There are a lot of reasons to be excited about God of War Ragnarok, which launches on PS4 and PS5 today. The action-adventure sequel is another high-quality first-party game for PlayStation owners, following up 2018’s hit God of War reboot with a bigger (though relatively equal) experience. Some fans may be eager to see Kratos’ story continue, while others just might be itching to swing the ever-so-satisfying Leviathan Ax again.
What was I most excited to see and do when I booted it up? Open the settings menu.
In recent years, Sony has upped its commitment to accessibility by giving players more flexible options that go beyond standard graphics or control settings. God of War Ragnarok follows that trend with a fantastic accessibility menu that can help players customize their experience at any time to suit their needs. If you’re not somebody with specific needs, you might assume that you can ignore that menu altogether. While you certainly can and still have a great time, several settings can make the game even better in subtle ways that’ll add up over its 30+ hour runtime.
I personally treated the accessibility menu as an all-you-can-eat buffet, making several tweaks before stepping foot into the nine realms. While some of my changes were practical HUD adjustments to account for my eyesight, other decisions just came down to cutting out things that sounded annoying. Here’s what my settings looked like, but know that there’s way more to explore beyond these. Finding what works best for you is as engaging as managing Kratos’ gear.
Whatever you do, I beg you to turn on Auto Pick Up. Accessible from the Gameplay menu, this does exactly what it says on the tin: It allows Kratos to automatically grab items when walking near them. Usually, you’d have to keep tapping a button to grab health, resources, and other items. That can especially be a pain when you’re trying to grab a healing item mid-battle, but can’t quite get in the right spot to grab it. As a nice touch, you won’t auto-grab health or rage if you’re already full up, so you don’t have to worry about items getting wasted with this on.
What’s nice about this option is that there are two different settings here: Essential and Essential+. The former will mostly pick up health and rage increasing items, while the latter grabs everything from hacksilver to gear. I ended up going with Essential+ personally, which just cut down on the number of unnecessary button presses I had to do.
God of War Ragnarok features a lot more puzzles than its predecessor, sometimes to an exhausting degree. Many of those follow the same few rules, like hucking your ax at different objects such as bells or reflective surfaces. That can get a little frustrating when you’re specifically dealing with small or faraway objects. To help account for that, I went into the Gameplay tab and toggle Puzzle Aim assist on. This option essentially snaps to a puzzle target when locking on. It’s not too overbearing, offering more of a gentle nudge over to the object than a hard push.
If you want even more help with puzzles, there are a few other great options that I didn’t use. In particular, a Puzzle Timing tool gives you more flexibility when dealing with something like a puzzle that requires you to ring three bells in a short amount of time. That can help you get through some annoying situations where you know exactly what to do but can’t quite execute fast enough.
Navigation Assist is something I tend to turn on anytime a Sony game gives me the option to do so. When this is enabled, you can press the right stick in to have the camera point toward the direction of your current objective. It’s a very standard quality-of-life feature that’ll keep you from getting too lost in some of the game’s larger open areas. You can enable this one from the Gameplay menu.
God of War Ragnarok goes heavy on adventure in this installment, with a bigger emphasis on exploration. That means you’ll be vaulting over objects or climbing chains much more often. Naturally, that makes for a lot of button presses while traveling around. Cutting those down can help the sense of immersion, as Kratos will more organically move through the world. Turning this on in the Gameplay menu will allow Kratos to vault, mantle, descend from ledges, and jump over gaps without pressing a button. If you want to go even further, enabling Auto+ cuts down on even more button presses, taking care of crawls and climbs.
This is the one option on this list that I actually didn’t enable, but I’m including it because it gets back to my point about these little annoyances sometimes adding up. Initially, I missed the fact that there was a way to reduce the amount of time you need to hold down a button to perform shop or inventory options. Throughout the game, I was a little bugged by long confirmation holds that would have me releasing the button too soon by accident. Had I known there was a way to make those faster, it’s not a problem that would have registered with me at all, allowing me to do my gear management tasks a lot quicker. If you similarly can’t stand waiting an extra second to lock in a choice, enabling this will pay off in the long run considering that you could spend over 60 hours exploring the world.
These are only a few small examples of what you can do to customize your experience. There’s even more to explore, too, from cutting out button-mashing quicktime actions to creating control shortcuts with the DualSense’s trackpad. You might be eager to click New Game when you first load God of War Ragnarok up, but making a pitstop into the settings menu will be worth your while in the long run.
God of War Ragnarok is out now on PS4 and PS5.