The funny thing about the God of War franchise is that people either love it passionately or hate it. There aren’t too many people that ride the middle lane when it comes to Kratos and his beef with the rest of the gods of Olympus. Fans of the series hail the beautiful graphics, storyline and super brutal kills while naysayers slam the repetitive QTE (quick time events) and incessant button mashing. That wasn’t enough to stop it however from being one of the biggest titles to go down in video game history.
God of War: Ascension is an attempt to convert the gamers who weren’t feeling the past three releases and it works. Sort of. What makes this prequel so awesome is the same thing that ultimately causes it’s own demise.
Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date: March 12
What fans will immediately notice is that the graphics and animation have gotten a lot smoother. Always known for it’s enormous bosses, God of War: Ascension remains true to bringing across the feeling of an epic battle where you, a god the size of a mortal can viciously kill an enemy the size of a mountain. Added camera angles give gameplay an extra bump of cinematic cool and when it does come time for a quick time event, it flows flawlessly and doesn’t look like the developers just stuck in an animation. Check out the video below for an example of how amazing it looks. Don't worry, it's spoiler free.
The kills are brutal as always with Kratos ripping off heads and tearing bodies apart like clothes during Spring break. The graphic violence remains over the top and will surely please the fans who love seeing Kratos pissed off and destroying everything in his path.
As beautiful as the new camera angles are, it often messes up the gameplay when it pulls out into a wide shot. Battles become almost impossible to see and it’s difficult to fight properly. When a gang of enemies are on you, it turns into a button-mash frenzy with hopes that you’re actually hitting something. This holds especially true in boss fights where all the colors and details blend into each other and you don’t know where you are opposed to everyone else you have to kill.
Some gamers may not mind an abundance of quick time events and Ascension has done away with a lot of them, but they still exist. However, they’re broken up to where in the middle of the scene you have options to continue your murderous attacks with stabs and chops. The variation may not be plentiful but it surely makes the QTEs more bearable.
Expect to come across numerous puzzles during play as you’ll find objects to push, pull and destroy in order to complete an objective. Though not the most challenging, the hints at what a player needs to do could have been a lot better. When you first come across something to figure out, you only get one swing of the camera to see where you need go. Sometimes it happens so fast, you’re not able to catch it and will find yourself running around pushing and pulling stuff in vain. That gets frustrating very fast and could turn a lot of people off.
At the time when God of War: Ascension was first announced, a lot of focus was on the multiplayer feature where you represent a god and fight in a Super Smash Bros. type of contest for victory. The kills are awesome as one would assume but tend to get repetitive after some time.
God of War: Ascension will be most welcomed by newcomers to the franchise or by existing fans who want to experience how pretty the GOW series has gotten. The hardcore purists may not be impressed as it seemed that the looks of the game seems to be the main focus and the actual play is the same as its ever been minus the amount of QTEs. The dark humor, massive gore and nudity (as you can see in the video below) is not something you’d want younger gamers around but its not any worse as an average episode of Game of Thrones.