God Of War Ascension Review
THIS IS A SPARTAN REVIEW!
In the seventh installment of the God of War series, Santa Monica Studio brings up another offering of the Spartan Kratos, and Greek mythology, to the gods. Usually a series is pretty burned out by the fifth entry, so how does GoW: Ascension fair with the gods and the gamers?
GoW: Ascension is a prequel to all other entries in the series. Kratos has broken a blood oath with his former keeper Ares, the God of War, and for doing so has been imprisoned by the three Furies, who enforce punishment against those who break a blood oath with a divinity. You can only kick a dog so many times before you get bit and our hero, Kratos, certainly bites back and thus begins our journey of violent mayhem.
Gameplay is generally kept the same as the previous entries in the series, which takes place from the view of a fixed camera in the third person. Fighting is based around combo style button smashing to engage in various routines of violence based around Kratos signature weapon, his double-chained blades. Throughout the game Kratos will come across gifts from the gods in the form of elemental magic to help in his pursuit of vengeance. You will also find various Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers to collect that will expand your maximum health and magic levels. After the inevitable destruction of your enemies and various items in the environment, you will receive orbs that Kratos absorbs that replenish health and magic meters. You can also find these in larger quantities in chests throughout the levels. The chests will change colors, indicating what its contents contain; orbs for health or magic, giving the player the choice of which meter to replenish.
The series is known for its fantastic quick time events (QTE) and they look absolutely beautiful in Ascension. These QTEs not only look great but they also have been updated in this entry; allowing the player to choose either attack or dodge, forcing players to think while the QTE is unfolding, instead of simply hitting the next button to appear.
The single player campaign definitely feels familiar but with lots of little tweaks to help bring GoW to a whole new level.
When I first heard God of War: Ascension was going to add a multiplayer mode, I didn’t know what to think. How could this style of game add any kind of worthwhile multiplayer gameplay? Normally when I play games online, I have the staples I go to. They generally include Battlefield 3, Black Ops 2 (although I still say MW3’s MP destroys BO2) and of course the never disappointing Halo series. So I really didn’t understand how God of War was going to fair on the multiplayer side of things. Well, it fairs way better than I could have ever imagined. I have never had so much fun playing a non First Person Shooter title online in my life (not counting the third person Ghost Recon titles of course!). It looks great, it flows great and it is addictive!
When you start out, you’ll find yourself at the Rotunda of Olympus, where you are surrounded by the gods Ares, Hades, Poseidon and of course the almighty Zeus. Here you need to pick a deity to align your self with and, based on the one you choose, you’ll be assigned a unique fighting style and abilities to start your multiplayer career with. During your career you’ll receive buffs and debuffs which will positively or negatively affect the players attributes and, while playing, you will receive Labors from the gods to achieve which will garner more experience for leveling your character up.
There are four multiplayer game modes, Team Favor of the Gods, Match of Champions, Trial of the Gods and Capture the Flag, and they can consist of four versus four, two versus two, free for all, 2 player co-op or single player.In Team Favor of the Gods, you obtain favor by killing opponents, holding areas, opening chests, and so on. The player or team with the most favor wins. In Match of Champions, either four or eight players fight each other until the first player reaches the required amount of favor for the gods to win the game.Trial of the Gods can either be played single player or two players CO-OP. The player, or players, fights five waves of monsters that get more difficult with each wave and ends with a boss battle and you’ll also be fighting against the clock to add time with each kill. Capture the Flag is your standard CTF game mode and plays out like most others as far as the general rules go.
The maps themselves are absolutely stunning, graphically and half the time I end up being killed because I’m gawking at the mind blowing visuals in the backgrounds. Each map looks and plays just as good as anything in the single player mode and are each based around locations already established in the series. One of the best things in the multiplayer suite is the way they incorporated it into the Ascension single player story, and the series story overall. It gives multiplayer a lot more meaning and really makes it part of the overall experience but I’ll let you find out just how they do it for yourselves. Future DLC is planned and all multiplayer maps are rumored to remain free. I sure hope that’s true but if they do have a price it will probably be worth it.
The God of War series is one that I didn’t start playing until later, and this type of game is usually only going to appeal to a specific audience, those who like a senseless hack and slash, violence romp, with a very slight bit of thought involved. I do enjoy the genre, I am an huge fan of Conan and I even enjoyed Bloodforge more than anyone else I know, but the reason God of War stands out amongst the competition is that it turns everything up, way up. It has more intensity, action, story, and addictive gameplay than any other title in the genre has ever hoped to. The effectiveness with which Santa Monica Studios visually mixes the gameplay with the environments its awe-inspiring. Throw in Tyler Bates’ score and a few decapitations in the name of vengeance, with some of the most manic yet strategically timed controls and you have a great ride ahead of you. If you were ever not sure if this series was one for you this is a great place to start, you won’t be disappointed.
Available On: PS3