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Video Game / God of War Ragnarök

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Spoilers for all previous installments of the God of War series will be left unmarked.
Atreus: We're trying to stop Ragnarök, to help people... what if the only way to do that is war?
Kratos: War is not the only way.

"Fate only binds you if you let it. Do what it is necessary. Not because it is written."
— Kratos

God of War Ragnarök is a sequel to God of War (PS4) and the ninth installment in the God of War series, developed by SIE Santa Monica Studio and released on November 9, 2022 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

The game picks up three years from where the previous left off, with Kratos and his now teenaged son Atreus living in a Midgard now in the depths of the Fimbulwinter, a three-year long storm of Endless Winter that portends the coming of Ragnarök, the end of the current Norse world and its gods. However, following the arrival of another of the Norse gods to their home, Atreus, still seeking answers about his identity and future destiny, and Kratos, afraid that his son is destined to walk down the same apocalyptic path he once did, set out on a new journey through the Nine Realms, this time to find Tyr, the allegedly dead Norse God of War, in hopes of putting a stop to the Norse pantheon's machinations and perhaps prevent Ragnarök itself.

Previews: Reveal trailer. Cinematic trailer. Story trailer.

God of War Ragnarök contains examples of:

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  • 11th-Hour Costume Change: The game generously gives you a high-level armor set for free just before the last stretch of the game, with other allied NPCs getting matching outfits for the occasion.
  • 100% Completion: The game presents the player's progress on the map, with each page stating the completion of each realm.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: Like in the previous game, certain areas and items are inaccessible until Kratos has acquired the proper weapon/item.
  • Achievement System: The game has various "Labors" Kratos can complete to get some bonus experience points. Like the last game, labors include killing a certain number of specific enemies, using different moves a certain number of times, or getting a bunch of collectibles. Unlike the last game, the labor system is presented with some flavor text in the voice of the squirrel Ratatoskr and his split personalities talking about the task at hand.
  • Action Bomb: Kol Raider enemies may be easy to kill, but watch out, they take out a bomb at zero HP and blow themselves up in a final attempt to kill you.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: In-between decapitating trolls and warring against the gods, Kratos can go back to his second favorite dwarf's house and sit down to eat dinner with the dwarves, a talking head, the last of the giants, and whichever gods are kind enough to stay for dessert.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Hrolf Kraki. In the original saga he's described as physically unimpressive and not much of a fighter, while here he's a fearsome warrior capable of using multiple weapons as well as magic and hand to hand combat.
    • The Aesir can use Odin's ravens Hugginn and Muninn to instantly teleport anywhere they wish in the Nine Realms, whereas in the myths Odin's ravens held no such power and the gods had to either travel through more conventional means, such as mounts and chariots, or use magic to shapeshift into birds and fly by themselves. For example, Hérmoðr took nine nights to go from Asgard to Hel while riding Sleipnir, the best of horses, in order to ask for Baldr's soul in the myths, while in the game Odin sends Thrud, Heimdall and Atreus from Asgard to Hel in seconds.
  • Adaptational Context Change: Two of the canines tied to Ragnarök. Garm, whose howl is supposed to herald Ragnarök, is portrayed correctly as a bloodied wolf found in Helheim, but tied down in chains that he couldn't break out of and lacking a soul. During a boat conversation between Mimir and Atreus, Mimir explains how Tyr was able to to lure Garm into getting chained up in Helheim by using his arm as the bait (as well growing his arm back when Garm bit through it, because "he's a resourceful god" according to Mimir). Fenrir initially is Atreus' mortal pet wolf whose soul accidentally wound up in his knife, but is later put into Garm's body after Atreus remembered Angrboda's comment about his knife holding Fenrir's soul, thus becoming the prophesized giant wolf of Ragnarök who participates during the attack on Asgard.
  • Adaptational Nonsapience: In the myths, the sun and moon that Skoll and Hatti chase are in fact the goddess Sól and her brother Máni. Here, the moon at least is portrayed as an inanimate sphere, capable of being stolen and magically sealed away in a small container.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The narrative shows the consequences of the Fimbulwinter across other realms beyond Midgard, acting differently in each one it affects. Besides the long and harsh winter in Midgard described in Norse myths, the Fimbulwinter also provoked earthquakes in Svartalfheim as well worsening the release of gas, caused the Light of Alfheim to flicker, and made Vanaheim get more humid and muggy, which made the local floral life get more dangerous.
    • Both Svartalfheim and Niðavellir have scarce information in the Eddas, being only described as being a dark field, having halls of gold, and being the home of the dwarves. In the game, Svartalfheim/Niðavellir is a large explorable area with several constructions, mines and bodies of water. The same holds true for Vanaheim, which was attested a few times as the home of the Vanir, where Njörd was raised and where Hoenir was sent to as a hostage after the Aesir-Vanir war, but doesn't receive any physical descriptions in known Old Norse works of literature besides being next to Alfheim and Asgard in the top of the World Tree, being somewhere West of Asgard, and being a fertile land for agriculture and fishing. Here, it is expanded into a large realm teeming with forests, unique enemies, side-quests and temples, being in fact the largest realm of the game.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The second fight against Garm is largely made up of running away from the giant wolf as it tears through the entire realm behind you.
  • Affectionate Nickname: In a flashback, we learn that Faye liked to call Kratos "Grumbles." It fits.
  • All Animals Are Domesticated: Kratos and Atreus keep three huge wolves as company, who basically behave like pet dogs around them, particularly Atreus, and pull their sled like obedient huskies. The explanation is likely that Atreus tamed/befriended them through his deep connection with animals, as well as being a nod to Loki who shapeshifted into (as well as sired) animals himself. Sure enough, Atreus eventually finds he can shapeshift into a wolf himself (as well as a bear) further demonstrating his affinity with animals. When the duo solve the Garm problem in Helheim by possessing Garm's giant body with the soul of their departed wolf Fenrir, Kratos even tests Atreus's claim that Fenrir is now in possession of Garm's body by issuing classic one-word commands like "sit", which Fenrir-In-Garm readily does with a resounding thud.
  • All Myths Are True: While this was certainly the case in the previous game, Ragnarök one-ups it by confirming Mimir to be Puck/Robin Goodfellow along with him talking about the events of Macbeth, implying the existence of Camelot through the appearances of a Kelpie and Nimue being name-dropped, and Kratos confirming that The Trojan War really did happen.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The game ultimately never answers the question of what Odin's mask can show the wearer or even if it's anything more than a meaningless piece of wood. It does glow to lead the bearer to its other pieces and at the end of the game, in the presence of the realm tear, as Atreus considers putting it on but Mimir speculates that Odin's obsession with the mask was just a drunken idea Odin couldn't give up on, and since Atreus breaks the mask in two without ever putting it on there's never a definitive answer.
  • An Aesop:
    • As is more or less stated by the Norns, there is no destiny or fate. Trying to stick to destiny or to avoid it is to acknowledge that it controls and defines your life. The only thing that determines whether you succumb to what is prophesized for you is only if you are willing to change and grow as a person, or if you'll stubbornly avoid addressing your personal flaws. The latter is noted as the main reason why Kratos and the Norse Pantheon end up running into the risk of succumbing to their fates (and why the Greek Pantheon eventually fell), because many of them struggle to actually take responsibility for their past mistakes and actions, instead regressing and falling back on past habits. Tellingly, it's this revelation that pushes Kratos into finally accepting full responsibility for his past actions, and also to make the effort to truly grow past his personal flaws.
    • Of the entire Norse Saga, in fact: sorrow, guilt, and shame for your past mistakes can give way to hope, forgiveness, and a new beginning if the person ashamed or guilty lets them.
    • There are no words for how painful grief and bereavement are, and mourning creates feelings of great isolation and sorrow. The best way to move forward is to open up to a support group and allow empathy to share that pain with others, not dwell on these feelings, numb them, or hold yourself back.
      • For the Norse gods: Sif and Thor were Abusive Parents to Magni and Modi, and their deaths forced them to realize how horrible they were as parents. Thor, on the other hand, fell into a deep spiral of self-destruction and self-hatred through alcoholism and depression. Sif and Thrud are able to reign him in by reminding Thor of their sons and trying to tell him he needs to cut Odin out of his life, but Thor struggles to move on and forgive himself for what he did to Modi and the Jotunns. Kratos manages to get through to Thor through empathy and by reminding him of how Thrud can motivate him to be better. Thor was able to find peace by sharing his pain with Kratos, accepting that Odin is too toxic for him and that Sif and Thrud can support him every step of the way. Too bad for Thor that Odin killed him for disobedience before he could start down the road to redemption.
      • For Freya: She desires revenge after Kratos and Atreus killed Baldur, and repeatedly tries to kill the pair throughout the first act of the game. When she's forced to join Kratos and Atreus to stop Odin and when she and Kratos are alone together, Kratos opens up to Freya about his own family — his brother Deimos, his wife Lysandra, and his daughter Calliope — making her realize that they both share the pain of Outliving One's Offspring. She doesn't forgive Kratos until she meets the Norms where Freya is hit with Brutal Honesty that Baldur's demise was her fault, but it was still the first step in the healing process, empathy. Even then, Freya admits that there's a part of her that will always be angry at Kratos.
      • For Brok and Sindri: Sindri could not accept that his brother Brok could die so unexpectedly, and he went to Alfheim to retrieve his soul because he couldn't stand to be alone. In his attempt to rescue Brok's soul, Sindri lost the fourth soul fragment, and thus Brok could not be healed by Freya's magic after he was fatally wounded by Odin. According to Mimir, since Brok only had three-quarters of his soul, he couldn't return to Alfheim's pool of souls, and is now denied an afterlife for all eternity. After Brok's death, Sindri is completely broken and blames Atreus and Kratos for allowing Odin to get so close to them. He neglects his personal grooming and hygiene, and is so clouded by his own need for vengeance that he does not care for the accidental deaths of the Midgardians who were used as cannon fodder by Odin. When Atreus binds Odin's soul to a Giant's marble, Sindri steals the marble from Atreus' hand and smashes it with his hammer to avenge Brok, despite Freya and Kratos rejecting the offer to get revenge for what Odin did to them both. Even in the post-game, Sindri still isolates himself and blames Atreus and Kratos for Brok's death. This is actually represented metaphorically by the riddle they asked Mimir to solve: "What gets bigger the more you take away?" The answer is a hole. Brok's death left a hole in Sindri's life and Sindri only makes it bigger by taking more and more support away from himself by rejecting Atreus, Kratos, and Freya's help and by isolating himself from the rest of the realms.
      • For Grýla, her son and daughter-in-law were killed and her grief was so unbearable that she started using the souls of animals to experience their memories and reached a point where she was so addicted that she abandoned her granddaughter, Angrboda. Grýla's pain was only numbed by her addiction, it was never processed and accepted. Grýla only began to move on when Angrboda and Atreus destroyed her cauldron and cut her dependency on souls, which forced her to confront her grief and eventually start foraging again with Angrboda.
    • While war is definitely something to be avoided and should always be the last option instead of the first, it is, unfortunately, necessary when there are no other options.
      • Kratos desperately tries to avoid going to war with Asgard because he sees it as another reminder of his past and another connection to his revenge quest that left Greece in ruins. When it's revealed that Tyr was actually Odin in disguise and Brok is killed, Kratos initially fears that they will only fight for revenge. However, he realizes the intention of war does not matter as long as Odin is stopped because he has caused too much harm to the realms - thus making the intention to bring Odin to justice, not just to avenge Brok.
      • Tyr is on the other end of the extreme, Tyr wants to avoid war at all costs even if it means that Odin would win and doom the other realms. While this would be good advice as war is indeed something to be avoided at all costs, Tyr is trying to avoid war through appeasement and is severely underestimating Odin's lust for knowledge, his megalomania, and his sheer ruthlessness to get what he wants. When it's revealed that Tyr was actually Odin in disguise, it shows that this was done intentionally as Odin manipulated their compassion and exploited their desire to be better people by portraying Tyr as extremely naive and self-pitying. When Fraya and Kratos meet the real Týr, he actually praises Freya for what did to fight Odin and makes it clear that fighting Odin was the best option for Vanaheim and its people.
  • Aggressive Play Incentive: A late upgrade for each of your weapons allows you to build up a meter by hitting more and more enemies in quick succession without getting hit and get a huge buff to damage, stun, and elemental status effects applied when the meter is filled. If you wait too long between hits, the meter will deplete back down to nothing.
  • All Take and No Give: Essentially what Sindri's "The Reason You Suck" Speech and What the Hell, Hero? towards Atreus is composed of. He rants about how he gave Atreus everything that he had: He became friends with the boy even despite the offenses Atreus made towards him and the danger he put him through, he happily sheltered him and Kratos in the home he shared with Brok, he donated his skills and treasures for both Kratos and Atreus, and yet despite his genuine friendship with Atreus, Atreus just kept taking more and more for granted until Brok dies and Sindri doesn't even have a family anymore as the friendship between him and Atreus shatters. Atreus is clearly heartbroken and guilt-driven as he realizes Sindri was fully right, and does not defend himself. He attempts to do something for Sindri in a change, but Sindri is too far gone in his bitterness and coldly tells Atreus he is just done with him. Atreus sadly accepts Sindri's decision.
  • Amazon Chaser: A downplayed example; Atreus flirts with two young ladies during the story, both of whom are taller than him and one of which is much more muscular, both on their way to Statuesque Stunner territory. Presumably, he gets it from his dad, as Faye was a formidable warrier.
  • Anatomy of the Soul: Mimir and Sindri both bring up the four "soul parts" of myth: hamr ("form/appearance"), hugr ("mind"), fylgja ("direction"), and hamingja ("luck"). On a humorous note, Mimir notes Kratos likely could get by on just the latter. On a far more serious one, Brok, having been improperly resurrected by Sindri years ago, is missing his "direction," which guides a soul to their designated afterlife, be it Valhalla, Folkvangr, Helheim, or the Light of Alfheim. As such, when Odin murders him, he is Barred from the Afterlife and Deader than Dead.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Companion armor doesn't actually impact any of Atreus' stats or anything else in the gameplay, but it looks cool, so the game gives you companion armor for completing a couple of important sidequests. Freya gets her Aesir outfit if you complete the quest at her wedding site and a Valkyrie outfit if you kill the new Valkyrie Queen in the post-game. Getting any of Kratos' armors to level nine will give you the option to apply the appearance of another armor of that type over it. Upgrading the various armors until their appearance changes will unlock those new versions to use as well.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: At several moments in the game, Atreus becomes the central playable character.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Atreus leaves to go find the remaining Giants and bring them back. Kratos stays with Freya and his friends to help rebuild the realms as the snow begins melting, spurred by a prophecy Faye left of Kratos being worshipped by various people.
  • Anti-Frustration Features
    • The Niflheim training arena makes Kratos invincible but doesn't officially give you XP nor does anything done in them count towards labours, but enemies killed there count towards skill upgrades - which do give some XP. Likewise, Muspelheim warmup arenas do count towards labours, giving you a good place to grind them.
    • Speaking of Muspelheim, once you complete every single challenge at least once, you can freely select and replay any of them. All four arenas even give different rewards, allowing you to grind for them.
    • Post-game, some miniboss beasts found in Vanaheim crater respawn very quickly, allowing you to grind for beast resources.
    • Both companions share accessories, so can wear the same stuff simultaneously without having to worry about inventory management.
    • Brok and Sindri will collect any loot you missed in a chest next to wherever they set up shop.
    • While platforming around cliffs and such, if you don't spot the next point to jump to, holding the stick in that direction long enough will usually have you leap to it without having to press a button.
    • As with the first game, on lower difficulties at least, respawning after losing a boss fight will give you full health.
    • Your allies will often suggest the solution for opening a difficult area or solving a puzzle, even though it's still up to you to find the exact thing they're talking about. They can also point out collectibles that you might not spot, although with a rather vague "I see something over there!"
    • Once Kratos acquires the Draupnir spear, killing Odin's ravens becomes about 5 times easier, a spear throw being much faster and easier to aim than hurling the Leviathan axe.
    • The accessibility settings allow players to skip the button-mashing sequences and simply hold a button down instead. It can also be set to automatically pick up items such as health and rage boosts by simply walking near them, which can be especially handy during combat.
  • Arc Words: The game has several words and phrases that shape the entire narrative.
    • “Be better” is repeatedly said by Kratos to Atreus in both games, as well as to Freya in the second game. Atreus himself repeats it to Odin and Thor when trying to convince them to take a more peaceful path and change their ways, while Kratos says it to Thor, imploring him to choose nonviolence for the sake of his daughter. It’s all about breaking your own patterns of destructive behaviour and choosing to be a better person than you were, but also about fathers choosing to change, learn and grow in order to avoid letting their children make the same mistakes.
    • "Choice." The word comes up all the time. That fate is only the predictable outcome of individual choices, and is only a trap when people refuse to change their behaviour. That taking someone's choice from them is something terrible. That sometimes you have to Take a Third Option. The concept of choices is central to every character's arc:
      • Kratos has to realize that when he kills in self-defense he still makes a choice and that choice has consequences. He chooses to be a better, more heroic person. He also recognizes that while he does not regret killing Baldur to save Freya, he took that choice from her.
      • Thor has to choose to become a better person and father and not let Odin order him around.
      • Freya has to accept that her choices led to Baldur's death but she can choose to move past that and form a new family with her friends.
      • Atreus and Odin both struggle with the idea of their supposed fate vs their choices. Odin ultimately cannot make the choice to change, which kills him.
      • Angrboða also has to learn that fate doesn't dictate her choices and that she can do more than what she's foreseen.
    • "Let go." It shows up quite a bit when characters are told that they need to move on from their flaws.
      • Kratos has to accept that Atreus is becoming independent and let him be his own person.
      • Atreus has to let go of his obsession with Loki and wanting to be a hero and recognize that Ragnarök doesn't concern just him but everyone; that and to forge his own path instead of following only the will of the Giants.
      • Freya starts out on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and must see how her desire to kill Kratos and Atreus affects not only herself, but those around her. On a smaller note, she learns to let go of any grievances she had toward her brother Freyr when she learns how sorry he was for what he said to her on her wedding day, which repairs their strained relationship.
      • Heimdall refuses to "let go" of the battle with Kratos, resenting being spared out of pity, leading directly to his death.
      • Sindri turns out to have brought Brok Back from the Dead after an accident in their forging of the Leviathan Axe killed him, even at the cost of ostracising the brothers from the dwarven community and the risk of Brok becoming Deader than Dead should he die again due to reviving him with an incomplete soul, making it clear how much he loved his brother and was unwilling to let him go. When Odin mortally wounds Brok, his last words are to forgive him for the act and tell him that he has to 'let it go'. Tragically, Sindri proves incapable of moving past his raw grief and despair in the lead-up to Ragnarök, pushing away everybody and lashing out at Atreus specifically, whom he blames in part for bringing the disguised Odin into their home. This ultimately forces both Kratos and Atreus to 'let go' of their past friendship with the heartbroken dwarf and allow him to grieve solitarily, even though they acknowledge that they used to be like family to him.
      • Odin can't let go of his obsession with control in the end, which ends up being his downfall.
    • The word "trust" pops up a lot as well. Not only does it focus on Kratos learning to trust his son, but everyone around him as well.
    • "Consequences" is also something that crops up frequently, referring to characters having to come to terms with their past mistakes and specifically their inability to make things truly right to better to balance them out, only trying to make amends as best they can, if even they can.
      • Early on, Atreus' grief over Fenrir's death caused him to unlock his shapeshifting abilities, transforming into a rampaging bear that tears its way through another bear and then an entire camp of raiders. When Kratos literally beats him back to his senses, it's discovered that the other bear was a mother with two cubs, whom without her protection will likely starve or freeze to death. Despite Atreus' regret, the cubs want none of his help, and Kratos can only solemly tell him he needs to accept the result of his emotional outburst and the pain it caused.
      • A side quest deals with Mimir's regret over the Lyngbakr, a beast he had once captured and imprisoned to gain Odin's attention and favour in his court, as its oil reserves could be used to light lanterns for Asgard's use. After his own imprisonment, Mimir is horrified to discover that the beast is still chained up in the area, with the Asgardians not having bothered to Mercy Kill it after its use ran out. Despite Kratos cutting it free at Mimir's pleading, the Lyngbakr has long since become used to its imprisonment, and does not swim away to freedom. Atreus tells Mimir that it at least appreciates being able to feel the wind on its face now it can move better, which is little comfort to Mimir, who desires to do more to help it, and has to be consoled by Kratos that they're already done all they can for it. In essence, not all wrongs can be made fully right, and sometimes the best that can be done is to make a situation better than one found it.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: Odin's ravens have a crow's call. The calls of these two bird genera are quite distinct and different.
  • Ascended Meme: In the previous game, the phrase "Don't be sorry, be better" was one of numerous lines of fatherly advice spoken or yelled by Kratos, and it held no special significance. However, since then, that line specifically became beloved, routinely appearing in lists of most impactful quotations, even outside the context of video games. In Ragnarok, Atreus repeats this piece of his father's advice back to him at one of the emotional climaxes, and it has the same impact felt by the fans, even becoming arc-words throughout the second half of the game.
  • Assist Character: Atreus once again serves as this for Kratos, however due to Atreus being Promoted to Playable several other characters take up this role for both characters at certain parts of the game. Brok and Freya (who ends up permanently replacing Atreus as Kratos’ main assist in the Playable Epilogue) for Kratos, and Sindri, Angrboda, Thor, Thrud, and Ingrid for Atreus. Though out of all of them, only Freya can be customized and has her own specific skill tree.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Freya's ability to transform into an eagle seems pretty awesome, especially when it turns out to be an effective way around Odin's spell binding her to Midgard. Except as Freya points out, she can't really do anything in her eagle form, besides sense magic and cast some minor dispels, which is problematic when she's coming to Vanaheim with the intention of destroying the binding spell. She does look cool as an eagle, though.
  • Back Stab: If you happen upon a group of enemies before they notice you, you might get a prompt to have Atreus fire a powerful arrow shot at one of your foes and do massive damage to them.
  • Badass Fingersnap: Unlike how Kratos uses Summon to Hand to recall the Leviathan Axe, Thor snaps his fingers to recall Mjolnir.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • Zigzagged. On the one hand, the never-ending cold of Fimbulwinter has steadily worn away both the structures around Midgard and the beneficial magic that Atreus and Kratos used beforehand, resulting in their signature weapons and accumulated armour having lost all the magical enhancements and abilities they made to them in the last game, as well as Kratos' health and Spartan Rage having been reduced from the harsh living and avoidance of sparking unnecessary conflicts in the years since then. However, Kratos' acceptance of the Blades of Chaos as a Necessary Evil has resulted in him hanging them openly in the house, and he equips them early on after fighting Thor, even using them to enhance his mobility around the environment in ways he couldn't in the previous game. Furthermore, when leaving their home after Thor and Odin's visit, Kratos loads up with all the tools and items they used to navigate the world beforehand, such as the magic chisel and the Yggdrasil key, and still uses the Bifrost key as a portable light source in dark areas despite realm travel having been locked down by Odin. So whilst their equipment might have lost several levels, Kratos quickly assembles most of the gear he had acquired by the end of the last game when setting out on their new journey. This is lampshaded by the Huldra Brothers, who wonder what happened to all the armor they had made in the previous game, to which Kratos answers "I used it". They ask him to at least keep the new stuff in good condition, to which he answers "I will not".
    • This is also somewhat the case for Freya, with a combination of Fimbulwinter wearing down the restrictive enchantments cast upon her and her own desire to take vengeance on Kratos driving her to learn more magic spells to enhance her combat abilities against him, thus effectivly having to re-learn her abilities as a warrior queen whilst being an enemy towards the heroes. This then gets played straighter when she agrees to a truce with them instead to break her remaining binding spells with Kratos' aid and then becomes his companion in Atreus' stead.
    • Brought up in regards to the powers Kratos had from his days in Greece, when he admits he can no longer call upon them. Freya speculates that it might be a side effect of Kratos destroying Greece.
  • Bait the Dog: When Kratos first meets Thor and Odin, the tension between them all is very high, but the two seem to be much more reasonable than the stories about them implied in the 2018 game. Odin even says he's willing to forgive and forget everything that Kratos has done against him in the name of peace. The rest of the game explores just how authentic this first impression of the two really is.
  • Balance Buff: A lot of the weaker or redundant Runic Attacks from the last game were incorporated into Kratos' basic moveset for his weapons. For example, the River of Knives attack was somewhat impractical as a once-a-combat ultra-move, but since you can use it at any time by holding the light attack button, it can be used whenever you feel like while having room for a more impactful ultra-move.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: You can bring Thor's HP to zero, but since the game has just barely started, he just laughs off the damage and flies away to prepare for another battle later on.
  • Bar Brawl: When Atreus and Thrud go find Thor getting drunk in one of the pubs and are struggling to get him to join in find the last mask piece, Thor carelessly throws his mug at one of the Einherjar's head. The Einherjar turns around, and sees Atreus just standing there, who immediately realizes that he's been mistaken as the culprit. Cue a bar bar bawl where Atreus and Thrud have to fight their way to get their weapons and Thor out.
