author: Karol Laska
How Did Elden Ring Beat God of War Ragnarok to GOTY? Here's My Take
The two highest-scoring games of the year were Elden Ring and God of War: Ragnarok, and they competed for the title of GOTY at the recent The Game Awards ceremony. What's the reasoning behind the ultimate choice?
Technically half-baked vs. audiovisual masterpiece
GOD OF WAR: RAGNAROK VS. ELDEN RING – TECHNICAL/AUDIOVISUAL
- How is God of War: Ragnarok better? It looks, sounds, works.
- How is Elden Ring better? It offers more memorable locations and opponents from the design standpoint.
- Winner: God of War: Ragnarok
Santa Monica Studio can now be counted alongside Naughty Dog to the elite group of developers who deliver clean AAA products – without major shortcomings when it comes to quality and performance. Ragnarok may not be the most innovative game when it comes to the visuals, but either way it looks beautiful on PS5, even in performance mode that provides a constant 60 fps without any occasional glitches. This is exactly how a next-gen title should run. Well, sure, we can also launch it on PS4, but the devs didn't make any significant technological compromises just to achieve this, which makes the new God of War look great even on the eighth generation console.
Elden Ring can be accused of a handful of shortcomings in this respect. FromSoftware delights with the design of locations and environments that create some fabulous views, but it's easy to feels a shrug of disgust in the game, for example when entering the character wizard, which looks almost the same as in 2009's, original Dark Souls. In essence – the faces of characters look like they came straight from PlayStation 3. The game does look beautifull, but at the same time, it's enough to take a closer look to notice that graphically, Elden Ring lags behind modern standards set by high-budget games.
The fact that Elden Ring can drop framerate in random situations doesn't help either. While Ragnarok remains unhindered by even the most spectacular battle scenes that seem able to overload the system, the game by From Software happens to jitter the framerate more than once. And loading textures in front of the player's eyes is a very regular occurence.
So yes, there's a lot to hold against Elden Ring in technical matters, but when it comes to the most important moments in the game, i.e. the boss fights, you can be sure that all the elements – the arena, a great opponent, and the musical score – will create the perfect backdrop for an epic fight, creating some truly memorable encounters. In general, the design of the opponents is impressive, showing the creative prowess and a bit of madness of the Japanese wizards.
The clashes in Ragnarok are also quite satisfying – especially from the point of view of movement. That's because the animations in the game from Santa Monica are plentiful, including all sorts of basic attacks of Kratos and his son, as well as more complex sequences of moves and finishers. Big bosses are also thrill to watch (although there are generally much fewer types of opponents than in Elden Ring), and the ambient sounds and a subtle soundtrack are pleasing to the ears.
In this category, however, there can be only one winner – the new God of War offers much greater production value. It's technically perfect, and Elden Ring, although it can surprise with beautiful views, often stutters, spoiling the experience a bit.