By Chris Pereira Gamespot.com
An anticipated update for PS4’s God of War launches today, August 20. Its biggest feature is the introduction of New Game Plus mode, although that’s not all it has in store–it also includes some changes for those who have not yet completed their initial playthrough. [Update: The update is now live on PSN.]
New Game Plus is the headliner, and it allows you to play through the game again from the start, but with access to your various unlocks abilities and weapons. That’s particularly notable because it means you’ll have both weapons right out of the gate.
When starting New Game Plus, you’ll be able to select a new difficulty; you aren’t tied to the choice from your previous playthrough. There’s a variety of new and different challenges, like timed Realm Tears, altered attack patterns for enemies, and more.
There is actually new content to check out in New Game Plus, as you’ll be able to forge new armor for both Kratos and Atreus. Developer Sony Santa Monica teases this includes “some with exciting new gameplay abilities, such as a chest piece which creates massive explosions whenever Health or Rage stones are stomped on.” There are also enhanced versions of armor and other items, with a new rarity level–Perfect–you can upgrade to by getting your hands on a new resource called Skap Slag.
By starting New Game Plus, you’ll receive a new shield skin. Finish the mode on Give Me God of War+ difficulty and you’ll also unlock a second exclusive shield skin.
In terms of what’s changed even for those not playing in New Game Plus, you can now skip any cinematic, provided you’ve finished the game once. Additionally, you can more easily switch armor, as a button has been added that lets you easily transfer your enchantments. And finally, there have been quality-of-life improvements and bug fixes. We did not receive a comprehensive list of these, but they include improving the Wrath of the Frost Ancient Runic attack and changing Parry Attacks to protect Kratos from damage “at all times.”