God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla DLC PlayStation 5 Review

It looks like Kratos is finally wrapping up all his loose ends in the best way possible.

By R3GR3T, Posted 23 Dec 2023

So, we all know Santa Monica Studio and the weird relationship they have with Sony Entertainment, but that’s not what got them on the map. Santa Monica Studio was initially founded in 1999 in California, and it’s been an incredible ride for the studio and gamers from just about every generation. This is because of what might be the most notable game on the console platform at the moment – God of War. All the way from the very first God of War game to what we thought would be the end at God of War III, this series grew with us and continued to evolve, and we saw it through to the end of the Greek pantheon.

God of War Ragmarok: Valhalla, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Hack & Slash, Fantasy, NoobFeed

However, Santa Monica didn’t quite let Kratos rest just yet and started what would be the next generational game featuring our favourite angry god, God of War (2018). This officially started the second era of Kratos beating down on anything and everything with godlike power, but this time, it’s in the Norse Pantheon. The end of God of War showed us the start of ‘Fimbulvetr’ (Fimblewinter); this marked the beginning of Ragnarok and left us with a massive cliffhanger. Jump forward a few years later, and we finally got another round of Kratos in God of War Ragnarok. Soon after, we got a much-needed DLC named God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla on November 9.

God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla takes you on a new adventure with Kratos alone after he receives a strange invitation to Valhalla. With nothing better to do, he embarks on his new quest while following the directions to a hidden gate to Valhalla with his silver-tongued companion and decapitated head, Mimir. You’ll find yourself at an extremely ominous doorway that Kratos will characteristically force open with a quick trip on a boat and a bit of climbing. Like that, you start your journey into Kratos’ past, his memories, regrets, and mistakes as he delves deeper into Valhalla while reconciling with everything he’s ever done.

The thing is, you’re only getting a taste of what God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla has to offer in terms of being a roguelike game mode. Now, things start pretty straightforward, but they become a bit more complicated as you progress, and it starts with the Weapon Path. As we all know, Roguelikes is known for working on runs. Each run is a fresh start for exploring new upgrades and, sometimes, permanent upgrades or tools. Weapon Path falls under the temporary category, and the effects or benefits might seem small, but they stack up very quickly and can build your run quite nicely by augmenting Kratos’s weapons.

God of War Ragmarok: Valhalla, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Hack & Slash, Fantasy, NoobFeed

Next is your Runic Attack because Valhalla doesn’t play fair, and you start with a fresh and shiny Kratos with no abilities or bonuses. Runic Attacks are part of Kratos’ destructive arsenal, and in God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla, this is a nice twist because you’re essentially randomizing your attack power. Granted, it doesn’t mean you can just pick anything and expect to survive; you’ll have to have some form of game plan in mind and try to pick your abilities, buffs, and sometimes even your weapons to make the most of what you have.

Sooner or later, you will die on your first run in God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla, but worry because nobody truly dies in Valhalla…. Provided you die in glorious combat. Luckily, your first death is inevitable and in glorious combat, so those conditions are met, and Kratos wakes up at the ominous doorway again. Though this time, you’ll be greeted by Freya and the Valkyries. After some conversation, the fun really begins, and Sigrun explains that you’ll need to perform the Ritual of Selection before entering Valhalla again.

The first part of the Ritual of Selection is where you choose what Kratos’ Spartan Rage does, such as Fury – The garden variety Rage where each attack heals Kratos as it slowly drains his Spartan Rage. Valour – This gives Kratos a burst of health alongside a chance to negate an incoming attack if you can time it right, which will give you even more health and a melee attack bonus at the cost of a chunk of Spartan Rage. Then lastly, there is Wrath – This will allow you to charge at an enemy to deal a nice amount of damage with extra weapon effects while giving Kratos a small amount of health if your target dies to the attack, but also at the cost of a chunk of Spartan Rage. Between these 3 options, there’s already a nice mix of balance, healing, or damage, but these open up the possibilities for different playstyles.

