The wait is finally over. God of War Ragnarok is out now, and to call it an astounding game would be a bit of an understatement. We highly recommend checking out our review, but the long and short of it is that just like its predecessor (maybe even more so), it’s an absolute masterpiece. Of course, it’s also a much bigger and wider experience, which means there’s going to be plenty going on for players to keep track of. To make that a little easier for you and to help you quickly get a grip on some of the game’s most important systems and mechanics, here, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks that you should keep in mind while you play God of War Ragnarok.
Like its 2018 predecessor, God of War Ragnarok has a vast array of skills that you can unlock for all of your weapons using accumulated XP, but of course, getting to a few of them before the others can be quite useful in combat. For the Leviathan Axe, Frost Rush and Leviathan’s Fury are both great moves, allowing you to unleash unique light and melee attacks by pressing R1 or R2 (respectively) while sprinting. For the Blades of Chaos, Rushing Chaos and Chaos Slam do the same. Meanwhile, the Leviathan Axe’s, Serpent’s Snake is another great skill- it’s essentially Ragnarok’s new variation of the crunching attack Kratos uses when you use R2. Chaotic Rampage for the Blades of Chaos is also greatly useful, allowing you to unleash a flurry of quick attacks by holding R1, while Hyperion Grapple allows you to latch on to a foe from a distance and slam into them, dealing plenty of regular and stun damage.
FIRE AND FROST COMBOS
Before all the skills we mentioned though, probably the ones you should unlock first are Vaporize Frost and Extinguish Flames. Elemental damage and effects play a much bigger role in God of War Ragnarok’s combat, and to that end, these can come in very handy. The Blades of Chaos’ Vaporize Frost will see you dealing greater damage to enemies who have been afflicted with Frost, while the Leviathan Axe’s Extinguish Flames lets you deal greater damage to those who’re burning. Switching back and forth between the weapons and leveraging these skills can be particularly useful in encounters.
Unlocking new skills isn’t the be-all and end-all in God of War Ragnarok- the game allows you to upgrade some of them as well. The skill screen will show you how many times you’ve used these skills when you highlight them, and upon using them a certain number of times, you’ll unlock mod slots. Purchasing these mods will let you add special modifiers to these skills, such as dealing addition elemental damage or greater stun. You will also be able to switch between these mods at any time, so you can tailor your play style accordingly. Heading to the combat arena in Nifhleim and repeatedly tackling its fights is a great way to grind out these skill upgrades quickly.
If you’ve played God of War (2018), you should be very familiar with this mechanic and its importance. Every enemy comes with a stun bar, and different attacks add varying amounts of stun to those bars. Using your fists is the best way to add stun (side note: smashing health and rage stones adds stun to nearby enemies as well), so keeping an eye on that is recommended. Especially in the tougher encounters, or those where you’re dealing with large crowds, stunning enemies can be very useful, because that opens them up to brutal execution attacks.
The role of companion characters is expanded in God of War Ragnarok, which means that they’re much more useful in combat then the 2018 title. Making use of their abilities can genuinely turn the tides of battle. Commanding them to fire arrows, for instance, is another great way to stun enemies, while using their Runic Summons is something else that you should always keep in the back of your mind.
Even on a passive level, Kratos’ companions can be pretty useful. In combat, for instance, it’s always a good idea to pay attention to Mimir’s trips- not only will he let you know when you should block or dodge, he’ll also throw out brief tips on how to deal with specific enemies that might require unique strategies to take down. Outside of combat, listening to what he and Atreus are telling you can also prevent plenty of frustrating and time-wasting where things such as puzzle-solving are concerned.
Enchantments work a little differently in God of War Ragnarok than what you might remember of the 2018 title. Rather than slotting Enchantments into individual pieces of equipment, you’ll now slot them into a new tool known as the Amulet of Yggdrasil. Unlocked a few hours into the game, the Amulet offers a number of slots that can be equipped with Enchantments- though most of them are locked at the beginning, and need Jewels of Yggdrasil to be unlocked. Enchantments can provide a number of passive boosts that can be quite handy, from stat increases to minor health regeneration to much more, so make sure you keep checking up on which ones you have equipped, and if any better options available. It’s also worth remembering that equipping complete sets of Enchantments provides special boosts (just as equipping complete armour sets does)- though even if you don’t do that, they will still give you stat bonuses.
