Developer: Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 15th March 2013
Everyone’s favourite angry man returns and this time he’s not as angry as he’s ever been. Instead he’s a bit more subdued and actually has a little bit of a human side to him. Kratos has progressively become an angrier person as the God of War series have gone on but in God of War: Ascension we see a different side to him and although he is still an angry and aggressive man he’s not nearly as bad as we have seen him in past games.
Ascension is basically Kratos’s origin story, setting everything up and showing us how he has become the person we all know him as. If I’m honest I was a little worried when this game was announced, not because it was an origin story but just simply because of the fact that did we really need another God of War title. I, like so many other people love the God of War series but there is a point when things start to over stay their welcome. Thankfully this is not the case for this title and some of my early fears were put to bed within the first hour.
Just like in previous God of War titles the game opens with a boss fight. This is one of the things I love so much about this series instead of giving you a 15 minute tutorial it throws you in the deep end time and time again and launches a massive epic boss in your face each time. In terms of boss length this is by far the longest opening boss fight but the Poseidon from God of War 3 still sits on top of the mantle as my favourite God of War opening boss. That isn’t to say this is a bad boss far from it, it’s an epic boss fight that never seems to want to end and it really sets up the scale of this game wonderfully.
Just like in previous God of War titles the game opens with a boss fight
Now as this is an origin game it never felt as epic as previous games. The boss fights and the scale of this game are epic but the story never reaches the heights of some of the previous titles. It shows most in the games main enemies. In previous games you have taken down Gods of various sizes and even though you have huge boss fights here, the furies (the games main enemies) never seem to have that same impact. As well as these new enemies we also have a new protagonist. As said before gone is the uncontrollable anger and rage in Kratos from God of War 3, here we have a Kratos that is able to show compassion for other characters who in earlier games he would have probably ripped in two. He is still an angry man in this game just a diluted version of that angry man we know from our previous experiences with him.
Looking good Kratos
In terms of how the God of War: Ascension looks this is probably the best looking God of War game there has been. The guys at Santa Monica really have poured their heart and soul into making this game look as good as it does. It’s not just the scenery that looks amazing, character design is just as amazing. Kratos really does just look simply wonderful as do so many of the enemies that he rips to shreds.
In terms of how this game looks this is probably the best looking God of War game
It’s not just how the game looks that’s impressive. As always with God of War the music and sounds within the game are fantastic. The music especially plays its part during the epic boss battles and it just seems to add another dynamic to the game. It also helps make these already epic moments just seem so much more epic. If I had one complaint about the sounds and music it would be at some points in the game it seems to drop out for a couple of seconds. It never happened to me during a boss fight but it was still noticeable when it did happen.
Gameplay so good
Gameplay in God of War has always been fluent and tight and this Ascension is no exception. Combat is probably the best it has been in this series. Veteran God of War fans will be happy to hear it sticks to its combo techniques and it also adds in some new moves that really are a welcome addition. Grappling enemies is a new feature that I found worked brilliantly in a crowded area. The ability to keep hold of one of your enemies whilst attacking others is a nice move, alternatively the grapple can be used to pull that enemy closer to you to help deal more damage. Another new feature in the weapon department is the ability to pick up weapons that enemies drop such as swords and shields. This makes sense putting this sort of feature in as it would not make any sense in terms of the story for Kratos to be carrying the hammer, spear and sword from previous games. As with previous God of War titles this game also features the rage ability. This is a meter that gets filled up and once filled enables the player to perform stronger attacks it turns out to be very useful in the later stages of the game.
One of the biggest new elements of the game however is the ability to shift time. Now this is not to say Kratos can bring himself back from the dead like you can do in Prince of Persia. Instead this is more to repair or break the environment around him so you can access new areas of the game or even solve some of the games puzzles.
One of the biggest new elements of the game however is the ability to shift time.
Combat in God of War: Ascension is dealt with so well, newcomers to the series may just call it another button basher but for those who have played God of War for years know that it is much deeper than just bashing the buttons. It’s about building your combos and blocking and rolling at the right time in order to get past the many foes that stand in your way. Another thing that newcomers may have an issue with is the number of QTE this game has. Granted it does have its fair share but it always has. I have never had an issue with them as it is not a new feature that they have added they have always been part and parcel of the God of War experience. If I had one small complaint about the combat it would be that sometimes when the camera pans out during a fight to show you the vast scale it pulls out too far and you can sometime lose where Kratos is.
Other God of War features also make a welcome return in the shape of Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers. These upgrade your health and magic over the course of the game. The ability to upgrade your blades also makes a return in Ascension.
God of War: Ascension is a good addition to the franchise. It might lack the highs of the previous instalments and this does have the weakest story of the 4 console games. But not to be outdone by previous titles this game shows that it can be just as epic and pack a mean punch even if Kratos himself is a lot different to what we know. But also this God of War has a trick up its sleeve and in the world of God of War it’s a pretty controversial trick.
Gods of War
Ascension is the first God of War game to include Multiplayer. If I’m honest this was the part of the game I was worried about the most. God of War has always been a solid single players experience, how Santa Monica would transfer that brilliance into multiplayer. My worries were laid to rest after my first match online. You start out by pledging your allegiance to one of four gods. Once you have pledged you then start a small training exercise. Once you have learnt the basics your good to go. I was actually surprised at how deep the multiplayer was and how much customisation is available to the player. Armour, Weapons and Magic can all be changed as you level up, it doesn’t sound like a lot but trust me there is a lot there for you. Multiplayer contains several modes for you to play.
Going toe to toe with other people in a gladiator type arena is superbly refreshing and expertly done
These include, Team Favour of the Gods, Match of Champions, Trial of the Gods and Capture the Flag. After playing all of these modes I found that it was Team Favour of the Gods that I kept going back to. This has to be one of the most original multi players I’ve played in years and i can see myself playing for months at least. I just found this multi player refreshing as we seem to be stuck (on consoles at least) in a world of online shooters so being able to go toe to toe with other people in a gladiator type arena is superbly refreshing and expertly done.
Overall God of War: Ascension is a mixed bag. The single player is good but not as good as previous instalments. It suffers from a weak story and weak leading enemies. But for all the weaknesses the game also has some strong pluses. The combat is as good as it has ever been the same can be said for the way the game looks. But for all good and bad comments about the single player It’s the multiplayer that has surprisingly stolen the show. Its original, refreshing and brilliantly done. Hats off to Santa Monica because this could have really crippled this game and instead it has shown us that given time to work on a multiplayer and not just throw it in for the sake of it can really do wonders not just for your game but for your franchise. Take note all you developers who just want to throw multiplayer in this is how it should be done.
BOG’s God of War: Ascension Review Score
|8.5||Why so high?
Looks Incredible, Combat is as tight as ever, Multiplayer is awesome
|Why so low?
Weak Story, Furies just not as imposing as the Gods, Occasional sound drop out
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