Monday, 25 March 2013

God of War Ascension Review

God of War Ascension is the seventh game in the God of War series and is a prequel set before all the other games in the series. In this game we see Kratos breaking his oath to Ares and starting his long bloody quest for ultimate vengeance.

The gameplay of Ascension is for the most part standard God of War, however there are a few changes (sadly few that I actually like). The changes to the primary combat system are a new grapple/grab mechanic, changes to classic combos, a new system for Rage of the Gods and a new magic system. The new grapple system uses R1 instead of circle (this is because of a new feature that I'll explain later), using grapple tethers Kratos and the enemy together and allows you to choose whether you attack while the enemy can't get away or grab the enemy to throw them. Buttons for combos such as Cyclone of Chaos have been changed to facilitate new moves (which are rubbish in my opinion), instead of the classic buttons you hold either the square or triangle button (depending on the desired combo), the moves also seem less potent than previous games (but that could just be my imagination). Rage of the Gods has been changed drastically in Ascension, now rather than being a power that is charged and then released to enhance Kratos' attack power it is charged but when the charge reaches full capacity it will boost Kratos' attack power until he is hit by an enemy which reduces the charge, alternatively when the rage reaches full you can activate a rage power corresponding to the blade power (which I'm going to explain next) that you’re using. An example of this is the fire rage power which will attach a fire ball to the enemy which will explode after a few seconds (similar to the searing cores created by Thera's Bane in God of War: Ghost of Sparta).

 Magic in Ascension is similar to God of War 3, but instead of a magic power corresponding to the weapon you're using it now corresponds to the blade power your using. Blade powers are elemental magics that enhance your blades and are on constantly, four blade powers are unlocked through the course of the game, they are, fire, ice, lightning and soul, the first power you get (fire) comes with both a rage and magic power, but to unlock the rage and magic powers, the different blade powers must be powered up to full using experience orbs. The Blades of Chaos are the only upgradable weapons in the game, however five environmental weapons are available for Kratos to take from enemies and pick up these include swords, maces, spears, slings and shields. There are also three items Kratos will pick up through the course of the game that can be used to aid you in combat. The first is the amulet of Uroborus that allows Kratos to suspend enemies in time or decay and heal certain environmental items, the second is the Oath Stone of Orkos that allows Kratos to create a duplicate of himself to aid him in battle or puzzle situations and the third is the Eyes of Truth that Kratos can use to blind enemies or remove certain obstacles. Artifacts are what replace Godly Possessions and Urns of Power from previous games and function as cheats in replays of the game.

The graphics of Ascension are arguably the best on the PS3 at the moment, however they can be quite glitchy, I noticed this especially outside the Temple of Delphi where what I assume should have been a beacon was just a blurred mess on fire. One thing I really didn't like was the menus, because they all looked too simple and images were often blurred, they reminded me of high definition God of War 1 menus and while this isn't a big thing it got on my nerves constantly.

The sound of Ascension is as good as ever with amazing and epic music and powerful voice acting, however it is very glitchy a good example of this being that sound effects for magic will often delay or not sound at all.

The story of the God of War series, as I have mentioned many times before, is never the strong point and this game very much follows that trend. The story is alright, but doesn't make a lot of sense in the larger scheme of the series and is even worse than usual, however the ending is amazing.

Multiplayer! This kind of goes against what I said in a recent video, but this multiplayer is awesome and it is obvious a lot more effort went into this rather than the singleplayer. Ascension’s multiplayer uses similar modes to normal multiplayer games such as Free for All, Capture the Flag and Base Defence, however they are done in a very God of War way. The character you play Kratos will meet in the singleplayer, which is a very nice touch. Once you've begun you choose allegiance to a God (a choice between Ares, Hades, Zeus and Poseidon) which provide your character with certain boosts, you have the option of changing your allegiance whenever you want from the character customisation screen.You level your character to obtain new items, armor, etc. Levels are based on levels from previous God of War games. Chests are scattered throughout the levels and can be broken open for extra experience at the end of the match. Unlike most multiplayer games the leveling has little effect on your ability, as such a level one character can actually take on high level opponents without being slaughtered straight away. Importantly the multiplayer manages to retain the vital goriness of all of the God of War games. I know this bit is fairly rushed and not in great detail, but the best way I can sum it up is this multiplayer manages to use the standard template, but adapt it to make the multiplayer incredible and very unique. To truly understand this you will have to play it rather than read about it. 

God of War Ascension is probably the worst game in the series for singleplayer experience, but it is still a great game. The game’s true strength comes solely from the multiplayer and although I thought I'd never say it, and it tears away at me doing it, this game should be bought purely for the multiplayer.

1 comment:

  1. The God of War series has always prided itself on setting bars and continually raising them with each new iteration and this was summed on last generation. Just when it looked like the Play Station 3.

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