REVIEW – Titans, Furies, Cyclopes, Minotaurs, and other Greek Mythological beings are trying to drag down Krators the ever so mad Spartan warrior down to Hades in the latest God of War game called Ascension. This game is a prequel to the original trilogy which finally sheds light as to how the Spartan leader became such a vicious and bloodthirsty champion over the course of the game’s story.
God of War is a PlayStation exclusive series that has become one of the bestselling franchises for Sony, and really revved up the sales for the PS2, PSP, and PS3 sales. The first game was released in 2005 on the PS2, since then Sony has released two more sequels, and two spin off sequels for the PSP (these were released for the PS3 in 2011 as HD remakes). Based on the shiny past, we were expecting a huge new prequel with God of War: Ascension, and let me tell you uprfront that Sony Entertainment Santa Monica does not fail to deliver in that regard.
Kratos is known in the gaming world as the brutal Spartan killing machine who not only eviscerates giant monsters, but even kills the surrounding civilian population while fighting. Luckily this is not changed, and Kratos is not a good guy in this prequel, however the story has more emphasis in terms of shaping the legend of Kratos. His motivations become clear, and add a bit of humanity to Kratos for the player.
We knew that Kratos killed his own wife, and child due to the machinations of the gods. Well Ascension takes place roughly six months after that event, and it is still a fresh wound for our protagonist. Ares is present here, and as an Ally to Kratos. It is he who Kratos sells his soul to, so that he can complete his vengeance against the gods. For those who played the first game will know what role Ares will play in Kratos’ fate, and for those who do not well they’ll just have to play God of War 1.
Well Ascension takes place roughly six months after that event, and it is still a fresh wound for our protagonist. Ares is present here, and as an Ally to Kratos. It is he who Kratos sells his soul to, so that he can complete his vengeance against the gods. For those who played the first game will know what role Ares will play in Kratos’ fate, and for those who do not well they’ll just have to play God of War 1.
Finish him Kratos!
Although the story is an important part of the God of War games, the main draw of the franchise has always been the combat against the mythical monsters. In this regards the developers were able to keep the quality of the battles in Ascension. The monsters of the Greek mythology look lifelike, just for Kratos to slice them, burn them, blow them up, or kill them in any other extravagant way. Yep this is not an easy game for the stomach, and not a game that tends to hold back on the action. The developers pushed it to the max with this game on the PS3.
Kratos is able to pull a multitude of special moves that are learned by upgrading his weapons or learning different elemental magic spells (fire, ice, lightning, and black magic). With these upgraded Kratos can become a warrior/mage slaughtering the monsters. Of course the QTE (quick time events) moves are still present, and appear in one or two of the more grandiose moments, when we will have to press our PlayStation controller’s buttons. A new element is that we will now have to use the gamepads thumbsticks to avoid the punches of the angry mythological monsters. The combat in terms of gameplay did not change too much, but it is not worth mixing up something that works so well.
Environments that fit into Greek epics
The graphics for God of War: Ascension are unbelievable, and the developers really pushed the limits of the PlayStation 3. The detail of the giant monsters are fantastic, and the Ancient Greek environments are also well crafted. Although the game’s resolution is only 720p, we probably will not notice it, as most games are just upscaled to 1080. A lot of neat graphic effects are also used in Ascension. In terms of characters, Kratos is probably the most detailed one, but even the side characters are great, especially the beautiful half-naked hetéras who try to seduce the player at one point in the game.
God of War: Ascension is definitely a must have for PlayStation 3 owners, and for those who are thinking about getting a PS3 they should not hesitate further as this game is a good enough reason. The cherry on the cream is that we finally have multiplayer mode, where eight different wannabe Kratos’ can clash together. For me this is a true God of War experience, which I got from SCE Santa Monica developers.
+ Prequel to the story of Kratos
+ It looks great for a PS3 game
+ Hard but interesting boss fights
– The old gameplay is still the same
– Some of the bossfights are too hard
– The story could be better
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developer: SCE Santa Monica, Wholesale Algorithms
Genres: action, hack’n’slash
Publication: 9 Mars, 2013