Asgard’s Wrath 2 Review – IGN


For those who have been patiently waiting on the sidelines for VR to give you a reason to get off the couch and flail your arms around, Asgard’s Wrath 2 might very well be the incredibly ambitious, open-world reason you’ve been waiting for. Not only does this standout sequel manage to masterfully imagine what a massive, big-budget RPG might look like in VR, it astonishingly reinvents itself several times throughout its 90+ hour runtime, making those hours absolutely fly by. The four playable characters are extraordinarily different from each other and mastering them all is a blast, the deep RPG mechanics and loads of secrets to discover make the temptation to keep the headset on for just another half hour or two a seriously troubling habit, and the combat, exploration, and puzzles make every new dungeon an action-packed, deeply satisfying adventure that easily surpasses almost everything that’s previously been accomplished in virtual reality. The fact that there’s also an excellent roguelite mode one could easily lose dozens of hours in, and that’s just casually thrown in as an optional activity for the heck of it, is just mind-boggling. Asgard’s Wrath 2 is the kind of landmark game-changer that only comes around once in a blue moon, and in a year already jam-packed with extremely good games, this is easily one of my favorites.

What we said about Asgard’s Wrath

Asgard’s Wrath is a fantastic action-adventure RPG that can stand with the best of them on consoles and PC, but the fact that it’s meticulously crafted for VR means it sits in a league of its own. Asgard’s Wrath represents something VR enthusiasts have been waiting for for years now: the first absolute must-play virtual reality game that feels fully fleshed-out rather than a glorified tech demo. Its beautiful world, excellent combat, great interface, and straightforward but detailed story come together to form something spectacular. – Gabriel Moss, October 10, 2019

Score: 9.4

Read our full Asgard’s Wrath review.

This is a game that takes all the most important parts of your Skyrims and your Legends of Zelda and reimagines them for virtual reality from the ground up with amazing success. Playing as a god who possesses mortals to help them fulfill their destinies, you’ll roam interesting open-world areas from vast deserts to spooky planes of the afterlife, navigate treacherous dungeons, loot chests, recharge and socialize back at the hideout with the NPCs you befriend along the way, and even kick back with a fishing rod, ‘cause why the heck not?

It’s true that Asgard’s Wrath 2 might not look or perform as well as games running on high-end hardware, but it more than makes up for that deficit with its innovative ideas and incredibly fun gameplay, and pushes the limits on what’s possible on its native device. In other words, this is the Tears of the Kingdom of the Meta Quest 3. It transcends hardware limitations by just crushing it in every other area.

This sequel improves and expands upon just about everything.

Building upon the many successes of its extremely good and still worth-playing predecessor, this superb sequel improves and expands upon just about everything, from combat and exploration to the significantly more fleshed out animal companions who accompany you on your journey. Solving puzzles and fighting massive bosses in dungeons hits all the same highs as old-school, 3D adventures with Link; running around the open world might not go nearly as deep as, say, a classic Bethesda RPG, but it’s above and beyond anything we’ve seen in VR to date at the same rough level as something like The Outer Worlds in offering tons of reasons to go off the beaten path and explore to your heart’s content. You never know when you might find a sewer level hidden underneath a small crack in a mountain or a terrifying optional boss lurking within an out-of-the-way cave, and that makes every minute of exploration absolutely worth it.

The story picks up where the last game left off, with you controlling a God with the ability to possess and empower mortals who was left in a cell to rot after being very predictably betrayed by the famously untrustworthy God of Mischief: Loki. If you didn’t play the first one, you won’t catch some of the references to those characters and events, but that backstory isn’t really necessary to understand and enjoy the drama here. Thankfully, there’s a really strong recap to catch you up, but all you really need to know is that Loki’s not a very nice guy and you really hate him. After being plucked from your prison by a higher power, you’re sent on a seemingly unrelated quest to Egypt while you wait for your opportunity to get revenge on the Norse trickster.