  • Barbarian Hero: As seen in the page image above, Kratos leans more into this look here than in the first game due to adorning himself with furs to stave off the cold of Fimbulwinter. Of course, as his outfit is entirely customizable, he doesn't have to stay as one.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Like the last game, the final boss can surround themselves in red and blue shields that protect them from your blades or your axe respectively, forcing you to switch weapons to do damage. The most interesting part of this is which shield the boss pulls out first can be different each time you play.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Kratos. By the end of the story, he has finally stopped being a vengeful god-massacring Blood Knight who sows destruction wherever he treads and instead become a beloved hero and savior of the Nine Realms with real, actual friends instead of pragmatic allies who want him dead. This is most apparent in how the final showdown of Ragnarok is a direct opposite to the events of God of War III; in that game, Kratos kills the entire Greek pantheon(or at least the ones who matter the most to the natural order) just because he's mad at his father Zeus, who definitely is a huge dick, but whose death doesn't warrant the death and destruction of countless innocents, such as Poseidon's Princessnote . At Ragnarok, the only god Kratos deliberately kills is Odin, who is a Faux Affably Evil Manipulative Bastard who deserves every blow Kratos lands on him.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Kratos — a former military leader whose devotion to waging war caused him to lose himself to rage and slay his first wife and daughter — snaps "NO!" when a frustrated Atreus tells him to "stop thinking like a father and start thinking like a general".
    • Freya, exasperated by Kratos telling her how Vengeance Feels Empty, tells him to stop talking and that he's just there to kill stuff for her. Kratos, who has otherwise been patient with Freya and never really raises his voice, responds with seething anger that she should never again think she can tell him to kill. He will kill to protect himself & to help his friends, but he will not let anyone make him their monster again.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of the game, Odin is assaulted on all fronts by the combined efforts of Kratos, Atreus, Freya, and even Mimir. There's a whole sequence where each of them requires player input to give a satisfying beat-down. Except for Mimir, who just calls Odin the "All-Fucker".
  • Big Damn Reunion: After the huge and destructive argument they have through the second act, Atreus returns to his father, amidst the aftermath of a Hel-walker invasion. Putting aside all the resentment he had felt earlier, Atreus runs to embrace his father.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Much like the previous game, Icelandic language shows up at times and is sung by a choir in parts of the OST. Several characters only speak in Icelandic, such as the Maven and the Einherjar, the latter group also occasionally chatting between themselves before noticing the player.
    • The Light Elf Queen is called Alva, which, written as älva, means "elf" in Swedish, while Alv means "elf" in Norwegian.
    • The miniboss bear you fight early on which is actually a transformed Atreus is called "Björn", which is just Scandinavian for "bear".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Asgard has been destroyed and Odin is dead for real, freeing the remaining Realms from the All-Father's tyranny, and the remaining Aesir are now at peace with the Vanir and can start a new life in Vanaheim. Sif is leading the Aesir toward their reconciliation with the Realms, the real Tyr is discovered in Niflheim and freed, and Thrud takes up Mjolnir in memory of Thor before beginning her training to become a Valkyrie. But in the process, many lives were lost, including Thor, Brok and Freyr, Brok's death in particular has shattered Kratos and Atreus' friendship with Sindri, and he is in no mood to forgive Kratos, much less Atreus, any time soon. On a more personal level, Kratos has finally found personal redemption for all his deeds in Greece, moving on from his Dark and Troubled Past and discovering the possibility of a future where he is beloved, and is proud of how Atreus is maturing into a responsible man who could now go and fulfill his own path, but Atreus is heading outside of the Norse lands to find the surviving Giants, meaning it will be years before the family could be back together.
  • Blade Lock: An unusual variant during the first boss fight with Thor. He and Kratos hurl their respective weapons at each other, which collide and hang in the air struggling with each other whilst their wielders pull a brief Circling Monologue around the clashing weapons before both of them call them back to their hands.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Doesn't matter whether you're blocking dragon's breath or parrying lighting, no amount of force, heat, or electricity will get past your shield so long as its source didn't turn red right before dishing it out.
  • Blow You Away: Kratos' new weapon, the Draupnir Spear, incorporates this element, due to it being forged with the sound of the wind.
  • Blunt "No": Kratos' sincere "No" when answering a yes or no question supplies plenty funny moments in game.
    Mimir: Sigh...
    Kratos: What is it, Mimir?
    Mimir: Oh it's nothing, brother... just... you ever have those moments you where you wish you could... go back? Rewrite your own past, make different decisions?
    Kratos: Journeying through time is more trouble than it is worth.
    Mimir: Ah, fair point... (Beat) You're speaking metaphorically, right?
    Kratos: No.
    Mimir: 'Course you're not.
    • Played for Drama in his first scene with Odin: the All-Father offers him what would be considered the deal of a lifetime: calling off all hostilities and ignoring the deaths of Magni and Modi, among many other slights. Kratos refuses with this trope. He muses in the journal that it was specifically because the last offer was Odin settling Freya's grudge on Kratos, which he felt was profoundly unwise. Had Kratos accepted the deal, the entire plot of the game might not have happened, though considering Odin's paranoia and penchant for lying through his teeth, this much is debatable.
  • Bond One-Liner: Sindri has one after he smashes Odin's soul marble, erasing his soul from existence.
    "That's what comes next."
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Crater in Vanaheim. Doesn't unlock until near the end of the game and is completely optional. Despite this, it is about as large in size as any other given realm and is the primary zone to find Asgardian Ingots, which are rather rare everywhere else, as well as a special pool of water that gives you crystal materials needed to upgrade armor at the final tiers. It also has most of the other endgame materials you'll need to max out your gear. It is also full of a variety of extra boss fights against a variety of dragons (and a Berserker).
  • Book Ends:
    • The first game of the duology began with Kratos and Atreus building a funeral pyre for Faye, Kratos's late wife. The second game ends with Freya lighting Brok's funeral pyre.
    • Odin's tyranny began in the massive cavern he now uses as his personal study room, where he slayed Ymir and began his rule over the Realms proper. The final battle with him is in that place, and it ends with him dying in that exact same place.
    • In the beginning of the first game, Kratos tells Atreus that he's not ready to be a warrior. In the end of this one, before Atreus leaves to find the giants, Kratos tells him that he is ready.
  • Bookcase Passage: Sindri has a secret passageway behind the bookshelf of his house opened by moving some objects on it in a specific combination. It reveals a small elevator that the Huldra brothers use to access the Draupnir ring, which due to its multiplying properties, had to be stored in a pit below their house so they wouldn't be overwhelmed with its numerous copies.
  • Boom, Headshot!: One upgrade for Atreus cause him to do more damage if he shoots enemies in the head, and another lets him do even more damage if he does this multiple times in a row.
  • Boss Banter: Very interactive one, as several bosses in this game not just talk but some of them have a big variety of specific lines responding to your specific actions. Bosses will comment on your attacks, the use of special abilities, when you go in or out of your Spartan Rage or even when you don't do something (for example, Thor may call you a coward if you are not aggressive enough).
  • Boss-Only Level: Outside of a couple of short rooms with levers and gear puzzles, the entirety of Helheim is made up of the boss fight with Garm.
  • Boss Rush: One of the final Muspelheim challenges pits Kratos against half a dozen of the strongest mini-bosses in the game, one after the other.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Freya can get a new outfit and a powerful new runic attack if you beat Gná... who can't be fought before the Playable Epilogue and is the strongest enemy in the game (so the player may already have done everything else in preparation), meaning that outside the Muspelheim arenas and maybe the hidden labour bosses, there will be few targets to use the move on.
  • Break Meter: Hitting enemies in quick succession will fill up a big red meter until they're stunned and open to a deadly grab move. Once they're stunned, the enemy's meter will deplete over a couple of second until it resets to zero and the enemy returns to normal. Depending on how much health they have, Kratos will either do a large amount of damage, or perform a stylized execution if their health is low enough.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • One confined to a single realm: Alfheim. In the previous game, Kratos uses the blind attempts to help the Light Elves by fighting the Dark Elves as a lesson not to get involved in problems one does not understand. The issue is that in this game, the Light Elves are proven to be exploiting the lost souls of the realms to power their equipment out of addiction, while the Dark Elves want to avoid that due to seeing the Light of Alfheim as sacred. The abuse of the Light is also stated to be the reason for the ecological problems plaguing the realm, which were nowhere near as bad before the Light was used in this way (especially not when the realm was seen in the previous game). At worst, the Dark Elves accidentally imprison two Hafgufa, but that is more due to them getting caught in existing hive matter, with most of the conflict being simply a case of intruders coming to their strongholds. Despite all of this, the dialogue still treats the two sides as equally moral, and the conflict as an incomprehensible battle with no "right" side. This is slightly mitigated by a throwaway line in one of the codex entries about how the Light Elves were able to achieve heights of artistry and cultural expression through use of the Light, but still fails to make clear how the sides are in any way equal. Of course, Kratos also pointed out in the previous game that full context is important: the Dark Elves likely committed atrocities of their own during the war (not the game refers to any, of course).
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Similarly to the Valkyries in the previous game, the optional sidequest, "Fit for a King" involves seeking out and fighting Berserker Spirits, a group of powerful, crazed warriors who served a mad king, Hrólf Kraki. The king himself can only be fought in the Post-game.
    • By far the strongest and most challenging optional boss can also only be encountered in the post-game, Gná, the new Valkyrie Queen.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The "Heroism versus War" argument that Kratos and Atreus have is a running theme throughout the whole game. Atreus is correct that in times when you're confronted with an enemy that will never stop hunting you, war is a Necessary Evil in order to survive. What Kratos tries to make him understand is that War Is Hell that threatens not only the participants, but the innocents caught in the crossfire; to win a war means to close your heart to that external suffering so that it doesn't distract you, and that sort of living war machine is exactly what Kratos doesn't want Atreus to become. In the end, the battle for Asgard proves them both wrong. Atreus finally sees what he's stepped into when he learns Odin put innocent civilians in his path solely to die and break his spirit. But fortunately Kratos has realized his own errors and urges Atreus not to blind himself to their suffering, to let him understand that they're fighting to prevent any more tragedies like this, seeking justice for the fallen rather than vengeance. Their mutual understanding marks the point where they finally become the heroes they've been trying to be.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Mimir said at the end of the last game that the Huldra brothers were measuring him for some sort of project they had in mind. After beating this game, you learn what that project was: a Relic that lets the player shoot a Bifrost laser beam from Mimir's face.
    • When Mimir absorbed the light of the Bifrost in his eyes to open the passage to Jötunheim in the first game, he says it's unpleasant. When Brok and Sindri forcefully shine a lot more light in Mimir's eyes to build a new Bifrost, Mimir cries that it's still unpleasant.
    • Shortly after the fight with Thor, Atreus tells Kratos that Odin left a Aesir coin behind in compensation for the hole in the roof cause by Thor knocking him across Midgard. Kratos angrily tosses the coin into the horizon. In the post game, you can actually find said coin now embedded in a rock in the Lake of the Nine, with Skjöldr unsuccesfully trying to pry it out.
    • Played for Drama regarding Brok's riddle: "What gets bigger the more you take away from it?" Brok teases Mimir, the smartest man alive, that he can't figure it out for the whole game. Mimir only figures it out at Brok's funeral: it's a hole.
  • Building Swing: Kratos can now use the Blades of Chaos to swing on certain grapple points and send himself flying across battlefields and mountain chasms with incredible speed.
  • Bullet Time: Many items in the game (generally those with "Nine Realms" in their name) let you activate a Realm Shift that causes time for everyone besides you to move a slowly as molasses. Which will make it quite a shock when you start moving like a turtle as Heimdall uses Realm Shifts against you in his fight.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Subverted. The deaths of Magni, Modi and Baldur at the father-son duo's hands and Kratos' past reputation as the Ghost of Sparta make it clear to both Odin and Thor that he's not somebody to take lightly, and despite the blood debts owed to the Asgardians by the death of their kin, Odin is aware pursuing their grudge with Kratos runs the risk of proving more costly than it's worth. Accordingly, both he and Thor ask for a cordial sit-down and peace talk with father and son when they find their home, offering gifts of mead and making it clear that despite the bad blood between them, they'll overlook their kin's passing and leave Kratos and Atreus to live peacefully in the woods so long as Atreus ceases his searching into Tyr's whereabouts behind Kratos' back. Despite the offer, Kratos refuses to accept Odin's deal because it's still effectively strong-arming them into compliance, but it is noticeable that Odin goes out of his way to avert the brewing conflict with the greek god as much as he can.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the first quest of the first game, Atreus had to hunt and kill a deer, a task he could not accomplish without his father's cold and constant guidance. Near the end of this game, the quest is repeated almost beat for beat, with much the same dialogue — only now it's Atreus leading the party with cold guidance, as he tries to process Odin's deception and Brok's death.
    • The reveal of Thor from Atreus' vision at the end of the previous game is repeated in the early game... only this time Atreus is a teenager instead of a child.
    • After getting the codex entry of the Lyngbakr, Kratos will note in the Codex that Mimir's past callous actions reminds him of the boat captain, who he now feels regret for being needlessly cruel to him.
    • Many of Kratos's best quotes from God of War 4 are echoed in this game by Atreus. These include the surprisingly impactful "Don't be sorry, Be better", and even his opening line from the demo of "In the direction of deer".
    • A call back to the previous game's Creative Closing Credits; this game also rolls credits as Kratos walks back down a mountain after the climax.
  • Canis Major: Four examples of giant wolves show up: Fenrir, Skoll, Hati, and Garmr.
  • Canon Welding: In an aside conversation between Kratos and Mimir, the latter makes explicit mention to the events of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as canon to Kratos' story, something that Kratos would rather not bring thought to as Mimir insists on prying him. Somehow... note 
  • Cartesian Karma: Most of the Aesir have come to see Kratos and Atreus/"Loki" as enemies for murdering their kin (Baldur, Magni, Móði and Heimdall) when it was all done in self-defense, all of them having been sent by Odin to preemptively snuff out what he saw was a threat to his power. On some level they know that Odin is to blame for all of it, but they are unable to go after him directly for being their pantheon's patriarch, while Atreus is a giant and therefor their sworn enemy.
  • Central Theme:
    • Healing the past through hope, acceptance, responsibility and forgiveness; Even the seemingly uneding snows Fimbulwinter eventually melts into the spring of a new age for the inhabitants of the Nine Realms, coinciding Freya's forgiveness of Kratos and Kratos forgiving himself through finally accepting and moving on from their past mistakes. Special note goes to Kratos, who, by the end game, has resolved not only to be a better husband and father, but a better god too. And though the friendship between Sindri and Atreus may have ended on a bitter note with the death of Brok, there are some subtle clues that maybe one day, that the dwarf smith may forgive Atreus too.
    • Freedom, and, although more unexpectedly, the consequences of such. Throughout the story, there are numerous individuals kept prisoner by some form or another and who end up being freed; Freya via the World Tree roots, Garm via a massive chain, Tyr in a mine and even the side-quest centred Lyngbakr. Practically all these liberations have a downside to them, although how negative they are varies. Freya makes it clear there will always be a part of her that resents Kratos for killing her son, with Kratos himself weary that she will turn on him even after he helps her gain her freedom. Atreus setting Garm free results in dangerous Realm Tears releasing Hel-Walkers, putting the Realms at risk. The Lyngbakr has become too accustomed to its chains to ever be truly free again. And Tyr turns out to be Odin in disguise, using illusions to infiltrate the ranks of his foes and keep tabs on them and their own secrets, eventually leading to Brok's death. There's also metaphorical and philosophical freedom at play; Atreus is attempting to branch away from Kratos to uncover the secrets of his prophecy and the Norse Gods believe that fate binds them to their actions and their inevitable ends at Ragnarok. At the end of these, it's revealed that pre-determined fate isn't real and is only based on one's actions, allowing them to break prophecy itself. And Atreus and Kratos come to an understanding; Kratos accepts his son will, and does, go on his own path from his father's guidance, but it is because of that guidance he's ready to begin with, thanks to the lessons imparted on him.
  • Cerebus Call-Back: A rather sad one. Brok asks Mimir a riddle: what grows bigger the more you take away from it. Mimir, for the life of him, cannot figure it out and becomes increasingly angry about Brok being able to outwit him. At Brok's funeral, the answer finally comes to Mimir after Sindri bitterly walks away: a hole.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • The stories of Thor's savagery and debauchery in the first game, while treated as terrible, were amusing from a certain perspective for how outlandish they could be. This game finally features Thor in the flesh, and he's revealed to be a wretched, depressed, battle-weary shell of a man; his temper, alcoholism and carousing only hurt his relationship with his remaining children, and he believes himself incapable of being anything more than his father's attack dog because he's been emotionally abused all his life.
    • Mimir is berated for not just his past deeds in the Nine Realms, but his days as a Goodfellow, when he did Oberon's will by humiliating the proud and haughty Queen Titania. While the play treated her falling in love with Nick Bottom as light comedy, Mimir is shown to secretly harbor guilt, as it was another time where, as with Odin, he took the side of a powerful and cruel man and ignored the suffering it caused.
    • Killing Odin's Raven spies was little more than a diversion in the first game. This game, you discover the horrifying truth of what the ravens are: children sacrificed by their parents in the name of Odin so he could pull them out and be told what the afterlife was like. He remade them into raven spies. Kratos, Mimir and Freya are understandably shocked to find this out.
  • Cessation of Existence:
    • Souls that aren't whole upon the body's death don't go to Hel, Valhalla, Alfheim, or any other afterlife—they simply cease to exist. Brok's soul is missing a piece, since he already died once and Sindri went on a mostly-successful quest to Alfheim to get his soul back. When Odin stabs him, his soul is gone permanently.
    • Odin, being creator of the nine realms, doesn't know what would happen to him after death, and the thought of this being his fate utterly terrifies him. His endless pursuit of knowledge is ultimately driven by his desire to avert this. When he dies, Atreus puts his soul into a marble, which Sindri immediately grabs and smashes with a hammer, fittingly condemning Odin to the same fate he gave Brok.
  • Character Development: Kratos undergoes probably the most massive shift in characterization in the entire series throughout the game. This change is set in motion when the Norns tell him there is no such thing as predestination—only consequences predictable to their actions. It ultimately has Kratos apologize earnestly to Atreus, especially after given an Ironic Echo of his own Arc Words aimed at him. Afterwards, Kratos begins shifting from being a Pragmatic Hero at best to an Ideal Hero by end; even going as far as not only to try and spare Thor (before Odin kills him anyway for refusing to do what he's told), but actively goes out of his way to save innocent lives during Ragnarök and even asks Freya and Mimir to help him rebuild Midgard and the other realms after seeing the prophecy Faye left behind of him becoming a Hope Bringer.
  • Charged Attack: A new mechanic to this game is the unique weapon ability, wherein you hold the triangle button for a few seconds and cause your weapon to do massive elemental damage with its next attack.
  • Chekhov's Gag: When Brok cooks everybody a meal after Atreus returns from unsuccessfully trying to get Freya to settle her grudge with Kratos, Tyr expresses dissatisfaction with the meal and offers to take over the cooking responsibilities from then on, leading to Brok becoming put out from his critique of his cooking. Tyr later admits that he finds cooking to be an immensely soothing task that helps settle his mind after his long imprisonment. This is actually Odin's Control Freak nature rearing its head over something as trivial as dinner, and it's implied that Brok's suspicions of him started from his odd insistence of taking over control of their meals, which continued to grow as 'Tyr's' odd behaviour continued.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The optional Jotnar shrines from the last game that were originally little more than opportunities to learn more about the lore of the world are revealed in this game to be this, as Atreus' giant heritage means touching the central picture exposes a hidden doorway to a pocket dimension, that contains holographic illustrations that outline the 'true' prophecies and events as they are truly meant to occur, most noticeably Groa's mural in Alfheim reveal that the nature of Ragnarök is totally different to what she told Odin before he killed her, leading him to base all his plans around an incorrect prophecy and giving the heroes an advantage in the coming Ragnarök. The shrines also contain odd marbles in them, that Atreus eventually discovered are meant to hold the souls of the Giants, having chosen to forgo their mortal bodies rather than be hunted to extinction by Odin, and one day live on after his tyranny has come to pass.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Weak enemies like low-level Raiders will be killed instantly by stun grab finishers since they mostly involved Kratos practicing bisection or decapitation with his weapon of choice. Stronger enemies hit with a stun grab will live if they high enough health when grabbed, resulting in a modified animation where Kratos doesn't quite cleave through their whole body.
  • Collection Sidequest:
    • There are artifacts for Kratos find and sell throughout the Nine Realms. Each set generally has some lore or amusing flavor text attached to them.
    • You'll eventually find Kratos deciding to find one flower associated with each of the Nine Realms, requiring you to scour eight of them looking for the one (or two) flower in the sea of zombies, hacksilver, and crazed Odin worshippers.
  • Coming of Age Story: A major aspect of the story is Atreus becoming a man, and the struggle between him and Kratos as they learn how to navigate this new dynamic.
  • Composite Character: Played With Fenrir and Garm. They still are separate entities like in the myths, but Fenrir is a normal wolf whose soul gets transfered to Garm's body after Atreus notices that the latter didn't have one of his own, effectively turning Garm into Fenrir. This is a nod to the real-life theories that Garmr and Fenrir could've been the same being at one point.
    • Carrying over from the previous game, Freya and Frigg are the same goddess, which might have been true in the mythology at one point in history. Freya hates the nickname, which Odin uses to press her Berserk Button a few times, including the climax.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The image of Atreus stepping into the cave, shrouded in shadows before being illuminated by the light of a fire, is similar to a scene not just from the first game, but from the first set of trailers, where it was Kratos stepping out of the shadows.
    • Several of the executions Kratos can perform with the Leviathan Axe match the effects of Executioner's Cleave, an early game skill from Godof War 2018.
    • Brok mentions in an optional bit of dialogue that the dwarves call Svartalfheim Nidavellir, a fact established in one of Mimir's optional stories from the first game.
    • Tyr looming over Kratos is framed with the same angles used when Hercules confronted Kratos in God of War III.
    • Kratos is much more open about his past in Greece, so there are far more nods to events of the first trilogy and its spin-offs.
      • Kratos makes mention of his battle with Medusa and other gorgons in a talk about monsters he and others have faced.
      • Kratos relates to the story of Freya and Freyr's familial troubles with his own troubles with his brother Deimos.
      • Mimir muses about travelling back in time to fix his mistakes, but Kratos nonchalantly dismisses the idea due to his experiences with time travel in God of War II. This same event comes up later in a talk about the Norns, when Kratos explains the Fates also could control time and he killed them to gain that power.
      • Upon seeing a horse by the water, Kratos makes mention of how he fought a hippocamp with Poseidon atop it in God of War III.
    • A rather uniquely hilarious example involves Mimir mentioning having heard of Kratos fighting in a tournament against "beasts, scoundrels, princesses, the undead, automatons, and... history's greatest musician." This is a reference to PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale of all things, and Kratos firmly states he will not speak of it.
  • Continuity Snarl: Kratos claims he witnessed the Trojan War, but also claims he wanted to die alongside the Spartans at the Hot Gates so he could share in their glory. Kratos did not become aware of his heritage as a demi-god until the game Ghost of Sparta, note  so if he had lived for centuries as a Spartan warrior he would have realized he had a divine nature long before he called upon Ares to give him the Blades of Chaos. And while Kratos could have served centuries as the God of War before Zeus grew tired of him, claiming that he would have liked to die with the 300 Spartans is nonsense, because nothing the Persians could muster would be a danger to him. The two events would need to be much closer together in God of War's timeline for Kratos to not realize he's a demi-god before the events of the main games. Of course, Kratos could have wished he had died in this glorious battle to serve his Spartan homeland with honor and pride, but being a god he wouldn't have been able to, hence his anguish at the time.
  • Corralling Vacuum: The Whisper of the World Runic Attack causes Kratos to pull in all enemies within ten or so feet before hitting them with a close-range area attack that sends them flying back and fills up their stun meter.
  • Consummate Liar: At one point, Atreus asks Mimir why Odin would even bother lying about things — like how he lost his eye — when he would have absolutely no reason to. Mimir responds, "One thing to remember about liars, lad — they lie. They do it on principle. No issue too big or too small. They lie about anything they can get away with, and some things that they can't, just to demonstrate their power over reality. You must always bear that in mind."
  • Creator Cameo: Composer Bear McCreary is the Ink-Suit Actor for the dwarf Raeb playing the hurdy-gurdy in the tavern during the mainquest, easily hinted at by his Sdrawkcab Name.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Freya notices that Atreus still has the mistletoe arrowhead he used to render Baldur vulnerable, and now wears it around his neck. It's pointed out by both himself and Sindri beforehand that it's a risky move to have it on him when he's going to her to try and ask for her aid with Ragnarök, and might possibly trigger her fury, but Atreus defends him keeping it as a perpetual reminder that he should 'be better'.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Players will be happy to see Kratos off-handedly kill one of last game's mini-bosses with just a few swings from his axe, but if you find the rematches hidden in the game, you'll be disappointed to see your in-game attacks don't do nearly as much damage.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: It's mentioned that Kratos and Atreus canonically defeated Sigrun and all the Valkyries and completed the trials of Muspelheim. A major plot point is that they uncovered the otherwise-optional giant shrines around the realms as well, with Atreus discovering his giant heritage enables him to access a secret doorway in the centre of the shrine that contains the actual stories it depicts, including how Groa lied to Odin about what Ragnarök would entail. In general, dialogue and characters act as if the duo went for 100% Completion in their last adventure — and if the player never did, then presumably sometime during the three-year Time Skip.

