While it may not be as dramatic a reworking as the previous game, this third-person hack-and-slash action game is every bit as epic and exciting as its predecessor. In God of War: Ragnarok, it's been four years since Kratos killed Thor's sons in 2018's God of War, and neither Thor nor his dad, Odin, are ready to offer forgiveness. Also, why do people keep referring to Kratos' kid, Atreus, as "Loki"? To find out, Kratos and the kid go on yet another action- (and puzzle-) packed adventure. When not engaging in combat, which is deep here thanks to both a weapons customization system and a skill tree that adds new moves, Kratos and the kid spend their time searching high and low for relics, metals to make their weapons and armor stronger, and other helpful items, while also solving complicated puzzles, some of which are needed to open new areas to explore. And it's all driven by an epic story full of dramatic moments, genuine surprises, and rich characterizations.
Now, admittedly, this game plays a lot like the previous one. The combat is largely the same, the puzzles and situational problems also. But it does boast an all-new adventure, one that tests your combat skills and puzzle solving in new and interesting ways. You also find new ways to augment you weapons, while Atreus, who was just a learner before, is much more helpful now. Which is good, since this is his story as much as it's his father's. But the way God of War: Ragnarok most resembles the previous God game is in its mix of frantic combat, epic scale, clever puzzles, and compelling story, making this sequel just as exhilarating and engaging -- and as much of a potential game of the year candidate -- as its predecessor.