Asgard’s Wrath 2 – Gameplay Screenshots (Meta Quest 3)

The good news is the decision to move away from the now-overused Norse mythology into the Egyptian pantheon is a smart one that gives us a nice change of pace as well as a fresh set of faces to become besties with, along with some new sights to see outside of frozen mountains and stone halls. That redirected focus means little progress is made in telling the overarching story, which I didn’t consider a bad thing since I was more invested in the loveable cast and sandy pyramids of Egypt anyway. I quite enjoyed hanging out with the likes of Castor, the heroic jock who helped me craft traps and bait, and Horus, the orphaned god who’s down on his luck and severely in need of a friend. More importantly, the four self-contained stories told through each of the playable characters had more of my attention anyway, serving as bite-sized tales that carried the moment-to-moment drama while the larger cosmic conflict loomed in the background.

Most surprisingly of all is just how much content there is! VR games have a well-earned reputation as being generally short and sweet, but Asgard’s Wrath 2 defies expectations. Though I tried to complete most side quests and kept an eye on all the chests placed just out of reach in the open world, I didn’t even approach a completionist run and still found myself sinking in an astonishing 91 hours before I rolled credits. You might decide to take a break from the main quest to partake in a slingshot shooting gallery or a pinball-like minigame while at the hideout, or stumble onto a quest where you possess a monkey in a completely optional story tangent, or craft special bait to lure a giant scorpion out of hiding to duel you to the death.

This isn’t an RPG that cuts any corners or feels limited by VR.

You’ll also find random encounters while exploring where rifts in reality pull you into a pocket dimension to complete a mini objective, like engaging in some puzzle-platforming while avoiding traps or fighting off some goons. Some of these even have fun mixed-reality components where you’ll find yourself back in your real home fighting off evil minions through portals ripped in your living room (a nice use of the Quest 3’s AR capabilities that won’t show up if you’re on older hardware).

I don’t know what dark alchemy developer Sanzaru Games concocted to get this massive RPG to work on the completely wireless Quest 3 (unlike the first one, there is no PC version to tether to), but this isn’t an RPG that cuts any corners or feels limited (at least in its scope) by the VR medium. Quite the opposite: it leans into that immersion and never stops giving your reasons to spend time living in it. There’s even a social element where you can leave a projection of your avatar out in the world to help give others hints or simply dance for no reason, just to make sure you don’t get lonely out there among the fires of Muspelheim.

Of course, helping a quartet of mortals fulfill their destinies is bound to involve lots of fighting, and Asgard’s Wrath 2 knocks it out of the park here too. While the first entry’s combat was great, it primarily focused on melee, and forced you to play defensively and whittle down opposing shields before pressing the attack. But in the sequel, you’re given a whole lot more freedom. Now you can go on the offensive to remove enemy shields, play it safe with ranged attacks, yank flying enemies to the ground with your whip, or use special abilities to do fancy things like charge at one of the magnificently toned humanoid lizards to knock it flat on its back.

Combat also benefits from the fact that enemy AI is surprisingly crafty, and will grow wise to your tricks if you lean too heavily on any one tactic. For example, if you insist on repeatedly throwing your ranged weapon at one of the oddly alluring crocodile people they won’t let that slide for long, and suddenly you’ll see them catch your weapon in their muscular hands before lobbing it right back in your face. That means you won’t be able to just spam your way through encounters, encouraging you to engage with all the tools available to you on whichever hero you’re using and think quick on your feet. When that all came together I felt like a complete badass, pulling off chains like striking down one enemy with my sword before shooting an arrow at another across the room, then swatting an enemy projectile back in the face of a third chiseled reptile, all without taking a hit – there’s really no better way to experience that than in VR.

There’s quite a bit of challenge for those who would seek it.

If there’s one area for improvement when it comes to combat, it’s definitely in the enemy variety. I quite enjoyed doing battle with the surprisingly attractive bipedal crocodiles that make up the vast majority of combatants in the first half of the adventure, but you’ll definitely be seeing quite a lot of them. Even if those scaly Adonises did awaken a part of me I didn’t know existed, it takes quite a bit of time before you start seeing the mummies, snakes, parasitic bugs, and not-as-sexy regular crocodiles that fill the rest of your bestiary. Likewise, there are a couple repeated minibosses every now and again that didn’t feel entirely necessary, like the three times I fought a big cat-serpent monster.