  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: Hex arrows cause enemies to explode when hit with elemental damage. An accessory can make hexed enemies take additional damage from any type of damage Kratos applies to them.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • The game switched around how to activate several moves with the Blades of Chaos. For example, spinning the blades to charge them up now no longer is used by pressing the heavy attack button while aiming, you now have to press the button mapped to each weapon's new signature ability.
    • Now that every weapon (except unarmed) has a triangle function, pressing triangle isn't enough to call your axe to you if you have the Blades of Chaos or Draupnir Spear out. If in the previous game you used Triangle to swap from the blades to the axe, you are in for a bit of an adjustment period.
    • As well, the buttons for tabbing over to different categories isn't L1/R1 like in every other video game, but L2/R2. This can take a very long time to get used to.
    • The game moved Kratos' quick turn from double tap on the down D-pad button to L1 + down D-pad. This can cause player frustration as pressing the button on its own is only used to bring out the Draupnir spear (after obtained it in the story).
    • The removal of the hand-to-hand tree means Kratos can no longer pull off several moves that were unlockable in the last game, like the forward evade punch.
    • The previous game switched between each weapon by tapping a direction on the D-Pad. The sequel can be played this way, but its default scheme is to use left and right to draw the Blades and Axe and down to sheathe them. Around about the time you've gotten used to this control scheme, you'll unlock Draupnir which replaces the D-Pad down.
  • Death by Irony:
    • Odin (ironically and sarcastically) tells Atreus to "be nice to [Thor], see where it gets you", because Odin thinks abuse is the only thing Thor understands. Atreus manages to partially win over Thor by being nice, and Kratos gets through to Thor by being merciful and compassionate. This makes Thor rebel against Odin. And Odin immediately murders him.
    • Odin is such a Consumate Liar he even convinces himself. His Tyr disguise fails when he can't talk smooth enough, which forces him to murder Brok. When the good guysnote  subdue Odin, he honestly says he'll never stop trying to get what he wants. So Atreus reluctantly neutralizes Odin. And then Sindri destroys the ball, to avenge Brok. The powerful liar and manipulator who was obsessed with knowledge died because of an secret ability he didn't know about, and simple brute forcenote  from a non-combatant who had deceived himnote  and been deceived by him, from a race Odin thought he had under control. And because of all this, Odin ends up in the non-Afterlife he feared more than anything.
  • Decomposite Character: "Hel" is known in this game as the title for the ruler of Helheim, rather than an individual person. Ah the time of the game, the position is occupied by the female Hræsvelgr, and it's stated clearly she's neither the first Hel nor will be the last.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Of destiny, including deconstructing You Can't Fight Fate and Screw Destiny at the same time. There is no such thing as a "destiny" that a person will inexorably fulfill in their lifetime. But all choices have consequences, and one with sufficient knowledge and foresight can understand how those things ripple into the future and cause events to happen further down the line. This also means that it's possible to have visions of the future, but they may not always necessarily come to pass in the way expected, if they come true at all. The only reason it seems like destiny is a real thing is because most people let visions and prophecies define who they are by going along with destiny or trying to defy it. Regardless of which they choose, living in this manner tends to cause that destiny to come true. In other words, destiny is only real insomuch that characters are predictable when you know their personalities and histories, so you can see how their path will progress if you piece the steps out logically. But nobody is forced to walk on any one path. In the end, it comes down to personal responsibility — one is responsible for their own choices and the consequences that arise from them, and it is on them to make the effort to change their ways and shape their own future.
    • Freya can be seen as a deconstruction of a Non-Player Companion joining the protagonist's journey à la Fire Emblem, in this case after the credits roll. After losing most of her relatives and Midgard being in dire need of rebuilding, her best choice is to travel with Kratos and Mimir until all the realms have healed.
    • Of Immortals Fear Death; throughout the God of War series, gods croak left and right at the hands of Kratos, yet there's every any indication of just what happens to them after they die. Athena and Zeus come back as ethereal spirits but those are clearly special cases only discernible by speculation. At most, it appears there's a Cessation of Existence. This lack of concrete knowledge on if there even is a godly afterlife has driven Odin half-mad with inquiry, as he's devoted both his and other's time to finding answers, with incredibly destructive results for the rest of the Nine Realms. Ultimately, the storyline explains how paradoxically maddening it is for beings far above mortals to be even more fearful of death than they are because they simply don't know what happens next.
  • Death or Glory Attack: The Dauntless Shield's perk lets Kratos do a special shield bash after parrying a blow, at the cost of giving you less defense than the Stone Wall Shield and forcing you to rely on go for a risky parry rather than a block.
  • Death Mountain: The Forge is a mountain area Kratos has to ascend up while blowing up boulders, jumping over deep chasms, and fixing up lifts to take him higher than his feet can take him.
  • Defeat Means Friendship / Defeat Means Playable: Played with with the game's first boss, who returns late in the game to help against another boss, and is even briefly controllable towards the very end of the game. Of course, also played straight, seeing as the boss is a transformed, out-of-control Atreus...
  • Degraded Boss: The Stalkers are lethal centaurs who serve as the game's brutal third boss, giving Kratos enough of a beating to break his shield. After you've leveled up a ton, you can find one or two of them in sidequests without a boss healthbar.
  • Developer's Foresight: The developers seem to have predicted a staggering amount of player choices:
    • The side quests and some chests feature different lines of dialogue depending on the player's decision to complete them before Ragnarok with Atreus or after (or during Atreus's abscence) with Freya. This can be more than just small incidental dialogue, as many sidequests have entire conversation arcs; an example would be the first quest to free a hafgufa, where Atreus spends most of the quest trying to figure out why Kratos is so interested in finding the injured animal Atreus heard, or the second quest to free a hafgufa which Freya spends comparing the hafgufa's role in creating life to her own failures with Baldur. Both quests line up with being done with one companion, but can definitely be done with the other with unique dialogue.
    • Completing puzzles or tutorials before the character explaining them can finish often nets you unique dialogue usually along the lines of complimenting you as a fast learner or asking if you've done this before.
    • On multiple occasions, characters will lampshade it if you go off the beaten path in search of loot or just to explore, such as Tyr being confused the first time Kratos wanders off to open a chest and Atreus having to explain that it's just something Kratos does for some reason.
    • Ratatoskr will get progressively more annoyed if you keep hitting the chimes to summon him repeatedly without actually talking to him. Conversely, if you try and use the chimes as Atreus on one of the rare occasions such a thing is even possible, it doesn't work and Ratatoskr mockingly explains that Atreus isn't physically strong enough.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: Kratos and Mimir have new lines of dialogue whenever they enter a new area, go to a place relevant to a sidequest, spend some time in the same place, travel by boat or sled for a bit, or get hit in combat. Notably, those two will also have different lines of dialogue depending on which Non-Player Companion is with you when you visit an area.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Some characters have their deaths happen in a different manner and context from Norse myths, which ties with the way the story leads with the nature of fate:
    • Heimdall and Loki kill each other during Ragnarök in the Eddas, whereas in the game he ends up getting killed by Kratos, who was told by the Norns of his desire to kill this version of Loki, Atreus.
    • Thor dies after killing Jörmungandr and being poisoned by the venom of the serpent, giving nine steps before falling. In the game, Thor survives his fight against the World Serpent during Ragnarök, but is killed by Odin for disobeying him.
    • Odin is foretold to be devoured by Fenrir in the Eddas, which was one the reasons why the wolf was chained by the Aesir. In here, Odin dies after Atreus seals his soul into a marble that is then destroyed by a vengeful and grief-stricken Sindri. In fact, Odin and Fenrir never once cross paths, and the former doesn't seem particularly concerned with the giant wolf during Ragnarök.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The giantess Grýla, unable to cope with the pain and loneliness of her life, has turned to continually drinking souls out of her magical cauldron to escape her feelings and cope with her despair, which has dramatically impacted her mental health and personality to the point of reacting violently to her only remaining family when it is taken away from her. Thor is played more straight; his drinking is portrayed as out of control and directly tied to his depression, and something that traumatises his family, with dialogue from his daughter implying he has tried to quit in the past and has fallen off the wagon during the events of the game.
    • The Light Elves of Alfheim are revealed to be exploiting the light for their own gain while the Dark Elves try to return it to its natural state. It plays out very similarly to a fossil fuel metaphor, complete with ecoterrorists.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The big bear you fight early on is simply called "Björn" by the game, which means "bear" in the Scandinavian languages.
  • Downer Beginning: Like in the previous game, the story begins in a relatively somber and melancholic note; Kratos and Atreus' bond is as strong as ever, but Midgard has been covered in seemingly endless snow and blizzards as a constant reminder of Ragnarök's proximity. Freya, the friend who once bonded with the father and son, attacks the duo on their way home and almost kills Kratos in her quest for revenge, something implied to have happened several other times before since the start of the Fimbulwinter. Atreus and Kratos have conflicting opinions on how to deal with Faye's prophecies and the inevitability of Odin's revenge for his kin, and Atreus' pet wolf Fenrir dies in his arms, with the grief making Atreus lose control of his powers and eventually kill a mother bear, which leaves her children unprotected. It's around when Brok and Sindri reappear and Kratos, Atreus and Mimir go to Sindri's house that the story starts to get much more humorous and light-hearted.
  • Draw Aggro: One upgrade for Atreus causes enemies to get distracted by him more often and attack him instead of you.
  • Dream Land: When the Aesir slayed Ymir and turned his body into Midgard, they were incapable of transforming one aspect — his dreams, which created a dreamscape of shifting yellow sands called Utangard. Giants can use Utangard to hide secrets and instantly transport themselves across the realms by dreaming, but they can also be affected and be trapped by their own fears and nightmares, such as when Atreus saw visions of when he became arrogant and murdered Modi years prior and only woke up thanks to Angrboða's wolves.
  • Dream Sequence: Throughout the story, Kratos has several dreams remembering his time with Faye relating to his current internal conflicts, such as not considering a problem his responsibility until it knocks the front door and how distant his relationship with Atreus was until after Faye's death; they are revealed to not be just dreams, but signs of Faye's spirit communicating with him, as Kratos feels they are "more than memory". Atreus also has a sequence in Utangard where he sees visions of when his younger self acted arrogantly and cruelly after discovering he was a god in the previous game.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: A symbolic variant. After Fenrir dies in the beginning, sparking an argument between Kratos and Atreus over hiding in their woods vs finding out what purpose Atreus has as Loki, Kratos goes to sleep and has a flashback dream of him and Faye hunting a rabid wolf that made its way inside their protection stave and killed two deer, with Faye reprimanding Kratos for ignoring the beast during an earlier encounter until it made its way into their home and made itself a problem for them to handle. Faye argues that they should take action to limit the damage of a crazed beast if they have the power to do so, even if it's about a situation they have no personal involvement in. Though in context it comes off as Faye's spirit trying to motivate Kratos to action before it's too late, the dream has bearing on the climax of the game. Odin, willing to commit any action necessary to acquire the key to infinite knowledge, is analogous to the rabid wolf, a danger to all who must be stopped regardless of the cost. The deer represents both Brok and Thor, whom he personally kills when they defy him. After Atreus rips Odin's soul out like he accidentally did to Fenrir before, the framing of the scene made the parallels clearer. The rabid wolf also foreshadows the themes of change and betterment, as while Kratos points out that predators naturally kill in indifference to the dead deer, Faye responds his words are misguided, as the wolf is revealed to be sick and causing unnecessary harm; Thor believed the same as Kratos, saying how they are both "destroyers" beyond redemption and it's in their nature to be monsters, with Kratos convincing him of the contrary being what makes Thor step down from their fight.
  • Drop the Hammer: Thor's legendary hammer Mjölnir, of course. Because of Thor's own massive size, the hammer itself is correspondingly big, covering the width of Kratos' chest during his brawl with Thor. It's capable of being recalled to Thor's hands once thrown just like the Leviathan Axe does for Kratos, as demonstrated by an unusual Blade Lock between the two competing elementally-charged weapons in mid-air.
  • Dual Boss:
    • The end of the quest to Freya's wedding site ends with a couple of dreki emerging from the water and ambushing Kratos and co. This probably has some significance related to the monstrous matrimony of Odin and Freya.
    • One of the last boss fights emphasizes the bond between Kratos and Atreus by pitting them against a similarly fearsome pair. In this case, two of Odin's new Valkyries jump the pair simultaneously. They comment on how impossible it seems to beat two of last games Brutal Bonus Bosses at once, but in the end, they each finish off a Valkyrie with their own simultaneous finishing move.
    • Several of the berserker bonus bosses are fought in pairs.
  • Duel Boss:
    • Much like Baldur in the first game, Thor attacks Kratos in his home and they engage in an epic duel with no allies getting in the way of their godly rage. This sets up their rivalry and a similar one-on-one battle later in the game.
    • After his mount is dispatched, the player battles Heimdall without an NPC to pincushion him with arrows.
  • Dungeon Crawling: The Applecore is a pretty classic dungeon which sees Kratos and Atreus delve deeper and deeper into an abandoned mine filled with wandering enemies, loads of treasure, and plenty of puzzles.
  • Early Game Hell: On harder difficulties, prepare to die a lot before you get a revival stone and ability to collect Nornir chest upgrades. To rub salt on the wound, at one point you can't even block!
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After decades of the series running and two entirely different eras of him being a Cosmic Plaything, Kratos finally not only redeems himself for all of his past failures by the end of the game but is promised a hopeful future he never considered once as becoming the Hope Bringer much like Tyr had been as he rebuilds Midgard in the wake of Ragnarök, not to mention he is happy to see Atreus having matured into a responsible man looking to fulfill his own destiny, telling him he's ready to go out on his own.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The game is centered around Ragnarök, the apocalypse of Norse Mythology, and Atreus' attempts to stop it.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: Little yellow arrows around Kratos' body will point to off-screen enemies and the same arrows will turn red if they're about to attack you.
  • Enemy Summoner: One of the game's new enemies are Wraiths, powerful ghosts who can summon lesser spirits like will-o-wisps if left uninterrupted.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first time Kratos and Atreus meet Thor and Odin in person. Thor makes his entrance with a fierce lightning storm, brandishes Mjolnir in response to Kratos asking his name, then asks to come in and offers some mead. As he enters the two are obviously sizing each other up, but Thor offers a half-hearted compliment on Kratos' home, is the first to put his weapon on the table, and is mildly annoyed that Kratos indirectly caused him to "waste" some of the mead by pouring a cup for Atreus. Then Odin knocks on the door, walks in without asking, and offers Kratos peace, while drinking the mead Thor poured for both of them and casually insulting Thor's sons. Thor is a man of few words who is blunt and forthright, likes his drink, and is not without his own sense of honor, while Odin is entitled, condescending, and presents a reasonable demeanor that is undercut by his careless words and selfish behavior. The scene also demonstrates their relationship — Thor is sent in first to intimidate Kratos and size him up, then Odin shows up once the situation is stable and does all the talking. Later on, the contrast between Thor's initial respect of Kratos' hospitality and Odin's disregard of it is fully realized when Thor makes a Heel–Face Turn that is negated by Odin killing him.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The title screen features Kratos sitting in a cave and seemlessly transitions into the first scene of the game. Once you've played through that, the title screen shows the empty cave for the rest of the game.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: During his visit to Asgard, Atreus would happen upon a conversation behind closed doors and would take a moment to overhear what's being discussed.
  • Exact Words: In order to leave Ironwood and return to Sindri's house through Ymir's dreamscape, Atreus concentrates to think about home, but this ends up taking him back to his old cabin in Midgard instead.
  • Exposition Fairy: Mimir serves as the player's guide to the main villain, his history, and all things Ragnarök from the second you're off your sled in this game. He'll continue to keep you updated on the history of the enemies you face and the places you visit as needed, as well as warning you off enemies approaching from behind, status effects hurting, and times when your health gets real low.
  • The Fair Folk: Unusually for a game set in Norse mythology, a handful of beings from Celtic mythology pop up:
    • The Norns have a pet Kelpie, which appears as a black horse before plunging into the water and taking on a pale aquatic form with a mane and tail made of seaweed. According to Mimir, their reputation for drowning anyone who gets on their back has been overstated.
    • The Lady of the Forge is a fay mermaid — or merrow, with Mimir saying he once knew one named Nimue who had a talent for making powerful divine swords and big dreams of what she'd do with them — a reference to Arthurian Legend.
    • While it was heavily implied in the first game (and if you knew your Celtic lore you could figure it out), it was never outright said that Mimir was a fae. In this game, we get a hard confirmation with The Norns' taunting to Him, Kratos and Freya, they explicitly refer to him as Robin of the Goodfellows and Puck.
  • Fetch Quest: The quests Ratatoskr gives are all about collecting lost creatures. throughout the realms for him. You'll first collect a bunch of "lyndwyrms" trapped in wormholes and then wrangle up the "Stags of the Season" lost in Vanaheim.
  • Final-Exam Boss:
    • Following in the footsteps of Sigrun the Valkyrie Queen, the final boss of the "Fit For a King" questline is King Hrolf Kraki, who incorporates moves from every single other Berserker boss in the game, meaning you'll have to remember them all to beat him.
    • Subverted with the actual Valkyrie Queen, Gna, who fights very similar to Sigrun but with the disadvantage that the game has not been preparing you for her moveset the whole time, meaning she's a lot more difficult than normal.
  • Fission Mailed: Mid-way through the second round of their fight around Tyr's temple, Thor overpowers Kratos and smacks him to the ground, draining all of his health and bringing up the game over loading screen. Before the player can do anything though, Thor's voice cuts them off, demanding that Kratos get back up and continue the fight, before reviving him with Mjölnir just to continue the battle until he's satisfied, driving home how outclassed Kratos is against the strongest of the Aesir. The only hint you get that it's not the end of the fight is that there are no tips on how to improve as usual.
    Thor: Oh, no... I say when we're done!
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Right after Atreus brings the deer he hunted to his father, Kratos tells him they should return home because the storm would get worse, and after Atreus fixes the protection stave, a thunder can be heard as Mimir notices that the storm was getting near. Indeed, minutes after they get home, the god of thunder in person appears in the front door.
    • After Atreus returns with Odin's completed mask, Tyr immediately tells everyone that he knows of a way into Asgard and refers to Atreus as 'Loki', something that Brok instantly questions him about... moments before he's stabbed by Odin masquerading as Tyr.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • The Berserker Hvítserkr The Bold fights primarily by siccing seiðr minions on Kratos while avoiding the god-killer. Even his direct attacks involve creating minions and blowing them up, rather than just conjuring explosions and flames like other berserkers. The more seiðr you kill, the more you summon, so you got to find a way to weave through enemy attacks and focus on the big guy.
    • Ash Tyrant is a repeat of the Crimson Dread fight except the Tyrant will ocassionally disengage from the fight and send minions after Kratos. It will settle down on one of the pillars nearby to spit fire at you and once you dispatch of the minions, you'll be able to blow each the pillar and fight the Ash Tyrant directly again.
  • Foil: All the 'parents' shown in this game have dramatically different parenting styles and personalities:
    • Kratos started as an aloof, overly-stern father who wanted nothing more than shut his own son in his house to 'protect' him—or, at least, where Kratos considered 'safe'. He's grown much from this aspect from the previous game, but traces of it remains. Now, while he's more mellow and understanding, his protectiveness of Atreus pushes him back to his old The Unfettered self. He fully grows out of this by the end of the game, becoming closer to an Ideal Hero instead. He teaches Atreus little of his combat skills and magic, instead imparting wisdom and tactics while silently encouraging him to explore the limits of his powers.
    • Freya is fully in the My Beloved Smother camp, as her extreme love for her son shut her out of everything and everyone around her was telling her what's best for him instead (including Baldur himself). She begins this game on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the one person whose genuine wish for Baldur's survival was second only to her, and when stopped, kept this rage smoldering and fuelling her up to the midgame, ironically solely relying on The Power of Hate despite her claims she's acting out of love. She finally forgives Kratos near the end of the game, becoming his closest ally in the post-game by replacing Atreus's role. Her 'gift' for Baldur instantly enhances his fighting ability (or survivability), but nothing she tries to teach him afterwards sticks because of his resentment.
