God of War Ragnarok's Combat Arenas Make Each Encounter … – GameRant

God of War Ragnarok significantly improves upon the 2018 game’s combat in a number of ways, with dynamic environments for combat arenas being one.
PLEASE NOTE: This article contains MINOR Spoilers for God of War Ragnarok. Proceed at your own risk.Essential to any God of War game is its combat, whether it is one of Kratos’ hack-n’-slash adventures in the Greek pantheon or one of his newer over-the-shoulder epics in Norse mythology. There is a respected lineage within the franchise for different weapons and boss battle spectacles, and each game’s set pieces make for memorable sequences in combat and platforming. The God of War franchise has transitioned away from traditional platforming featured in earlier installments, but its set pieces and combat arenas have been greatly sustained and improved since, particularly in God of War Ragnarok.
Having also moved away from traditional hack-n’-slash combat, God of War retains a lot of that genetic makeup while implementing thoughtful combat with dedicated parries and evasive maneuvers. God of War’s Leviathan Axe was a substantial change, introducing the satisfying mechanic of being able to recall it to Kratos’ hand from wherever it was thrown to. Still, the specific areas where players engaged in combat in God of War paled in comparison to the combat itself. God of War Ragnarok rectifies this by making each combat arena a playground for creative environmental interaction.
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In the previous God of War, combat was oriented around toe-to-toe battles, oftentimes with many creatures in one area. God of War’s Realm Tear encounters were particularly troublesome for this reason, with one instance on the Shores of Nine presenting two Wulvers in a narrow bottleneck. This approach emphasized a mastery of combat in terms of learning the Leviathan Axe’s core mechanics and then integrating the Blades of Chaos’ mechanics into combat later on. Not having any other resources to call upon aside from runic abilities and Atreus as an NPC companion, combat is orchestrated in tight arenas or corridors with only the player’s skill to rely upon. If players are able to keep a safe distance throughout a fight, they can likely fall back on ranged attacks with the axe to chip away at an enemy’s health.
Sooner or later, though, players will want to telegraph enemy attacks in order to learn when it is best to dodge, block, or parry incoming strikes, since there are few other options available to them. There are many changes that the sequel makes to combat, such as God of War Ragnarok’s character swapping, but its most effective improvement is its environmental interactivity.
Now that returning players would be incredibly familiar with Leviathan Axe and Blades of Chaos combat, God of War Ragnarok implements environmental diversity to help combat become more dynamic. This iteration results in combat stages that offer a lot more creativity with regard to how players can navigate a horde of enemies. In any given combat arena, players may have access to red fire pots, huge stones, tree stumps, or slender tree trunks and monoliths.
Red fire pots are effective when players have kited a group of enemies near it, before landing a well-timed axe throw on it to have it explode and burn those near it. Huge stones may be sitting dormant in the environment that players can hurl at an enemy, though if enemies are far away or out of frame then the stone has a good chance of being flung at nothing.
Tree stumps can be hit with the axe to create a frost AoE, and tree trunks and monoliths can be swung to knock an enemy back. Likewise, almost all combat arenas have verticality that players should consider, since reaching higher ground will let them leap and slam down with an attack that can secure the upper hand. This slam attack from a leap can also be performed after a grapple, which may also appear in many combat arenas.
To be fair, a lot of God of War Ragnarok’s hardest fights are in tight, round arenas in an effort to reinforce that mano-a-mano satisfaction. Berserkers are incredibly difficult, for example, and without being able to use ledges for slam attacks or fire pots for explosive damage, the player’s mettle is truly tested. But this diversity ensures that, however the fight goes down, players are able to channel their inner God of War.
God of War Ragnarok is available now for PS4 and PS5.
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Jared is a writer, editor, and Communications Studies student who loves popular nerd culture and the interactive storytelling medium. Jared’s first console was the PS1, wherein he fell for Spider-Man, Spyro the Dragon, and Crash Bandicoot.

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