game news God of War Ragnarok: PlayStation exclusive too close to the latest installment?
The more the days, the months go by, the closer we get to the release of God of War Ragnarok! Yes, the sequel to the 2018 episode promises to be “the” year-end reunion and all the information about it is good. Recently, we have also been able to see more. The outlines of the game are emerging but aren’t they too much like the last part? Here is our opinion.
While the PlayStation Showcase for the start of the school year is long overdue, it’s finally Game Informer reporting new God of War Ragnarok details and images. The sequel to the adventures of Kratos and Atreus is expected on November 9, 2022 on PS4 | PS5 and it promises to end the PlayStation year in style! In this context, the American media teach us a little more about the action phases and “Svartalfheim”, kingdom of the dwarves. This is not a surprise: Ragnarok seems to rely on all the qualities of the last God of War, seeking to improve them, take them further. A laudable goal, but more importantly, the episode would have to find its own way.
What’s more, remember that it’s not Cory Barlog who’s in charge this time. The man, who has become the essential face of the 2018 reboot, leaves his place as director to Eric Williams, a veteran of the Santa Monica studio who worked on all aspects of God of War. It is not a coincidence. The company likes to switch directors game after game to keep things fresh.
Towards a God of War “1.5”?
And freshness, it will be in God of War Ragnarok! Here, the Lake of Nine – central area of the last episode – is completely frozen, forcing Kratos and his son Atreus to use a sled to get around. Therefore, it is not trivial: this new chapter summarizes, in broad strokes, the gaming era of 2018. Of course with many additions. As PlayStation has already mentioned, God of War Ragnarok will take us through the nine realms of Midgard (compared to six in the previous title). In a interview made for Game Informer, Eric Williams explains that areas already visited will look “new again”. For now, there is no more information.
On the other hand, the Game Informer exclusive allowed us to see the kingdom of Svartalfheim in action. “We wanted to show the dwarfs and what they do in this place” recounts thus Jon Hickenbottom – level designer on Ragnarok, for US media. “In the previous software, we sometimes felt quite lonely” notes James Riding, his colleague. “So, especially with Svartalfheim, we wanted to show a living world. It’s not just about Kratos.”
To evolve in this area -and in the other kingdoms- the hero and his son will be able to count on new abilities. Game Informer’s Svartalfheim gameplay thus shows a Kratos capable of freeze geysers with his leviathan ax and break pots using Blades of Chaos. “(With Ragnarok, editor’s note) we wanted to evolve the gameplay in the level space: more variety and verticality,” says Jon Hickenbottom on this topic. Obviously, this new God of War will bet on the same balance between action phases, enigma, narration, the formidable Mimir always ready to share his stories during a boat trip.
Also, while we’re talking action, Game Informer has revealed more on the subject. This Ragnarok will introduce, among other things, three novelties: a “signature move” for Blades of Chaos and Leviathan Axe, which are used to imbue each weapon with fire or ice to deal bonus damage and status effects; as much as two new shields, namely “Dauntless” and “Stonewall”. The former paves the way for perfect parries in order to unleash a powerful punch. The second builds up energy as it blocks attacks, and can eventually activate a shockwave on the ground. Other shields will be part of the final project. Santa Monica desire offer more varied and flexible fights. Game Informer’s video testifies to this.
“We try to create systems that make you want to dig, that are fun, very fun, that offer a lot of possibilities. When we saw the combat in the last game, we thought: ‘We can take this further and find new toys and new ways to play with enemies and strategies.’ This has been our guide.” – Mihir Sheth, Combat Designer (Game Informer)
Change for the better?
Compared to the images of Game Informer, yes, God of Ragnarok seems to be on a course in terms of action. But this is not our main concern! We’re especially wondering how this episode will handle its team-up and role-playing aspect, which is way too messy in 2018; how Santa Monica is going to better integrate her puzzles and findables into the zones; and above all how the narration will be renewed, the main ingredient of the success of the last God of War. It is at this point where the change between Cory Barlog and Eric Williams will undoubtedly be more palpable. The previous director was inspired by his life as a father. to mold the new Kratos. “It didn’t work for me and my wife” to confess for his part the last sculptor of the God of War, in (again) an interview with Game Informer.
“I looked at (God of War script, editor’s note) from another angle. I thought well, the last game was very much about a young person and several adults (…) How do we change that? There is a better prospect for Atreus, growing up, becoming a young man. And so we wanted to find a way to introduce heroes closer to his age.” – Eric Williams, director of Ragnarok (Game Informer)
This is how Angrboda was born, the young (and last) giant that we see at the end of the trailer from last year. Therefore, God of War Ragnarok should launch interesting clues for the character of Atreus – who will also be led to question his own nature. Which gives a nice dynamic to the story, without forgetting everything related to the Gods and the End of the World. After that, there are still a lot of things to know about God of War Ragnarok. It’s almost a certainty, Sony should talk about it during the PlayStation Showcase for the beginning of the school year!
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