    • Funnily enough, Thor is perhaps the most realistic father figure of all of them, struggling to understand and manage his sole remaining daughter's wishes and whims, while being on the other end of his father's constant abuse himself. All of this while also dealing with his alcoholism, self-loathing, guilt, and generally-underdeveloped emotional intelligence, despite his wife's and daughter's unending support. Sadly, before he can show he's changed, he's killed by Odin after choosing to follow his own thoughts for once. He allows Thrud to train with the Valkyries, and even teaching her his innate lightning magic, but because of the aforementioned character flaws, he literally can't teach her as well as he wants.
    • Odin is nothing but a physically- and emotionally-abusive parent, who only sees his children as employees at best and tools at worst. He describes Baldur solely as his "best tracker" instead of "son"—ditto with Heimdall and Thor, whom he describes solely by their uses to him. This extends to his treatment of everyone else around him, even towards Atreus whom he genuinely wishes can help him to reach his goals. Also, unlike the other parents, he's the only one who can't find it in him to change, choosing instead to remain fanatically faithful to his twisted ideals. He provides the best learning environment for his children and disciples, but solely because he wants to exploit and utilize the resulting powers and strengths for his own gain.
  • Follow the Chaos: Kratos and Atreus stumble upon a trail of blood and human corpses early in the game. As they go, they see raiders strung up on trees, bodies evicerated beyond recognition, and even see a still-living raider being dragged to his bloody death just outside of their vision. At the end of it all, they find the Stalker, a centaur archer so savage she manages to break Kratos' shield.
  • Forced Addiction: Odin, who in this setting is an Abusive Parent to the max, constantly goads and belittles his son Thor into drinking, despite Thor being a recovering alcoholic. The Thunder God is so wracked with self-loathing, trauma and persistent desire for his father's approval that Odin feeds into his alcoholism in order to keep using him as a tool.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are several hints leading up to The Reveal that 'Tyr' is actually Odin-in-disguise:
      • Right from the start there are raven feathers scattered about Tyr's cell, a sign of Odin's teleportation. Given that Tyr was supposedly being visited regularly by Odin for daily tortures akin to Mimir, this doesn't stand out as too noticeable on a first viewing, but when Kratos cut him free of the noose binding him to the wall, the panelling frames it as akin to Tyr being hanged, like Odin himself famously did to get his epithet.
      • When 'Tyr' is first rescued, Atreus offers him a spear to defend himself with on their way back to the realm travel door, only for Tyr to bemusedly decline his need for a 'walking stick'. At first it seems to be a side-effect of Tyr's frazzled mind from his long imprisonment and abstinence from all violence, even in self-defence, such that he cannot imagine himself using a weapon as a weapon, but Odin actually does use Gungnir as a walking stick whilst showing Atreus around Asgard later on, helping to sell his image as an frail elder, underselling how capable he actually is in a fight.
      • Tyr is also surprisingly harsh towards Freyr throughout the travels through Alfheim. While in the moment it seems as if he's criticizing Freyr's lack of follow-through in assisting Alfheim, in retrospect it comes off as Odin angry at the man who opposed his marriage to Freya.
      • If Kratos goes off and investigates side-areas to find resources and supplies, 'Tyr' will eventually comment on this and show appreciation for his 'curious mind'. Upon hearing that Kratos went inside the Light of Alfheim and survived "of sound mind and decidedly not incinerated" on their last visit, 'Tyr' becomes uncharacteristically insistent on being told what happened to Kratos on the other side of it. One of the things that drives Odin the most is discovering what would happen to him after death, and fear of potential oblivion awaiting him.
      • On their way to reach Groa's shrine, Atreus quizzes Tyr on whether he'd met the seeress before, to which he answers that he had, many times, but that conversation with her was difficult due to her constant visions. As they all shortly discover, conversation with Groa was difficult for Odin because Groa was aware of his role in her husband's death and her impending demise, and thus used his desire for knowledge of the future and Ragnarok to mislead him on what steps to take to avoid his doom, instead sealing it. Furthermore, there is a slight ominous note in the soundtrack afterwards when Atreus leads Kratos away from the light of Alfhiem and Tyr comes into view once more, with a few strings of Odin's theme playing.
      • The reactions of Team Kratos when they see the full Ragnarök Prophecy — and realize that Groa lied to Odin. They're all left stunned, but 'Tyr' in particular keeps staring at the prophecy's image of Groa as if in shellshock. Odin's reeling from the realization that he's been working off a false prophecy this entire time and that all of his intricate, carefully-laid plans just got blown up.
      • On seeing the true prophecy, the stunned 'Tyr' rudely walks past/bumps into Atreus on his right side when walking closer to stare at the floating images. As demonstrated by Heimdall later on to Troll Odin, despite his godly nature, he still cannot see out of his missing eye on his right side, meaning that in his shocked state, Odin lost track of Atreus' position and literally couldn't see him, or remember that he needed to act like he could.
      • Despite being horrified at his own apparent prophesied fate to lead a destructive war, protesting against it all the way back to the realm travel door and refusing to let prophecy guide his actions, 'Tyr' seems strangely welcoming of the idea that Atreus is the depicted champion of the prophecy in the same vision, warmly referring to him as such whilst cooking him a meal later on, which sparks another argument between Kratos and Atreus over his apparent 'destiny' that drives a wedge between them. Whilst Odin refuses to allow Ragnarok to occur whilst under the disguise of the would-be leader 'Tyr', he's welcoming of the chance to manipulate others depicted in events to serve his needs, including subtly sowing discord between the heroes that will lead Atreus to turn away from them and aid him.
      • Shortly after discovering the true prophecy of Ragnarök, a distraught Tyr, horrified that he's destined to lead a bloody and violent war that will irrevocably destroy an entire realm despite his renouncement of all violence, snaps when attacked by a light elf, forgoing pacifically dodging its attacks like he did before during combat and beating it unconscious, though he expresses regret for his actions when regaining control of himself. This is actually a flaw of Odin's character, that when truly upset, usually by losing control over a situation, he immediately reacts with lethal violence to enforce his will, no matter how short-sighted the action proves to be. Learning that he was deceived about Ragnarök from the start and all his plans to avert his fated end during it have been undermined all along understandably leaves him angered, leading to a slip in his act as 'Tyr'. When Brok confronts him over all the suspicious inconsistencies in Tyr's behaviour he's noticed, and knocks the mask he's been seeking out of his hand, he lethally stabs him and takes Atreus hostage in an impulsive attempt to regain his prize. When Thor finally stands up to him and refuses to follow his orders to kill anymore, he likewise stabs him, leading to him having to smack Thrúd away as well when she attempts to avenge her father.
      • The nature of the game and shifting viewpoints between the characters help disguise it, but 'Tyr' and Odin are never seen together in the same scene. This gets especially pronounced during several segments that switch viewpoints from Atreus in Asgard to Kratos in their Home Base in Brok and Sindri's house, as Tyr is always shown to be emerging from offscreen or noted to be absent by the others when Atreus was meeting with Odin. When Atreus returns to the house after freeing Garm, Tyr emerges after the fighting has ceased, apparently because of his pacifistic desire to avoid violence, but in actuality because it took Odin (who saw Atreus off) a few moments to reassume his disguise and teleport to the house.
      • When 'Tyr' reunites with Freya, he refers to her as 'Frigg', Odin’s pet name for her when they were still married.
      • There is an interconnectivity between what Odin knows and acts upon and certain revelations that 'Tyr' is privy to. Odin knows that Atreus and Kratos sprung Tyr from his prison against his wishes — which is excused by a massive alarm being sounded as they were leaving the prison and Odin's forces swarming the mine afterwards — and also that 'Tyr' is a shadow of his former self that disappoints Atreus and the assembled alliance. When Kratos is away helping Freya break the spell binding her to Midgard, when they return to Brok and Sindri's house after leaving Atreus alone with Tyr and Sindri for an extended time, Atreus has come to the conclusion that it'd be a good idea to accept Odin's invitation into Asgard despite the objections of everybody except Tyr, whom Kratos afterwards accuses of encouraging his 'confusion'. When Atreus runs away to Midgard, Odin's ravens swiftly find him within hours, which is excused by his almost-omnipresent spy network, but almost seems like he was aware of when Atreus left on his own. When the group learns that Heimdall is prophesied to kill Atreus and that Kratos in turn will kill him to avert that, Brok and Sindri come up with the idea of using the Draupnir ring they stole from Odin, which Tyr expresses surprise on learning of this, to make a weapon capable of killing him, and Kratos leaves with Brok to the forge. Afterwards, Odin confronts Kratos with his new weapon, hinting that he knows what it's made of and what he intends to do with it without outright confirming anything, and that Brok specifically helped make it. Heimdall himself alludes to knowing about said prophecy when Kratos attempts to spare him to avert it, in turn making it clear that his attempted mercy has only guaranteed the vengeful Aesir will be going after his son out of spite now.
      • When Atreus tells the assembled heroes about the mask that Odin seeks to assemble, 'Tyr' is the only one who doesn't scoff at the idea that the mask is more than a simple trinket, and even proves to be surprisingly knowledgeable about its purpose and relationship with past giants, whereas Freya herself admits ignorance about it, claiming that it's because Odin extensively tortured him to find out more about it.
      • Brok is the first member of Team Kratos to realize (and too late) that 'Tyr' keeps addressing Atreus as Loki — something Odin was also previously doing.
      • "Tyr" is remarkably unperturbed about Odin. You'd think the man who basically left him in solitary confinement for centuries would elicit some reaction or at least strong opinions, even if Tyr abandoned war and violence, but Tyr seems to rarely ever mention the man, and when he does tends to do it in very loose, generic sense, with not even a drop of the bile Mimir, Freya or Freyr have.
      • When Brok and Sindri propose using Draupnir to forge a weapon capable of killing Heimdall, "Tyr" sounds surprisingly outraged to learn that they were the ones who originally stole the ring from Asgard.
      • A small one but Tyr is rather rude and critical of Brok's cooking, suggesting that he take over making meals for the group from now on, and later on admitting to Atreus after his emotional outburst in Alfheim that 'nothing seems to settle his mind' quite like cooking. A small moment of humor turns a bit sinister when you realize that Odin's Control Freak tendencies were basically rearing their ugly head over something as basic and trivial as dinner. In fact, it even seems to be In-Universe foreshadowing, as Brok is implied to become more observant of Tyr's small slips of odd behaviour afterwards, as if sensing something off with him that he can't quite place yet
      • A small but obvious one in hindsight: the subtitles refer to Odin-as-Týr as "Tyr", missing the accent above the "y". Sure enough, when you meet the real Týr in Niflheim, his name is spelt correctly.
    • After the Leviathan Axe freezes a lighting bolt, Thor remarks that something about the situation is familiar. Kratos asks what he means but the thunder god goes right back to trying to kill him. Later, we learn Faye froze one of Thor's bolt in their battle in Vanaheim.
    • Whilst in Asgard, Atreus is gifted a magical flying sword named Ingrid by Odin, as a gesture of trust and support in their search for the mask. Ingrid was successfully stolen from Freyr by Odin when he disguised himself as a beautiful woman and seduced him into willingly surrendering the sword to Odin of his own free will. Whilst Atreus is too young for such tactics, he is likewise being mislead by Odin in the disguise of somebody he trusts into helping the All-father's goals.
    • During Atreus' time in Asgard, he meets Huginn but not Muninn. Muninn was hiding in Brok and Sindri's house as Odin's backdoor whenever he needed to make an appearance as Tyr.
    • Unrelated to all the above, during Atreus' time in Asgard, he's given a walking tour of not only the realm by Odin, but Svartalfheim as well, during which he checks up with Durlin on the progress of some dwarven-built contraptions, implying that their completion as soon as possible is of the utmost importance. They turn out to be dwarven war machines capable of unleashing immense destructive beams that can destroy entire structures, used to destroy the realm towers into Asgard when Ragnarök starts to cut out the invading armies and even hold back Surtr in his Ragnarök form.
    • During a boat conversation, Atreus asks Mimir about Odin's Teleportation abilities, as unrestrained as they are, querying if he has the freedom to go anywhere he wants, what's to stop him using this to instantly kidnap anybody he pleases? Mimir answers that it's only possible to use Odin's raven teleportation if one consents to it, assuaging Atreus' concerns. This informs Odin's actions after being unmasked as 'Tyr', as despite taking Atreus hostage to avoid immediate retaliation, and needing him to use the Mask of Creation with the rift, he can't actually teleport Atreus out of the heroes' Home Base, and instead has to try and force them to exchange Atreus for the mask, as a non-sentient object like that he can take with him.
    • During Kratos and Odin's second face-to-face meeting, Odin asks Kratos what he knows about being a god; has he ever been loved? Ever been prayed to? In the ending, Kratos finds a new "prophecy" showing a statue of him surrounded by people worshipping it, implying that Kratos will rebuild the realms and become beloved for it.
    • When Thor first meets Kratos, he notes with immense sarcasm that he 'seems like a calm and reasonable person', before challengingly asking him if that's what he really is. As it turns out, actually becoming a better person in defiance of your past mistakes is the key to defying prophecy and one's fate, as everybody has free will, but many gods are so stubborn and resistant to changing themselves that they inevitably fall back into their old ways, which means they wind up fulfilling their predicted actions even when they're warned in advance of them. Kratos taking this lesson to heart is what ultimately allows him and Atreus to avert their own prophesied destiny and make their own path, whereas Odin's inability to change himself leads to his doom.
    • Magni and Modi's deaths, and Kratos starting Fimbulwinter early in defiance of the Ragnarök prophecy, seemed to be because he was an outside-context element to events as a foreign god, but is revealed in this game to hint at two things. Firstly, that Groa actually gave Odin an incorrect prophecy about Ragnarök, which is revealed to merely be the destruction of Asgard alone, and the remaining 8 realms will survive afterwards. This means many of the events that were taken for granted by the gods were not actually set in stone, shown by Atreus' mural in Jotunheim prophesying his and Kratos' confrontations with the 3 gods and the outcomes as they actually would happen. Secondly, The Reveal that fate is not immutable, and it's possible for any being to avert their fated path through free will. However, since gods are highly stubborn and resistant to Character Development, they rarely do so.
  • Forging Scene: There's a scene in the second trip to Svartalfheim where the Lady of the Forge take the Drapunir Ring, a dwarven spear, the sound of wind, and the blood of a god and mixes them together in a small whirlpool underwater to create a blessed weapon powerful enough to kill a god.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: After the Nidhogg boss fight, Freya at least stops trying to kill Kratos, since he's "not the one who needs to die" at the moment, and Kratos would be more use to Freya alive than dead. However, in saying all of this, Freya also admits that there is a part of her that will always be angry at Kratos for killing Baldur. After meeting the the Norns however, the Jerkass Realization has Freya forgive Kratos in full not too long after realizing Baldur's death was ultimately her fault and not his.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Atreus tearfully puts the dying Fenrir to rest with a chant, four tiny beads of energy drift from the wolf's mouth... but only three beads travel past Kratos up into the sky. The fourth goes into Atreus' knife where it's been planted in the ground and as the beads pass by. Mimir later explains that a soul consists of four pieces: form, mind, direction and luck. This information and the tiny soul piece of Fenrir's in Atreus' knife become key points later in the story.
  • Gambit Pileup: During Atreus' second trip to Asgard. Atreus wants to finish the mask and steal it before Odin can use it. Odin, meanwhile, knows of Atreus' plan (as he heard it as Tyr), and is trying to act like he doesn't know in front of Atreus so Atreus will finish the mask and then Odin can seize it. Also he's trying to delay his family finding out that Kratos killed Heimdall (which again he knows due to pretending to be Tyr) because they had him promise he'd not let Kratos kill any more of their numbers and would demand he kill Atreus. Finally, Sif is trying to get rid of Atreus as she's worried about how he's emboldening her daughter and may endanger her. Ultimately Sif figures out who killed Heimdall, and she convinces Thor to try and kill Atreus, which makes Atreus flee with the mask before Odin can seize it.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Your partner doesn't have a health bar, like in the last game, but now it is basically impossible for enemies to even grab onto them and kill them. You can go the whole game without knowing this mechanic is back in any way, aside from two plot-mandated recurrences.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Freya can fly. Both with Valkyrie wings or by changing into the form of a bird. Both should make a lot of the traversal challenges easy. But as far as the gameplay is concerned this ability never comes up and she has basically the same traversal abilities Atreus does, so the option to just make her fly on top of a ledge where a length of climbing chain is and make her drop that never comes up.
    • Kratos never questions where the loot Atreus picked up during his segments comes from, and it's possible for him to empty the same "lost loot" chest twice within a 12 hour period without asking about it.
    • Sindri’s says Kratos and Atreus are All Take and No Give towards him, which is very accurate based on their actions during the games’ stories, where our heroes never even say "thank you". But most players will have given him and Brok tens of thousands of Hacksilver for their services, as well as selling them many rare and valuable artifacts. Plus, Atreus pushed Sindri and Brok to mend their relationship in the first game (and later apologized for being rude about it), and in a side mission, our heroes retrieved a special whetstone for Sindri, personally. Mimir does say that Sindri isn't exactly thinking straight.
  • Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: When the deific duo finally confront Tyr, the god is far too traumatized by his experiences to be coherent. Kratos, at that point frustrated that the God they've been seeking is a gibbering mess, slams him against a wall and yells at him to compose himself. Or rather, Odin impersonating Tyr goes out of his way to portray him as a broken shell of his former self, possibly to help justify "Tyr" being so averse to conflict against Odin, possibly just to slander Tyr's character. The actual Tyr is shown to be far more calm and collected despite his imprisonment, if still quiet and softspoken.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Desert Door quest in Alfheim involves a rather large door that mysteriously requires two keys hidden around the desert to open. Before opening it, Kratos and his allies speculate what could be behind the door. Behind the door is Gravel Belly, a drake whose kind only otherwise appears in Vanaheim, a completely different realm full of dragons. Upon slaying it, they wonder why exactly this monster was locked behind a door in the middle of the Alfheim desert, and no answer is ever given.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: The fact that the Einherjar have ressurective immortality (when they die, they return to Valhalla) is normally a problem, but it turns the bar brawl in Asgard into a fun scene instead of the horrific bloodbath that it would be under normal circumstances when a brawl uses weapons, including Mijolnir.
    Thrud: They're already dead. They can't really die again.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Sindri, Angrboða, Ingrid, Thor and Thrud serve as this to Atreus in his missions in Midgard, Jotunheim, Muspelheim, Helheim and Niflheim. Brok acts as one to Kratos in Svartalfheim and Vanaheim briefly.
  • Götterdämmerung: The Götterdämmerung, which is otherwise known as Ragnarök, takes the centerpiece of the game's focus as—unlike God of War III—both sides seek to prevent what seems to be the inevitable war that will undoubtedly end the world as they know it. Eventually, Kratos, Atreus, Freya, and Mimir realize they need to initiate Ragnarök, playing this straight, to stop Odin's ambitions from destroying all the other Nine Realms to ensure he comes out on top because starting Ragnarök will at least ensure the Nine Realms in a greater capacity will survive the reckoning, not to mention be free, compared to Odin's designs.
  • Grand Finale: Much like God of War III, Ragnarök definitively concludes the saga concerning the mythology it's centered within. It also serves a conclusion to Kratos' entire story that began in the very first game as he comes to terms with his past deeds in Greece, especially the murder of his original family, and how they define him going forward.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Possibly. Odin was always a power-hungry Control Freak who antagonised many and created most of his enemies with a personal interest in ending him, but he alludes to something that whispered to him one night about the wooden mask and its connection to the spacial rift containing untold knowledge that he was obsessed with, leading to him to eventually track down the piece he gives to Atreus to complete it. This obsession with the mask proves to be a crucial aspect in events that lead to Ragnarök, and the fallout of it, despite both sides wanting to avoid such a costly battle if possible. It's unclear if this was his maddened obsession causing him to imagine it or if there was was another force involved with events indirectly, but it's noted that Odin is such an Compulsive Liar that even when he speaks truthfully about events he is always distorting the facts somehow.
  • Grim Up North: As the Fimbulwinter unfolds, Midgard has become only slightly warmer than Helheim. Many previous locations are inaccessible or unrecognizably blanketed in snow, and the Lake of Nine is frozen solid, preventing realm travel with Tyr's bridge.
  • Guide Dang It!: You might have noticed that shattered runes aren't used in any crafting recipes, despite how often you pick them up. But with their description saying that they still have power in them, you might feel compelled to hold on to them. However, their only use is as Shop Fodder. They sell in stacks of 50 for 5,000 hacksilver; a good chunk of money, especially early on, so it's in your best interest to sell them as often as possible.

