Kratos laugh, or do anything that might fall in that laughing (or hell, even smiling) arena? No, right? It feels weird to even imagine it. Just feels sort of… unnatural. But lo and behold, there is one moment of laughter (or at least an amused exhalation of air) for Kratos in God of War Ragnarok. Hearing Kratos chuckle is a rare experience, to say the least, and it is, of course, Mimir who illicits that reaction with one of his many stories, this one involving a laird and his brother.
The former Traveller named Birgir sacrifices himself so that Kratos and co can complete their rescue of Freyr successfully, but pretty soon after that, it’s revealed that Birgir isn’t dead after all. Finding him and bringing him back is part of a side quest that the game does call attention to, but is also one that you might be tempted to skip if you’re focused on the main story. Do not skip it. Not only does it provide resolution for that character’s story, there’s also a cool boss fight against a dragon in there. More importantly…
The Birgir side quest is what leads you to the crater in Vanaheim, an entirely hidden and a hundred percent optional massive open world area that is brimming with incredible quests, plenty of room for exploration, optional bosses, story and lore drops, and much more. Whether you’re doing all this stuff as soon as it becomes accessible or coming back to it in the post-game, you should make sure that you do eventually end up getting to it, because most of this content is absolutely unmissable.
FAYE AND THOR’S DUEL
One particular line of side quests in the crater, dubbed “Casualty of War”, focuses on the frozen lightning stuck in the middle of the crater. We know, of course, that that’s probably Thor’s doing, but how exactly did it get here? This line of side quests describes a climactic duel between Thor and Faye long ago, talking about the clash between the two, between Mjolnir and the Leviathan Axe, and how that epic fight led to the destruction of the entire crater.
God of War Ragnarok punches you in the gut hard pretty early on, when poor old Fenrir dies in Atreus’ lap of a sickness. It’s hard to watch, not just because it’s a dying wolf, but because it’s a dying wolf that looks incredible realistic. From the way he whines to his weak and helpless body movements to even the detail in his eyes as he dies… some might say it’s all a bit too authentic.
Of course, Fenrir doesn’t stay dead for too long, and returns as a giant pet wolf after Atreus transfers his soul into Garm’s body. He has a role to play in Ragnarok as well, but after that, you also can find him again in the post-game. Atreus is, of course, off on his own adventure, and has left Fenrir in Angrboda’s care. In the post-game, you can visit Jotunheim and find the two of them there- and yes, you can pet Fenrir.
God of War (2018) took things to the next level with the quality of its facial capture and animations, and sure enough, Ragnarok follows in its footsteps. It feels like every single nuance and movement in characters’ eyes and faces has been captured and translated perfectly into the game, especially in its most pivotal cutscenes. Combined with the actors’ performances, that incredible level of detail makes for some really powerful character moments throughout the game.
HAIR AND FUR
Games have traditionally found it hard to properly recreate hair and hair physics, but every so often, we do get rare examples of hair being done right. Ragnarok is one of those games- from the fur worn by Kratos in the beginning of the game to the wolves’ own matted fur to the individual hair strands of different characters, there’s a lot of good-looking hair and fur in this game. Yes, we realize that that’s a weird thing to obsess over, but we’re in too deep at this point, so let’s just go with it.