And if you’re into challenging combat like yours truly, you’re in luck, because as someone who played the entire odyssey on the hardest difficulty, I can attest that there’s quite a bit of challenge for those who would seek it. I died more than my fair share of times at the hands of my beloved lizard folk, who relentlessly surround you and work together to ensnare you with melee and ranged attacks that will gut unwary adventurers in no time flat. Boss fights are, sadly, the exception here: rather than putting your skills to the test, they mostly serve the role of rewarding you with a power fantasy finale to each act (still, those are all really cool).

TieGuyTravis’ Favorite VR Games

One of the most impressive things Asgard’s Wrath 2 manages to fit into its enormous adventure is its four playable protagonists, each with their own weapons, abilities, storylines, and open-world map to let them loose on. You learn the ropes as Abraxas, a traditional sword-and-shield warrior who serves as an approachable starting point, but then you’ll find yourself controlling increasingly more outlandish mortals until suddenly you’re throwing your own decapitated head at your foes to possess them. One of the more inspired heroes, Cyrene, is a river naiad with an affinity for aquatic life, so all of her weapons are living sea creatures, like a hilarious octopus harp that pulls double duty as a musical instrument and a bow to deal damage at a distance, and a lovable eel that wraps around her arm so its tongue can be used as a melee weapon. Each playstyle is such a departure from the last that finishing one saga and unlocking the next character feels like diving into a completely different game, which does wonders to extend the shelf life in an adventure that already would feel massive with just the first character – especially by the standards of virtual reality.

Even the more mundane characters are still interesting and feel great to play, owing to an abundance of neat mechanics that help you solve puzzles and defeat bosses. For example, Abraxas might seem like a standard melee character at first, but by the end of his adventure you’ll have a whole bag of cool tricks like turning your sword into a whip to yank yourself toward enemies and across gaps, and a throwing ax that can change direction mid-flight to activate hidden buttons or swat baddies from around corners like you’re an Egyptian Force-user.

Even after dozens of hours, it kept introducing new ideas.

Later, when I found myself controlling a hero with no shield and minimal melee options, I had to reconfigure my entire brain around ranged gameplay and a whole new set of abilities, like a squid turret I could toss out to lay down suppressing fire, or a throwable mine that could be shot with a bow to send my enemies to the afterlife with a fiery explosion. Even after dozens of hours, when I finally unlocked the final character, they kept introducing new ideas, like prayer beads that can be used as either a shield, a whip, or to create portals to aid in puzzle solving. Asgard’s Wrath 2 just never ran out of fantastic ideas right up until the credits, and I can’t remember the last time an RPG was this good at keeping me on my toes.

That variety and depth with each character extends into the incredibly dense including skill trees for each hero, which unlock tons of buffs and meaningful special abilities that add some more interesting ways to use your equipment. One skill lets the your elf archer character Alvida turn her mines into turrets when she shoots an arrow at them; another that lets Abraxas toss his shield, then whip it to turn it into a deadly pinball that bounces around the level. Then there’s the usual stuff like crafting, which lets you build better versions of your weapons and armor for you and your companions, including upgrades that add slots for elemental runes or grant bonus effects (and just plain look cooler), as well as potions that can be brewed, food that can be cooked, and traps that can be devised to use in battle. They give you a whole lot of reasons to gather coins and crafting materials, and in all my time hanging out in Egypt and beyond, I never once found myself in a situation where I was not in dire need of one material or another.

It’s also impressive just how good the puzzles are, owing to the way they challenge you to make use of each of the heroes’ unique arsenal as well as your companions’ abilities to get through each area. You’ll find clever sections where you have to throw Abraxas’ ax onto a button, then use its redirecting ability to slide it in the right direction, or use Cyrene’s harp octopus to play a musical tune to a sea creature to guide it over to a flower to grow a vine you can climb. Other areas were less about being smart and more about using my reflexes and…



This article was originally published by a www.ign.com . Read the Original article here. .