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  • Writer's pictureCourt Lalonde

God of War Ragnarok Valhalla is Worth Buying but it's Free


God of War

I was shocked and excited when they announced the God of War Ragnarok Valhalla DLC at the Game Awards this year. I was shocked because they said it would be free DLC, which lowered my expectations from what we have seen over the years in gaming. I was excited to play more God of War Ragnarok, but I never expected to get such an excellent DLC.


I'm not a fan of roguelike games, so when I saw the premise, I doubted it would be for me. Was I ever wrong because I fell in love with the gameplay loop and became instantly addicted. I already was a fan of the combat in God of War Ragnarok, and dare I say, this type of game mode is perfect for it.


God of War Ragnarok Valhalla is more of a roguelite than rougelike. Now, for those who are reading and not knowing the difference between the two, I will explain. A roguelike usually has permanent death, and you lose all of your progression, but a roguelite can keep your progression and not suffer permanent death.


Being a rougelite, you can continue to upgrade Kratos after you die to become more powerful, making the run easier for you to accomplish if you find it too difficult. At the beginning of each run, you will pass tablets you can interact with to upgrade Kratos. You collect seals used as currency towards upgrades that will help you progress each run. I would recommend upgrading your health and defence first, then your weapons. You can also earn a Divine Triumph to help you get a mastery upgrade for Kratos. You won't lose all these upgrades; they will only strengthen you.


upgrading

There are many different mastery levels that you can complete to earn rewards throughout your play that will help Kratos become stronger and unlock new rewards. There are Labors to meet that provide you rewards like Divine Triumph, Mastery Seal, and Spirit Seal that you use for upgrades. An example of a Labor would be "Scorched Earth," which requires you to use the Blades skill Scorched Earth 10 times in combat—having these not only upgrades Kratos to make him more powerful but also adds other challenges to the game to accomplish these objectives and earn rewards. As you kill enemies, you will collect Fleeting Echoes, and at the beginning of each run, you will choose a path you like to take regarding which weapon you're choosing to use the most and which one you would like an advantage with. Fleeting Echoes are a temporary resource that can be spent at Tablets of Endeavor to improve your chances of survival but are lost at the end of each run. You can also earn keys that can be used to remove barriers inside Sanctuary. Once removed, you will find rewards and upgrades that help you with your runs.


upgrade

When you enter Valhalla, each time you're re-examining Kratos past, learning about it and uncovering some things we never knew about the character. I don't want to spoil too much for you because there is a story being told with God of War Ragnarok Valhalla, which is a continuation of where we left off at the end of Ragnarok. I would highly recommend you play Ragnarok first because you could be lost as the reference from the end of Ragnarok. I would even suggest you go back and play all the old God of War games if you haven't already, as Valhalla references many of the lore and characters from those previous games. Make sure you speak with the Valkeries before each run as they expand on the story and lore of God of War.


You can change your appearance before each run, and as you progress, unlock new armour that can be worn and used throughout your playthrough. Wearing these has no effects or buffs, as they're purely cosmetic. You start with the Blades of Hades, Draupnir Spear, and the Leviathan Axe. You will see some of the same enemy types each run, but you will run into some you haven't seen before, along with some beasts that can pose a challenge.


god

From what I'm being told, you can complete this free DLC in about 6 hours, but it took me well over 8 hours to complete the story. As I mentioned, I do not want to give away any of the story beats, so you will be surprised when or if you play it. The Valhalla DLC is free on PS5 and PS4, but you can only play it if you previously purchased God of War Ragnarok. For a free DLC, it's worth so much more than that, and I genuinely think they could have charged for Vahalla, and no one would have complained.


Many game developers have been tacking on roguelike/roguelite DLC to their games in recent years, but what Santa Monica Studio has done feels different and fun. A lot has to be said about the fun factor nowadays because buying games isn't cheap, and adding Valhalla as a free DLC adds so much value to an already masterpiece of a game. God of War is perfect for this type of game mechanic, and it doesn't feel forced. God of War Ragnarok Valhalla is my biggest and best surprise of the year, and hope everyone gets a chance to play it.



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