This article contains spoilers for God of War Ragnarok.
So, I got the Draupnir Spear.
The mission to get it, which finds Kratos and Brok climbing into a bathysphere, descending into a lake, and meeting a mermaid who uses magic to craft the weapon, is a strong narrative moment. But, it's when you emerge from the lake and see the glowing golden spot in the mountain wall that things get really exciting. Throughout the first half of God of War Ragnarok, you frequently pass by similar amber spots or holes in walls and have no way to interact with them. God of War Ragnarok isn't secretly a big triple-A Metroidvania or something, but gaining access to the spear does scratch the Metroidvania center of the brain.
As useful as it is as a tool, the spear is even better as a weapon. The game seems to foreshadow that Kratos will eventually get a spear early on, when Atreus attempts to return Tyr's spear to the Norse god of war. Tyr doesn't accept it, and you just leave it behind, but knowing that Ragnarok would likely attempt to recreate God of War (2018)'s Blades of Chaos moment, it seemed likely that Kratos would get a third weapon at some point. But, between the Leviathan Axe's satisfying hurl-and-catch gameplay and the fiery crowd control fun of the Blades of Chaos, I was sort of skeptical that Santa Monica Studios would find a third mode of play that would feel just as vital to Kratos' arsenal.
But, somehow, it managed it. The Draupnir Spear feels terrific and, for hours after gaining it, it was the only weapon I wanted to use. Even the usually stone-faced Kratos seems to relish in getting his hands back on a spear, the first weapon a Spartan ever trains with.
Mostly, I'm struck by how distinct it is. It doesn't just feel unique within Kratos' roster, it feels more different than anything I can recall using in a game, combining the abilities of a gun, a sword, and a tactical explosive in one weapon. Of course, all of Kratos' weapons need to be usable for melee, and the Draupnir Spear is no different. You can do light and heavy attacks with it, but it generally isn't as powerful as the Leviathan Axe or as wide-ranging as the Blades of Chaos. But, the Draupnir Spear opens up the most interesting melee/ranged combo attacks.
Off the bat, the Draupnir Spear allows Kratos to throw a maximum of five spears into enemies, where they stay like pins in a cushion. To reset the count, you simply need to pound the spear on the ground, which detonates them and deals damage to whatever they're protruding from. The magic of the Draupnir Spear is the sheer amount of flexibility it provides. You can throw one spear into an enemy, then detonate it. You can throw five spears into an enemy, then detonate them all. You can throw three into one enemy, two into another, smack them around with the spear as a melee weapon until they're barely alive, then roll away and detonate them into an early grave. Or, you can throw the spears into the ground between yourself and an enemy, and detonate them as they approach. The possibilities feel endless.
For a weapon added pretty late in the game, the Draupnir Spear nevertheless feels fully considered. It's a meaningful change to Kratos' moveset. Shigeru Miyamoto famously said that, “A good idea is something that does not solve just one single problem, but rather can solve multiple problems at once.” By that metric, the Draupnir Spear was a wonderful idea.
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