Kratos’ final moments in God of War Ragnarok are wonderful; they offer us a hopeful look at the future and culminate his journey throughout the series’ recent entries (God of War in 2018 and God of War Ragnarok in 2022, primarily). Atreus is off on his own adventures with Angrbroda, the Nine Realms need bits of Asgard picked out of their hair, and Kratos’ re-ascension to godhood is very-much back on the cards. However, the new God of War Valhalla expansion doesn’t just detail the original ending with a continuation of the aftermath of the cataclysmic Ragnarok, it opens a potential PS5 sequel up to endless possibilities.
Before the Valhalla expansion, Santa Monica Studios’ God of War Ragnarok was easily one of the best PS5 games available, one of the best RPG games of 2022, and a videogame everyone should experience when they get the chance. It’s a cinematic epic with fantastic hack-and-slash combat, a robust upgrade system that allows you to tailor gameplay to better-suit your style, and one of the most compelling narratives of the last decade. Now, with the roguelite epilogue Valhalla, there’s a strong case to be made when it comes to elevating God of War Ragnarok and placing it among the best games on consoles, period.
Why? Well, the story and Kratos’ confrontation with his past transgressions and shame really is truly one of the best cinematic narrative experiences in videogames. But the real pot of gold at the end of this wonderful, draugr-filled rainbow is where it leaves Kratos and what that means for the future of the franchise.
Oh, and please note that there are spoilers ahead for those still working their way through the layers of Valhalla and the challenges that lurk within.
At the start of this expansion, we learn that Freya has asked Kratos to become the new god of war in a post-Ragnarok world and he’s more than a little bit hesitant to agree to her request and accept this new role in the Nine Realms. So, rather conveniently, he and Mimir travel to Valhalla at the behest of an unsigned invite with the challenge to ‘master Valhalla’ and then ‘master thyself’. It’s cryptic, very intriguing, and the perfect excuse to avoid making any decisions.
But, of course, this mysterious request isn’t just a random invite, it’s actually a roundabout way of Tyr (the former Aesir God of War, Law, Justice, and Honor) trying to help Kratos escape the shadows of his past and prepare him for a future where he can act as god of war without the fear that he will regress into the bloodthirsty killer he is desperately trying to avoid becoming. Sure, Tyr’s chosen method does involve quite a bit of battle and bloodshed, but the souls of those in Valhalla are eternal – already dead and simply resurrected over and over again every time they die honorably in battle. So, if we’re talking technically about a strange realm of magic and monsters for a brief moment, the only person actually at risk of death throughout this is Kratos himself. Well, and Gunnr briefly as she swoops into Valhalla uninvited to save both Kratos and Mimir from a permanent trip to the underworld.
Anyway, to skip past going into detail on several hours of hacking, slashing, and reflection, Kratos – by the end of the Valhalla – is ready to become the man the people need him to be and Freya’s god of war.
This resolution and very specific next step actually open things up for Kratos even more than the initial ending of the main game. As the god of war, Kratos would be afforded the same amount of freedom when it comes to traversing the Nine Realms but also be obligated to involve himself with any ensuing conflict. He would be the one dictating the rules of engagement, making sure those rules of engagement are followed, and ultimately resolving any conflict that cannot resolve itself. Not only this, but – as Tyr’s breadth of responsibilities reveal – Kratos would also have a duty to ensure every process is honorably undertaken and that justice is exacted when required.
With speculation of a sequel tackling Egyptian mythology, this ending and confirmation of Kratos’ new role in Santa Monica Studios’ God of War universe presents the narrative team with a very easy excuse to take Kratos to Egypt – or anywhere at all across the Nine Realms, for that matter. He is the god of war and where there is conflict, he must follow. It sounds reductive, and we’re almost certain that any sequel to God of War Ragnarok will feature a far richer narrative with higher stakes than that, but it’s an excellent foundation to establish future stories and doesn’t tie Kratos to any one character, location, or adventure.
He has always been a man who commands respect, but now he has a title that demands it.
If all of this talk about PS5 exclusives makes you want to check out any one of the other new PS5 games out there right now, you should make sure you’re keeping an eye on your storage space; God of War Ragnarok is far from a small game and the Valhalla expansion is around 18 GB on top of that. So, if you haven’t installed one already, you should check out the best PS5 SSD options available at the moment and add an extra terabyte or two onto your existing internal storage space. When you think about all the free PS Plus games available with the PS Plus December games line-up – and all those to come in the future – this really will come in handy. It should also give you enough room for Kratos’ next adventure, whenever that arrives.