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Early Reactions To God Of War: Ragnarok Are All Saying The Same Thing

2018's transformative "God of War" reboot was a massive success for Santa Monica Studios, and "God of War: Ragnarok" has accordingly become one of the internet's most anticipated releases of the year. The game comes out on Nov. 9, 2022, but details on what "God of War: Ragnarok" will be like have been relatively sparse — until recently. Several major gaming outlets and creators were given an early look at "God of War: Ragnarok," and on the morning of Oct. 21, 2022 when the embargo lifted, first impressions began to roll in from everywhere. 

In general, everyone who previewed "God of War: Ragnarok" praised the game and had practically only positive things to say about it — but there were some caveats, problems that multiple reviews mention as drawbacks to the otherwise lauded RPG. 

Some of the most common highlights in these "God of War: Ragnarok" previews are its graphical improvements, its new gameplay mechanics, a world that's somehow both larger and denser than the original, and a satisfying continuation of the series. Many of the issues reviewers had with the game revolved around its similarity to the first game, especially with regard to the flow of combat, as well as the overabundance of cutscenes.

Ragnarok is too similar to the original, especially combat

Though most every preview for "God of War: Ragnarok" offered an abundance of praise for the upcoming sequel, many mentioned two major drawbacks. The first, and most common complaint, was that the more varied combat doesn't necessarily mean that combat fundamentally feels different compared to 2018's "God of War." Many reviewers disparaged its similarity to the original, but these complaints were relatively minor. Another common issue in previews against "God of War: Ragnarok" was the frequency of cutscenes at the beginning of the game (via Kotaku).

For CNet, Oscar Gonzalez said that "combat in 'Ragnarok' feels just the same," as the previous game with a few additions — like the Blades of Chaos being available from the start. Gonzalez also said the linear, closed-off portions of the game were "not the worst thing, but it does set off feelings of being restrained." 

For EuroGamer, Chris Tapsell said that "Ragnarok" ultimately lacks novelty, referencing the limitations of the PlayStation 4. Tapsell said he "squeezed through lots of narrow cracks already," referencing the way the first game avoids loading screens by using short cutscenes in between areas. "Combat, too, has yet to really evolve from the 2018 game," Tapsell wrote, adding at the end of his review that he hopes the RPG mechanics (crafting/leveling/gear) get some attention.

For GameSpot, Tamoor Hussain said "Ragnarok" has "no major changes, additions, or subtractions that upend the way it feels or plays." Hussein points out that this is intended for cohesion between the two games, but then says that "there was a real chance there could have been drastic distinctions between the two," referencing the differences between the two "The Last Of Us" games.

Almost everything is an improvement over 2018's God of War

Though there were some gripes that several reviewers shared, the vast majority of reactions to this early look at "God of War: Ragnarok" were overwhelmingly positive. Even Gonzalez, Tapsell, and Hussein were each confident in the game's success and quality despite its problems — a sentiment shared by virtually every preview. Other games are already running scared from "God of War: Ragnarok," as some releases have reportedly been rescheduled to avoid the same launch window.

For Kotaku, Zach Zwiesen said that the first four hours of "God of War: Ragnarok" are "rock solid," and he particularly praised the enemy variety and familiar-but-new combat. "If 'Ragnarok' can stick the landing and pull off a satisfying ending, it could end up being something very special for PlayStation owners," Zwiesen wrote at the end of his review.

For Video Games Chronicle, Jordan Middler said that "God of War: Ragnarok" makes a "wonderful impression," mentioning the game's impressive visuals and the sheer number of "iconic story moments" at the start of the game. "Whether it's a consequence of the much-improved performance or the larger pool of moves, combat feels much better than the first game," Middler wrote. At the end of his review, Middler asserted that "Ragnarok" is "shaping up to be the PlayStation 5's defining game."

For Digital Trends, George Yang focused on the game's improvements to exploration and puzzles. "I've done so much side exploration so far that I've barely even kicked off its story," Yang wrote. "It gives me more freedom to tackle side objectives near the start of the journey." Yang also praised the accessibility options and fair-but-complex puzzles.