Svipdagr the Cold can get in the bin along with her sisters
(Image credit: Sony Santa Monica)
God of War Ragnarok reserves its toughest challenges for optional and post-game content, with the 12 undead Berserkers found throughout the realms being one of the toughest hurdles to clear. But rather than the big boss Berserker King, it’s one of the original 12 that drove me and countless other players to the brink. I speak no falsehoods nor hyperbole when I say Svipdagr the Cold and the Sisters of Illska can get in the bin.
A few of the Berserkers can be annoying due to their evasive AI, area-of-effect attacks, ranged spam, summons, or status effects, but only Svipdagr and her two sisters pack all of these elements and so much more into one impressively aggravating encounter. I spent hours of my life getting pulverized by these three (on the game’s second-highest difficulty, a step down from the hardest because I’m not a madman), and judging from the state of the God of War and Ragnarok-specific subreddits, I’m not alone.
“There are fights that are difficult and fun, but this one is absolutely unbalanced and not fun for me,” writes Yizhous (opens in new tab), echoing my thoughts.
“I am quite certain this boss will go down in infamy as one of the most difficult and badly designed boss fights in the history of games,” says rshotmaker (opens in new tab). “It is absolutely atrocious.”
“The triple Berserker fight is bullshit,” Hafeesco (opens in new tab) neatly summarizes.
IvanMosquito (opens in new tab) laments banging their head against “one particular Berserker fight” (guess which one). “You fight the camera. Not a good boss fight. Enough said,” InspectorGizmoBrooch (opens in new tab) puts it. “The proof is that I didn’t remember which berserker was where, but I already knew exactly which of the 12 this was about,” Rifneno (opens in new tab) says, hitting the nail on the head. The list goes on; suffice it to say, these three won’t be winning any popularity contests.
(Image credit: Sony)
In a vacuum, neither Svipdagr nor her sisters are that tough to handle. Together, they are a headache on legs. Svipdagr pummels you with hammer combos that propel her to you like she’s rocking the Commando perk from the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and she regularly rushes in with unblockable AoE strikes. The thing is, I actually like Svipdagr, so it was pretty cool to see the Berserker King pull out her moves in a less chaotic encounter.
It’s the sisters that turn this fight into, to quote Freya, the vilest filth in hell. If you try to focus on Svipdagr, these two will sit back and idly chuck obnoxious spells at you while you fight to keep your cranium hammer-free. We’re talking enormous area denial, tracking ice shards and fireballs, lingering ground attacks, and homing bubbles that you can either die to or pop with a ranged weapon, except you often can’t pop them because the automatic lock-on keeps getting stuck to enemies you aren’t targeting even though you already adjusted the camera settings in a fit of blind fury which would make mid-Spartan Rage Kratos look like a calm and reasonable person. Not that I would know.
In my experience, God of War: Ragnarok’s combat tends to break down when there are too many enemies in one area because its close-up camera and floaty lock-on struggle to keep up with the action, and this Berserker fight is the most egregious example. It’s virtually impossible to keep all three sisters on-screen at the same time, so you inevitably end up dying to random bullshit that flies in out of nowhere. Even when you can see it coming, there’s no guarantee that the few counters available to you will even work correctly. Everything about it just feels like a gamble, with the only viable solution being to burn one half of the fight down as fast as possible and hope you don’t die first. The only silver lining is that the Sisters of Illska share a health bar, and quite frankly they can also share the trash compactor where I’d put their severed ghostly heads if I could.
I’m sure some people like this fight, and that’s fine; those people are entitled to their wrong opinion. If nothing else, it’s heartening to learn that I wasn’t the only person who was absolutely sick to death of this terrible trio. If we’re lucky, the fight will be updated to spare future completionists the trouble. Here’s my humble suggestion: delete the fight entirely and in its place just add a text prompt encouraging players to get up, walk away from the TV, and do something that’s more fun than the boss that used to be here, like headbutting a can opener.
For less ranting and more actual assistance getting the God of War Ragnarok Berserker armor, check out our handy guide.
Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he’s been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They’ve yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he’s kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.