Ragnarock – The Review

April 8, 2023 ·

If you lived in the Viking times, what do you think your skill would be? It could possibly be crafting, farming, or maybe it would be raiding. The Vikings had many skills, but did you know that Vikings, even after their long days, would gather around to play music? As strongly built as they were, the music and gatherings were admired by most. So does developer Wanadev Studio show us what it is to live the Viking life with music? Let’s find out with Ragnarock for the PlayStation VR2.

Ragnarock is a solo or multiplayer VR rhythm game in which you play as a Viking captain competing in a longship race where you try to lead your Viking ship to victory in this VR rhythm game! Pound your drums to the sound of epic music, from Celtic rock to Viking power metal, and set sail against your rivals in multiplayer mode. Will you outrace them all and carve your name on top of the leaderboard? So before you go out to prove your leadership, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, find the best place to sit. You are the captain and a captain should have a place to sit. Second, make sure you have some arm room as you don’t want to be hitting other Vikings that may be in your house and start an all-out Viking rumble. Third, make sure those Sense controllers are charged. You will be drumming and you don’t want to miss that chance for leaderboard greatness because you forgot to charge them. And finally, just have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…

Starting out, you are inside a lodge and notice the unique art style with the proud Ragnarock sign up top and center. You can select from Options, Settings to Solo, Multiplayer, & Tutorial, and Input and How to Play. The basics are as simple as can be. You are trying to crush the runes on the drums with your hammers to move your ship which you are trying to move as fast as possible. But since this is about rhythm, you want to make sure you are in sync so you can go faster. Perfect hits produce lightning bolts. You will want to pay attention to the imprints of the runes on the drums to see if you are too early or too late compared with the rhythm. If you miss a rune, which will happen unless you are Thor then a red imprint will be displayed. If you can hit that perfect streak of runes, this will allow you to charge your combo bonus to the max which is represented by a blue gauge on your hammers. Once your bonus is fully charged, hit one of the shields to boost your boat’s speed. Sometimes it may be smarter to not use that first charged bonus. If you can maintain your streak of hitting those runes, you can charge to the second level which will be indicated by a yellow gauge on your hammers and produces a greater speed boost.

If you happen to miss any runes, it will completely empty the combo bonus to the bottom of the first level. So why it may be better to have that second-level bonus, the risk is there that you could watch it slip by. So it’s going to be up to you to decide when to use the bonus, but again, it could be a matter of using it or losing it. Now that we have the basics, the choice is yours, do you jump right in solo, try and claim your fame in multiplayer, or take the time to get used to everything and go through the tutorial? The Tutorial is probably the smarter choice here unless you are Tommy Lee from Motley Crue, then you could probably play everything on the hardest level of difficulty from the start.

In the Tutorial, it will start off by calibrating your height and play area. You are then positioned in front of your drums, and given your hammers and shields to hit for the bonuses. Then a brief overview of what to do, practice hitting the runes, and the ability to adjust where you want the drums and shields helps concludes your Tutorial session. And I will say, adjusting everything to make sure you are comfortable really does make a difference.

Once you are done with the Tutorial, you can look into adjusting the settings with the Map, Display, and Modifiers, then jump right into Solo play just so you can get used to everything before going into Multiplayer. In Solo Mode, you are given a list of songs to select from and you can pick any song and its difficulty. I will say that I do like the look of the system for selecting the songs. Before selecting your song, you can go over to Map in the settings to select the atmosphere for the song which is a nice touch. But there is something about playing at night under the stars. At this point, do you want to practice or start so you can hopefully make it onto the leaderboards?

After each song, you receive a recap of how well you did such as combos, notes missed, your distance traveled, and the leaderboards. You can then select to go to the next song or change the song back at the lodge. In addition to the basic gameplay, there are also a few different challenges that you can try. These challenges will test your skills and help you to improve your drumming and rhythm. Now, I did try a few different times to join Multiplayer, but each time I could not find anyone who was playing which I do want to experience.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Being that this is the PlayStation VR2 version, everything was as clear as could be and it looked very good while playing. Most of us will be concentrating on the notes so we can get those high scores, but I was also looking at the different mythological environments and the game does a very good job of representing the Norse mythology essence. With the sound and being a rhythm VR game, the music ranges from Celtic to that Viking power metal just adds to the fun and brings the energy with songs like Loki from Saltaio Mortis and Welcome to Asgard by Manaberry just to name a few. And when you can hear this all through a headset such as the Pulse 3D Audio headset, it really does sound amazing. Top that off when you add the haptics from the controllers and hit that bonus and feel it through the headset, you are in for a rocking good time.

There are a few things I would love to see added. First, more songs. Yes, with over 30 songs, there is plenty of music to try and master. I am sure that DLC will be coming as there is for other platforms. Second, our own music. Right now, the PCVR version and Quest platforms do allow this, but not for PlayStation VR2. I understand that due to limitations, but what about using a thumb drive with our songs and being able to play our own music that way as it has been done before for a different game on PlayStation VR? Third, more of these environments. And finally, just more people playing.

Ragnarock allows our inner Viking to come out to drum to the music. It allows anyone the ability to take a ride on the escape and doesn’t shame anyone, but encourages you to keep doing your best. In our life, we are judged for the smallest things, but may not be praised for the things that we do no matter how big or small they may be. With the time that we have and the life we live, wouldn’t we all benefit from just being acknowledged, less judgmental, and presenting the kindness that every person deserves?

Ragnarok is out now for PlayStation VR2 and is also available for Quest 2/Pro, Steam VR, and Viveport. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Wanadev Studio, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Also, check out the Ragnarock video review:

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to see if anyone else wants to have a drum off and try and climb those leaderboards.

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