God of War Ragmarok: Valhalla, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Hack & Slash, Fantasy, NoobFeed

Then, for the other part of choosing your shield, God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla isn’t the type of DLC where a shield is optional; you will need it, and you’ll need to pay attention to the effects because they can save you. Luckily, there are several different shields to choose from, and each has unique quirks that can either be used for defense or be weaponized to debilitate your opponent, maybe even outright crush them into nothingness. It’s Kratos; we’ve seen what he can do and how anything is a weapon with him; even a tree can be used to do some good damage in his hands.

With that done and dusted, you’ll need to talk to the Valkyrie again for a semi-cryptic rundown of Valhalla’s rules. To give you the short and direct version, Valhalla will test you, how you use your abilities, and how you handle the many situations it will throw at you. Your only objective is to survive its trials and reach the end – First to reach the mysterious person who invited Kratos to Valhalla, and second for Kratos to resolve his inner conflict and make peace with his past demons… Though this is easier said than done, as you’ll soon find out. With that out of the way, you’ll be free to enter Valhalla and start your first actual run by fighting your way to the end.

Now, something to keep in mind with God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla is that you’ll be moving between different areas or stages. Each area is based on Kratos’ memories of his time in Midgard and ancient Greece. However, the recreations might not always be as Kratos remembers them, and while the nostalgia will be real, there is always a new danger lurking around the corner. You’ll be facing off against random opponents, timed challenges, and the occasional boss or four; you’ll have to be ready and think on your feet if you want to get to the end. Sadly, we can’t say much about what’s waiting for Kratos at the end because nobody wants spoilers; we can say this… You’ve met this person before and said person would definitely hit you like a truck if you don’t think fast.

God of War Ragmarok: Valhalla, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Hack & Slash, Fantasy, NoobFeed

Now, with you officially starting what might be a long haul and a deep dive into Kratos’s past, you’ll need to use every advantage you get along the way. Aside from Weapon Paths to alter your melee attacks and Runic Attacks that will give you some ranged firepower, there are a few other game-changing passives to find on your journey that can make or break your run. One of these is the Weapon Glyph; this is where things become interesting as they add extra effects to your weapons, like finishing moves to weapon combos and attribute-based chance effects. However, God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla has a few more tricks up its sleeve to turn the tide of what will feel like a very fast climb to the top.

Don’t misjudge how fast you can get those passive upgrades; you’ll need each one of them and possibly even more on top of them. However, if you want a bit more in terms of options, look no further than the Tablet of Endeavor. The Tablet of Endeavor is similar to a shop; you can purchase Glyphs and Runic Attack upgrades using Fleeting Echoes. However, the Tablet is also a safe zone of sorts. You can’t always just save and quit in a Roguelike, but the Tablet will let you stop at that point if you need to take a break, and sometimes that’s just what we need to approach the challenge ahead with a clear mind.

For the loot goblins and magpies out there, God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla also has you covered with chests littered throughout each run. These chests usually only contain Fleeting Echoes or health, but a little money and healing are always a welcome sight when you’ve been beating down on everything that dares to stand in your path. However, there is also the chance of unlocking cosmetic items that you’ll get to use very soon.

God of War Ragmarok: Valhalla, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Hack & Slash, Fantasy, NoobFeed

Now, before you start worrying that you can’t make Kratos look more menacing or just as godlike as you want him to be, God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla, unfortunately, doesn’t exactly let you change out his weapons and armour, but there is a cosmetic side of life to look at. Before you jump into your next run, you’ll want to stop by the Appearance Pedestal. The name might be seriously unimpressive compared to everything else, but that doesn’t mean Kratos has to be the same. Aside from your end goal, you can also go hunting for cosmetic items that will change Kratos’ appearance through his armour and weapons. Even though it doesn’t need to be said, it should be noted that cosmetics are purely just that, cosmetic, and they don’t give any bonuses.

