The epic saga we all grew to love just got downgraded a little on God of War Ascension
Kratos is back once again to kick some a$$ in this prequel and it feels like a trip down memory lane, even if it’s a disappointing one. God of War games are known to be among (if not) the best of third person action-adventure beat em’ up video games and God of War Ascension continues this lineage resulting in a Déjà vu “been here, done that” situation. Now don’t get me wrong, the game is fantastic, gory and fun and I love it as much as the next guy, but it is the exact same thing we have done 5 times before and doesn’t stand as high as what came before.
This is a prequel, meaning that the action takes place somewhere before the events of the first game. You play as, you guessed it, Kratos, the former servant of the God of War, Ares, who tricked Kratos into killing his wife and child. Kratos renounced Ares, breaking his blood oath to the god. For this act, Kratos was imprisoned by the three Furies, the guardians of honor and enforcers of punishment. Helped by the oath keeper Orkos, and learning that Ares and the Furies plan to overthrow Mount Olympus, Kratos escapes his imprisonment, defeats the Furies, and reluctantly kills Orkos. Although free of Ares’ bond, Kratos begins to suffer the nightmares that will plague him throughout his adventures.
All of the above paragraph is taken from the Wikipedia page, cause when I played the game I didn’t really understood WTF was happening. A moment you are chained and being tortured, the next moment you are free and start to kick some a$$, then you are thrown back and fourth in a series of flashback, that made no point and made me loose track of what was happening. The way the story is presented to you is a mess, I didn’t like and to say the truth I didn’t found it interesting as the previous games. It felt really boring like something made up during a coffee break. Ascension means climbing, rising or reaching something, but by the end of the game, I didn’t see Kratos “ascend” to anything or do anything that truly mattered and had an impact on the world. In the past games, we’ve seen Kratos kill titans, take down Olympus and fricking kill Zeus himself, but in Ascension there is nothing to even come close to those moments. Also the ending was incredibly stupid, “something” happens and Kratos just turns back and walk…meh.
Kratos has always been a hard character to relate to, he is angry all the time and he want to smash and kill everything for no apparent reason, much like say Hulk. But Ascension was supposed to show us a side of Kratos we haven’t really seen before, the human side, to make us relate more to him. But after finishing the game, I can say that it was only “supposed”, since there is nothing like that in the game apart from 2 or 3 moments where Kratos saves someone or when he holds back on doing what he is asked to do. The epic live action launch trailer made Kratos more human in 2 minutes than the 13 or so hours of the game. Another thing that disappointed me were the main villains. The Furies man… they suck as the bad guys or girls in this case. They don’t kill Kratos because “he need to be tortured for what he had done” and in the end these creatures facilitate his escape. It didn’t made any sense and the Furies didn’t felt worth of the might of Kratos. A spider-like lady, a lady who can summon a flying bird and the last one who can turn into a giant scary looking sea monster aren’t as cool to interact with and fight as Poseidon, Hades or Zeus. To me they felt more like scrapped past characters and bosses of the previous games.
So the story sucked, but thank god the gameplay made up for it. If you liked the gameplay of past God of War games, then you will love the gameplay of Ascension. Everything feels perfect. The combat, movement, puzzles, platforming are better than ever. The combat is super fluid and extremely satisfying. Slashing down the many type of foes in the game, gives you a sense of satisfaction that no other game manages to do so, apart from the past God of War games. String combos, unleash devastating attacks, grab and split in two corpses, engage in a super f*cking awesome QTE moment while fighting a big boss… yeah everything can be found here and it’s better than ever. Combat is cool and sweet, but it feels a little downgraded.
Now in the past games, Kratos gained new weapons like hammers, gauntlets, a bow etc. which he could use as a secondary weapon. You could upgrade these secondaries and unlock new abilities and combos like you would do for your Blades of (whatever). In Ascension you don’t get that kind of secondary weapons. Sure there are some “secondary weapons” like hammers or swords you can pick up, but their use is limited and they can’t substitute the badass secondary ones from the past. What you get instead of them are new element powers for your Blades of Chaos. The first is from Ares, the power of fire which has been the standart for every GOW game. But as you progress, you get three new elemental, Electricity from Zeus, Ice from Poseidon and Death/Summon Souls from Hades. I didn’t like this, not one bit. Mainly because there is no clear point in using any other element apart from Fire. I figured that somewhere in the code of the game a stats program would be running causing each element to have different effect on the enemies, but it didn’t really seem so. The only differences between them were the colors, particle effects and the sound effects. The only benefit was that each element dropped different orbs, so one will drop green orbs for health, one blue for mana, one red for “points to spend” and one gold orbs that did “something”. But during my normal difficulty play I didn’t see the need to use any of them for health or mana drops since there were plenty of chests, maybe in hardcore difficulty these make a difference, but I haven’t tried it yet. Magic powers are back and they are locked within each element of your blades.