God of War Ragnarok deepens the storytelling from its predecessor and excels at bringing an astonishing array of Norse worlds and characters to life. From the main cast to even the smallest side characters with short on-screen appearances, it's apparent that each one gets treated with the same careful and considerate attention to detail.
All the thrilling new elements and engaging environments create the perfect opportunity for introducing more vibrant and unique character designs that take away the spotlight from Kratos for just a bit. Here are a few of the most noteworthy and impeccable designs for characters you'll come across throughout the Nine Realms.
God of War Ragnarok spoilers ahead.
During your first adventure with Angrboda through the stunning landscapes of Jotunheim, you soon discover she's not the only giant that remains. Her grandmother, Grýla resides in a dwelling within the realm and is a very unwelcoming, cold-hearted figure that shows no love for animals or even her granddaughter.
Despite having a short appearance as one of the game's numerous bosses, her character is among the most complex, visually and emotionally. Grýla's immense stature, tattered clothing, hostile demeanor, clouded white eye, and the purple cauldron of souls conveys a compelling giant. Yet, much of this stems from her inconsolable grief of losing her son.
Bear McCreary, a renowned composer for various films, television series, and games, whose music you may recognize from shows like Outlander and The Walking Dead, is there for more than just the music this time in Ragnarok. He also provides the voice and model for a musician dwarf named Raeb, who you encounter during your initial visit to Svartalfheim.
Santa Monica Studio immortalizing Bear McCreary as a character in God of War Ragnarok is a wonderful show of admiration and respect for his musical contributions. Raeb's face and name are imminently familiar, and having him crank a rune-inscribed hurdy-gurdy instrument adds a charming bard aesthetic.
The actual dwarf you seek in Svartalfheim is a Nidavellir city official named Durlin. He has a history with Kratos' wife, Faye, for they led a failed rebellion to overthrow the Aesir that ended in his head getting burned by Heimdall. It's now why Durlin is so reluctant to aid Kratos and Atreus against Odin.
Since he’s an official, Durlin's dwarf character comes with some authority, which is very apparent from his office surroundings and his quickness in writing a fine for any minor infraction. He has scrolls strapped to his body, a braided monocle wrapping around his right eye, and a bitter expression. A fun addition to his character is his octopus pet named Dínner.
7/10 The Norns
The Sisters of Fate were antagonists in Kratos' Greek days. The Norns serve as their Norse counterparts in Ragnarok, but aren't antagonistic as such. Both groups center around destiny and fate, with the Norns telling Kratos his in their distinct personalities.
The encounter with the Norns itself is a spectacular design, where you ride a Kelpie underwater to their straw hideout and speak with them beneath an underwater dome. They each have horns and bear the signature marks of a Norse deity with their glowing yellow eyes and tattoos around their arms and face.
The comical angry squirrel from the first game returns in God of War Ragnarok, this time with a new look and actor. The earlier game utilized the Norse mythological squirrel Ratatoskr as a rune attachment that harvested health and rage meter resources in a very comedic way throughout your journey.
The sequel sees the original form of Ratatoskr as a character that plays a slihtly more substantial part in the story, even so far as having a side quest available. His new design comes as a pleasant and adorable surprise from the spectral form you grew accustomed to, particularly his style of dress, ridiculous eyepatch, tiny pouch holding Yggdrasil seeds, and sophisticated tone.
You grow to hate Heimdall from the moment you meet his arrogant and demeaning personality at the top of Hrimthur's Wall in Asgard, but that's also what makes him a well-executed villain and a boss you're eager to fight. Heimdall is extremely loyal to Odin, as he's the protector of the realm, which fuels his atrocious behavior.
His rash remarks are cleverly designed in that he blurts them in response to you stealing loot from the environment or when he feels you don't appreciate Asgard's beauty. Heimdall is different from the other Aesir Gods with his gleaming violet eyes, his intense speed reminiscent of Hermes, and his horned lion steed named Gulltoppr.
2018's God of War featured Freya as more of a side character that used her healing powers to treat Mimir and Atreus until the big twist revealed that she was, in fact, Baldur's mother. Ragnarok gives her more time to shine while also making significant changes to her character.
After Baldur's death, Freya is now seeking revenge and shows up a lot in the first half, attempting to kill Kratos. One of those is when she becomes her former Valkyrie self and attacks disguised in her old attire, under the name Vanadis. But that’s not the only way wings play into her character. Freya can also fully transform into a hawk and, at one point, flies around the forests of Vanaheim.
Atreus is certainly not the naive kid he once was and is showing a lot of growth in God of War Ragnarok. His newfound knowledge of his identity as Loki and the threat of Ragnarok looming have changed the direction of his character in drastic ways, reflected through various gameplay elements.
Atreus is a playable character in Ragnarok, and you can begin to see him forging his own path through the solo story segments and not relying on Kratos in combat. He now manifests magical abilities he can use against enemies and is able to transform into animals like bears and wolves when angered.
2/10 Ragnarok (Surtr)
In God of War Ragnarok, you discover the origin behind the doomsday character Ragnarok and how he undergoes the transformation. His true identity is a fire giant named Surtr, who’s the current ruler of Muspelheim. It’s at the Spark of the World, through Kratos' help, that he is reborn as Ragnarok.
Both Surtr and his Ragnarok form have equally fantastic designs, and it's cool that you get to witness the change. Surtr is made of fire, and you see the lava coursing through his crevices. His overall aesthetic feels naturally sculpted of rock and very ashen. However, Ragnarok is a spectacle of a giant made of blue flame with an enormous opening in his head, seeming like a Marvel set piece.
1/10 Lady Of The Forge
One of the most stunningly designed characters in God of War Ragnarok is undeniably the Lady of the Forge, who appeared only for a brief but special moment in the latter half of the game. She's a mermaid in charge of the underwater forge in the depths of Svartalfheim, and crafts the Draupnir Spear for Kratos in an elegant sequence.
This mermaid concept for the Lady of the Forge feels quite unique and is unlike any other fantasy interpretation. She exhibits a radiant glow from the bioluminescent tendrils protruding from her webbed skin. And her organic composition is influenced by the kelp forest environment she exists in, such as the combination of green and red kelp forming her wavy hair and arm appendages.
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