This year’s rAge was quite a refreshing burst of energy, with a great selection of games and goodies to get a hold of. The lines were long, the venue was crowded, and the food was admittedly still pricey, but we managed to walk out with smiles. Among the awesome games being previewed at the event, a lot of people seemed to be drawn to Sony and Ster Kinekor’s exciting new preview for God of War, a behind closed doors showcase of the upcoming game featuring everyone’s favourite Spartan warrior, now with added beard. I got to sit in on the preview and witness the demonstration, but while not a ton of new footage was shown, we did get a better understanding of what to expect from Sony’s behemoth exclusive.
A lot of the preview was from footage already shown at this year’s Sony E3 conference, so it was a little disheartening that we weren’t going to see anything particularly new or exciting like last year’s sneak previews for Dishonored 2 and Watch Dogs 2. However, a narration did overlay the footage from a developer at Santa Monica Studios who went into depth about the story, gameplay, and intricate mechanics of God of War.
One of the first key things that they touched upon was the World Serpent, the gigantic snake of Norse lore that wrapped around the Earth. First shown in the E3 2017 footage, the World Serpent looked impressively large and imposing, with many speculating it to be among the plethora of huge bosses Kratos may have to battle in the game. This was quickly dispelled, however, as it was revealed that the World Serpent will not be a creature that we will fight, but rather aid us in information and events to transpire further down the line. According to Norse mythology, though, the World Serpent is quite cunning and it may be just a ruse to lull us into an insecure position before it strikes. The opportunity would be too good to simply pass for an incredible boss fight, so I’m keen to see if Santa Monica Studios is toying around with expectations for now.
The gameplay was highlighted next, and it seems that we won’t be getting The Last of Us: Kratos Edition like many speculated. God of War is still very much a traditional game in the franchise, including its emphasis on raw, brutal combat, exploration, and of course, some sorely missed puzzles and platforming. The one thing that will switch up the gameplay is the inclusion of Kratos’ (alleged) son, Atreus, who will play a pivotal part in the gameplay. This wasn’t fully explained, but we do know that Atreus will be a playable character during certain segments of the game, and will gradually learn a new language that will help us translate what many of the Norse beasts are saying, including the World Serpent. It’s a fantastic switch-up for the series and will be the first game to not feature Kratos as a playable character from beginning to end.
Santa Monica Studios aims to transition the experience between cinematics and gameplay more seamlessly, revealing that they don’t want players to feel like the flow of the gameplay is broken at any point in time, so be sure to keep your hands on your controllers at all times. This will also apparently form the crux of the boss battles, as the developer stressed that players will not be able to tell when a boss fight is initiated against a formidable enemy. It seems no large health bar will indicate this either, so it’s up to us to distinguish the bosses from the other enemies.
The preview concluded with behind-the-scenes motion capture footage, showing the mo-cap actors for Kratos and Atreus filming the boat scene which introduced the E3 2017 gameplay footage. It’s important to note that the dialogue exchanged between the pair here reveals that Atreus is unaware of his father’s violent past, but is aware of the fact that he is a demigod. This will probably be the emotional backbone of the story; a father trying to hide his past, and a son who’s adamant to discover the truth.
Overall, the preview was admittedly short and shuffled through clips and footage that we’ve already seen on the E3 stage before, but thanks to some insightful narration, we do have a better understanding of what we will be seeing from God of War at launch. There’s still plenty of mysteries to uncover, and the Norse lore remains ripe for exploring, but we will have to wait and see what Sony has up their sleeve when God of War releases in early 2018 exclusively for PlayStation 4.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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