  • Half the Man He Used to Be: After Surtr sacrifices himself to kick off Ragnarök, the protagonists are ambushed by the new Valkyries Hrist and Mist. The pair is defeated when Kratos performs a Neck Snap and Atreus' Björn form rips his enemy in half.
  • Healing Boss: The Queen of the Light Elves can shove her swords into the ground and slowly begin to heal if you don't interrupt her. Thankfully, she only does this when she's very low on health.
  • Healing Factor:
    • Kratos' health bar will refill to about 20% of its full length if your health is in the red after a combat is over. This mechanic seems to be a way to translate the healing ability Kratos showed in last games cutscenes into the gameplay.
    • You also unlock the ability to spend your Rage meter to heal Kratos a bunch. When you do so, he screams and green lights surround him as his injuries heal up all at once.
  • Hey, You!: Averted. While Kratos had a very memetic tendency to refer to Atreus as "Boy" in the 2018 game, Kratos almost exclusively calls Atreus by name in Ragnarök. The one time he calls Atreus "Boy", it's Played for Drama. All of Atreus' allies tell Atreus that going to Asgard to talk to Odin is a terrible idea, as well as chastising him for keeping secrets and lying to all of them. Frustrated, Atreus transforms into a bear and attacks Sindri, charges through a door, and heads for a portal gate. Just before Atreus goes through, Kratos yells "BOY!" at the top of his lungs, indicating how much Atreus has angered his father.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Kratos and Mimir have a brief conversation about the tropes of Greek theater, with Mimir criticizing Oedipus for mostly consisting of "people giving speeches and receiving bad news" and Kratos explaining that Aristotle's three dramatic unities are foundational to Greek drama. It's a pretty amusing conversation for anyone who remembers the brutal, almost animalistic version of Kratos from the original trilogy.
    • While Kratos finds Mimir's love for riddles and thought experiments "frivolous", he is oddly good at answering them, even by accident.
      Mimir: "I'm tall when I'm young, short when I'm old. What am—"
      Kratos: A candle.
      Mimir: Yeah. Heard that one before?
      Kratos: No.
  • High-Altitude Battle: The first fight with Thor is interspersed with cutscenes of him launching Kratos into the sky and flying after him to continue their fight in the air. They crash through the heads of the tallest statues in the Realms and crash into the ground so hard they change the geography of Midgard for the rest of the game.
  • Historical Fantasy: Piecing together some hints from dialogue with Mimir and Kratos paints a picture of this. Kratos alludes to the Greco-Persian War by mentioning the Hot Gates that the 300 Spartans fought and died at. Kratos references the events of the Trojan War as an event he witnessed, and that the poem gets some details wrong but is ultimately a more romantic retelling of the events. God of War would seem to be a version of Earth where the fantasy elements existed in the background, and were eventually lost to history and remembered as mythological tales rather than fact, as hinted at in Chains of Olympus by fighting a Persian king.
  • Homing Projectile: The Berserker bosses, the Sisters of lllska, both are able to annoy Kratos by sending a ball of ice or fire slowly that follows him until they explode in his face, whereas some of the Light Elves will send out balls of light that is temporarily blinding. The best way to get rid of them is to throw your weapon at it, but good luck with that while dodging the flurry of melee attacks they throw at you.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Thor and his wife, Sif. She is half his height and probably one-fifth his weight.
  • Improvised Weapon: Kratos can now turn boulders into fiery projectiles and tree trunks into a make-shift blizzards using his two elemental weapons.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The deadliest Relic in the game (bar none) can only be unlocked by finishing the main story, killing the 12 super-bosses spread throughout the Nine Realms, and then defeating the king of the super-bosses who has all their powers and then some. Your reward is the very sword-hilt you used to unlock each of the super-bosses, the Hilt of Skofnun, which summons the ghostly blades of each berserker and sends them to autonomously cut through all enemies in sight for a good 30 seconds or so. It can make mince-meat of Elite Mooks and bosses.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Kratos may be able to smash through metal statues or pillars of stone, but any wooden gate, cart, or boulder off-the-beaten path will stop you from exploring the realms out of bound from what the designers intended. Most noticeable right outside Kratos' house, where a wooden gate bars you from traveling around Midgard until halfway through the game and all yours godly blows bounce off it.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Averted in some boss battles; in order to not reveal the true identity of some characters, they are instead called by different names.
      • Atreus' bear form is simply called "Björn" in his lifebar, which means literally "bear" in the Scandinavian languages.
      • Freya is called "Vanadís" in her boss battle as a Valkyrie, which is one of the names of the goddess in Norse mythology.
    • An example that becomes clear only in hindsight, but after discovering and freeing the real Týr after Ragnarok has come to pass, the subtitles show his name as 'Týr' whereas beforehand Odin disguised as Tyr was only ever shown in the subtitles as 'Tyr' without the acute.
    • In a similar fashion, the tutorials refer to buddy moves as being done by your "companion", to not reveal that Freya becomes a significant one halfway into the game. However this can also be a straight example: the 2018 game used Atreus, so the fact that these skills use the generic term "companion" gives away that Atreus is not the only companion this time around.
    • The Skill Trees unlock gradually for this very purpose: Atreus' skill tree is incredibly small at first, to disguise the fact that he's a playable character several hours into the game. Further, the Draupnir Spear's skill tree doesn't appear until you acquire it, similar to the Blades of Chaos in the 2018 game.
    • In the previous game, tapping left or right on the D-Pad would draw the Blades of Chaos and Leviathan Axe, respectively. Tapping the button with that weapon drawn would sheathe it, letting you use unarmed attacks. This game has removed quick turn from D-Pad down, making it so that left and right don't sheathe the weapons anymore (by default; you can switch to the previous style in the menu). This conceals that Draupnir is mapped to down once unlocked, though it does result in some Damn You, Muscle Memory! once the switch happens.
  • Internal Reveal: When Atreus discovers the prophecy of Kratos' death, he takes it very poorly.
  • Immune to Flinching: A high-enough Vitality stat can prevent enemies from staggering you with certain attacks. There are also certain armors and shields that keep you from getting staggered, with the best example being the Surtr armor set.
  • Implausible Deniability: Odin's first reaction to seeing Thrúd after impaling Thor on Gungnir is saying that Kratos and Atreus are to blame... while still holding the spear as Thor disintegrates into nothing. Predictably, it doesn’t work, and he does away with the lie immediately after. Also a manifestation of his Never My Fault tendencies, as blaming them for the overall situation would also make this particular incident their fault as well.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy: Thor has a fraction of the health that the ghosts of a human king and his servants do. Plus, most of his attacks with his mighty hammer can be easily blocked, while even the most basic enemies are capable of strikes so powerful Kratos can't hope to stop with his shield.
  • Ironic Echo: Kratos told Atreus to "be better" in the first game as a harsh criticism of Atreus' lack of Spartan discipline over his emotions. When he says it late in this game, he's admitting Atreus' compassion and emotions are what make the boy better than his old man.
  • It's Raining Men: The Einherjar will assault you throughout the game by dropping from the sky right next to you and assaulting you without skipping a beat. The landing itself can kill you, so watch out for the red reticle that marks an Einhergar warrior about to crash-land into your corpse.
  • Jerkass: Heimdall is just an incredible dick, even by comparison to Odin and Thor. He goes out of his way to belittle, mock and antagonize just about everyone without any instigation at all. The other Aesir pretty much hate him, for their part.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As ironic as it may be coming from him, but Heimdall's words about Atreus being entitled and impulsive and coming to Asgard to lie and betray in order to get what he feels he deserves may not be entirely accurate but they land too close for comfort.
  • Jungle Japes: About half of Vanaheim is made up of dense, watery jungles unlike anything you'll see in the Scandinavians wilds of Midgard. Hazards here includes giant flowers that spew poisons, exploding fungi, and huge plants that cover up certain pathways depending on the time of day.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: Atreus has grown quite a bit during the Time Skip, visibly taller with his voice noticeably lower in pitch. As the story begins, he's seen bringing a deer back to the cave that he and Kratos are staying in during their hunt, and shows that he can finally fight smaller enemies alongside his father, both signs of his maturity (once, Atreus was unable to capture and kill a deer without Kratos' instructions, and combat was a desperate struggle). As they return home, Kratos gives a secret little chuckle at how capable his boy has become.
  • Kill Steal: A fight you have with an ogre is interrupted when a dragon swoops in at the last second and snatches the ogre away before you can finish the thing off. Atreus is indignant at the dragon for taking their kill.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Temporary health bars render certain enemies enemies totally immune to either your Leviathan Axe or your Blades of Chaos until you deplete that health bar and render them vulnerable. Generally, hel-walkers and other undead will be immune to your axe, while dragur and gladrungs are immune to the Blades.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Friendly NPCs will often wonder aloud why Kratos is wandering off to areas way off-course of there definition to provide some sense of continuity with the game's story while you the player scour levels for collectibles and quests you need for 100% Completion.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Norns collectively predict the entirety of their scene as it unfolds — Verðandi describes what actions the characters perform while they do them, Skuld recites their dialogue along with them even as they get annoyed, and Urð explains both their motivations and the moment's greater context within the story itself.
  • Light Is Not Good: In the previous game, the Light Elves were completely non-hostile to Kratos and Atreus and simply ignored them when the Light of Alfheim was given back to them. In this game however, the Light Elves are shown to be worse than the Dark Elves, harnessing the Light of Alfheim for their own means at the cost of ruining the realm's environment by turning the deserts into a barren wasteland. That said, Kratos doesn't seem to think that either side is necessarily justified in having claim on the realm.
  • Limit Break: Spartan Rage returns, except this time, you can spend all that sweet Rage you got be being attacked and attacking in turn into a single powerful move. Called Wrath, Kratos rushes forward with whatever he's holding and strikes a single enemy half a dozen in times in quick succession for a whole bunch of damage. Using Wrath also requires way less Rage than the traditional Unstoppable Rage transformation, so any amount of hurt you get with should be enough for you to unleash this deadly attack.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: You can only have two of your many, many Runic Attacks slotted in a weapon at a time and you can't switch them out when the attacks are on cooldown. The same goes for your Relics and the Runic Attacks of your companion.
  • Living Gasbag: The Hafgufa are gigantic blue jellyfish that used to float through the skies above Alfheim's deserts. They've long since been buried under the sands, trapped by the Dark Elves hive matter and scared into kicking up the awful sandstorms that make the desert nigh uninhabitable.
  • Living Macguffin: This gets Deconstructed in two ways throughout the story:
    • Tyr the Norse God of War is clearly this for Atreus, with many of the giant's writings alluding to him and his apparent participation in Ragnarök, and Atreus believing he can provide guidance and council on his forthcoming destiny. His investigations eventually catch Odin's attention, resulting in him and Thor visiting the duo's house to warn off Atreus of further snooping, but this is actually a Batman Gambit to allow Odin to disguise himself as the imprisoned Tyr and be 'rescued' by the duo, thereafter allowing him to undermine their efforts to oppose his rule and presenting Tyr as an ineffectual weak leader, whilst also enabling him to manipulate Atreus into helping Odin and averting Ragnarök through 'Tyr's' well-meaning council.
    • Atreus knows himself to be this as 'Loki', and that he has a big part to play in the coming events, which causes friction with Kratos as his father fears the idea that his son is following in his footsteps and destined to repeat his mistakes via another costly war with the native gods. This same concept of self-importance and responsibility, though not quite to the extent that he became when he first found out he was a god, enables Odin to easily manipulate him into helping him because of 'destiny' and drives wedges between Atreus and those he's closest two with his reckless actions to 'find out who he is', which eventually plays a part in Sindri's friendship with Atreus disintegrating, as Atreus was unknowingly treating him like a supporting character in his story rather than a person. Atreus' Character Development has him eventually decide to defy his apparent destiny to use the Mask of Creation and aid Odin by destroying it, in so doing embracing being simply himself rather than a figure of grand importance.
  • Logical Weakness:
    • Due to his precognition, reflexes and Super Senses, Heimdall is virtually untouchable to any attack, as he always knows exactly when and where each opponent will strike and how to dodge them. So, after Kratos says he needs a way to stop the prophecy of Heimdall killing Atreus, Brok has the idea of forging the Draupnir ring into a weapon for Kratos in case the two gods ever need to fight — since the ring drips eight more identical duplicates endlessly, this means a weapon made out of Draupnir will also create endless copies of itself, which would be able to overload even Heimdall's senses due to him having to foresee so many attacks, disorienting him enough to make him more vulnerable.
    • Heimdall's also constrained by his ability to react to his own precognitions on short notice. He can be outmaneuvered by things he can't avoid (such as explosions around him), being distracted, or just being outmaneuvered by someone who is both skilled and fast enough to make up for the edge his precognition gives him. The later is how Kratos finally punches him in the face. Similarly if he's enraged he loses the ability to focus on his premonitions.
  • Loophole Abuse: Freya is bound to the realm of Midgard by Odin's binding spells that remain strong even with the effects of Fimbulwinter eroding all the other restrictive enchantment upon her, meaning she still cannot travel to other realms without getting bodily dragged back shortly after entering a different realm. Her attempts to remedy this with counter spells prove only temporary at best, but Freya manages to find a workaround: using her Voluntary Shapeshifting ability to turn herself into a falcon, such that the spell does not recognise her as 'Freya' and cannot drag her back, but effectively forcing her to remain as a bird whilst in another realm and with severely limited magical abilities. Freya admits she likewise needed Sigrun's aid in reclaiming her Valkyrie Wings once she learned realm travel was unlocked once more whilst journeying with Kratos to get his aid to break the spell for good.
  • Lore Codex: The game includes descriptions of each NPC you find, written either by Kratos or Mimir (the latter also providing the Artifact entries, while the former handles Lore). There's also a separate codex filled with descriptions written by Atreus, a collection of commentary on each artifact you've found, and records of every bit of text you've read in the game-world (you get to combine them by finding Atreus' journal in the house). These entries are among the most emotionally open and honest Kratos can be in the game.
  • Love at First Punch:
    • Kratos and his second wife Faye, as both were fierce warriors, are revealed to have fought against each other the first time they met, eventually falling in love.
    • The Fire and Frost Giants Surtr and Sinmara first fought against each other, but after fighting together against other threats, they fell so in love that Surtr initially refuses to follow his fate to become the beast of Ragnarök, as it required him and his wife to fuse, and since they would be destroyed alongside Asgard, that would mean leading his lover to her death.
  • Loved by All: There isn't an elf on either side of their eternal civil war who doesn't love Freyr. The only time the Light and Dark Elves haven't been killing each is when Freyr asked them not to, at which point they united to build giant statues and temples for him. He's also able to get them to help fight against Odin's forces towards the end.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: His retractable Guardian Shield is destroyed in the early part of the game, forcing Kratos to get new ones from the dwarf brothers, with different properties.
  • MacGuffin: Odin tells Atreus the truth of what he's been seeking all along. Something far more valuable than any political power or weapons that either side has created, and is ultimately more important than the war going on now. Odin reveals a tear in the fabric of space, leading to an unknown chaotic realm that causes people who view the inside of it to go mad. The portal speaks to Odin however, and he can feel the magical pull of creation itself coming from inside the portal. Odin reasons that inside this portal is the key to infinite knowledge, which would include the knowledge of all possible futures — thus granting whoever masters this knowledge the power to change destiny. Odin claims that a mask associated with this portal could help you decipher what's in the portal. Atreus gets a chance to peer inside the portal with the mask at the end of the game, but decides to break it instead, sending Odin into a rage.
  • Magikarp Power: The Survival Armor and the weapon attachments for Kratos' axe and blades that he starts the game with. They have no passives unlike every other piece of gear in the game and for the first 6 ranks, they have no stats beyond strength and defense. However, upon reaching rank 7 (which won't happen til near the end of the game), they gain a pretty large amount of stats in every category which turns Kratos into a Jack of All Stats.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Atreus is taught by Sindri how to imbue the power of sound and violent vibrations into his arrows to shatter metal objects and blast enemies. Pump enough sonic arrows into a target and they'll explode with sound with each hit, blasting all enemies nearby.
  • Martyrdom Culture: This is alluded to in one of Kratos' conversations with Mimir. He asks Kratos about a famous Greek battle called the "Gates of Fire". Kratos corrects Mimir, telling him that they were known as the Hot Gates, otherwise known as Thermopylae. Kratos tells Mimir that while he was not there, for many years he regretted not dying there. Befitting of Spartan culture, Kratos wishes he could have had an honorable death at Thermopylae, because his name would have been remembered for all time. Kratos has since realized the folly of such thinking, and realizes it was better that he survived to this day and experienced so much.
  • Mass Monster-Slaughter Sidequest: There are about 50 of Odin's ravens spying on you throughout the game and as in the last one, you gotta kill 'em all for 100% Completion. The difference is you actually get rewards for doing so this time, with up to six different treasure chests in Niflheim opening up as you get closer and closer to killing each of the ravens.
  • Match Cut: The game gets away with cutting away from Kratos while keeping the whole game in one continuous camera angle by having Kratos do something like punch a wall and then cutting to another character punching a similar wall before following them around for a bit.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • When Atreus first means Skjoldr, one of the many Midgardian refugees given shelter from Fimbulwinter in Asgard, and informs him of his intent to climb the Asgardian defensive wall to enter Odin's sanctum, he offers to follow Atreus for a little while to observe his ascent, but declines to attempt to do so himself, joking that he owes Odin his life, but not his death. During Ragnarök, Odin has the refugees manning the dwarven war machines and using them to destroy the realm towers transporting the invading armies into Asgard, thus preventing einherjar from being absent from the battlefield and demoralising the attackers when they realise they've killed innocents in the process of destroying the machines. Sif stops Thrud from attacking Atreus when he attempts to use the Great Flaw to open the way into Asgard, bringing a badly-injured Skjoldr along to assert that Odin callously put them in the way of the attackers, saying that they 'owed him' for him providing them shelter before. Sif asserts that they don't owe him their deaths.
    • Played for Drama. When Odin kills Brok, and Kratos takes Atreus away from the conflict, Atreus descends into wanting to go hunting for deer, exactly like he and Kratos were doing at the start of the previous game. He uses wording nearly identical to in that scene, including taking on some of Kratos's lines, but the framing being so identical, coupled with his dead tone of voice, make it abundantly, blatantly clear that he is just trying to distract himself from what he just saw, to the point that Kratos gently gets him to stop going through the motions and try to move forward rather than keep himself stuck in the past as a coping mechanism.
  • Menu Time Lockout: Kratos can get out of his armor, change into some new ones, take out and replace all the runic gems plugged into his weapon, and even tell his companion to go and put on some new threads mid-fight so long as you hit the pause button.
  • Metaphorgotten: Subverted. During the 'peace talks' at Kratos' house, Mimir wants them not to trust Odin with what seems to be this ("If he says the snow is white, he's lying"), the absurdity of which Odin lampshades, but it turns out that Mimir was actually being completely truthful. Odin is such a Consummate Liar that even when he says something that is actually truthful, it is always done in some manner to further his lies and deceit.
  • Meta Twist:
    • Given the series love of Adaptational Villainy and how he was made out to an Ax-Crazy brute throughout the previous game, one would likely assume Thor would be portrayed in much the same manner as Baldr was. He isn't. Thor is actually shown to be a deeply flawed and sympathetic Anti-Villain, whose failings mirror Kratos' own. He even successfully is talked down after his second fight and makes a Heel–Face Turn, albeit one tragically cut short by Odin.
    • Further, the Stinger at the end of 2018 (and thus its appearance in Ragnarok) ends with Thor revealing his hammer with his hand poised to grasp it, suggesting an imminent fight. What actually happens is Thor politely asking to come in and share a drink, which starts a lengthy talking scene (which then ends with the fight players were expecting in the first place).
  • Metal Slime: The Loot Lizard is a rare, stationary enemy who will burrow into a hole if Kratos gets to close or tries to attack it from the front. Killing it and getting the many treasures it drops requires scoping out your environment for a good vantage point to sneak up on it from or some hazard you can use to kill it indirectly.
  • Metaphorically True:
    • When confronted by Thor about how the death of Modi was caused by Kratos and Atreus, Kratos responds that Modi died of wounds that Thor himself inflicted on Modi. It's undeniable that if Modi had not been beaten so savagely by his father, he would have put up a fight rather than being casually slain by Atreus. Even if Thor's beating of his son was savage, the wounds were not fatal and he would have made a recovery if Atreus had simply ignored him like Kratos ordered him to. Atreus would not have been able to kill Modi with a simple knife stab if Thor had not already wounded him, but the point still stands that it was Atreus who dealt the finishing blow and not Thor. However, Kratos was referring to Modi's mental wounds: since Thor always treated Modi as second best, he was always seeking to prove himself, even if it meant going up against Kratos and Atreus immediately after being beaten to near death.
    • In one conversation Kratos tells Freya that a cruel god tricked him into killing his wife and daughter by slaughtering a village, and he did not know they were there until it was too late. Kratos in his fury paid back the blood of his family by destroying Olympus. Kratos may have been tricked into killing his family, but he was not tricked into slaughtering the village; he willingly obeyed Ares' orders to murder those people because they worshipped Athena. His family were just unfortunate victims of his cruel ambition, meaning he shares blame with Ares for their death. Furthermore, while his quest for revenge against Ares was the catalyst for what would morph into a war against Olympus, it leaves out a lot of detail about the rivalry Kratos had with Zeus and the efforts other gods took to stop Kratos from killing Zeus. That is more chiefly responsible for the downfall of Olympus than anything Ares did. Presumably Kratos is being pragmatic and shortening the tale so he doesn't ramble on, but his overall point was simply that no amount of bloodshed he caused was enough to make the pain of his loss go away.
  • Monumental Damage: The second boss fight is so intense that the giant statue of Tyr that watched you all throughout the last game gets completely destroyed. The overworld is then littered with debris like the statue's head, its weapon, and its arms, all of which have hidden writing you can find for a sidequest.
  • Monster Compendium: Kratos and Mimir write a little bit in the codex bestiary about each enemy they face, alongside a sketch of each one (Kratos writes of Foes and bosses while Mimir handles the more traditional enemies). The more you kill of the same enemy, the more hints and observations will be added about them.
  • Mook Maker: You can come upon hives which will continously spawn weak enemies like Nightmares, worms, or Will-o-Wisps unless you hit it a few times and destroy it. Bergsra Mothers are living versions of these and are quite hardy!
  • Mook Medic: The Nokken sings a horrible ballad that causes all enemies who can hear it to regenerate so fast that you stand no chance of killing them without one-hit kills or some bottomless pits. Made all the worse if you happen to encounter the bug that renders one Nokken completely invulnerable as he continually heals the two ogres that you have to fight.
  • Morality Pet: Atreus has a longstanding case of being this to Kratos, and Thrud is such to Thor as well. Appealing to this commonality, of their only surviving children (who became close friends) compelling them by existing to be more morally upstanding, is how Kratos talks Thor down after their final clash during Ragnarok.
    Kratos: For the sake of our children, we must be better.
  • Multishot: The Jötnar and Aesir bows are able to fire three arrows with a single pull of the bowstring, with the Jötnar bow firing them in the spread and the Aesir one after the other.
  • Mundane Utility: Discussed. Mimir asks Kratos if he ever considered cooking meat on the Blades of Chaos.
    Kratos: No. They would foul the meat.
    Mimir: Oh, because of the magic on them?
    Kratos: The blood.
    Mimir: Ah, yes. Carry on then.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: The trope is discussed. Atreus mentions he's got super strength, and Baldur was able to match Kratos' strength, yet neither of them are particularly muscular especially when compared to Kratos. Mimir and Kratos confirm that a god's physical strength has nothing to do with their muscle mass. To paraphrase Mimir's words: Atreus has the strength of a god, but if he wants the physique of one, he's going to have to work for it like his dad does. That said, Atreus' physical strength still pales in comparison to Kratos or even Thrud's strength (both of whom are clearly more muscular). When Atreus attempts to punch open a wooden chest with his bare hand just like his dad, he nearly breaks it in the process and has to resort to using his bow to break it open. He also is unable to open heavy doors that Kratos casually opens and Thrud can open with effort.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Among the titles Verðandi gives Kratos during his quest to reach the Norns is "Cruel Striker." Farbauti, the name of Loki's father and Laufey's husband in Norse mythology proper, translates to exactly that.
    • In mythology, Thor can use Mjölnir to bring the goats that pull his chariot, Tanngnjóstr and Tanngrísnir, back to life every time they are killed for their meat to be cooked. In Ragnarök, Thor kills Kratos early in the game and quickly revives him by using Mjölnir as a Magical Defibrillator so they can continue their fight until he's satisfied.
    • In Norse myths, Týr loses one of his hands in a ploy to trick Fenrir into getting chained. In his character poster for the game, Týr is seen cautiously holding his right hand — furthermore, an in-game discussion says the event still happened under a different context in the past, with Týr managing to grow the hand back.

