God of War: Ascension (PS3) Review
- Stunningly gorgeous, still or in motion
- Easy combat that is as deep as you want it to be
- More than capable multiplayer
Not so much?
- Sometimes shonky camera work
- Overdose of puerile manipulation at times
- Takes way to long to get going - and the characters are B-list at best
God of War: Ascension falls at practically the same time in the Playstation 3’s lifecycle that God of War 2 did in the Playstation 2’s. With the second installment being arguably the best all rounder in the series can we expect history to repeat itself and for God of War: Ascension to be the pinnacle of the [...]
God of War: Ascension falls at practically the same time in the Playstation 3’s lifecycle that God of War 2 did in the Playstation 2’s. With the second installment being arguably the best all rounder in the series can we expect history to repeat itself and for God of War: Ascension to be the pinnacle of the current crop of titles in the series?
Kratos is back once again in God of War: Ascension. Billed as a prequel to the previous titles we go all the way back to just after Kratos has slain his wife and child. Setting out to break his blood oath to Ares, the god of war, Kratos must do battle with the ferocious Furies. The Furies are sent after anyone who breaks an oath to the gods – Kratos has his work cut out for him over the course of the roughly 12 hour slaughter-fest.
God of War: Ascension is gorgeous to look at. Sumptuous visuals, cut scene level fidelity , perfect animation and sheer scale all blend to offer an experience that almost no other game can muster. God of War 3 was a gorgeous game – God of War: Ascension refines it. Likewise the voice work and score for God of War: Ascension is high on production values.
Gameplay wise very little has changed since the series started out seven years ago. Kratos is still a massive douche, he still laments his wrong doing and being tricked to kill his family. He also manages to slaughter the obligatory small army of enemies on his path of bloody-destruction. The trademark boss battles that span multiple screens and offer a spectacle of sheer scale are also still in place. This time though they’re truly insane in places. Fighting a massive land creature that spawns arms randomly. You spend a good ten minutes fighting various parts of this creature – even one point has you in a small section of rooms that is cubed shaped. You fight waves of enemies as the creature turns the cube around in its hands… it’s bonkers!
Standard melee combat with the Blades of Chaos are the order of the day. Weapon upgrades via orbs is here once again too. As you progress though you will gain four elemental powers that can be applied to Kratos’ blades. The Lightning of Zeus, Ice of Poseidon, Fire of Ares and the Soul of Hades. Each power has its own perk system that cause damage in different ways. As well as this upgrade system and the blades you can now also pick up secondary weapons dropped by enemies. Swords, spears etc can now be used temporarily to perform unique attacks. These are a nice touch, but, at the end of the day, you end up just cranking on the stock weapons as you always have. As ever the combo and defence system is painfully simple, yet offers enough depth to keep those combo-jockeys coming back for more.
A new step for the series, God of War: Ascension offers up a multiplayer mode – wait though, it’s actually not bad at all! The multiplayer offers up a total of four game modes, Favour of the Gods, Trials of the Gods, Champion of the Gods and the obligatory Capture the Flag mode. The multiplayer successfully captures the general feel of the series and the frantic combat transfers well. It won’t really hold your attention for long and, to be honest, offers little to the overall package.
The game does suffer from a few shortcomings though. The camera can have more than a few issues at times – an annoying panning effect can really start to grate after a few hours. Story is a little lacking in the first third to half of the game. So much so that it can become just a drudge of mayhem, gore and screaming enemies. Even when the story does kick up a gear things are a little lacklustre. This is probably in some part to the cast of characters Kratos encounters. Because Kratos is an anti-hero and all round jerk you need other characters for him to work against – something to give him depth. The characters on display in God of War| Ascension are B-list Greek characters at best. Not only that but everyone just seems to be super angry with everyone else for no tangible reason. It also pulls some puerile “dick-moves” on a few occasions – naked, large breasted women try and solicit Kratos to their beds at one stage, which feels like a 14 year-olds trouser-twitcher. There’s also the uncomfortably gruesome brutalisation of a female character later in the game that feels needlessly horrific.
God of War: Ascension is a great game. A solid entry in to the well regarded brawler franchise. It suffers from a cast of characters that are not exactly household names, a wonky at times camera and poorly paced story.
What is on offer looks and sounds phenomenal and will please God of War fans. The introduction of secondary weapons adds a nice change of pace and some interesting attacks. Apart from that it offers very little, other than the surprisingly good multiplayer modes, new so those who don’t dabble in mass deicide won’t really be tempted in by this latest instalment of the series.
God of War: Ascension might not be the best entrant in the series, but its spectacular scale, massive boss fights ad relentless brawling bloody action make it a worthy purchase for all PS3 action fans.