God of War Ragnarok is a surprisingly large game, and it becomes even larger if you decide to properly explore it and engage with its optional content. Kratos and Atreus visit all Nine Realms throughout their journey, and many of them have plenty of room for exploration and a great deal of side content on offer. Though you might be tempted to stick to the critical path (given how captivating the story is), we would recommend not doing that. The side quests in God of War Ragnarok are spectacular – some of them are as good as the main content, if not more so – and missing them would be an absolute shame.
RETURNING TO OLDER AREAS
Again, this is something that those who played God of War (2018) will already have in mind. God of War Ragnarok will often present you with challenges and obstacles that you can’t really do anything about- at least not until you’ve gained new tools or abilities later into the game. By that same token though, revisiting older locations is something that comes heavily recommended- you’ll find plenty of optional areas, side quests, and unfound loot that might have been inaccessible before.
Odin’s Ravens are back in God of War Ragnarok, but finding and killing them is much more rewarding this time around. Each Raven you kill is freed and sent to Niflheim, and at certain thresholds, they will unlock new chests that reward unique and powerful equipment. As such, make sure you’re keep regularly returning to Niflheim every once in a while to open any new Raven chests that may have become accessible.
LOST LOOT CHEST
Brok and Sindri continue to be indispensable in God of War Ragnarok in more ways than one- one of the smaller ways is the lost loot chest. This chest can be found at every single one of the Huldra brothers’ shops, and they gather up any resources of items you may have missed and failed to pickup. As such, it’s a good idea to check the chest every time you visit the shop to retrieve such items.
Like its predecessor, God of War Ragnarok has a number of Labors to complete. Though these are far from an essential part of the game and can be easily ignored, if you do choose to ignore with them, you’ll find that they can actually be pretty useful. From opening a certain number of chests to killing a certain number of specific enemies to pulling off certain moves a certain number of times and much more, Labors encompass a variety of tasks, and the XP rewards for each of these (which come in bronze, silver, and gold tiers) tend to be quite generous.
Not all small critters that you encounter in God of War Ragnarok are traditional foes. You’ll find plenty of small lizard-likes foes called Ormr throughout your journey across the Nine Realms. They remain completely stationary and have a very distinct (and repetitive) cry, as well as the unique (and annoying) property of burrowing straight into the ground if you try to attack them while you’re in their line of sight. The trick is to find a spot somewhere behind them where they can’t see you and throw your axe at them, and the rewards they yield in terms of resources and XP are quite useful, so we definitely recommend keeping an eye out for them.
Mystic Gateways are back in God of War Ragnarok, and once again, they’re going to be useful tools that you’ll be using constantly throughout your adventure. Of course, their primary purpose is allowing fast travel within and across Realms, though it’s worth keeping in mind that they also restore your health and rage to their max every time you use them. In fact, you don’t even have to use them- even simply interacting with them and then immediately backing out is enough to give you your health and rage boost.
USEFUL ACCESSIBILITY OPTIONS
God of War Ragnarok continues the recent trend of Sony’s first party titles going above and beyond in the accessibility options on offer, and again, there are more than a few extremely useful ones here that you should try out. Audio cues and timing assists for puzzles can be quite useful, especially for the timing-based Nornir chests (which, once again, can be a bit annoying every so often). Another very handy new option enables auto pickup, so that Kratos will automatically pick up any resource he walks to, rather than you having to mash the O button every single time. Given just how much stuff there is to pick up on an almost constant basis, we’d recommend toggling this one on. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg- there’s an impressive number of options available that can be useful in a variety of ways, so make sure to look through them to see if anything stands out. Better yet, God of War Ragnarok has no Trophies that get disabled due to difficulty settings or accessibility options, so you don’t have to worry about that either.