God of War Ragnarök: 23 Tips Before Playing

God of War Ragnarök: 23 Tips Before Playing

Boy, here are some God of War Ragnarök tips. And yes, it’s very good and delivers a satisfying conclusion for this new era of the franchise.

So, knowing that and after all the hype, you are likely excited to just jump right in and get going with Kratos and friends. But before you start playing Ragnarök, here are some tips to consider from me, someone who has played over 40 hours of it. And don’t worry, there are no major spoilers below.

You can pause cutscenes

A simple tip, but good to know because some of the cutscenes in Ragnarök are very long. You might need a bathroom break!

Set “Swipe Up” to quickly see where to go

The PS5 and PS4 controllers have touchpads. While these are used by most games as little more than giant buttons, God of War lets you assign certain actions to swipes. Personally, setting it to point the camera in the direction of my current objective was the only useful action I found in the game. Technically, you can do the same thing with a button press, but this is quicker and easier.

Screenshot: Santa Monica Studio / Sony / Kotaku

Pre-ice your axe before fights

One of the first things you learn about is the ability to “charge” up your Levithan axe with ice, and it’s a great thing to do for the rest of the game. Anytime you get a chance to hold triangle to “ice up” your axe, do it! You’ll do more damage and gain access to special attacks. Later on, grab the upgrade that lets you ice up your axe while sprinting, too.

Save health drops for later

During fights, an enemy will sometimes drop a health pick up. While you might be tempted to smash these right away to refill your HP, hold on! Leaving them around can save you during ambushes or bigger fights. Wait to pop these when you either know the area is completely clear or you are very, very low on health and need the boost. Early on, your HP will be low so managing these drops effectively can help you survive tough encounters.

Try out the dwarf armour set, Nidavellir

Not too far into the game, you’ll encounter a side quest involving mining rigs and the dwarves. Take a detour and finish up this questline as it will give you the materials needed to create the Nidavellir set of armour. This armour has a great bonus; whenever you execute a stunned enemy using R3, the armour provides a burst of health. Very useful in the early game!

Don’t forget to block and counter

It’s easy to focus only on swinging your cool axe and chain blades because they’re so cool and make enemies go “SPLAT” or “BOOM” when used correctly. But wait! Don’t forget to block and dodge. Later enemies and harder bosses will demand you block and dodge attacks, so start practicing early on. (And remember, you can’t block attacks that are marked by red circles!)

Screenshot: Santa Monica Studio / Sony / Kotaku

Use Atreus to locate missing enemies

Sometimes you might kill what you think is the last enemy, but the combat music keeps playing and you can’t access any loot. This isn’t a bug, but instead, there’s likely a lone enemy hanging around somewhere. A quick way to find it is to press square and use Atreus’ bow attack to find it as he will fire the bow in the direction of the baddie.

Get aggressive skills for Atreus

Speaking of Atreus, when upgrading his skills, focus on the ones that make him more aggressive and give him more ways to stun, damage, and counter enemies. This will make him far more useful in fights.

Take advantage of the blades grapple when you unlock it

Early on, you’ll be able to unlock an ability for your Blades of Chaos called “Hyperion Grapple.” Once unlocked, aim your blades at an enemy and hold R1. Kratos will zip across the battlefield and slam into the bad guy or monster via the blades chains. This will deal a lot of stun damage, which is useful as it will often let you execute the enemy.

You can even buff it to do more stun damage, making it a very powerful move to take down big enemies or clean out tiny ones as it has no cooldown.

Need to stun something? Punch it!

While your axe and blades are amazing and very powerful, don’t forget that Kratos has some beefy fists that can be useful in a fight. That’s because his fists do more stun damage, filling up that stun metre below enemies HP bar.

In fact, some enemies, like the armour-covered Travellers, are better to punch than slash, because once stunned you are able to rip off their armour and make them more vulnerable to other attacks. Fast and annoying creatures can also be stunned and put in their place with Dad of War’s fists of fury.

Screenshot: Santa Monica Studio / Sony / Kotaku

Love the spear. Worship the spear. Upgrade it too!

