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In the OP I criticised the meandering, directionless story a lot. I thought about that a little more and it is weird because the 2018 game absolutely had slow moments. The whole Alfheim-quest was just to dispell the black breath to be able to go up the mountain. But it felt great. I still can't quite put my finger on how 2018 felt so engaging and Ragnarök felt so whatever (as Atreus would say).

Perhaps it is this: You need a goal to be a compelling character. And a means to achieve that goal. And in Ragnarök that was not quite there for me. The first game had one single overaching goal and that was: get to the highest peak for Fays ashes. Everything that happened and our characters tried to accomplish was in service of that goal. And they always new a way how to get closer to that goal.
In Ragnarök, the first goal is to escape Freya. The second goal was to find Atreus. The third was to find a new home. The next was to find Tyr. The next was to look into Groas shrine to find out what they should actually do. This goes on and on. There is no overarching goal for the characters. I thought in the beginning it would be to stop Ragnarök. But they seem to do everything in their power to bring it about. Then I thought for Atreus it would be to save his dad from dying. But he did everything that would presumably lead to that. There was no sense of direction or purpose and goal in that story. Perhaps that is what I don't like. One example, a microcosmos of how the game felt as a whole:

Brok is dead. Tyr was reveald to be Odin who has gone back to Asgard for good. Sindri vanishes with Brok. And Kratos decides to be done with it all. No more. Just done. He and Atreus leave Sindris house. Than Atreus says he wants to go hunting. On the hunting trip Kratos stops Atreus, saying that this is just a distraction. Then they decide to go to Sindri who is pissed. And then? Then?!? Then Kratos and Atreus just decide to head back to Sindris house and not be done with it all. And they just keep going where they left off 45 minutes ago. This whole main quest story sequence was completly pointless.

Edit: Perhaps it is an interesting approach to have directionless characters. Characters without any real, overaching goal. Characters without a clue how they would make some of their goals they actually do have happen. More of a slice of life thing. Relaxed, layed back. Or perhaps confusing and befuddling. But this more directionless approach to story perhaps does not gel so well with Kratos and Atreus as characters, nor with the main gameplay mechanic being to murder everything in your path. Without a clear and hugely important purpose all the killing monsters feels vapid.

Last edited by JuliusHackebeil - on 07 December 2022