  • New Neo City: Odin calls the settlement of humans brought to Asgard to escape the desolation "New Midgard".
  • New Weapon Target Range:
    • The market where you unlock sonic arrows has four to five different objects you can only destroy with said arrows, unlocking new enemies to fight, treasure chests, and the path forward in the plot.
    • The area right after getting the Drapunir Spear is filled with boulders that the weapon can destroy, holes that fit its shape perfectly, and ranged enemies who make perfect targets for its ranged attacks. It's even briefly lampshaded:
      Brok: Now you know I can't let you take our new gal home without givin' 'er a twirl. Look! We got volunteers!
  • No Gravity for You: If you apply sonic arrows to enemies mid-air, they'll be held in stasis above the ground and stay that way as Kratos wails on them.
  • Non-Player Companion: Atreus returns from the first game to accompany the player and fire arrows whenever you command. What's new in this game is that other characters like Brok, Sindri, Thrud Thordottir, and Ingrid the Sword briefly pop as playable companions controlled with the same button. Most notably, Freya becomes Kratos' "partner" character at several moments in the story, using the same types of arrows that Atreus does to allow you to complete sidequests you normally can only play with Atreus. She permanently replaces Atreus the post-game.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Despite characters like Freya trying hard to kill him and the Giants having prophesized his death in Ragnarök, Kratos never displays any fear over such a scenario throughout the game. His only concern about the matter is whether or not Atreus can survive and take care of himself should it happen.
    Kratos: Death can have me, when it earns me.
  • No True Scotsman: Odin claims that Kratos knows nothing of godhood, since he has never been worshipped or prayed to. A valkyrie also refers to him (or perhaps Atreus) as a "pretender god".
  • Not Quite Dead: When the protagonists go in a mission to Alfheim, Tyr believes he killed a Light Elf after defending himself from an attack and drags her by the foot in grief or rather, pretending to be in grief as part of Odin's act. However, the elf, thinking that she had been captured, suddenly uses her sword to cut her own leg off and crawls to the edge of the bridge, falling into the Lake of Souls below.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Odin claims that all of the atrocities he committed were for the sake of the Nine Realms, but as Atreus points out after the fight with Odin, Odin only cared about having all knowledge and power to himself.
  • Off the Wagon: After Heimdall is killed by Kratos, Thor loses his 3-4 years of sobriety by going to a bar in a moment of weakness. Requiring Thrud and Atreus to defend themselves in a bar fight and carry Thor out. Thor is so ashamed of himself for letting down Thrud that he can't even look at her and only muster the words "I fucked up" before a heartbroken Thrud walks away.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: A player can 100% the game's in-game checklist and still be missing a few labours - "kill trolls" and "kill dragons". These fights are never directly marked on the map, but a player who reads through the lore collectibles can figure them out. The trolls are in Midgard, Alfheim and Vanaheim, subdued with magic that is undone by using the seemingly useless "Mysterious Relic" near them. The dragon boss meanwhile starts going into Guide Dang It Territory, as while you can still figure it out in-game, the only hints about it are the characters pointing out how lifelike the dragon statue on Dragon Beach in Svartalfheim is, and the relic's aforementioned ability to break containment spells..
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: A new enemy unit are centaur-like creatures with antlers, called Stalkers.note 
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The game includes a couple winged fire-breathing dragons for Kratos to fight, as well as wingless drakes that are huge enough to cover the screen. These dragons are vicious and unintelligent, in contrast to the helpful dragons from the last game who were formerly dwarves.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • The approach to the Well of Urd is accompanied by ghostly whispers from the controller's speaker.
    • The speaker indicator on the subtitles spells the real Týr correctly, but Odin's "Tyr" is written without the accent mark.
  • Playable Epilogue: Similar to the previous game, the post game deals with Ragnarök’s aftermath. With Kratos, Mimir, and Freya wrapping up any remaining sidequests, as well as certain optional scenes which wrap up a few plot points. The full credits only play after completing the post-game sidequest; "A Viking Fueneral".
  • Player Headquarters: Sindri's House serves as your home base between levels, where you can meet up with friendly NPCs, upgrade equipment, and generally learn what you need to do next in the story.
  • Plotline Death: No one mentions using the Resurrection Stone Kratos has equipped whenever he sees someone in the game die.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Much of the conflict of the game comes from Kratos and Atreus both keeping secrets from each other to spare the other's feelings even when the other begs for truth. And because of both of their stubbornness, the Ragnarök prophecy continues to fulfill itself in spite of their best efforts. It is only once both of them finally come clean to each other and promise to be honest with each other that they begin to truly start taking steps towards averting Ragnarök.
    • From a villainous side, Odin's plans to have Atreus use the mask to see into the rift to Creation likely would have come to pass without issue had Sif not arrived with confirmation that Kratos killed Heimdall, which causes Thor to attempt to kill Atreus, forcing him to flee with the mask. However, Odin already knew perfectly well that Kratos killed Heimdall as Tyr was him in disguise the entire time. Had he given warning to his people about his plan ahead of time instead of keeping that knowledge to his chest, he very well may have gotten everything he wanted.
  • Portal Cut: Kratos and Freya kill Nidhogg by holding her neck through her own portal to the World Between Worlds, which Freya dispelled, leaving Nidhogg's beheaded body behind. Interestingly, Nidhogg was able to bear her weight on the edges of the portal, meaning that the edges were indeed used to forcibly cut through her neck like a blade.
  • Post-End Game Content: Beating the final boss unlocks a short sidequest in Svartafheim, the two main Super Bosses, and a major sidequest where you're tasked with clearing out ten new enemy encampments that have popped up throughout the Nine Realms.
  • Power Copying: The Elemental Siphon ability lets you apply whatever status condition your enemy uses to your weapon, turning their own powers against them. If they apply no status, you instead get a big bonus to how much you build up enemy Break Meters
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: It turns out the Ravens Kratos has been killing since the last game are actually made from sacrificed orphaned children, turned into spectral ravens by an associate of Odin called "The Raven Keeper". The ravens are actually grateful for Kratos freeing them from their enslavement.
  • Power-Up Food: Eating the Meal of Comfort will permanently increase all of Kratos' stats, befitting its status as a meal made by two legendary Giant lovers.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Befitting a man who schemes to control his fate as much as possible so as to avert it, Odin prefers efficient solutions to his problems rather than ones that adhere to the Aesir's strict code of honour.
    • He arranges a peace talk with Kratos over Magni, Modi and Balder's deaths, making it clear that both he and Thor have lost people irreplaceable to them because of the duo's actions, but despite the blood debts owed to them, he's clearly aware that recklessly aggravating as dangerous a man as Kratos runs an unnecessary risk, especially when he is content to live a humble life in the woods with his son at present, and so offers to forget said blood debt and leave Kratos and Atreus alone, so long as Atreus ceases his search into Tyr's whereabouts.
    • Rather than some grand, over-elaborate prison for keeping somebody as influential as Tyr contained, Odin simply has him locked deep within a random mine in the realm of Svartalfheim, guarded by a skeleton crew of Einherjar. The fact that A) the All-Father has complete control of the realm, B) all gateways are sealed at the start of the game, C) there's no obvious signs that there's something important there, and D) Tyr is long believed to be dead means absolutely no one has any idea he's there, nor do they have any reason to check. Kratos and Mimir express skepticism several times when investigating the empty rooms and corridors of the mine, and it's made clear that without Atreus' determination, they would have long ago turned back before finding Tyr themselves. And then it turns out that a deeply-paranoid man like Odin went for a more reliable prison in Asgard to contain the actual Tyr, with the flimsiness of 'Tyr's' imprisonment being a smokescreen to allow him to surreptitiously get close to Kratos and Atreus and manipulate them without their knowledge, additionally quashing any hope that Tyr really was alive after all.
      • Kratos queries why Odin imprisoned Tyr instead of just killing his enemy when he had him in his power, having antagonised Tyr in the first place because he feared he could unite the disparate realms against him. Mimir and Freya reason that Odin's Master of Disguise abilities only work if the person in question is still alive, meaning he had to keep him alive, but contained in a secure location to prevent anybody discovering his ruse, additionally allowing him to leverage Tyr's good reputation towards serving his interests.
    • His attempts to head off any conflict with the father-son duo fail because neither of them are predisposed to listen to the paranoid All-Father after all the stories they're heard about him and his deeds, and Kratos refuses to be cowed into submission even with the threat of fighting Thor staring him in the face. So Odin simply takes advantage of the fact that he's aware of the giant's writings telling of Tyr's survival and imprisonment to disguise himself as the apparently-dead God of War and be 'rescued' by Kratos and Atreus, using an identity they trust more than him to subtly manipulate them into fulfilling his wishes, excusing any discrepancies or odd behaviour as 'Tyr' having become massively broken by Odin's prolonged tortures. If not for Brok Spotting the Thread, this plan would have succeeded without any of the heroes being the wiser.
    • When Odin discovers through his disguise as Tyr, that the nature of Ragnarök is completely different to what Groa told him and all his years-long efforts to prepare for it have been undermined from the start, he adjust his plans accordingly. Since Ragnarök is actually a united army of the other 8 realms invading Asgard and helping Surtr destroy it, when the events kicks off Odin simply has dwarven-made war machines prepared and aimed at the realm towers into Asgard, destroying the only way into the realm before the assembled forces can even set foot into it and severely limiting the available reinforcements for those who do make it into Asgard.
    • Odin doesn't come out himself until the end of Ragnarök, where Kratos has already defeated Thor and anything else Odin could throw at him. Given that he is well-aware just how powerful Kratos is and how he does his best to avoid a direct fight with him, it's all but stated he specifically chose to wait until Kratos was weakened by his battles before finally coming out directly. If anything, he may have actually intended to gang up on Kratos alongside Thor to make a decidedly swift work of him. Too bad for him, Kratos isn't the only enemy he has to worry about and Thor is no longer his Yes-Man.
  • Precision F-Strike: Used very effectively when Kratos and Atreus try to comfort Sindri after Brok's death.. with Sindri telling them both to "get the FUCK out of my sight".
  • Proactive Boss: The dragons in the crater aren't content to wait for you to come and kill them. Instead, they'll roost on pillars near other battles you're having and rain down fire on you before flying back to their arena without giving you a chance to hurt them.
  • Prolonged Video Game Sequel: This game is about twice the size of the last one, with it playthroughs generally being 20-30 hours longer. It makes sense for a game with twice the number of voicelines, visits to each of the Nine Realms, and triple the number of unique enemies and bosses. It was stated during the game's development that while a trilogy was thought about, it was decided to have the Norse Saga be two games so that it wouldn't take over a decade to make all three games. note 
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • Atreus has become playable in Ragnarök, with multiple segments where he is separate from Kratos. His skill tree has different effects for when he's playable, and he gains different weapons and runic abilities to choose from.
    • On a slightly different note, Freya becomes "playable" as Kratos' ally after she ends her vendetta against him, taking Atreus' slot on the team for about half of the story. She, similar to Atreus, has multiple weapons, runic specials, and a full skill tree to upgrade with experience. In fact, she is Kratos' companion during the post game. Sindri, Brok, Angrboda, and Ingrid, the sentient sword also serve as companions to Kratos and Atreus, though without the customization that Freya and Atreus have.
  • Prophecy Twist: The mural Kratos saw at the end of the 2018 game showed him dead, lying in Atreus' arms, as energy was siphoned from his body into Atreus' mouth. Ragnarök gives players a better look at the mural, revealing Thor watching this happen. In the end, Odin's death echoed the one foreseen for Kratos — he dies in Atreus' arms as Atreus draws his soul from his body, with Kratos looking on.
    • Early on, we're shown a vision hidden in jotnar shrine of a spear-wielding Tyr leading the armies against Odin. It's not Tyr, it's Kratos.
  • Pull the Thread: One of the story's biggest twists. For much of the game, the "Tyr" that Kratos and Atreus had rescued is actually Odin, who's been leading the group astray with his false counsel. When Atreus returns home with the completed Mask of Creation despite Odin's best efforts, he makes a panicky last-ditch effort to reclaim it as Tyr by presenting a plan to infiltrate Asgard, but said plan is so full of inconsistencies that Brok calls it out, and that "Tyr" is quietly trying to leave the room with the mask, and that he keeps calling Atreus by the wrong name. At that last point, Odin finally snaps, fatally stabs Brok, and flees the scene.
  • Put on a Bus: Andvari is written out when Atreus tells us he lent the ring (which houses Andvari's soul) to Sindri. Apparently, Sindri then lost it, although Mimir's sarcastically implies he thinks Sindri didn't truly lose it.
  • A Rare Sentence: Upon finding the Celestial Wolves fast asleep, the group decides to follow the prophecy to wake them up again, leading to this gem from Mimir:
    Mimir: Riiight, well... Best we go find the moon and put it back where it belongs, eh? As if that's a perfectly normal thing to say.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Odin takes on this persona when interacting with Atreus — he tells self-deprecating jokes, gently teases the boy, interacts with his underlings in a humorous (but mostly respectful) fashion and, most importantly, treats Atreus with respect. Atreus is susceptible to this approach, in spite of his inherent mistrust of Odin, because Odin actually seems to understand him in a way that Kratos does not. Odin is even kind when Atreus screws up massively. It is, of course, just an act.
  • Recovered Addict: According to Mimir, Sif and Thor were both severe alcoholics who abused their sons and were rarely sober around each other. After Thor beat up Modi and caused his death, Sif used his death as an ultimatum so they'd both be better parents for Thrud and spare her from their abuse. In 3 years note , Sif and Thor have managed to stay sober despite Odin insulting Thor's sobriety by saying he is "no fun anymore".
  • Recurring Boss: You can fight the Hateful six times by finding the Draugr holes throughout the overworld. She'll be tougher depending on which holes you drag her out of and her return from death is explained by being an undead queen constantly reanimated by sheer fury.
  • Redemption Demotion: Freya has to unlock most of her Valkyrie mosts by spending XP, even though she used a whole bunch of them against you in her boss fight.
  • Red Herring:
    • The Leviathan axe being "Eitr imbued" in the last game had no impact in this sequel. Thor bears the wound Kratos left on his abdomen for the rest of the game and he was never affected by the (now presumably gone) World Serpent venom. As mentioned by the characters several times, Fimbulwinter weakened all magic in Midgard such as Odin's curse and the improvements the Leviathan and Blades of Chaos received from the dwarves.
    • As well, all the World Serpent imagery, from Kratos' axe holster to the prophecy at the end of the previous game to the pattern on the Draupnir Spear to the logo itself, goes for naught: Kratos isn't involved with the World Serpent in any way.
    • Likewise, Mimir theorized that the reason why Jormungandr was Trapped in the Past in the first place was that his battle against Thor during Ragnarok was so catastrophic it splinters the World Tree, hurling him across time and realms into Midgard. No such disaster occurs during the final battle; Thor just hits him so hard he gets knocked into the past, all on his own. Somehow. This doesn't get elaborated on.
  • Red Is Violent: Like how in this game and the past game, enemies 2 levels above Kratos would have purple health bars, enemies 3 levels above will have red health bars, along with a skull to indicate that the enemy can One-Hit Kill him.
  • Removed Achilles' Heel: A major plot point in the Final Battle of the prior game was that Freya was cursed by Odin to be unable to harm another, even in self-defence, rendering her powerless to directly interfere when Kratos and Baldur fought over her life, either to save her son or take revenge on Kratos afterwards. The first action scene of this game has her directly attacking both Kratos and Atreus whilst they are out hunting, drawing a sword against Kratos and impaling him on it at one point, with it being made quite clear that she's repeatedly attacked them several times over the three-year Time Skip. An easily-missed bit of dialogue in 2018's post-game has Mimir reveal that Freya came to him while Kratos and Atreus were in Jotunheim to search for her "Fighting Spirit", and while it turns it it wasn't there, Sigrun was able to help Freya find its real location. Despite this, one spell still holds: the binding spell chaining her to the realm of Midgard, which is revealed to be because it's made of interconnecting Yggdrasil roots from each of the realms bound together in Freya's childhood home in Vanaheim, holding even against Fimbulwinter's corrosion. Gaining Kratos' aid in breaking this spell is part of the reason Freya decides to call off her vendetta against him, the other being that she painfully realises that killing Kratos will only visit her own pain upon Atreus.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Tyr, thought to be long dead in the previous game, is revealed to be alive and well in this one. Kratos and Atreus rescue him from a mine early on, and he proves to be a valuable ally. ..Until it turns out that the reports weren't exaggerated at all — Tyr apparently really was Dead All Along, and the one who's been "helping" our heroes is Odin in disguise. And then, in the post-game, Kratos and Freya can find the actual Tyr, imprisoned deep within a now-destroyed prison in Niflheim, having completely missed Ragnarök as a result.
  • Request for Privacy: Odin regularly dismisses his fellow Aesir gods and servants whenever he feels the need to confide something of great importance to Atreus or discuss relevant topics, most notably the Rift under the Great Lodge and Mask tied to it. This approach is actually one of his many strategies to win the trust of Atreus to get what he wants.
  • Retcon:
    • Last game indicated that the spectral, talking squirrel Atreus summoned was Ratatoskr of the world-tree. In this game, the real Ratatoskr appears in a larger and more detailed physical form and explains that the spectral squirrel wasn't the real him, just an astral projection of his bitterest personality traits.
    • In the prior game, Mimir noted that nobody knows whether the Light or Dark Elves came first. By this game, during which he had no real opportunity to learn, he is knowledgeable about the entire history of the Elves and the Light (something that would have come in handy if he had explained three years prior).
    • Or perhaps just an overlooked continuity error. The previous game establishes that Hel's Bramble is supernaturally cold and cannot be burned by any fire from the 9 realms. Kratos's Blades of Chaos are the only thing capable of burning them as they powered by supernatural flame originating from outside the 9 realms. Yet, when Atreus journeys to Asgard, he comes across some Hel's bramble that he burns using glyph magic and a bog standard camp fire. Glyph magic does empower whatever element it interacts with, but you would think Freya might have mentioned it in the previous installment when Kratos went to Hel to heal his son. It's important to note though that Freya only referred to Helheim as being supernaturally cold, not Hel's Bramble (which could plausibly only be burned by magic fire).
    • Last game, travelling from Kratos and Atreus's home to the Lake of Nine involved an hour or more of game time, with numerous ruins and mountain paths to traverse. Now, a sled ride from one to the other is just over 1 kilometer on smooth paths, and takes only about 5 minutes.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: You can get a small amount of money for destroying the many pots scattered throughout the world. It isn't really enough to be worth anything, but there is a labor that tasks you with destroying hundreds of the thing, so get smashing!
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Everything about 'Tyr' takes on a different context with the reveal that he's really Odin in disguise and using Tyr's image and reputation to subtly undermine Kratos and Atreus' efforts in his favour without either of them knowing about it. It's especially obvious when watching him talk — his speech patterns, physicality, and overall mannerisms are recognizable as identical to Odin's if you know to look for the similarities; and it also shows that he's not putting much effort into masking his deception.
    • The early scene where Thor and Odin visit Kratos' house has a lot of this. Odin is intentionally trying to draw him and Atreus out to Svartalfheim so he can pose as Tyr, and if Kratos refuses and Thor fights him, he extends an offer to visit Asgard to Atreus which, combined with revealing that Atreus has been looking for Tyr behind Kratos' back, will drive a wedge between them later. This is on top of Thor trying to abstain from drinking and Odin mocking him for it.
    • Thrud revealing that despite his reputation as a heavy drinker, Thor is actually a recovering alcoholic who's been sober for years since the death of his sons in an attempt to clean up his awful parenting with her complete changes Thor and Odin's actions during their peace talks with Kratos. Odin clearly forced Thor to bring the gift of mead in to help make Kratos amenable to a sit-down, and despite clearly being tempted at several points, Thor makes a subtle but visible effort not to let a drop of mead touch his lips. When Odin enters he pushes Thor's mead cup towards him, and when Thor still won't drink takes it himself, both to show that the drink isn't poisoned to Kratos as well as disparagement towards Thor's attempts to be more than a drunken brute, even taunting him that he's 'no fun anymore' because he won't do as Odin asks of him. Suddenly, said talk becomes an example of how two-faced Odin is, as despite his seemingly-reasonable offers towards Kratos, he was at the same time engaging in a particular cruel and petty Kick the Dog moment towards his strongest and most loyal supporter right in front of the heroes and none of them noticed it.
    • Replay the game or rewatch cutscenes. Notice that the subtitles for Odin as "Tyr" fail to have the accent above the "y", but when the real Týr is found, his name has the accent.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Freya tries multiple times to brutally murder Kratos at the start of the game, so... still pretty pissed about the whole "killing her son" thing from the previous one.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Atreus first appears, he is obscured by the snow storm while carrying a deer over his shoulder, such that the antlers are silhouetted right above his head, evoking classical imagery of Loki.
  • Running Gag: The Boat Captain gets referenced again, this time in the Codex entry for the Lyngbakr. This time however its for a darker reason: Kratos expresses regret for having been needlessly cruel to the man.
  • Sad Battle Music: "Ragnarök" is a more somber, melancholic and tragic rendition of the main theme that plays when the Norns tell Kratos about how his inability to change would yet again cause destruction by starting Ragnarök and during Ragnarök itself, highlighting the drama war brings and the perceived inevitability of Kratos' prophetized death.
  • Screw Destiny: A theme throughout the game. According to the Norns, "Fate" is nothing more then the Gods making the same mistakes over and over again, because they refuse to actually learn from them. This is what makes attempting to avoid prophecy difficult, if the person doesn't recognize and acknowledge the flaws that make them viable in the first place. This inspires Kratos to try and actually change his fate by learning to be a better person.
  • Serial Escalation: God of War 3 had Kratos assault Olympus with the aid of the Titans. This game has Kratos leading an entire army to assault Asgard, and unlike in 3, his allies directly intervene in his battles a few times. And while the final battle in the Greek saga was against Zeus, who realied mostly on strength and his power over thunder, the final battle in the Norse Saga is against Odin, who combines magic with raw strength and skillful usage of his spear Gungnir.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Played with. Odin at one point calls out Kratos as never truly having been a god, noting that nobody has ever worshipped him or prayed to him. Mimir's assurance and Kratos' terse reaction implies that while Odin has a bit of point, Kratos is doing his best to not let it get to him. That said, it should be noted that Kratos having followers while he was god of war was a major plot point in the second game; a minor boss fight was literally a Spartan who worshipped him and followed him into battle in Rhodes. So keeping this in mind makes it seem less like Kratos being rattled by Odin and more like he knew Odin was full of shit but didn't want to waste the effort in correcting him. Additionally, Odin's point is that Kratos was never a god who would have been universally worshiped by the ordinary citizens of the realms or the less confrontational inhabitants of the norse lands. Whilst they undoubtably worshiped him, it would be hard to argue the the warriors of Sparta were unbiased in their support of the Ghost of Sparta, and Kratos was otherwise still shunned by the citizens of Greece for his past and brutality. In that regard, Kratos is also aware that attempting to argue against Odin's claims would only underline his point. As well, while Odin has many who adore him, Odin holds precicely zero love for them, making his accusations that Kratos doesn't know "that kind of love" feel appropriately hypocritical.