Fairly late in the game, you will gain access to a new weapon: a magical spear. I won’t spoil how you get it or why, but it’s very cool and useful. What makes this spear powerful is that you can throw magical copies of it forever, giving Kratos a powerful ranged weapon. And the spears can impale enemies, which Kratos can later make explode when you hold triangle. All of this is good and you should try to upgrade it ASAP once you unlock it.

Those air vents you see? Ignore them until you get the spear

The spear isn’t just a great weapon, it helps solve later-game puzzles, too! All those small air vents you see in the various realms? Those can’t be used until you get the spear. Come back with it to solve those puzzles.

Same goes for the glowing yellow cracks

Yeah, those need the spear, too.

Keep an eye out for chests

They can be hidden in many places and are very important. Each of these will give you more resources and hacksilver, letting you upgrade all your god killin’ gear. Keep a special eye out for Nornir chests which are dark blue and locked behind runes. You’ll need to solve a little puzzle to open these, but they award health and rage upgrades!

Sell armour and weapons you don’t use

Having more hacksilver and crafting resources is useful early on as you start the game with basically nothing. So, feel free to sell any armour or weapons you find that you don’t want. And don’t worry, if in a few hours you feel like you made a mistake, you can always re-craft that stuff later.

But trust me, you’ll quickly find a few pieces of gear you love, and everything else can and should be sold to help boost the stuff you are actually using.

Oh, and sell all the artifacts, too

After you find books or other collectibles, you can sell them to blacksmiths. And you don’t get punished for doing so. In fact, the game even tells you this at one point. So sell that stuff too!

Screenshot: Santa Monica Studio / Sony / Kotaku

Make sure to use your XP to get new skills

In all the chaos of killing and looting, you might forget to take a moment to level up your skills and unlock new ones. So, make a habit of always checking your skills whenever you see a blacksmith, beat a boss, or after a cutscene. These happen frequently enough that you shouldn’t go too long without upgrading Kratos.

Also, upgrade your rune attacks and abilities

There’s a lot of shit to upgrade in this game. (In fact, there’s probably too much stuff to tinker with, really.) Another thing to upgrade are your weapons, which can each be equipped with two runes. Upgrading these runes can improve the already powerful special attacks in some great ways.

Oh, also upgrade your skills once you’ve completed the associated challenge

Wait, there’s more shit to upgrade. Over the course of the game, you’ll complete challenges that connect to different skills. Once you’ve fully completed all levels of a challenge, you are able to upgrade that associated skill. For example, the fantastic Hyperion Pull ability I mentioned earlier can be tweaked, after you’ve used it enough times, to do even more stun damage.

Pick one or two stats you care about and focus on that

OK, so all that upgrading and armour management and skill tweaking might seem messy and hard to follow. And it sort of is! But luckily, you can also mostly ignore it all and just pick out two stats you care most about.

So if, like me, you just want to do lots of damage and have tons of health, just focus on gear that increases your vitality and strength. I did this and made it easily to the end of the game as a god-killin’ machine.

Screenshot: Santa Monica Studio / Sony / Kotaku

Use hex arrows to freeze things without the axe being embedded

See something that you need frozen? Throw your axe at it. Simple. But what if there are two things? Well don’t forget you can have companions fire hex arrows at something, like a large gear connected to a door, and when you freeze that, the gear will remain frozen even after you recall the axe. This will let you freeze two different things at once!

On PS5? Play at 120 FPS if your TV allows it

If you are lucky enough to own a PS5, then take advantage of Ragnarök’s suite of visual options. Specifically, if you have a TV setup that allows it, play the game at 120fps. Seriously. It’s amazing and makes me unable to go back to 60fps or…shudders…30fps.

To turn on 120fps, hop into the visual settings and select “Performance Mode” and then turn on “High Frame Rate Mode.” Voila! You too can kill gods at a silky smooth 120 frames per second.

You can keep playing once the credits roll (and you should)

I won’t spoil how God of War does this, what it means for the story or how it works with the other characters in the game. But yes, you can keep playing and finish up side quests you didn’t complete before wrapping up the main story.

And you should keep playing once the game “ends” because there are some fun moments and conversations to be found out there once all is said and done.

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