God of War: Ascension Impressions
The God of War series continues to live on in God of War: Ascension. When you may have thought all corners of the story had been fulfilled, Santa Monica studios brought us to the beginning when it all happened and when Kratos’ rage for Ares heightened to a new level. This is God of War: Ascension and here’s the journey so far.
The game briefly backtracks to when it all began – the war between the Primordials, who forged the Earth, spawned what are known as Furies. The Furies would punish those for their injustice and who had broke their blood oath to Zeus. The many armed Hecatonchires was made an example of a traitor, brutally punished, tortured and turned to stone.
The opening showed Kratos chained on all 4 sides, knee-bent. A fury named Megaera unmercifully sliced through Kratos, with himself enduring the pain. After numerous quick-time events later, Kratos broke free from the chains and a long chase to defeat Megaera was at hand.
New parisitic insects scattered across the ground and were easily despatched from Kratos’ Blade of Chaos – a familiar weapon to many. These parasitic insects would disgustingly insert themselves in bodies and control them. The combat is more or less what we’ve come to expect from the God of War series and all felt familiar and easy to get used to.
The combat is free-flowing with brutal close-up finishers still present and multi-combo moves better chained together. Action was fast-paced with little pace breakers when travelling from one place to another as enemies were always lurking around. The atmosphere was breath-taking as the prison of Hecatonchires were above the clouds. It’s the same primordial that was punished and made an example out of as it’s large stature was made the prison for the damned.
Megaera, the Fury has as many sharp legs as a spider, with insects crawling in and out of her skin. Boss fights are naturally present and as big though maybe not as bold as predecessors. Fights were still brutal and killer quick-time events still played a significant part in slicing and dicing those heads, bodies and legs.
The environments and scenarios would quickly change as we visited the sewers, dark dingy caves and waves of enemies flung from many sides as the hands of Hecatonchires rolled the building like a dice. The cinematic camera angles kept the action engaging and really played scenes of action and mystery well.
And with that, it’s hard not to recognise the intricate detail of Kratos as a character close-up – hats off to Santa Monica for the sharp visuals.
Character progression still consists of collecting orbs to upgrade your weapons and magic whilst collecting Gorgon Eyes and Feathers increase health and magic meters. Whilst linear designs are still a part of these kind of games, there are some limited depth in exploring areas. Simply following the path will get you from A to B but deviating around and you’ll find chests of items, orbs and notes that flesh out the story a bit more.
Stepping back from the action, the overall package is something we’ve seen and tried before and Ascension feels like a story driver rather than innovating something new. The combat is solid and the graphics are fantastic. The biggest draw outside of singleplayer is of course the mulitplayer, a first for the series.
Multiplayer pits your created warrior against others in a arena with many verticals. You can empower your player with one of the Gods abilities- Ares, Hades, Zeus and Poseidon. Like Kratos, your warrior is an oath breaker and imprisoned in the Prison of the Damned, with a little backstory to tie your motives. As you level up, more weapons, magic and outfits are unlocked for further customisations. Games can consist of solo, 2 or 4 player teams, with a total of 8 players vying to take control of points on the map for rewards from the Gods.
Combat is as fully-fledged as you’ve come to expect from Singleplayer which is always good news. Overall, it’ll take more time to form a judgment on the new multiplayer offering of Ascension but from what I’ve played it looks sound so far. Singleplayer gameplay feels as solid as other iterations though will have to delve deeper to see how strong the story is. Stay tuned for a full review of God of War: Ascension