Asgard’s Wrath 2 is the biggest VR game ever. Its main campaign is 60 hours long and that doesn’t even include all the side missions, the monthly events, and the never-ending procedurally-generated dungeons you can delve into. It’s a doozy of a game and it promises to be like nothing you’ve ever played before in VR.
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It also makes me wonder if we’ll ever see anything like it again.
We could talk about the massive budget this game no doubt had for development, or the seemingly endless stream of content that’s going to be broadcast to YouTube after the game’s release. But will most players actually want to wear a VR headset to see the whole game?
Sanzaru Games’ head of design, Matt Kraemer, explained to me why he thinks we’ll be surprised at the number of people who will actually finish Asgard’s Wrath 2, despite the epic amount of time required to wear a headset like a Meta Quest 3.
Melding to your schedule
As a 38-year-old with a family, a house, pets, a gym membership, and all the other responsibilities of an adult, it’s hard to find time to play games. I play VR games more than anything else but, even then, I probably only put my Quest on my head 3-4 times a week tops.
When I do play, the average play session lasts roughly an hour. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to set 90 minutes out of my day to play. Rarely do I ever find the time to play for two hours at a time.
It’s one of the reasons that the short battery life of the Quest 3 doesn’t bother me too much. Thankfully, you can always get this great Quest 3 accessory if you find you have more than 2 hours to play at a time.
For me, though, my limited play time means that I won’t necessarily feel as immersed in an experience like this as much as a younger, less responsibility-laden individual would.
But that’s one of the biggest things that appeals to me about Asgard’s Wrath 2 and one of the biggest takeaways from my interview with Kraemer.
As Kraemer put it, you can take off the headset at any time, take a break — whether that’s for an hour or for several days — and jump right back into the action when you’re ready.
While I haven’t played the final game and can’t comment on this particular scenario from a first-person experience just yet, it gives me hope that more VR developers are focusing on the friction that most VR games present to the player. Far too many VR games still show the logo, the developer and publisher names, the engine the game was made in, and who knows what else before ever putting the player in the game.
Kraemer’s comments have me hopeful that this lead time into gameplay is far shorter than the average VR game.
It also tells me that Sanzaru Games is extremely cognizant and respectful of my time as an adult. As I said before, I have a lot to do on any given day. I don’t have time to spend going through menus and standing around waiting for a game to load. I want to play it with the limited time I have and move on.
I also love how Asgard’s Wrath 2 tries to make you immediately feel badass and presents you with opportunities to prolong that feeling throughout what’s been presented to journalists so far.
If the Indiana Jones-style tomb-robbing introduction wasn’t enough to get your blood pumping, the game immediately throws you into boss fights at epic scale without delay. Once you’re done there and make it to the Great Sand Sea, you’ll meet your first companion and mount, which you can hop on at any time, ride through the desert, and slash enemies from its back with your magical whip sword.
At this point, it seems the game’s 60+ hour-long campaign is filled to the brim with these moments, and it even utilizes a combat system that’s actually challenging. IGN’s Travis Northrup noted that he put the game on the hardest difficulty in his hands-on and found that it was actually a challenge.
If all that wasn’t enough, Asgard’s Wrath 2’s procedurally generated Uncharted Depths mode delivers both active and passive rewards that entice players back regularly every week. Better yet, you won’t have to wait to unlock this mode; it’s presented as an option almost right away in the tavern where you begin your adventure.
Plus, Kraemer tells me the company is planning lots of content for after the game launches. Monthly challenges don’t just dole out silly cosmetic rewards like too many other games rely on. They’ll actually give you “badass armor that looks and works differently” from other stuff you’ll get in the game, according to Kraemer.
Now, that’s what I want to hear.
Comfort for all
One of the most surprising things to me was the realization that the team was able to deliver a game with full freedom locomotion — meaning you use the joystick to move around instead of teleporting — without making people feel sick.
But it’s not just the usual vignetting or tunneling comfort options that make this a reality. It’s the entire game’s design, from the combat to the mounts, rope swinging to dashing, and everything in between.
Kraemer even told me that one of the folks at the Asgard’s Wrath 2 hands-on event normally can play VR games for roughly 30 minutes before needing a break for comfort reasons. After nearly two hours of playing, they had to “pull him out” because the play session was over. It’s that well-designed.
I’m not someone who ever gets sick in VR, so this isn’t something I can attest to myself. However, hearing so many positive impressions of the game’s comfort level — including Ian’s hands-on at UploadVR — tells me that Kraemer isn’t just waxing poetic about his own game. It’s just better designed than most VR games could ever hope for.
And how could I forget to mention the work Sanzaru Games has put into building an impressive mixed-reality experience on the Quest 3? Throughout the world, you’ll find “Loki anomalies,” portals that appear because of Loki’s mischievous doings.
When you’re playing the game on a Quest 3, some of these anomalies will warp you back into your living room where Loki will invade and try to take over. Kraemer describes it as a unique experience that no other game features, and it’s yet another way for the company to create a game that can simultaneously ground you in reality comfortably while safely transporting you to another realm.
It’s a good thing every Meta Quest 3 purchased in 2023 comes bundled with the game then, isn’t it?
Smaller, more powerful, and now with the best mixed-reality experience on any Meta headset, the Meta Quest 3 is an unbeatable VR console that’s better than its predecessor in every way. Plus, you’ll get Asgard’s Wrath 2 for free with every Quest 3 purchased this year.