God of War Ascension / Version Played: PS3
Sony / Santa Monica Studios / PS3 / March 14th / $99RRP
As with other games in the God of War franchise, God of War: Ascension is set in an alternate version of Ancient Greece populated by the Olympian Gods, Titans, and other beings from Greek mythology. The events are set before those of Chains of Olympus, about ten years before the original God of War. God of War Ascension shows Kratos before he was evil and aims to portray him in a differerent light. The story works well in setting up the stage for the rest of the God of War games however we still hoped for even more backstory. This is the only real disappointment in regards to the story as we still never really see Kratos when his family was still around.
God Of War Ascension looks better than ever. The game constantly pans out to show huge scaled environments which take your breath away. The detail of the enemies, in particular the bosses is incredible. It really brings you into the game and provides a lot of atmosphere.
The sound in the game is great and really adds to the heat of battle. The sound can be buggy at times in the form of delayed sound effects or it not hitting at the right time on quick time events but for the majority, the sound is flawless.
The combat of God of War has had a few new tricks added. The gameplay feels a lot more skill based now with combos playing a bigger part than ever. For most of the time you feel like you can mash just about any button to get through but there are many heated battles where you have to block, evade and use skillful combos in order to get through. The games pacing is better than ever once you get through the first hour or so. Within the first hour you’re getting all of your elements and then things really pick up. The balance of puzzles to climbing and small encounters to huge battles works perfectly and never has you feeling bored.
The puzzles feel more challenging and varied in Ascension than ever before. You are given items along the way that also keep puzzles feeling different and fresh throughout. There are a few puzzles that are quite hard to grasp but the reward when getting through is more satisfying than in previous games.
The biggest addition to God Of War Ascension is online multiplayer. The game offers multiplayer for up to 8 players. Players can play in two teams of 2 or 4 and aim to kill each other and take control of the map. The team who does this best earns rewards from the gods. There is a lot of skill to owning the multiplayer and this is where the new and improved combat shines.
There is also a mode called Trials of the Gods. In this mode players pair up in a team of two. Players face five waves of mythological monsters, followed by a boss fight. Every map in the multiplayer modes features special powers awarded by the gods which keeps the gameplay fresh and different from other multiplayer games.
People will argue that the God Of War formula feels stale. I never thought that whilst playing this game though. The improved combat system, new magic items and many new epic battles kept me intrigued the whole way through. The multiplayer isn’t what you’re buying this game for but it’s completely functional and fun for short periods of time. Anyone with a PS3 should have this in their collection.