When God of War: Ascension was announced I couldn’t be more excited as I am a giant fan of the God of War series. I’ve played them all and loved them all, so when I heard about Ascension’s March 14 release, the day couldn’t come any sooner.
Ascension is a prequel to all the God of War series, set exactly six months after Kratos was tricked into murdering his wife and child by Ares, the God of War. This new addition to the series has you set out to break your bond to Ares, but you must defeat the three Furies, the guardians of honor, which torment you throughout your journey.
Sounds good right? The question is can it live up to its predecessors and the bar that was set in God of War 3?
In short, no it doesn’t. It really never could set the bar any higher; the story and epic battles of God of War 3 could never be topped, but Ascension does a damn good job trying.
The story is very well written and Sony Santa Monica have done a great job of bringing it to life. It does take a while to get going but when it does it’s a great ride. The voice acting is also top notch, as you would expect from this series.
Overall the game took me about eight to nine hours to complete on normal difficulty. You can expect a lot longer playing on higher difficulties because Ascension is a challenging game particularly during the Archimedes challenge, but I won’t spoil it for you.
Ascension has introduced new elements to the fighting mechanics and new secondary weapons, including swords, spears, clubs and shields dropped from fallen enemies. I wasn’t sure about this as it was an unfamiliar addition to the franchise, but I soon came to realise that this is a great new mechanic. The new additions change up the battles and allow for more combo stringing as well as a heap more gruesome carnage once you learn how to effectively use them. There are a lot of new enemies in Ascension but the two that really stood out were the Elephantaur and a redesigned gorgon. These battles are very satisfying and the brutal takedown at the end is most likely part of the reasoning for the R18+ rating.
You will acquire powers throughout the campaign, with my power of choice being the fire of Ares with the Blades of Chaos throughout the entirety of the game because it seemed to be the most effective. It will all come down to your preferred play style though and it gives you the option to mix it up and chain together larger, more complex combos.
Other tools and equipment can be picked up throughout the campaign which will help you in your travels to defeat the Furies and solve puzzles which will have you scratching your head. They aren’t so hard that you will be throwing your controller across the room in anger though.
All the levels are very well designed and graphics striking, but the sound I found would drop in and out every now again. This wasn’t game breaking, but it was frustrating as I had the same issues in God of War 3.
Some segments can get a bit jarring with no indications of where to go and backtracking can’t be avoided. It gets annoying when you revisit the same area to solve a riddle or turn a cog that will end in facing ridiculous waves of enemy’s which just feel like filler to make the game seem a little longer. These were some of the very few gripes I experienced in the game, but they still didn’t dampen my experience.
God of War Ascension has multiplayer for the first time in the series. This new mode is actually quite enjoyable. Your main protagonist will be a prisoner you briefly met in the main campaign who mysteriously vanishes just before being impaled by the titan Hecatoncheire’s infected arm. Unfortunately Kratos is not a playable character in the multiplayer.
There are various game types: Favor of the Gods (free for all death match), Match of Champions (team death match), Trial of the Gods (horde mode), and Capture the Flag. The idea is to earn XP which you can use to upgrade your powers and weapons to become the number one champion of the Gods.
In Trial of the Gods you have one or two players face five waves of the various enemies from the main campaign, followed by a boss fight. This mode is against the clock with time being added for killing your foes. Run out of time and the match ends; there is no life limit. This can be very challenging, but at the same time, rewarding.
Match of Champions involves from four to eight players, in a team based fight earning XP over time till the team with the most XP wins! This was my favorite mode and probably most popular with other players during my time with the game.
In Favor of the Gods, there are two teams of four who battle it out; and again, the team with the most points wins (similar to Match of Champions).
Capture the Flag has two teams of two split between Trojans and Spartans, trying to capture the opposition’s flag. It is a fairly standard CTF mode and unfortunately it doesn’t bring anything new to the table for the match type.
You can easily sink a lot of time into the multiplayer but I suggest you play the tutorials and practice. You will face very difficult players and learning the Parry system properly will help you to block your opponent’s moves, and accurately placing a nice counter will take time to perfect but when you do it’s very rewarding.
God of War Ascension was very entertaining and gave a greater understanding of how Kratos was before he became a ruthless, merciless killer. You get to see his emotional side, and even see him smile for the first and final time. As a veteran to the series I feel Ascension is a great addition with some minor flaws but with some epic set pieces. Overall I enjoyed it and I hope it is not the last I see of the ghost of Sparta.