Let me start of by saying that I am a huge God of War fan. I have played and own all of the games, plus the PS3 HD collections. Even while I knew that God of War Ascension was most likely milking the franchise, I was still into it. Santa Monica did a great job with the stories for the prequels so I had no reason to doubt them and with the addition of multiplayer I knew I was going to buy it. Let’s see how it turned out.
“Before he was a god he was a man”
Yeah…about that.. What I hoped they meant by that was that they were going to focus on his relationship with his family as they already did a game about Calliope’s daughter. I thought this one was about his wife since it’s the only family member that never got any development. Seriously, what’s her name? It’s half of his motivation and it always haunts his mind and still,I know nothing about her.
This game started out pretty good. I liked what they were going for. There were good villains, the game looks amazing, the first boss fight is beyond epic and the changes to the combat system really kicked ass. But after a while it came to me. So…it isn’t about his family? This game takes place after he killed his family and now he refuses to work for Ares. I don’t like this. I really wished this game started before he became a demigod. Before he was a god he was a man. This only got worse as it went on. Out of all the flash backs we got, why couldn’t there be one of when he actually was a man?Hello story people? Were you out for lunch? What the hell happened?
The story is not awful but, honestly, this story should have been told in chains of Olympus. That game had a way more character driven story with an actual conflict based on his relationship with his daughter. Ascension just tells another basic story about getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ so Kratos can be free of the bond he has with Ares or something. In the end it just left me feeling empty, like nothing was accomplished at all. That’s unforgivable for a god of war game. That because, if anything god of war did right, it was endings. They always knew how to get you pumped for the ending and then deliver a satisfying one. Even the Psp games had good endings. So story wise, ascension comes of as the weakest of the bunch (if you don’t count the mobile phone game).
Graphically, like I already mentioned, this game looks amazing. The creature design, the level design and all the creativity they put into everything really does pop out. Major props to the people who made all of this. They really created some moments of me just staring at how cool everything is. I actually died once because of it.
The combat system is always great and it’s the best so far. A new grapple mechanic and 4 different type of blade attacks and magic to choose from make it pretty cool. There are no awesome weapons this time but you can pick up a handful of world weapons that you find lying about, or take them from your foes. The game is still brutal and bloody as always and the first boss is as disgusting as he is big.
But I must mention this: this game has so many technical issues. It has a ton, and I do mean a ton, of glitches. Again, a new flaw that never was in any god of war games, at least not on a regular basis. I have been unable to proceed because of glitches with the engine. I have stared at characters that lost their color maps, a ton of sounds that don’t load or are delayed, the screen jitters sometimes. They really need to patch this. Also, the game difficulty is all over the map. They have patched the difficulty a couple of times already, but I don’t think they should do that.
My first play through this game was on hard and it took me 12 hours, maybe a bit less than that, to complete the game. But this game obviously doesn’t end here. I love bonus content on god of war. And thankfully, this game had free skins. That’s something that really pissed me of about god of war 3. With that said though, the skins fail to impress. It’s just multiplayer armours and they’re not even on Kratos. You have Kratos, olive skin Kratos and then a bunch of armors. They’re not bad, but they lack the coolness or the funny factors of previous games. They only talk about multiplayer maybe once or twice. They mention single player and its quite clear that this game is “God of war multiplayer” and they put a story in, almost like afterthought.
But to their credit, multiplayer is freaking badass. And I do mean that it is freaking good. Major props for connecting the story with the multiplayer. Basically, you get to choose one of 4 gods which each give different powers and weapons. Your gladiators are actually highly customizable. They handle differently from Kratos.They’re a bit slower and not that powerful, though you can level them up and equip them with all awesome stuff that evens them out. Suprisingly, it’s all about skill in pvp. How you use your specials and magic, how you manouvre the character and how you handle the stage determine if you can kill a guy, even at higher levels than yourself. Cooperation with your team is crucial, so if you can play with friends it’s all for the best. The multiplayer levels all look great and offer a lot of variety.
You have 3 weapons in total and there’s also the world weapons you can pick up, the hammer for slow and crowd control attacks, the spear for swift attacks and the sword which is the in between of both of those. I have a character alligned to Poseidon using the spear and one alligned to Hades using the sword and they’re both really fun to play with it. I can definitely see myself spending a lot of hours on this multiplayer, as it has a lot of content and definitely makes up for the disappointing storyline.
With all that said, I am not as pleased as I wished to be with Ascension. While the game is as epic as its counterparts, it lacks the emotional bond to it. In the game that promised emotional bonds the most, is it a surprise that this is the only god of war game that wasn’t planned? Ghost of Sparta was planned since the original god of war and chains of Olympus explains somethings in god of war 2. So I can conclude that Santa Monica has delivered a great game here, but it could have been a legendary game.
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