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God Of War Ragnarök's side quests are some of the best I've ever played

God Of War Ragnarök's side quests are some of the best I've ever played

God Of War Ragnarök excels in all areas, but its side quests stand out as some of the best I've ever played.

Just a few days ago, I finally reached the credits of God Of War Ragnarök - both sets of credits, that is. The ‘true’ ending comes in the form of a short post-game side quest. It’s easy to see how Santa Monica Studios’ latest title has garnered an incredible 10 nominations at this year’s The Game Awards. There wasn’t an aspect of the game I didn’t adore. I shan’t be delving into plot spoilers, but I will say that the plot kept me on my toes and included one major gasp-out-loud moment.

Seeing the relationship between Kratos and Atreus develop was a huge highlight, and Christopher Judge and Sunny Suljic deserve all of the awards they’re nominated for. What really stood out to me though was the game’s side quests, or favours as they’re called - particularly if you tackle those favours after the credits roll. If you enjoyed exploring the Nine Realms in 2018’s God of War, you’re in for a treat. They say that bigger doesn’t always mean better, but that’s certainly not true here.

Check out God Of War Ragnarök's opening boss fight. If you enjoyed facing off against Baldur, you’re going to love this even more.

As I write this, I’m yet to see all that God Of War Ragnarök has to offer but I have seen a lot. Svartalfheim is already at 100% completion, while Vanaheim and Midgard aren’t too far behind, but already I can tell that there’s something so special in the way that God Of War Ragnarök’s favours are crafted. When I think about the typical side quest formula, an NPC usually tasks you with venturing to a certain point on a map. There, you might have to defeat an enemy or source an item. Ragnarök’s favours have the ability to make me feel like I’d made a real discovery. You’re not force fed instructions on where to go (although the game could cut back on giving away puzzle solutions after five seconds).

Favours cause you to stumble across large areas of the map that were previously hidden right under your nose - areas that the main quest had no use for. If you don’t seek them out, you won’t find them. It’s an aspect of the game that promotes a huge amount of freedom. As I explore the Nine Realms post-credits, there’s something refreshing in that freedom - particularly given that by this stage, I have all the tools I need to tackle any obstacle the game throws my way. Don’t get me wrong, I hugely enjoyed following the main plot but God Of War Ragnarök, and particularly its favours, take on a new identity post-credits. I’ll keep things vague but in part, this is because the conclusion of the plot gives real purpose to the actions of Kratos and his companions post-game. You’re not seeking out Raider Camps, for example, because you’ve missed them. There's a clear purpose in your quest to better the Nine Realms.

God Of War Ragnarök /
Sony Interactive Entertainment

One of my favourite examples of where all the above rang true is in Svartalfheim’s Bay of Bounty where just yesterday, I stumbled across Lyngbakr Island. The ‘island’ was quite literally hidden underneath the bay I’d spent several occasions exploring during short breaks away from the main story. It’s an area that you can unlock during the main game but if you want to explore it in its entirety, you’re best holding back until Kratos is equipped with all of his weapons. Very early on in the game, I did notice an unreachable chest in the Bay of Bounty. It was only when Lyngbakr Island sprung up before my eyes that the path to reach it became so much clearer. There’s a real thrill that comes when you think you’ve seen all a map has to offer and you’re proven wrong.

It’s a feeling I’ve had on multiple occasions in God Of War Ragnarök and what truly excites me, is that I know my exploring is far from over. With only one realm at full completion, I have another eight to go. In fact, several favours actually only unlock post-game so really, I’m at the very beginning of my new journey. It’s a testament to the developer’s commitment. They don’t want the fun to end when the story ends. I say fun, God Of War Ragnarök is also full of very difficult optional boss fights which isn’t always quite so enjoyable.

I did a fair bit of exploring during my main story playthrough but ended up rolling credits around the 30 hour mark. After a few days of post-game exploring, I can already tell that I’m going to double that number at least. God Of War Ragnarök’s side quests are varied, engaging and most of all, exciting. They’ll make you feel like a beefed up Indiana Jones travelling across the Nine Realms in search of all the secrets these places have to offer. It’s an adventure that I don’t want to end.

Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Topics: God Of War, PlayStation, Santa Monica Studio

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