September 19, 2021 — As we near the year’s end and the warm airs of summer give way to chilled autumn breezes, video game developers are either prepping for their fourth-quarter releases or gearing up for a busy 2022. This installment of our weekly roundup showcases the most mystical and fantastical of what is currently being crafting behind closed doors. From glimpses at top AAA titles to indie launches, there is much to unravel.
New ‘Omen of Sorrow’ Trailer Marks Xbox Release
Imagine, if you will, Halloween in the universe of Mortal Kombat. Not where the classic fighters of the Netherrealm dress up and trick ‘r treat. But where Scorpion and Sub Zero are replaced by nightmare creatures of classic folklore.
AOne Games’ Omen Of Sorrow is much more than the foreboding world of Netherrealm with applied gothic lore and mythos skin. Of course, like its forebear, the gameplay utilizes the classic four-button approach, requiring the player to defeat their enemies with a variety of button combinations and special attacks. Where it seems to differ is in the somber, goosebump-inducing tones that seep in via all the references to classic horror movies, literature, and mythology. It really helps to set a unique, eerie tone that feels as sentimental as it does button-mashy.
Omen of Sorrow first launched for PlayStation 4 in November 2018, followed by PC (via the Epic Games Store) in July 2019. The Xbox One version dropped earlier this week following the release of the trailer.
‘Aragami 2’ Rises from the Shadows
Most ninjas hide in the shadows, waiting for their target. As kin of the Aragami, the protagonist of Aragami 2 becomes the shadows, using the darkness as a cover for his brutal revenge against his people’s enslavers. Aragami 2 blends mysticism with fast-paced gameplay, giving players control of the shadows like some sort of creature of the night.
Fully craftable weapons and armor alter the experience, putting players in control of their own destiny. With the right combination of both, legends are inscribed into history as the body count rises. Only the stealthiest ninja will emerge from this daunting question and instill fear in the heart of his enemies. Well-timed attacks built off of strategic and tactical gameplay make Aragami 2 a game to have on the radar.
Lince Works developed the original Aragami and released the sequel earlier this month. Aragami 2 is available on Steam, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
Survive the Wild in ‘Song in the Smoke’
There is a world of natural wonders beyond the front door. But is it worth risking everything to explore it? Song in the Smoke is a visually striking survival adventure set in a world full of prehistoric predators. To avoid ending up as part of the menu, players utilize the basic mechanics of most survival titles, including crafting and hunting.
The survival game formula may have been replicated time and time again, but Song in the Smoke’s visual style and gameplay blend unique elements that could change how the industry approaches the genre. For instance, it’s a strictly virtual reality experience to fully immerse players in the vibrant world. 17-BIT put together a dangerous and colorful environment full of mystical (but deadly) creatures and everything needed for long-term survival.
Players just need to know where and when to look. Song in the Smoke was announced earlier this year and released on Oculus Quest, PlayStation VR, and Oculus Rift on September 18.
Parity Games Set Sail For ‘Island of Winds’
Take a trip through time and reality to a fantastical age, where the magic of folklore muddies the history of 1700s Iceland. Island of Winds, a game by new developer Parity Games, was recently announced, introducing players to a beautiful and vibrant coastal world. The reveal trailer was a mind trip, showcasing impossible creatures and legends that will headline this adventure title.
Little is actually known about Island of Winds, but players will take control of protagonist Brynhild the Balance Keeper on a quest to find her mentor and stop those that attacked her village. The epic story will span nine environments that explore the lore and history of Icelandic culture. How this escapade will play out is mostly unknown, though the game appears to be in third person and has been confirmed to feature different spells. The official website also promises “extensive lore and intriguing puzzles.”
Parity Games plans on releasing its premier title in 2022 on Steam.
Sony Shows ‘God of War: Ragnarok’ Gameplay
One of the most exciting moments of the latest PlayStation Showcase was actual footage from the sequel to 2018’s God of War. Ragnarok continues to follow former Spartan Kratos and his son Atreus as they navigate a world of Nordic wonders. While the first look provided glimpses of combat and the duo’s adventures, it also promises to give Kratos even more depth as a character.
Still, in the role of a father, Kratos is hesitant to go to war and willingly puts Atreus in danger. Of course, no one can escape fate, and with the world-ending Ragnarok looming, Kratos may have no choice but to fight his way through hordes of minions and gods. Equipped with the Blades of Chaos and his Leviathan Axe, Kratos slays Nordic legends with no hesitation.
The difficult relationship between father and son is exacerbated as Atreus continues to question his lineage and purpose. Thankfully, the decapitated head of Mimir returns to provide insight and his own brand of sarcasm.
Maybe most exciting about the reveal is the complete breadth of characters that is likely just a glimpse of what awaits in Ragnarok. Beyond allies and villains like Tyr and Freya, Kratos and Atreus have a host of new, bulk villains to cut through. Much of the first look showed Kratos fighting alone, but there were moments of Atreus utilizing magic and his trusty bow to do some damage.
God of War: Ragnarok has a while until its release, and fans can expect even more details on the Atreus Giant heritage, how Kratos’ past catches up to him, and the pair’s role in the coming Ragnarok. The sequel is expected to release on PS4 and PS5 sometime in 2022.
Also out of Santa Monica Studios comes news that former God of War executive David Hewitt has joined WB Games’ Monolith Productions. Monolith, which is allegedly working on two new games: Codename Legacy and Fight for Middle-Earth. Hewitt last worked on the 2018 God of War reboot.