Grizzly Gaming

Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: God of War Ascension can't compare to previous titles

By Dan Robinson

The “God of War” series is the reason I got a PS3. Every new game that came out was a breath of fresh air, improving on every aspect of the title and setting the tone for other third person, hack-and-slash games. The story of Kratos’ battle against the gods on his quest for revenge along with the intense combat kept me coming back for me.

It was sad when the original trilogy ended after “God of War 3,” which was why I was so excited to hear about another installment of the series being made. This new title, “God of War: Ascension” is a prequel to the original trilogy and tells the story of what happened to Kratos after he made his deal with Ares, the god of war.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest entry in the series but after playing it for a while, I was a little disappointed. While it’s still a great game and nothing is necessarily wrong with it, it doesn’t feel like it lives up to games in the original series. Where the original series continually felt fresh and new, this game feels like more of the same with nothing to really set it apart or above the previous entries in the series.

The combat of “God of War: Ascension” which is part of what makes the series so great, feels stale and too much like the previous games. Though you do have to be a little more strategic when attacking and defending than in older games, overall it’s just more of the same. I also really didn’t like the camera view during larger fights, which pans out so far that it’s sometimes hard to tell where Kratos is in all the chaos.

Another part of what made the combat feel stale was the lack of new weapons. In previous games, Kratos could collect and equip weapons besides the Blades of Chaos but in “Ascension,” his blades are his main weapons. There are a handful of other weapons to find, like a club or sword, but they’re very plain and can’t be used for long. Over the course of the game, Kratos can also acquire magical abilities which augment the Blades of Chaos, but even these aren’t very interesting.

While there are boss battles in this game, they don’t come close to matching the size or scale of battling Ares or Zeus as in previous games. Most bosses you face come in the form of the Furies, mythical figures who imprison Kratos after breaking his oath to Ares. Though these battles are fun, fighting them just isn’t the same or as much fun as battling a god.

Overall, I found the combat to be a lot easier and more forgiving in this title than in previous ones. Maybe it’s because it’s a prequel or maybe they just wanted to draw more new people to the series but the combat and boss battles just aren’t as challenging as they have been in the past.

The visuals of “God of War: Ascension” are as sharp and colorful as ever and really helps draw you into the world of mythology. The character design and design of the monsters are highly detailed which is also a big plus. And, since Kratos is again on a quest for vengeance, the violence and brutality of this game are also top notch.

For the first time in a “God of War” game, multiplayer has been included. Featuring four modes, the ones I played most were team deathmatch and capture the flag. While the multiplayer was fun and all, it didn’t really add anything to the story or anything else – it was just there. It wasn’t bad, it was pretty fun actually, but just nothing special about it. It would’ve been nice if it could’ve been tied into the story more than it was, but as it is it just feels like a tacked on mode, something the developers added just because they could.

While I did enjoy playing this game, at the end I felt pretty underwhelmed by the whole package. Part of it seems to be because “God of War: Ascension” is a prequel, that all of the encounters, battles and weapons just aren’t as cool or as fun to play as events that take place later in the life of Kratos. And because we know all about his wild, outlandish encounters with the gods later in his life, these early events just can’t compare. Everything about this game just felt like the developers wanted to make another game with the “God of War” title and not because the necessarily had anything new or interesting to add to the series. Though I usually end up replaying fun, single player games, it might be a while before I replay “God of War: Ascension.”


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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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