The seemingly endless grind in God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla can wear thin sometimes, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to spice things up. Everybody likes a good side-quest, even more so if the rewards are worth it and the Labours you get from the Labour Marker are more than worthwhile. Some of the Labours are repeatable, while new ones cycle through occasionally; it’s a good idea to check it out now and then to get all the benefits it can offer because it’ll reward you with Mastery Seals, Spirit Seals, and various other interesting rewards.

Speaking of Seals, you’ll need a small mountain of them for the all-too-important permanent upgrades at the Tablet of Reflection. Between Health, Rage, and Stats upgrades, the Tablet of Reflection will become your best friend for the sake of survival and gaining the necessary power to survive the runs. Granted, you’ll need to amass a decent amount of Seals of Mastery. Spirit Seals play a different part, though; you’ll need these for the Tablet Influence, and as the name suggests, it can be used to influence your next run by increasing the chance of certain rewards appearing.

God of War Ragmarok: Valhalla, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Hack & Slash, Fantasy, NoobFeed

Ever since Kratos travelled to Midgard from Ancient Greece, it seems like the games have just kept expanding on what the world has to offer, and Valhalla is no exception. With each run being a new attempt at reaching the end and another dive into Kratos’ past, you’ll also discover some new obstacles on your way. Some of them are optional, while others are required to get to the next area, but it’ll still boil down to how prepared you are in the end.

However, God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla still stuck to a good amount of the actual lore that we know about in small places, but Valhalla’s one rule being abided by and incorporated into the story is an amazing detail as well. Remember, Kratos has to die in a glorious battle to be reborn again… But what if he’s about to die but not in a glorious battle? You’ll find out just what happens and how that becomes one of the more pivotal moments on his journey, but also for Mimir.

God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla has one last resource that is obscenely difficult to come by, but it will also reward you the most – Divine Triumph. This is definitely a more late-game resource, but you’re going to need each and everyone because they’re used for your most powerful upgrades at the Shore Tablets. You can increase the chance of getting them by using the Tablet of Influence, but nothing in life is ever free, and you’ll need Crests to make this happen. Sadly, Crests are also a random drop on your journey, and they’re also not easy to get.

On the visual front, God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla didn’t exactly see visual improvements since it is a DLC for God of War Ragnarok, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to look at. The way Kratos’ previous adventures were somewhat reimagined in Valhalla can put a lot into perspective, and with Mimir at his side, both come together to tell a deeper story than what we originally saw and heard. However, there are parts from Ancient Greece that tell a different story, from when he first rose against the Greek gods to his more treacherous adventures in worse places. With just visuals alone, this DLC might have outshined what the base game had to offer simply because of nostalgia, but you need both to bring everything together.

God of War Ragmarok: Valhalla, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Hack & Slash, Fantasy, NoobFeed

God of War wouldn’t be the same without its music and voice acting, though in the case of God of War (2018) and the rest of the series, the voice acting is most likely what got us all hooked. The dialogues between Kratos and Mimir alone already add so much to the story as a whole, but every bit of voice acting plays a unique part in bringing the games to life. The same can be said about God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla, and you can definitely hear that each voice actor didn’t just play their parts; they lived them. Each conversation, both good and bad, ties everything together and creates a fantastic atmosphere that you just don’t want to let go of.

Overall, God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla might have been an unexpected DLC but it tied off a lot of loose ends in the entire story as a whole. A lot of unanswered questions were answered, and the challenge to get to them is well worth every bit of effort needed to get to them. And while the shift to the Roguelike challenge was odd, it’s a great change of pace that fits the game brilliantly. However, there is the small matter of certain secret end-game content that needs to be discovered for the DLC to make sense, which might confuse the people who didn’t dig deeper after taking down Odin.

Jay Claassen (@R3GR3T_3NVY)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PS5
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Santa Monica Studio
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Fantasy, Hack And Slash
Release Date: 2023-12-12

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