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Asgard's Wrath 2 | Review 59

Asgard’s Wrath 2 | Review

Asgard's Wrath Sequel Comes to Standalone VR

Asgard's Wrath 2 | Review 63
Release Date
December 15, 2023
Developer
Sanzaru Games, Inc.
Style
Action, Adventure, RPG (Role Playing Games)
Locomotion
Sitting, Standing, Roomscale
Length
60+ Hours
Price
$59.99
Our Score
9.5
Get it on the Meta Store

It’s impossible to approach Asgard’s Wrath 2 without feeling the sheer weight of the expectations that Sanzaru Games have had to deal with. Having released the first Asgard’s Wrath, a game that was critically acclaimed on PCVR and rightly considered one of the few AAA games made explicitly for VR, a lofty space it essentially shares with little but Half-Life: Alyx, Lone Echo, and, arguably, Stormland.

Asgard’s Wrath was considered such a VR milestone that barely 6 months after its release, Sanzaru Games was acquired by Facebook to operate under Oculus Studios. Since then, they have been hard at work on Asgard’s Wrath 2. But how do you impress people with a sequel for an outstanding PCVR title when you’re also tasked with making it a standalone title running on what we all know are glorified mobile chips?

It’s not an easy challenge, especially when you also take into account just how demanding, how fickle, and, frankly, how entitled some gamers (including ourselves) can sometimes be.

Of course, we’ll compare it to the first Asgard’s Wrath, even if we know that’s unfair. Of course, we’ll want it to be better, even though we know it doesn’t stand a chance graphically, especially when it also has to run on a Quest 2, and regardless of the resolution and frame rate bump that it just got on Quest 3.

asgard's wrath 2 meta quest review

So how is it? Is it any good? If you’re a Quest 3 owner, it doesn’t matter, does it? You got it for free anyway! But the real question is for Quest 2 owners – is this a game you should pay $60 for?

Well, that’s what we’re here to find out, innit?

Divine RPG Action

Asgard’s Wrath 2 is great, it’s fun, it’s pretty, and it’s big. Really big. You know how Douglas Adams waxed lyrical about the size of the universe in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Well, okay. It’s not THAT big, but for anybody who’s been lamenting the bite-sized meals of most standalone VR titles, Asgard’s Wrath 2 feels huge. This fact slowly dawns on you as you play the first two hours and realize you’ve essentially just been introduced to the game. It hits you again once you’ve played for a few hours and finally get your first animal follower and start to realize you’ve barely scratched the surface of the 60+ hours of gaming it has to offer. It smacks you in the face when after all that, you realize that you’ve barely even spent much time in the whole rogue-like sub-game that Sanzaru just decided to throw in because why the hell not, and that could have been, for most developers, a standalone game in its own right. It’s just there, and Pete, for one, loves it, and who am I to argue with Pete?

asgard's wrath 2 meta quest review

So if it’s value you’re looking for, as a Quest 3 owner, it’s Christmas and Meta is a big fat Santa cramming your headset with gameplay, and if you’re a Quest 2 owner, you can’t compete with Asgard’s Wrath 2‘s bang for the buck. You can try, but you’ll fail.

Gameplay-wise, as if you didn’t know this already, AW2 is an action RPG with a divine twist. In the aftermath of AW, you’re now a god of sorts, and you get to inhabit earthly heroes as you go about the business of finding and defeating the Norse trickster God Loki, who, er..tricked you. The game dispenses with the Norse environments, probably a good move after AW1, God of War, and God of War Ragnarök, AC Valhalla, and the inevitable Norse fatigue, and places itself firmly in Egypt, and features an appropriately Egyptian pantheon; Sekhmet, Set, Isis, Horus, and all that.

You traverse the great sand sea, you explore ancient Egyptian temples, you fight reptilians right out of David Icke’s catalog of demonic misfits, you solve puzzles by altering your perspective from mortal to godly, and you power up your human heroes as well as your animal followers.

asgard's wrath 2 meta quest review

The combat in Asgard’s Wrath 2 feels good and is mostly melee-based. You can parry attacks, leaving your enemies open for a well-placed hit, and it’s pretty satisfying to cleave your enemies in half and watch them fall apart like you’re a ninja TikToker slicing fruits. You also get to throw your weapons at enemies and then retrieve them telekinetically, this ability is also used to solve some light switch-hitting puzzles, it all works well, and between the sound design and the haptics, it feels good.

Once in a while, you’ll come across a large area with a god station, or a divine altar, or whatever it’s called, and this will allow you to shift between your giant divine size, allowing you to manipulate large objects, and the possession of your mortal hero. This is where most of the puzzle elements come into play, relying on switching between the two forms and taking advantage of each. These start off simple, introducing you to the basic concepts and then progressively get more difficult, evoking some head-scratching. They’re fun and provide a good break from the combat which can, at times, start feeling repetitive.

