It’s safe to say that god of war franchise is one of the most beloved in Sony’s history. The story of Kratos, from an epic Greek tragedy to the end times of Norse Ragnarok, continues to amaze and entertain fans with the latest title God of War Ragnarok up to this year’s Game of the Year award. But the franchise was not without its stumbles
The original trilogy is certainly full of “its time” misadventures, as technology and culture were different even 10-15 years ago. The modern games in the franchise also do not escape the wrath of fans, with some questionable decisions regarding game design and story.
10/10 Sexual Mini Games – Greek Time
As beloved as the 2000s games were, the sex minigames are something many fans look back on with embarrassment, glee, or both. u/TahomaYellowHorse celebrates the fact that they are not in the modern games by saying “The sex minigames were an appeal to young teenagers. They’re not coming back, and I think that’s better.”
It doesn’t help that the sex scenes themselves weren’t even plot relevant. Even the one with Aphrodite led nowhere, completely breaking the tension God of War 3 with a frankly terrible fanservice scene. It’s not that sex can’t be a part of Kratos’ story, as most of the epics of the myth tend towards passionate love and lust. Although optional and mostly tongue-in-cheek, most fans are quite indifferent to their absence in modern games.
9/10 Shallow battle – Greek time
There is no doubt that the original god of war game was a play. They were noisy and brutal, and for people who just wanted to hack and slash their worries away, the combat system was for god of war was perfectly serviceable, and the cinematic kills are the clear star of the game. But for those looking for more depth, god of war doesn’t really have much to offer.
u/Mrkancode sums it up well by saying “Eh. Character action is a genre that lives and dies on its combat depth. I never felt anything that motivated me to keep playing except for the story and some of the secrets. I guess that’s why it gets a bad rep. The combat can be serviceable, but when the entire game is defined by that aspect, serviceable won’t do it for me.”
8/10 Simplistic and repetitive puzzles – sprinkled throughout the franchise
The game can’t just always kill things, so figuring things out was a big part of puzzles god of war game. Unfortunately, many of them are far from the more difficult puzzles that Resident Evil and Silent Hill would offer. In fact, many of the puzzles were basically an HD version of the TI-84 Boxman. True, there were truly innovative optical illusion puzzles from time to time, but they are the exception.
It’s mostly just moving things onto platforms or hitting something far away with a special new item the player just got. There’s no meat to the puzzles, and it certainly doesn’t help that there are so many of them. u/INCS88 states “The puzzles in this game range from DUH?” to ‘oooo this is interesting too’ omg I can’t believe how boring this is.
7/10 Terrible Camera Angles – God of War: Ascension (2013)
god of war as a franchise is known for its effective use of camera angles to showcase a sense of scale and majesty. No matter how powerful Kratos was, it’s a reminder that what he faces is much bigger than his mission, both figuratively and literally. But they took things a little too far Ascension.
u/omiros14052003 says “It ruined the fight for me because combined with the terrible camera placement that made Kratos too small, I couldn’t understand what was going on and the enemies beat me up pretty bad.” Coupled with how terrible the game’s framerate was at release, it’s no wonder Ascension not remembered as well.
6/10 Multiplayer – God of War: Ascension (2013)
Although the developers of the god of war should be given some credit for inexplicably making the game mode fun despite studio claims, it really wasn’t a well-polished mode. New additions would be locked behind progress, meaning the new player experience was frankly terrible, a shame considering the pantheons teased in gear.
u/Experiment_Magnus sums it up by saying, “Honestly, the only gripe I had with the game was balancing. Every time the developers made new powerful armor and weapons, it would punish new players into oblivion.” Of course, with the direction of the franchise returning to refined single-player experiences, this is unlikely.
5/10 Boring Level Design – God of War (2018)
Although it is nod enying it God of War (2018) is a beautiful game as far as visuals go, pushing the console to its limits. But all that flash doesn’t actually leave much room for interesting level design. The lack of true verticality as well as the “walk” feel of many levels leaves a lot to be desired, especially in stark contrast to the fact that literal monsters were once levels in previous games.
u/SPinc1 states “While I loved the game overall, I didn’t like Gow4’s level designs. They were mostly boring with a few exceptions.” Fortunately, this criticism was dealt with sparingly at the time Ragnarok rolled around, with more varied scenes as well as more populated rooms.
4/10 Unfun Grinding – God of War (2018)
u/Rykka95 simply says: “Muspelheim and Niflheim are cranky jokes, and weren’t very funny.” as the prime examples of one of the 2018 game’s biggest problems. Unlike the streamlined scoring system of the older era, the new game makes progress unnecessary on points, replacing fun sections with difficult padding.
The problem with using a light RPG system for a game like God of War (2018) is that instead of making it fun and complex, they stretch out the content with unfun difficulty. There’s a grind involved in getting things that unfortunately aren’t nearly fun enough to be considered real rewards, outside of bragging rights.
3/10 Lack of enemy variety – God of War (2018)
Perhaps the biggest criticism of the game, God of War (2018) was incredibly repetitive in terms of enemies. Bossfights can be summed up as “Troll, Twins and Baldur”. With how many fantastic creatures there are in Norse myth, it’s disappointing how often God of War (2018) focusing only on the most unremarkable of them, big fleshy trolls.
Actually in a thread asking what Snata Monica should do to improve Ragnarok, and one of the top comments was u/Starry_420 who said “Honestly, just more variety in enemies and glory kills.” A simple request, but it immediately addresses one of the biggest mistakes made in the 2018 game.
2/10 Underutilized Gods – God of War: Ragnarok (2022)
God of War: Ragnarok was generally seen as a solid sequel to its predecessor, with its great story, extra enemy variety, better level design, as well as fair balancing all around. But despite all the wonderful new gods in the story, unfortunately they don’t get nearly as much focus as they could have in the story.
Thor in particular felt like much less of a presence compared to Baldur, who was a constant thorn in Kratos’ side. While the variety of bosses is great, the second Thor fight just didn’t resonate as much emotionally as the final Baldur fight did. u/TellMeYouAreSorry says “Like, come on, you’re going to tell me that the second Thor fight was superior to any fight with Baldur? That was a major letdown. I finally wanted a rematch that would rock the world, and we got it.”
1/10 The Final Battle of Ragnarok – God of War: Ragnarok (2022)
For all that it does well, God of War: Ragnarok unfortunately didn’t deliver as well as it could have when the titular Ragnarok finally arrived. Instead of an end-of-the-world spectacle similar to God of War 3it was instead a moderately difficult section with more mobs than usual, a disappointment for a franchise known for its cinematic flash.
While there were some great heartfelt moments in the post-fight regarding Kratos, everything else just felt like wasted potential. u/StylizedSotiX sums it up best by saying “I expected more from Ragnarok – the game’s title – more destruction and more deaths. The final battle didn’t feel as epic to me.”
NEXT: 10 Biggest Emotional Gut Punches in God Of War Games