    • Mimir told the tale of how Thiazi was murdered by his daughter last game, only for Angrboda to reveal in this game he lived to see Jotunheim hidden away and put himself in a marble, waiting for Loki to arrive and reunite his body and soul.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The origin of the infinite knowledge portal is never addressed. Even Odin and all the best intellectuals he could hire never found an answer. Odin's best guess is that the portal is tied to the very foundation of creation itself, and claims that it speaks to him. Whether this portal comes from a Norse magic so ancient it was forgotten, or if it's from an entirely different mythology/pantheon remains to be seen. According to Mimir, Odin also claimed to have learned about the mask from a disembodied voice that spoke to him and, though Mimir thinks Odin might've just been tripping balls, it still makes for a possible sequel hook.
    • Atreus heads off at the end of the story to search for Giants in other lands, indicating that a sequel would see Kratos and him reuniting in civilizations far from Midgard, such as Ancient Egypt or Camelot.
    • Mimir mentions that Hraesvelgr is looking to retire as the overlord of Helheim, meaning a replacement will have to be found. In the myths, the ruler of Hel is a daughter of Loki and Angrboda.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • The first fight with Thor sees him throw you into new arenas and unlock new moves each time you knock him into a new phase.
    • The Heimdall fight changes a lot as you go throughout. First you start by fighting his mount, then you have to figure out if you can damage him at all, and then there's a largely normal fight. And one more phase where he's so mad you took of his arm that he starts gunning for yours.
    • The final boss has two phases and comes right after a pretty explosive fight against the penultimate boss.
  • Shared Life-Meter: Mercifully, the Sisters of lllska each have a health bar, but damaging one of the sisters causes both meters to deplete. Getting one to zero causes both to get stunned, where they can be easily finished off.
  • Shield Bash: The few shields that exist in this game mainly differ in how Kratos can smash them into someone's skull.
    • The Stone Wall Shield lets you bash the ground and cause a shockwave. The more attacks you block, the bigger the shockwave.
    • The Dauntless Shield's bash can only be used after parrying, but adds a lot to each character's Break Meter.
    • The Guardian Shield, fittingly as a memento of Kratos' past with his family, lets you perform one of the Shield Bash upgrades from the last game.
    • The Shatter Star Shield's has an explosive shield bash with a wider radius the longer you have the shield up without blocking an attack with it.
    • The Onslaught Shield has shield bash that also sends Kratos rushing forward until he smacks into an enemy, making it great for closing the distance between ranged foes.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Large portions of Alfheim are made up of open deserts where sandstorms bury chests until you free the monster causing them.
  • Ship Tease: Atreus gets this with both Angrboða, one of the last of the Jotnar, and Thrúd, Thor's teenage daughter with dreams of being a Valkyrie. Both girls accompany him on seperate adventures where they get to know each other, and they both clearly care for him — although greater emphasis is placed between him and Angrboða, who in the original myths was Loki's lover. Kratos actually notices the attraction between his son and Angrboða, and wonders if he adequately prepared Atreus for things like love. Atreus himself will comment at one point that he likes someone and Kratos and Mimir deduce that it's Angrboda from watching them interact.
  • Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: Odin screams at Brok in his real voice when he pulls the thread of his Tyr disguise, particularly bringing up Atreus as "Loki".
  • Shoot the Dog: Early on in the story, Atreus is forced to put his wolf Fenrir down because he's slowly dying. Kratos and Atreus both know it's a more noble death than letting the wolf slowly rot away, so Atreus performs a spell that rips Fenrir's soul out — giving him a peaceful death. Atreus ultimately views the death of Odin in much the same way. Atreus saw some good qualities in the man, but realized that his obsession would make him a danger to everyone if he stayed alive. Instead of a noble dog that needed to be put down to spare him the pain, Atreus needed to put down a mad dog who was a danger to others, and uses the same spell on Odin to rip out his soul.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Whenever there's a Nokken in the area healing enemies, you can bet Mimir or Atreus will pester you to take out that healer before trying to take out anyone else.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When we first see Atreus at the start of the game he is shown in silhouette carrying a deer, with the deer's antlers forming around Atreus' head, a nod to Loki's horned helmet in The Mighty Thor.
    • Similarly, Thor is shown to be able to fly by throwing Mjölnir while holding onto the end of it; something not present in the myths but being an invention of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for the Marvel Comics version of the character.
    • Mjölnir has a distinctive metallic "wrurng" sound effect similar to the one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • The way Asgard falls is similar to what happens in Thor: Ragnarok; Surtr, having grown to giant size with a primordial flame, plunges his sword through the center of its capital.
    • A group of collectables is a series of poems that are references to other PlayStation games developed by Sony:
    • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale of all things gets referenced as something from Kratos's past.
      Mimir: Brother, I've heard my share of stories about your homeland. But I'd also heard that you once fought in a tournament.
      Kratos: I fought in many contests.
      Mimir: But this particular one... I heard you did battle with beasts, scoundrels, princesses, the undead, automatons, and... history's greatest musician. That's not... that's not true is it?
      Kratos: I would not speak of this.
      Mimir: Fair enough, brother.
    • While exploring Nidavellir, Mimir mentions a story from his homeland about three witches who tricked a lord into betraying his king to become king himself, made him so paranoid he killed or drove off his closest friends, and made him think he was invincible — culminating in the king being so reviled his name is seen as cursed — a fine summary of Macbeth.
    • A major subplot is Atreus re-assembling the broken remains of a wooden mask, which bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain other magical mask associated with Loki. Mimir even says that he thought the Giants were 'having a laugh' with the magical item and the importance Odin places on it.
    • Upon finding out that the Ragnarök prophecy Odin is operating off of is a fake one, Atreus asks what difference it makes since Asgard will still be destroyed. Mimir replies that without the full picture and context, the finer details of a prophecy can lead you to incorrect interpretations, citing a Greek play. Kratos cuts him off before he can elaborate, saying all of his people knew the story of "the Theban king".
    • After meeting the Lady of the Forge, in a later conversation with Mimir, he mentions that she reminds him of another past acquaintance of his, Nimue, the Lady of the Lake.
    • Odin’s warriors, the Einherjar, have bone-white skin, shaven heads, black leather clothing and black makeup smeared around their eyes in a clear reference to Immortan Joe’s War Boys, another group of fanatical warriors associated with Valhalla.
    • Skjöldr bears a heavy resemblance to Link's look in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And in the postgame, Mimir even gets to say "well exCUUUUUse me" to Sif, who resembles Zelda a fair bit.
    • During his boss fight, one of Heimdall's taunts is "You strike like a sloppy cow!"
    • One of the treasure map quests is named "A Scar is Born".
    • The device Ratotoskr gives Kratos to capture Nidhogg's offspring with looks and acts suspiciously like a certain device used to trap otherworldly creatures.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Discussed by Mimir and Kratos when they talk about the play Oedipus the King and the Classical Unities from Aristotle on the subject of self-fullfilling prophecies. Mimir criticizes the play for being mostly composed of series of dialogues between the characters, pointing out how the events of the story could've been shown to the audience on-stage rather than described in speeches, but Kratos argues that having the plot happen uninterruptedly in one time and place is a tradition in Greek drama storytelling, as it makes the play more clear.
    Mimir: Something else I recall about that Greek play I mentioned, if you won't take offense at a critique — as a work of perfomance, it consisted almost entirely of watching people give speeches and receive terrible news. Might have been nice to see more events dramatized instead of described.
    Kratos: It is Greek tradition for a story to unfold in a single time and place, uninterrupted. It is more clear.
    Mimir: If you say so.
  • Side Quest: You'll wrack up sidequests just by playing through the main story and find more and more the more time you spend exploring. This is a good example of Eric Williams design philosophy of rewarding players the more they put into the game. You'll find entire realms, massive open-world areas, and totally optional bosses by paying attention to these sidequests and looking for more.
  • Sled Dogs Through the Snow: Kratos and Atreus travel through frozen Midgard on a sled pulled by two wolves. There is also a sled in Alfheim's desert pulled by two Gulons that serve the same purpose there.
  • Sliding Scale Of Free Will Versus Fate: The Norns reveal the universe sits in the exact middle; they can predict all actions assuming nobody accounts for their own personal responsibility, though in their experience this is the same as predestination given how stubborn gods are and how they suffer Selective Obliviousness to their words. Kratos, as part of his Character Development, actually takes this to heart, and stops himself from killing Heimdall in anger, as they predicted - derailing the prophecy that says he dies and Atreus sides with Odin.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: Kratos wants to protect Atreus, not fight Freya. When he is forced to do the latter, he therefore unlocks a new form of his Rage: Valor, which heals Kratos instead of causing him to deal more damage. He does it again when Atreus returns after running away, unlocking his "Wrath," which allows for quick bursts of controlled violence.
  • Slow "NO!": If you use a move that slows down time in the first Heimdall fight, he'll say "Oh no" super slowly to mock you and keep moving at normal speed.
  • Socketed Equipment: Enchantment slots return from the first game to give Kratos small boosts to his stats alongside another minor benefit. Unlike the first one, the sockets aren't related to the armor or relic you have equipped, but a unique item called the Amulet of Yggdrasil which has a maximum of nine enchantments you can slot into it.
  • Soul Jar:
    • Phantoms are immune to damage, since their life-force is created by runic springs rather than being contained in themselves. As such, the only way to kill a phantom is to destroy the springs.
    • When Atreus's beloved pet wolf Fenrir dies in the beginning, he unwittingly puts Fenrir's soul into his knife. It comes in handy later when he puts Fenrir's soul into the Realm-destroying wolf Garm, turning the beast into a Gentle Giant.
    • All the "surviving" giants left their bodies and put their souls into little marble-like devices, which Angrboda eventually passes on to Atreus. He takes a giant's soul from one and puts it into a snake, unwittingly creating the World-Serpent Jormungandr, and he puts Odin's soul into one in the end.
  • So Proud of You: Kratos affirms Atreus's own Character Development by end in his most vulnerable moment in the entire series, and that Atreus lives up to his namesake. In the end, it's his confidence in Atreus that has him accept Atreus wanting to find his own place in seeking out the Giants that has Kratos willingly part with his son, as Kratos sees his son as ready now to strike out and make his own destiny.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Several characters foreseen to die during Ragnarök in the myths survive in the game:
    • Jörmungandr is killed by Thor during their fight at the same time the serpent poisons the god of thunder in the Eddas, while in here he is sent back in time when Thor hits him with so much strenght that it cracks Yggdrasil. In a Stable Time Loop, the older Jörmungandr continues to live in Midgard after the events.
    • After swallowing Odin, Fenrir is killed by Viðarr in revenge, while in the story Viðarr never appears and the wolf can be visited in Jötunheim after Asgard's destruction.
    • In the myths, Týr dies in a battle against Garm in which each becomes the other's slayer, whereas in here he didn't get the chance to participate in the war in the first place due to still being imprisoned and is only freed long after Garm had became the body of the much more docile Fenrir.
    • Loki and Heimdall kill each other during Ragnarök. In the game, Kratos ends up killing Heimdall before this happens and Loki, under the name of Atreus, survives the war and goes on his own journey to find more giants.
    • In a more general note, most of humanity in the myths is killed during the destruction of the Nine Realms, with only the couple Líf and Lífþrasir surviving the fire of Surtr by hiding in a wood and going on to repopulate the newly risen world; here, the war is mostly only restricted to Asgard and Midgard is spared from it, with one of Kratos' objectives being to rescue the human refugees in Asgard and avoid casualties.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: The Draupnir Spear creates a new spear in the wielder's hand every time it's thrown, potentially allowing six to eight spears to exist simultaneously. Exaggerated with one specific move, where the spear's wielder throws it to the air and dozens of spears appear out of thin air to strike down his enemies.
  • Staff of Authority: Director Eric Williams talked about how Odin's Draupnir ring and the spear created from it were meant to symbolize his role as a leader and general. "His role" being Kratos' role, as he uses the spear to realize becoming a general in Ragnarök and a good god thereafter. In a villainous example, Odin's spear Gungnir can be turned into a staff, symbolizing his royalty as leader of the Aesir.
  • Status Buff: An enchantment allows you to exchange the healing Valor gives you to an extremely strong boost to your strength. The downside is it also makes you much more vulnerable to enemy attacks, but it only lasts a short time.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Atreus's first transformation into a bear is uncontrollable and extremely dangerous, as he attacks scores of Raiders and even his own father without realizing it. The most probable meaning of the Old Norse berserkr is "bear-shirt", e.g., a crazed warrior clad in the skin of a bear.
    • Played for Drama: Halfway through the game, Brok challenges Mimir to solve a riddle: "what gets bigger the more you take away?", and much to Mimir's frustration, every answers he gives to Brok is wrong. It's only after Brok dies and when Mimir sees Sindri grieving at Brok's funeral that he realizes what the answer was - "a hole". As in there's a hole in Sindri's heart that can never be filled.
  • Stop Poking Me!:
    • You can ring Ratatoskr's chime as many times as you want and he'll have increasingly annoyed dialogue for each ring until he breaks and curses you out.
    • Trying to eavsedrop on Odin and Heimdall repeatedly will have them each ask you to leave more and more indignantly until Heimdall gives up and asks Odin if you've always been this weird.
  • Stone Wall: One example of the Stone Wall trope is the Stone Wall shield, a shield that looks and acts like a Stone Wall. It doesn't boost any of your stats but the ones that buff your defenses, and its perk is only really good for making you block better. But if you like blocking, there's no better pick in the game.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: You won't find Vanaheim's crater or what caused its existence from following the main story or watching a cutscene. You'll have to travel around, complete quests for the spirits who died there, and pay attention to the environment to find out what this place is and why it looks just like the hole Kratos left while fighting Thor.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: On his mission in Helheim, Atreus quickly makes up his mind to release Garm, ignoring Thrud's concern that he might be chained up for a good reason. As such, the player is given no choice but to free the ravening monster and deal with the disastrous consequences.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Played for Drama. When discussing a plan of attack against Asgard after Atreus managed to assemble the whole mask that Odin has been searching for, Tyr offers to lead them on a secret route to Asgard to catch the All-father off guard. This confirms Brok's brewing suspicions about 'Tyr's' behaviour, confronting him over his willingness to reveal this now and not prior, and bringing up all his odd actions and tendency to refer to Atreus as 'Loki', eventually pushing 'Tyr' past the Rage-Breaking Point and exposing him as Odin in disguise.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: It may be the first game in the entire franchise that doesn't end on a dour note or foreboding cliffhanger. Though many good people do lose their lives, the remaining Realms are freed from Odin's tyranny, there are gods remaining who are optimistically looking to rebuild, the Fimbulwinter begins to end, the elves made a truce, the mortals are spared the worst that Ragnarök could have potentially offered, and Kratos finally is freed from his bloodstained past and has grown into a wiser being capable of bringing hope to gods and mortals alike.
    • Of course, this doesn't account for A Viking Funeral that heralds the end credits, where Sindri's grief and lack of reconciliation with Kratos or Atreus cuts as deep as any blade.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • If the Leviathan Axe is thrown a considerable distance away from Kratos, it will take a while to fly back the same distance when he recalls it to his hands. This is most openly showcased during his first bout with Thor, wherein the God of Thunder knocks them both all the way from Kratos' house to Tyr's temple before he can grab the axe, engaging Kratos in a fistfight. When Kratos manages to briefly pin him against the wall to gain enough breathing room to summon his weapon, it takes a few moments for it to actually reach the temple.
    • When Atreus becomes playable after rescuing Tyr, he comes across one of the smaller wooden chests Kratos opens by punching through the lid and attempts to replicate the action. Lacking his father's muscular physique or experience with physically punching his enemies or objects, he nearly breaks his hand on the wood and has to resort to cracking it open by using his bow shaft as a bludgeon. Kratos and Mimir later point out to him that whilst he has the strength of a god, and is stronger than a lithe teenage boy his age would normally be, if he wants to capable of his father's feats of strength, he'll have to work out to gain the muscles necessary for that.
      • Likewise, when he's first teleported into Asgard, his method of entry results in him falling into a rushing river and he noticeably struggles to keep afloat until the current pushes him close enough to crawl onto solid ground. As he notes, as a young boy he was never trained on how to swimnote , and once he and Kratos left their woods for the first time their adventure ultimately resulted in kickstarting Fimbulwinter early, resulting in all the bodies of water in Midgard being either too cold or too frozen to pick up the skill. Being a god doesn't make Atreus immune to something as simple as drowning if he lacks either the ability to swim or some magical protection against that outcome.
      • When Atreus goes on an extended climbing sequence up the sheer cliffs of the great wall of Asgard, whilst he starts off fine at the start and confident in his eventual success thanks to all the climbing he's been going on throughout his and Kratos' adventures, as he gets higher towards the top, he starts getting nervous about the sheer drop (being higher and steeper than anything he's climbed in previous games) and visibly exhausted by the long periods he's forced to cling to the vertical surface, with even a few unique animations where his grip and footing start to slip. Atreus' strength isn't inexhaustible, and a long strenuous exercise like that will take its toll on even an experienced climber like him.
    • Odin might be the immensely powerful Top God of a whole pantheon and capable of keeping track of people through other means despite his impaired vision, but without some form of replacement for his missing eye, he's still not actually seeing anything on his right side. Heimdall messes with him by standing directly behind and to the left of Odin, then subtly moving to his right side. When Odin turns back to address Heimdall again, he's forced to slowly turn in a three-quarter circle to see him again.
    • At the end of their 'fight', Atreus fires an arrow at Heimdall's head from close-range when he turns his back to him, only for the god of foresight to casually tilt his head and catch it from behind. However, the mud on the arrow is splattered on his face, which angers him once he realises. Despite having Precognition and Super Reflexes, Heimdall can only read intentions, not the future, so he had no idea what it could do, which turns out to be Foreshadowing that it is possible to bypass Heimdall's foresight.
    • Despite his best efforts, Atreus cannot convince Thrúd that Odin is anything but good. As she notes, Atreus is a Giant (a species constantly at odds with Asgard), and his two main sources of information are Odin's vengeful ex-wife (Freya) and his disgraced former advisor (Mimir), so there is little reason to believe anything he says about the matter. Only when Sif, her mother who has Thrd's trust, confirms his callousness does she finally believe any of it.
    • Regardless how much he bonded with Thor during their trips into Muspelheim and Niflheim, Atreus is still Modi's killer, and Thor is NOT happy about working with the murderer of his son. Sif coming to bring news that Heimdall was killed by Kratos is evidently the last straw for Thor, who immediately proceeds to try killing Atreus.
    • Odin's gambit of Playing Both Sides has some hangups in execution of performing the roles of two different people at once, especially since he's also keeping those in Asgard in the dark about his excursions as Týr. Despite being capable of near-instantaneous transportation straight to Sindri's house through his ravens, when he sees Atreus off after freeing Garm it takes him a few moments to be alone enough to reassume his disguise and move to the house, especially since he makes a point of micromanaging affairs in Asgard as the Top God, emerging only after the fighting with the Hel walkers has finished, which he plays off as 'Tyr's' pacifistic nature to avoid conflict. Mimir later Lampshades that his entire act was a risky gamble that depends upon the various allies in the house having sympathy for Týr's Broken Bird status to not disturb him in the long periods of solitude he spends inside Sindri's broom closet, noting that it would have been undone if any of them had looked inside even once.
    • When Thor collapses after drinking way too much, it takes both Thrud and Atreus working together to lift him out of the bar after some serious difficulty. They both may have super strength, but Thor's fat and muscular body means he is much denser than the chests they can open. (In Thrud's case, with her own strength while Atreus relies on his bow)
    • Throughout the game, Sindri acts as Atreus' confidant and Number Two, helping him on his search for clues about Tyr behind Kratos' back, despite his apprehension of the man, fixing up their equipment with minor requested payments and materials, and following him out into dangerous situations like battling monsters or trying to convince Freya to a peaceful truce despite the danger and his apprehension, mainly because he also fears the consequences if Atreus should get hurt and Kratos finds out. As he scathingly points out to Atreus following Brok's death, his single-minded focus on his goals all the time at Sindri's expense meant that, despite the goodwill between them, their relationship was ultimately all about Atreus taking Sindri's services and friendship for granted. Even if it's somewhat irrational for him to blame him and Kratos for bringing a disguised Odin into their safe haven when nobody else saw that coming, not even Odin's ex-wife and the smartest man alive, he's not wrong to be highly upset with how he's been treated, especially since Atreus never realised or apologised for his behaviour until Sindri pointed it out. By that point, Sindri is too consumed by his own grief to allow Atreus to make amends and their friendship is completely shattered for the entire rest of the game.
    • Even though a Central Theme of this game is about choice and learning to move on, Brok's death was a tragedy that just recently happened, and making it worse is that He's Barred from the Afterlife. Both Kratos and Freya have had years to deal with their grief, which made it easier for them to come to terms with their past tragedies and mistakes, while Sindri losing his brother was an event that just happened recently. Dealing with such a heavy loss isn't something that's just going to disappear overnight and it's likely Sindri will take years before eventually becoming on the same boat as Kratos and Freya.
    • While Sindri proves to be of an invaluable help in Ragnarok, destroying the Bifrost machines used by Odin and the Walls of Asgard, his rage over Brok's death and his strong desire for revenge and newfound willingness to get his hands dirty does not mean he automatically becomes a fierce fighter. After all, while Brok is comfortable in fighting in close-combat and openly helps Kratos in such, Sindri, when fighting alongside Atreus, acts as an Improbable Weapon User using the many items of his magic bag. When he stops using exploding projectiles and starts fighting with a sword and a smithing hammer, he proves to rely mostly on vicious and wild moves rather than any actual trained fighting style. As Atreus even warns, Sindri may now be more than willing to fight, but just being willing and driven by anger isn't going to automatically turn someone into a formidable warrior, and he only proves useful in gameplay because Atreus is the one who does the most fighting. As soon as the two get separated, Sindri is easy pickings for two Einherjars, only desperately swinging at his would-be killers on the ground as they easily kick him again and again, and would have been killed had Atreus not helped him.
  • Super Spit:
    • One of the Nidhogg's most powerful attacks has her absorb a bunch of debris into a portal to Yggdrasil and then open another portal in its mouth to launch a flood of the debris at Kratos.
    • The Cursed Grims are enemies who can spit poison at Kratos from afar.
  • Sword Plant: One addition to Kratos' moveset is the ability to slam his weapon down into the ground after leaping onto a platform. This causes a bit of a shockwave and a wave of ice or fire (depending on your weapon), making it great for knocking away groups of enemies who have conflomerated on a single part of a battlefield.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Modi was overall unpleasant, nearly killed Atreus, and his own family members hate his cowardice. As Kratos fights Thor, Kratos still expresses some sympathy for Modi's ending, and how Modi was treated by his family.
    Thor: This is for Modi! (both he and Kratos throw their weapons at each other, becoming locked in mid-air from the collision)
    Kratos: You put him last, even in death.
    Thor: The fuck you say?
    Kratos: Modi sought us in fear of you. He died of the wounds you gave him.
    Thor: Oh, we got a model father here.