This is always a concern with a long game time, that no matter how good the mechanics are, anything will start feeling repetitive after a few hours. To its credit, Asgard’s Wrath keeps things interesting, introducing new mechanics every now and then, new followers with new powers, and featuring a story that although not quite gripping, is nonetheless interesting and populated with identifiably unique characters.

Ra’s Radiant Realms

In terms of presentation, it’s hard to fault the game. Asgard’s Wrath 2‘s polished to a sleek shine. The game’s UI is clean, good-looking, and more importantly, always snappy. The recap that you can watch before you start the game proper, is incredibly well done, with your character flying through a giant animated 3D diorama that’s as informative as it is awesome to experience. The game’s graphics, despite some necessarily low-resolution textures are impressive overall, with fantastic art direction and detailed geometry in some of the environments. With its last update, the graphics are crisper on Q3, running at a higher resolution, and the frame rate is also a little bit higher than that on Q2, going from 72 to 90Hz.

asgard's wrath 2 meta quest review

Graphics on standalone are always a game of compromises, get it good on Q3, don’t make Q2 suck. Make it look good but keep the loading times down and keep the file size from hogging all the memory. You really can’t win. What you can do is make something that’s as good as it can be without breaking anything, and on that level, Asgard’s Wrath 2 succeeds with great graphics, expansive environments, and brisk loading times. Of course, there are compromises made, but my personal opinion is that Sanzaru have found a superb balance and done a great job.

Anubis’s Acoustic Delights

Audio-wise, the game pulls no punches. Great soundtrack, good voice acting, and impeccable sound design. There’s really not much to criticize here. The audio in the game makes everything feel solid and greatly enhances the overall feeling of presence and immersion.

Seth’s Setbacks

This is now the bit where I usually bring up any issues I’ve got with a title, but to be perfectly honest, there’s next to nothing to criticize with Asgard’s Wrath 2, other than the fact that it doesn’t fulfill some unreasonable fantasies that some might have expected from it. Yes, it doesn’t look as good as the first game, but it can’t. Yes, it didn’t release with Q3 enhancements, but we’ve already got an update that goes some way towards that. The one glaring weakness might be the general lack of standard enemy variety, the profusion of the reptilians, etc, but I’m not even halfway through the game at this point, so I don’t know if that’s an ongoing concern. In all cases, the game offers plenty of variety otherwise, with several playable characters, followers, puzzles, skill trees, and hours upon hours upon hours of gameplay.

asgard's wrath 2 meta quest review

In fact, it’s fair to say that unless you hate action RPGs or can’t get over the graphical downgrade from PCVR quality graphics, you’ll have a fantastic time with Asgard’s Wrath 2. If you got it for free with your Quest 3, then it definitely helps validate the headset’s purchase, and if you’re on Quest 2, it’s a great purchase that’ll show you just how much that headset can still achieve, despite its age. Asgard’s Wrath 2 is an absolute triumph for Sanzaru Games, and it shows that Meta knew exactly what it was doing when it acquired the studio. Do we all secretly hope they also release a cross-buy PCVR version so we can experience it that way as well, I’d be lying if I said no, but it was built to sell standalone headsets, and on that level, it absolutely delivers the goods.

Ma’at’s Measure

Asgard’s Wrath 2 is standalone VR at its best, making a great release season even better, easily joining the ranks of great releases such as Assassin’s Creed: Nexus and Arizona Sunshine 2. If you’ve got a Quest 2 or 3, there’s no better time to enjoy it, and if you haven’t bought a headset yet, those three titles should have you seriously considering a purchase.

With great graphics, fantastic combat, intelligent and varied puzzles, interesting mechanics, and an unrivaled scope, Asgard’s Wrath 2 is an unmissable VR experience and a fantastic sequel that’s impressive in all the ways that count. Well done, Sanzaru!

Asgard's Wrath 2 | Review 64
Asgard's Wrath 2
TLDR : Summary
With great graphics, fantastic combat, intelligent and varied puzzles, interesting mechanics, and an unrivaled scope, Asgard's Wrath 2 is an unmissable VR experience and a fantastic sequel!
Concept
8
Gameplay
9
Graphics
8.5
Audio
8.5
Longevity
9.5
User Rating0 Votes
0
Pros
Incredible scope
Great Combat
Fantastic Art direction
Free Uncharted Rifts!
Cons
Standalone Only?
Potentially Repetitive Combat
9.5
Valhalla!
Get it on the Meta Store
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