Game of the Year 2022: God of War Ragnarok
December 12, 2022 Andrew Cheng

The Game Awards 2022 took place just a few days ago, and Elden Ring received the Game of the Year award at the show. There’s no denying that FromSoftware’s latest title deserves the award, but in my opinion, God of War Ragnarok is 2022’s game of the year.

Of course, Ragnarok is quite a bit different from Elden Ring, but it is also a polished and very entertaining AAA game. Paired with its gorgeous graphics and extremely engrossing storyline, God of War Ragnarok is more appealing to me than any other games released this year, including Horizon Forbidden West – let me explain why.

I love a game with a good story to tell, and God of War Ragnarok hit all the right notes with its incredible plot. I find the narrative of the 2018 game to be quite good, but Ragnarok elevated it to another level. Not in my wildest dream would I have thought God of War – especially in the context of the original trilogy – could tell such a compelling story.

There’s a lot to unpack throughout the main story of Ragnarok, but never did it feel overwhelming. The lore is explained well enough for me to understand what’s going on, though it is important to finish the previous game first to really grasp it. Besides that, character developments are excellent too.

Even after I’ve finished the main story, there are still other things to discover in Ragnarok that further expands the lore and overarching plot of the game. This level of details goes above and beyond the typical standards of AAA games.

Further enhancing the narrative of God of War Ragnarok is the fantastic voice acting. Whether it’s Kratos – voiced by Christopher Judge, who won Best Performance at The Game Awards 2022 – Atreus (Sunny Suljic), or Thor (Ryan Hurst), every voice line is delivered with the right emotions. It’s also nice to see Suljic reprising his role as Atreus in Ragnarok; I find his character to be much more likeable in this game, but I digress.

Complementing the strong voice acting are the realistic facial expressions of character models in Ragnarok. When a character is angry or happy, these emotions are rendered almost flawlessly on their faces, though this is mostly true for cutscenes.

In contrast, when conversing with characters in Ragnarok’s open world, their expressions are hit-and-miss. Eye contact is not quite right, expressions are not…well, expressive, and it feels like they’re just talking to an open space instead of having a conversation with another character.

Anyway, God of War Ragnarok also looks fantastic on the PS5. The environment is lush and expansive, character models are extremely detailed, and in my eyes, lighting looks realistic as well. Paired with the 60fps frame rate offered by the Performance graphics option, the smooth gameplay lends to an enjoyable, fluid combat experience.

And that brings us to the combat system of Ragnarok. I selected the Balance difficulty, and it offers just the right amount of challenge. I can’t just mash buttons and hope for the best; if I’m reckless and don’t utilise my different weapon skills effectively, enemies can quickly overwhelm me.

As I upgrade my weapon tree and unlock more skills, the combat gets more entertaining as well, and I find boss fights to be particularly satisfying to beat without feeling (too) frustrating. That being said, it does still get annoying at times; there’s a steep learning curve to Ragnarok’s combat system, especially in the beginning.

All in all, God of War Ragnarok’s captivating storyline, excellent voice acting, stunning graphics, and robust combat system easily make it my 2022 game of the year. Granted, I’ve been a long-time fan of the series since the very first God of War in 2005, so my fondness for the franchise played a role in it becoming my favourite game this year.

To follow Kratos’ story from the first game to where he is right now in Ragnarok is definitely an emotional journey. After experiencing one emotional cutscene to the next – Christopher Judge’s performance as Kratos is well-deserving of his Best Performance accolade – God of War Ragnarok gets the Nextrift Recommends badge. It’s our way of endorsing a particular game or product for its entertainment value, refinement, unique appeal, or even just sheer value for money.

Yes, retailing at RM249 and RM299 for the PS4 and PS5 copies respectively (though prices have dropped since its 9 November release), God of War Ragnarok is not exactly a value buy, but you will certainly get your money’s worth out of it.

From its replay value to uncovering how the Ragnarok apocalypse plays out in this latest entry to the franchise, countless hours of entertainment awaits you in Midgard – and the other eight realms accessible in the game.

God of War Ragnarok is now available on PS5 and PS4.