God Of War: Ragnarök finally shares gameplay details a year after its reveal

The combat designers for God Of War: Ragnarok have explained some of Kratos’ new techniques and their approach to the sequel’s combat.

Sony has kept God Of War: Ragnarök tightly under wraps ever since its announcement. Even though it’s out in just a few months, there has only ever been one trailer with actual gameplay in it and the rest have all been pre-rendered.

While there still isn’t any new gameplay to watch, some new details have been shared courtesy of combat designers Mihir Sheth and Denny Yeh, both of whom also worked on the 2018 game.

With the sequel, the team obviously wanted to expand on the combat and make it more varied. Not just by incorporating new enemy types, but by giving players more tools to work with and tailoring to different playstyles.

Perhaps the best example of this is Kratos’ different shields. In the last game, you only ever had one shield and upgraded it through the course of the story. In God Of War: Ragnarök, however, you have two shields that each have unique traits.

The Dauntless shield comes with a parry ability that can reflect attacks and stun enemies when performed correctly. The Stonewall shield, meanwhile, is designed for those who prefer to tank hits, since it can’t parry and instead absorbs attacks to charge energy. Once full, you can unleash a shockwave.

‘Kratos plays with his food. We tried to create systems you want to engage with that are fun, very playful, lots of different routes,’ Sheth told Game Informer.

‘And when we looked at the combat in the last game, we were like, ‘We can push this further; we can find new toys and ways of playing with enemies and strategies.’ That’s been the guiding principle more than anything else.’

This also extends to Kratos’ weapons. We already know that he will start the adventure with both his axe and the Blades of Chaos, but both now sport what the game calls Weapon Signature Moves.

These infuse whichever weapon Kratos is holding with a specific element (ice for the axe, fire for the blades) and lets him deal extra damage, while also either freezing his enemies or setting them ablaze.

‘In the last game, if you pressed triangle, you recalled the axe,’ explains Sheth. ‘But if you already had the axe, nothing happened. If you had the Blades of Chaos and you pressed triangle, you just went back to the axe.

‘We looked at that concept and wondered, ‘What if you could do something a little bit different with that button – a whole new suite of moves.’

There’s no mention of whether Kratos will unlock any other weapons throughout the adventure, but Yeh says that he will gain access to stronger shields.

Hopefully, there are still more abilities and techniques, for both Kratos and Atreus, that developer Santa Monica Studio is saving for when the game launches, but it already seems as if the game will have more depth to its combat than before.

Although the main issue with the first game, in terms of fighting, was more the lack of enemy variety, which has only been briefly commented on so far.

Why Sony is keeping the game so closely under wraps remains a mystery but given it doesn’t seem to be a major departure from the original, in terms of gameplay, it’s most likely an attempt to ensure it meets its launch date.

However, Sony’s lack of communication in general has been a constant source of criticism this year and makes it impossible to tell if there’s any issue with the game or not.

God Of War: Ragnarök launches on November 9 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

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