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Monday, 16 April 2018 | MYT 7:30 AM

‘God of War’ prepares for PS4 launch, ‘Hellblade’ lands on Xbox

Action adventure God of War swaps Ancient Greece for mythological Scandinavia and gathers a horde of rave reviews ahead of an April 20 launch, as another Nordic action game, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, swaps PS4 for Xbox One. 

God of War has accumulated a clutch of strong scores as a review embargo lifts ahead of its April 20 debut on PlayStation 4. 

Announced near the end of 2014, God of War is the fifth core entry in a 13-year-old franchise, the eighth overall, and the first to set foot on Sony's current home console. 

The long-awaited release also breaks new ground in thematic terms, its notoriously abrasive lead character Kratos leaving Ancient Greece for Nordic Midgard, and (ir)responsible with regard to his son's immediate and long-term welfare for the duration. 

It's a triumphant return and a consummate reinvention for the PlayStation exclusive, which currently holds a 95/100 rating on review aggregator OpenCritic, putting it in the 0.1% of the site's scored games, and a 94 weighted average on Metacritic. 

Spectacularly polished visuals combine with a sophisticated approach to straightforward action, a nuanced storyline, in-depth design and fresh feeling of exploration help set it apart, according to the consensus independently reached by top-scoring reviews – Destructoid, Easy Allies, JeuxActu and Gameblog, IGN, Polygon, and Wccftech among them. 

Overcomplicated equipment upgrades, recycled miniboss enemies, early story pacing, backtracking, and noticeable similarities to Rise of the Tomb Raider and Uncharted were some of the less pleasing aspects picked out by Twinfinite, TheSixthAxis and The Daily Dot, all of which gave God of War an 8/10 or equivalent. 

But acclaimed hack-and-slash action isn't being confined to the PlayStation 4. 

One of last year's stand-outs, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, is now being welcomed onto Xbox One after eight months on PC and PS4. 

Like God of War, it deals in a blended Scandinavian aesthetic, this time by sending Pictish warrior Senua into a hallucinatory Nordic hellscape, part of a desperate bid to save her lover's soul before her own psyche shatters irreparably. 

Praised for its all-round execution as well as insightful treatment of mental health issues, it accumulated a wealth of award nominations and wins. 

Commemorating its Xbox One launch, studio Ninja Theory has pledged to make a donation to Mental Health America should various sales targets be met by April 18. 

With Hellblade landing at US$26.99 (RM104) and assuming a 30% cut for Xbox owner Microsoft, Ninja Theory is talking about funnelling 3% of its own total revenue towards a mental health charity: US$25,000 (RM96,907) for 50,000 and US$50,000 (RM193,815) for 100,000 unit sales within the first week of availability. — AFP Relaxnews 

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