  • Take a Third Option: The prophecy Atreus finds in Muspelheim shows Surtr combining with Sinmara to create the creature that destroys Asgard. Surtr is obviously unwilling to sacrifice Sinmara because of his love for her, but notices that the Blades of Chaos has primordial fire, despite its Greek origins. After infusing the Blades with his own primordial fire, Kratos stabs the Blades into Sinmara's heart that's inside Surtr, allowing both elements to fuse and him to transform inside the Spark of the World.
  • Teleport Spam: High-level Einherjar can teleport constantly using the Bifrost and have no hesitation in using it to attack Kratos from all angles.
  • Thematic Sequel Logo Change: The Jörmungandr sigil and the subtitle in the game's logo are blue to represent Fimbulwinter, the three-summer long winter that predates Ragnarök proper and where the game begins.
  • Time Skip: The game starts three years after the previous one, as demonstrated by Atreus' older appearance.
  • Time Travel:
    • Freya and Mimir are astounded to hear Kratos claim that the Greek Sisters of Fate didn't just see the future, but had the power to go back in time and change events that had already occurred. Kratos expands upon this by telling them that the Sisters tried to erase Kratos' existence, so he killed them and then used their power against Zeus. Mimir notes that they're lucky the Norse equivalent to the Fates are less powerful and do not have the ability to manipulate time, and if they did Odin would have already seized such a power and killed all of his enemies with it.
    • More comically Mimir talks about regrets in one of the in-game dialogues. He asks Kratos if ever muses about going back in time to change his mistakes, and if he could would he do it? Kratos responds that going back in time is more trouble than it's worth. Mimir assumes Kratos is speaking metaphorically at first, but then Kratos clarifies that he is not. Mimir has a bemused reaction to the idea that he's being literal, but has more or less a "I guess if anyone could do something so strange it would be you." reaction in his tone.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Subverted, but is assumed to be the case. When the trio encounter Tyr imprisoned within the mine, he's apparently been mentally tortured by Odin in a similarly creative manner as Mimir, and initially believes they're hallucinations or visions sent to torment him. When Mimir tries to talk to him as a friendly face, Tyr panics at the sight of a severed head talking at him and runs away. After they catch up to him and calm him down, he has to clarify that everybody else can see and hear the speaking severed head on Kratos' hip, indicating that he's been subjected to some extremely surreal visions in his captivity. In actuality, this is Odin doing his best to sell the idea that 'Tyr' is mentally broken by his time in captivity, so as to excuse any later uncharacteristic behaviour of his whilst manipulating the heroes into serving his interests without knowing.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The State of Play trailer itself doesn't necessarily spoil too much, but if you turn on Closed Captioning, it reveals that Odin is saying some of the lines in the trailer, specifically the lines calling Kratos a bloodthirsty and selfish animal, leaving no doubt that he will make an appearance in the game.
    • There's also how Atreus is caring for a wolf named Fenrir who dies in the first half hour of the game, but the trailer shows them confronting the giant wolf of Norse myth later on. This winds up being zigzagged in several ways. First, Fenrir's "appearance" was in a pre-rendered teaser that wasn't of gameplay footage. And second, the giant wolf is actually Garm, but Atreus gives it the soul of Fenrir, meaning it ultimately becomes Fenrir anyways!
  • Tranquil Fury: Some of Thor's first dialogue sounds like he is barely holding back a ton of Unstoppable Rage.
    Thor: You seem like a calm and reasonable person. Are you a calm and reasonable person?
  • Trick Shot Puzzle: One new mechanic in the game is the many crystal walls that cause your Leviathan Axe to ricochet off at great speed when thrown at them. Many puzzles challenge you to cut through walls beyond your reach, chain ricochet shots together, and cut through regenerating hive material simultaneously.
  • Trophy Room: Much like in the last game, collectibles you sell to Brok and Sindri will show up on display in the main shop, this time being Sindri's home. Relics will be lined up behind the shop counter, and a bookshelf built into the wall next to Kratos and Atreus' rooms will have Kvasir's poetry books and the items you collect to put spirits to rest.
  • Truer to the Text: Downplayed; as usual, the series does lots of deviations and original creations for the benefit of the story, but there are a few elements closer to the original sources of Norse Mythology than later retellings, especially those influenced by 19th century Germanic romanticism.
    • While much more villainous, Odin is shown as a treacherous and sly trickster who uses disguises and manipulation to get what he wants, usually more knowledge and ways to avoid his fated demise. This is true to Odin in the myths, as he frequently dishonorably achieves his objectives through disguises, trickery and guile, and was an anxious figure focused on getting greater knowledge and wisdom at any cost and finding a way to circumvent Ragnarök (to the point that a few of his alias are "evil-doer", "swift in deceit" and "battle-stirrer"), in contrast to the glorious and fatherly warrior-king seen in later media. Examples include how he stole the Mead of Poetry by disguising himself, shapeshifting into animals and seducing its keeper in the Prose Edda, and how he discovered the meaning of Baldr's dreams by reanimating a dead jötunn seeress and disguising himself as a wanderer so she wouldn't recognize him as Odin in the Poetic Edda.
    • Thor is portrayed as a red-haired warrior with a full beard, which is more accurate to the few descriptions he gets in sagas than works such as Thor's Fight with the Giants and The Mighty Thor, that show him as a blonde and clean-shaved hero. Moreover, his brawny physique and large gut fit with the enormous appetite Thor has in many myths, in which he has deeds like eating two oxes in a row and drinking three tuns of mead. His personality as a Blood Knight, while more villainous and hurtful, is also closer to Thor's short-temperedness and status as slayer of jötnar than romanticized versions showing him as a more traditionally noble and inspiring hero.
  • Turns Red: The lower you bring Thor's health bar, the more of his true power he'll break out during his fight. He'll go from barely using Mjolnir to almost exclusively using it to batter and shock you to covering himself in lightning and moving like it in the last half of your final fight with him.
  • Turtle Island: The Lyngbakr is an imprisoned whale-like creature that, like in the myths, is so big that can be mistaken for an island. Kratos can fight enemies, find chests, and ultimately help to free the animal all on top of its back.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Played With. Different from the Eddas, the celestial wolves Sköll and Hati are not Fenrir's sons, as the latter is only a normal wolf who only becomes the supernatural beast from myths by inhabiting Garm's body, long after the former wolves were born. In the previous game, Mimir mentions Sköll and Hati's father was the wolf Hróðvitnir, which in mythology is one of the alternate names for Fenrir, but whether Hróðvitnir is one of Garm's names, thus making him take Fenrir's role as Sköll and Hati's father, or if he is a different character alltogether from both Garm and Fenrir isn't focused on.
  • The Unreveal: The game doesn't explain how Faye died, how and where exactly Freya got her fighting spirit back, who blew the horn in the last installment, and the true purpose of the MacGuffin mask Odin is obsessed about. The second and last are addressed and left deliberately unanswered; the first is brought up and handwaved, and third just never gets mentioned.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The Rage meter returns from the first game with three abilities it can power. You start out which Fury, which is just the bare-fisted Super Mode from the first game, then you get Valor, where you scream with enough fury to scare your hit points back, and lastly you unlock Wrath, where you focus your ire on doing absurdly massive damage to one enemy so they stay dead and damned.
  • Untouchable Until Tagged:
    • Will-O-Wisps are too fast for Kratos to hit with any of his normal attacks. However, Atreus is quick enough to hit them with his arrows and startle them long enough for Kratos to get one hit in, which always kills them.
    • Heimdall is too good at reading his opponents for anyone to get a hit on him. Kratos and Atreus have no way to touch him in gameplay with their axe, blades, arrows, runic attacks, or even Spartan Rage. Even Draupnir, a weapon specifically designed to kill him, can only momentarily stun and disorient Heimdall, not doing any direct damage. Once Kratos adapts to fighting him and finally lands a punch though you gain the ability to counterattack during windows of vulnerability, and as the fight progresses Heimdall eventually loses too much composure to keep dodging entirely and all your attacks can now hit him.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty:
    • Why Freya ultimately abandons her vengeance towards Kratos. She sees Atreus so angry that he actually wants to kill her only for Kratos to declare her as a friend despite everything she put him through, which snaps her hard as she realizes she was close to corrupting a good-hearted child she still genuinely cared for while Kratos never even saw her as an enemy. She tries to harden herself by using Kratos to break the curse that bound her to Midgard on Vanaheim under the pretense she'll kill him after it was done, but Kratos's stories of how hollow vengeance was and his genuine friendship eventually makes her abandon the cause all together. She shifts her vengeance towards Odin afterwards, except by the time she has the chance to end her former husband for all he did to her, she decides against it, realizing she didn't actually need vengeance and just had to defeat Odin for the sake of the future and safety of the Nine Realms.
    • After Odin kills Brok, Atreus and Mimir start showing signs of wanting to get revenge on Odin, only for Kratos to sternly call out the fact they aren't seeking justice but vengeance. It works for them both, as Atreus traps Odin's soul in a marble while Mimir doesn't protest at all, stating all that matters is that he was defeated for good and his tyranny ended, only for Sindri to pull off the deed himself, immediately stealing the marble and smashing it in revenge for his brother's death... Which only further proves the trope to be right, as his appearance in Brok's funeral makes it clear that having achieved his vengeance has just left him more empty and hollow.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Bosses will sometimes drop relics that let the player replicate the boss's ability. For example, one boss can slow down time, so beating him merits you a relic that does the same.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • You have the option to return to your house in Midgard to visit and soothe your pet wolves in their kennels.
    • An endgame sidequest has you attend Brok's funeral.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The player gets a prompt to chuck a snowball at Sindri. There's no consequences for doing so, outside of maybe a cruel laugh on your part. Of course, the player might recall this incident as one of the several moments Atreus has taken/done something at Sindri's expense when he's lambasting the boy for taking him and their friendship for granted, leading to them feeling guilty as well for also hurting Sindri through following the game's instructions without thinking through what the consequences would be.
    • As in the last game, there are various inoffensive creatures (crabs, birds, etc) wandering around the landscape. A bored or frustrated player can turn them into grease stains with a toss of the axe.
  • Video Game Vista: There is a ridge in Vanaheim that showcases a beautiful view out over the jungle, which is a welcome respite from the cramped vegetation. The first time Kratos steps out over it the Celestial Wolves soar overhead and turn the night to day. Also worth noting is the mountain that holds Faye's shrine at the end of the game where Kratos and Freya rejoin forces that looms over the whole Lake of Nine.
  • Viking Funeral: Brok's funeral in the post-game. At Svartalfheim, his body is placed onto a boat and shoved into the sea before a lit arrow is fired at it.
  • Villain Ball: During Ragnarök, Odin has the civilian population of Asgard, including Midgardian refugees, manning the war machines. This enables him to send the Einherjar and assembled monsters freely against the invading forces, and avoids casualties to his warriors when Kratos and the rest destroy the war machines. In theory, this would also further galvanize the Asgardian defenses from their friends and families getting hurt by the invaders. However, upon realizing that there are innocent civilians in the crossfire, Kratos and his allies change tactics, putting themselves at risk to limit the damage done whilst also simultaneously opening the breach in Asgard's walls. Furthermore, as Freya notes shortly thereafter, the einherjar were coming back from Valhalla shortly after being killed, so there was no reason to save his resources at all other than to try and break his enemies' resolve. Odin's callousness and willingness to use his own people as Cannon Fodder turns several defenders against him, such as Sif and Thrúd, making him more enemies and making the heroes' assault much easier as a result, when not doing that would have enabled him to keep them from gaining Asgardian reinforcements after he cut off their allies from the realmgates.
  • Villain Reveals the Secret: In the prologue, both Odin and Thor reveal to Kratos that Atreus was secretly conducting searches for clues regarding Tyr. This is secretly Odin's gambit to manipulate Atreus, revealing this to drive a wedge between father and son over Atreus' secret keeping and focus on his 'destiny', whilst also giving the impression to both of them that he really doesn't want anybody looking for a supposedly dead man, making them think that's exactly what they need to do instead, when in actuality, it merely allows Odin to disguise himself as Tyr, be 'rescued', and manipulate them both under the guise of a friendly ally.
  • Villain Teleportation: No one can travel the realms with more speed or freedom than Odin, the big bad of the game. His ravens let him appear anywhere he pleases in any realm (sans Jotunheim) with any number of willing people. When we see his morning routine, he teleports about five times over the course of a minutes long conversation and briefly appear in a whole other plane of existence before returning back home to finish his walk. The only limit his teleportation has is consent; as long as those traveling want to travel, they will, which handwaves why Odin can't use this power to kidnap anybody, especially Atreus.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Atreus and Sindri have become quite close friends though that doesn't stop either from sniping and snarking at each other. Kratos also sometimes has this dynamic with Mimir and also Freya once she decides to finally put aside her vendetta and focus instead on stopping Odin.
  • Void Between the Worlds: After our heroes track down Surtr in Muspelheim and convince him to start Ragnarök, he leads Kratos and Atreus to the "Spark of the World", a large chamber containing a nebula and a few stone platforms that bridges between Muspelheim and Niflheim and was the origin point for the Nine Realms. This space is known in the actual mythology as the Ginnungagap, and was the spot where Ymir came into being from the primordial nothingness. It is here that Surtr needs to be to become Ragnarök after conjoining his primordial fire and the Blades of Chaos' primordial fire with Sinmara's frozen heart, and he falls into the Ginnungagap to complete the transformation.
  • War Is Hell: A recurring theme. Those who have been through war, especially Kratos, extol how horrific it is and how they wish nobody else to go through it if they can help it. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Norse, the alternative to fighting Odin's tyranny could be as bad if not worse, so Ragnarök is nigh inevitable.
  • Warp Whistle: The Bifrost doors can open to any other Bifrost Door, as they do at the end of the first game, but that also now includes Bifrost doors from other Realms. You can also use the doors to fast travel in this way as soon as you gain access to them, allowing you to teleport all over the game without worrying about moving to and fro a central hub like Tyr's Temple. The fact that the realms have multiple Bifrost doors in each means you can now fast travel door-to-door within a realm, saving yourself a lot of tedious walking and navigation.
  • The War Sequence: The climax of the story, Ragnarok itself, plays out as a massive war zone across Asgard, complete with siege engines, multiple armies, and even trench warfare.
  • We Can Rule Together: Odin makes Atreus an offer to become his teacher and ally within the first hour. The rest of the game deals with Atreus' temptation to accept and the wedge this creates in his relationship with Kratos.
  • Wham Line:
  • Wham Shot: After rescuing Tyr from Svartalfheim, Kratos speaks with Mimir in private, and the camera pans outside the window to show Atreus listening to their conversation before he decides to return to Midgard with Sindri to tell Freya of what's transpired and hopefully convince her to give up her vendetta against Kratos. The scene doesn't cut away or show an extended cutscene, no. You're now playing as Atreus.
    • After searching for Atreus, Kratos encounters and must fight Björn, a massive bear. Once it's defeated, the bear then changes into Atreus, showing that he now has shapeshifting abilities much like his mythological counterpart.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: While the Draupnir — a ring that makes copies of itself — might have seemed like a good idea at first, Odin was unimpressed by Brok and Sindri's gift, implicitly because all that gold would soon become worthless, then a nuisance, then a storage issue (the place where the brothers keep the Draupnir is overflowing with a mountain of identical rings). When it's turned into the Draupnir Spear, a magical weapon that can infinitely regenerate exploding detachable spearheads, it soon becomes a cunning weapon fit for a warrior like Kratos, and a key tool in his arsenal.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The older version of Jörmungandr vanishes from the game shortly after pointing Atreus towards Angrboða. Atreus and Angrboða put a giant's soul in a snake, that snake begins to grow. Angrboða later tells Atreus the snake is growing rapidly and becoming gigantic. It's that younger Jörmungandr who fights Thor during Ragnarok and is sent back in time (Mimir in the 2018 game mentions the Jörmungandr that appeared wasn't as gigantic as he was in the present). It's never explained what became of the older, larger Jörmungandr who had already been sent to the past (the best inference to be made is that he simply stayed in Midgard, somehow unseen by Kratos and co. in their journies afterward).
  • White Is Pure: Heimdall is an Aesir god and an antagonist. Heimdall is famous in the pantheon for never being hit or struck due to his foresight abilities. He wears white and gold to reflect his divinity and it also reflects his abilities. White makes stains easier to spot and gold is reflective when clean, so it shows that his clothes have never been dirty or stained because of how untouchable he is.
  • Why Am I Ticking?:
    • The new Bifrost status condition causes any creature inflicted with it to lose a huge chunk of their health the next time they get hit. The more you get hit with Bifrost, the bigger the health loss, but the amount of damage done decreases the more time passes without getting hit with more of it. Enemies like the Einherjar and Aesir can inflict it, in addition to a few Runic abilities and Relics accessible to the player, as well as the Draupnir Spear's unlockable siphon skill.
    • One of the Runic Attacks for Kratos's blades is the of Hades Retribution, wherein he stabs an enemy and they explode in a fiery blast a few moments later.
  • Wolf Pack Boss: The Berserker boss from Alfheim is accompanied by the Sisters of lllska, two Berserkers who specialize in elemental magic who are nearly as deadly as the Berserker and have no problem ganging up on you all at once.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • The first fight between Kratos and Thor has the God of Thunder putting Kratos on the ropes for much of the fight, delivering numerous powerful blows that visibly batters Kratos, and while Kratos is able to inflict damage on him, Thor just shrugs off his attacks while laughing and enjoying the thrill of the battle. He even breaks the Guardian Shield and manages to Neck Lift Kratos before the God of War manages a stalemate after awakening his rage. However, leaving aside the Willfully Weak state Kratos constantly forces himself in, (which Thor even points out) this was primarily due to the fact that 1) Kratos had previously been searching for Atreus for hours and only had a limited amount of rest before Thor showed up and 2) Kratos only has his fists, the Guardian Shield, and the Leviathan Axe, without the Blades of Chaos or a proper armor, and his equipment have also lost much of its upgrade due to Fimbulwinter. When they have a rematch near the end of the game, Kratos is the one who puts Thor on the ropes before he eventually decisively wins by disarming him of Mjolnir and impaling his hand with his knife.
    • The first thing Freya does in the game is manage to repeatedly corner and nearly kill Kratos. Once she regains her Valkyrie wings, she actually manages to beat Kratos, bringing him to his knees, and would have killed him had Atreus not shapeshifted. However, on the first fight, Kratos wasn't actually trying to harm her at any point, simply defending himself, and similarly, on their second fight, he hesitated against her due to her being a Valkyrie and also made the mistake of stopping himself when he recognized Freya by her sword. Freya even admits that despite all the times she's tried to kill him, Kratos never fought her with the intent to kill.
    • During the climax, Odin easily kills Thor in a single swift stab from Gungnir the second he defies his father's will, despite Thor's immense power and durability. Of course Thor had just come off not one, but two almost back-to-back draining fights against Jörmungandr (which he won) and Kratos, and he still had the axe wound in his chest that Kratos gave him during their first fight. Which implies he was tanking all the damage inflicted on him all that time, without healing any of it.
    • Similarly, Odin is a legitimately powerful warrior, and the devs called him the most formidable enemy of the series so far. But the main reason why he proves such a challenge for Kratos as the Final Boss, even with help from Atreus and Freya, is because all three had been fighting his forces for a while now, while Odin had just entered the battlefield fresh. Kratos and Atreus had just fought through much of the battlefields of Asgard to destroy the War Machines and the Great Flaw, while Freya not only fought alongside Kratos in the first stage of the siege, but she also just came off from holding back Surtr as Ragnarök.
    • Even thought we never actually see Faye in action, the game confirms the descriptions of Faye's fighting skills and reputation as a great giant warrioress and heroine. Once, When Kratos first arrived in the Norse Realm, she managed to hold him to a stalemate. A sidequest in Vanaheim reveals that she once gave Thor a real fight for his life, and managed to force him to escape from Vanaheim. But in the case of Thor, he was drunk and "sloppy", not able to give it his all, while Faye was driven by focused anger. Freya stated Faye was still considered on par with Thor even when he wasn't handicapped. There is also Kratos' world-weariness to consider in the fight as well.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Kratos and his companion stop to take in the sight of each Hafgufa taking to the sky again. They even pull Mimir up so he can get a look at it, and the game keeps you from leaving the area until they take in the full view.
  • The World Is Not Ready: A lineage of Light Elves hid away a library containing secrets from the elves' past, before their separation into light and darkness and start of their Forever War, under the justification of protecting their kind of what that information would bring. After defeating and sparing the life of the Maven who tried to stop him from taking a book from there, Kratos lectures her about how to believe that such knowledge would destroy the Light Elves from within is to lack faith in the people who would most benefit from it.
    Kratos: The Elves do not need protection from their History. They need access. A new chapter awaits.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • When exploring the realm of Niflheim later on, Kratos can find the Raven Tree, which houses the souls of all the spectral raven spies that Kratos has been destroying throughout this game and the last. Throughout their rhyming Voice of the Legion, the ravens eventually reveal what they are during repeated visits. The souls of children sacrificed by their parents in Odin's name via hanging, their souls retrieved from death afterwards and made to tell Odin of what lay beyond death for him, before being refashioned into spectral spies to serve him. Kratos is noticeably horrified by this, and becomes very driven to destroy all the ravens and eventually kill the Raven Keeper to set them free for good.
    • While he doesn't get to do it, Heimdall was going to drop Atreus off of the super high wall he scaled to get into Asgard. It's implied he would have done that with ANY intruder into Asgard.
  • Worthy Opponent: Thor considers the Ghost of Sparta this, and constantly taunts Kratos throughout their brawl to stop holding back and show him the might of the figure that slew his kin and killed an entire pantheon. Towards the end of it, Thor says Kratos is 'diminished' compared to what he once was, but Thor admits that he can see how his powerful sons lost in a fight. Then Thor says that he isn't his sons.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Thor's beatdown on Kratos with Mjölnir at the climax of their first fight eventually overwhelms the Guardian Shield's defences, and leaves it blackened and scorched. Afterwards, our heroes fight the Huntress on their way back home, she does enough damage to break it for good. Kratos asks the Huldra Brothers to fix it, but their circumstances force Kratos to make do with other shields that lean towards either defensive blocking or parrying counterattacks. Kratos does get the Guardian Shield back later on.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Played for Drama. Atreus experiences an afternoon in Jötunheim, only to return to Midgard and discover from an enraged Kratos that two days passed for his father, badly hurting the trust between them.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb:
    • During their fight around Tyr's temple, Thor and Kratos attack each other with the Leviathan Axe and Mjölnir, both created by the Huldra Brothers, which results in an explosion that creates a frozen tree-like structure with lightning arcing around inside of it, reaching up to the skies. It remains behind even after the fighting, and Atreus can later see it when he returns to Midgard to find Freya.
    • During a sidequest to find Birgir in Vanaheim, Kratos can find another tree-like structure of frozen lightning in a devastated valley of Vanaheim. Fulfilling the various spirits' sidequests in that part of the map reveals that it was the result of the previous time that Mjölnir and Leviathan crossed in opposition when wielded by Faye, and some of the spirits say that it was when Faye was at her most angriest. This impresses Kratos.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After the Lady of the Forge doesn't bless Draupnir as assumed, Brok curses himself out when he realizes that his hunch about Sindri saving him from death with only a part of his soul was correct. Then Kratos asks him to bless Draupnir, saying that "it needs the blessing of a great blacksmith", and when Brok initially refuses due his soul not being whole, Kratos repeats to him what Brok said about Dwarven magic: it is the nature of a thing that matters, not its form.
  • You Bastard!: The boss fight with Heimdall ends with Kratos beating the utter shit out of him before strangling him to death. With his last breath, Heimdall calls Kratos a monster, something that deeply shakes him especially considering he's been doing everything he could to not slip back to being the Ghost of Sparta. On a fourth wall level, Heimdall's been a real insufferable piece of shit throughout the game and the beatdown ought to be cathartic for many, but it's obvious via Kratos' unnecessarily bloody retribution that the player really shouldn't be enjoying the suffering of another person, even if that person was a grade-A asshole.
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • Subverted, but Played for Drama anyway—as the Norns reveal that predestination isn't actually a thing but the consequences of one's own actions make it predictable to see one's path before them, and the frighteningly uncompromising nature of Gods witnessed in both Greece and the Norse realms who firmly believe they cannot change makes them believe that they are bound to cycles and destinies that are, in truth, made reality by their own failings as people, not that they would ever admit it due to their stubborn nature. It serves both as the crux of Character Development for Kratos to accept that fate never had a hold on his actions and all of his trauma and anguish is upon himself and his failing as a person, and as a Freudian Excuse for Odin's actions as he stubbornly refuses to "be better" out of paranoia and fear. That said, most of what was predicted ultimately did come true, particularly the hidden "prophecy" that stated that all the realms would join together and that Asgard and Odin would be destroyed, led by a previously unseen general (who turned out to be Kratos). And Faye actually predicted the path Kratos and Atreus would lead, which eventually will lead to Kratos rebuilding the realms and becoming revered.
    • One aspect to this is that in order to change one's fate the person in question and others who are involved with it must be willing to change who they are, in order to make their own path. Kratos learns that Heimdall is fated to kill Atreus and to avoid this, Kratos will kill Heimdall first. Kratos accepts that he is responsible for his own actions, and when they fight, Kratos tries to avoid killing Heimdall, but Heimdall grows sees it as pity, and gets mad. Even after Kratos blows Heimdall's arm off, Heimdall doubles down on his intent to gut Atreus, and ultimately forces Kratos to kill him — as Kratos says, 'not because it was written, but because it was necessary'. It can be argued that Ragnarök is partially inevitable because by the time the heroes find out that they can choose different paths, too many people who are uncompromising in their nature are involved with events to avert them, particularly Odin. Kratos and Atreus overcome their Poor Communication Kills and try to change themselves, which avoids the portion of Loki's mural that depicts Kratos' death in his arms, but Odin's own refusal to change means he suffers that fate instead, even when Atreus wanted to spare him.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Late in the game, Kratos demands that Atreus tell him what secret he's been hiding, only for Atreus to say that he can't and Kratos will have to trust him.
    Atreus: But you don't believe in any of it!
    Kratos: And still I follow!
  • You Killed My Father: Freya seeks vengeance on Kratos for killing her son Baldur in the previous game. She later gets over it.

You seem like a calm and reasonable person. Are you a calm and reasonable person?


Video Example(s):


Brok's Funeral

Following Odins' defeat at Ragnarok, Kratos and the others travel to Niðavellir in order to pay last respects to Brok.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / VikingFuneral

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