After the release of three great God of War games on consoles and two on handhelds, people asked what was next for the popular franchise. Santa Monica went back to the drawing board and decided to release a prequel called God of War: Ascension. They promised to let us see Kratos on a more human level than what we previously saw in the past games. Not to mention this prequel is the first in the franchise to include an online multiplayer mode.
Has Santa Monica added anything notable to the core gameplay or is it the same game fans have loved since 2005? Find out as we take a look at what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of God of War: Ascension.
Epic is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. However, it is the best word to describe the incredible level design in this game. With most modern day video games featuring linear level design, Ascension includes huge, breathtaking scenery that is rarely seen in games these days. God of War 3 had huge and awesome levels, too, and Ascension is no different.
If you have watched Dragon Ball Z before, you will remember that Goku had to travel through “Snake Way”. There’s a similar looking serpent featured in Ascension that Kratos has to ride on, too. The epic scale of the level design here is nothing short of amazing. There are numerous other levels in the game that made my jaw drop in amazement. The sheer size of the statues, monuments and other environmental elements have to be seen to be believed. It’s amazing how Santa Monica have been able to animate such large levels on the aging PS3 hardware.
Good Balance of Action and Puzzle Solving
When it comes to modern action games these days, the emphasis is always focused on full-on shooting and explosions and rarely on exploration and puzzle solving. This is extremely evident with the FPS genre. Hack-n-slash games usually get repetitive if they feature too much action. This has never been the case with the God of War series and Ascension, thankfully, continues this tradition.
The amount of action in Ascension is the same amount you already experienced in past God of War titles. Fans can expect big bosses that can take up the whole screen, intense quick time events and thrilling platforming segments. Through the eight hour campaign, you can expect to experience all of the characteristics found within a God of War title. Combo execution is smooth and there’s a new type of element that you can embed on the Blades of Chaos – it can be with fire, lightning, water or soul.
Only the first level included non-stop action and felt repetitive. After you complete the first level, the game becomes more balanced as you will need to solve puzzles in order to advance. Most of the levels are broken up in a series of fights, then a puzzle to solve and then concludes with an epic boss battle at the end. This is the type of balance I love in games as it’s not a bad thing to slow the pace down from time to time. I was playing Tomb Raider around the same time as reviewing this game and I have to say, Tomb Raider actually features less puzzles than that of Ascension.
Surprisingly Good Multiplayer Mode
When it comes to multiplayer experiences, most games in this area are shooting titles. When hack-n-slash titles enter this realm, things get a bit sticky because the genre has yet to get it right. People just have to play Ninja Gaiden 3’s to understand what I’m talking about.
Much like most people, I was skeptical about God of War: Ascension’s addition of multiplayer. Having participated in the game’s beta a few weeks ago, I wasn’t too impressed with the mode. This all changed when I finally had a chance to play the full multiplayer offering. I have to say, Santa Monica has done a great job for its first time in this department.
Beating up people with weapons and/or using magic is a lot more fun than just shooting at them all of the time. This is the unique aspect of this game’s multiplayer offering that truly makes it fun. I chose to wield a hammer, but other weapons included a sword and a spear. You can also customize the look of your own character, too, giving them armor and other clothing that will improve their stats and attributes. To effectively win at this game, you have to watch your opponent’s attacks and know when is the best time to block and parry. I did this multiple times and was rewarded with an awesome looking kill animation in the process.
The level design in the multiplayer is very unique as well. There are titans and gods that can both help or hinder you during gameplay. One player has the ability to awaken a god to smack all of the other opposing players. There are also levels where you can press the R1 button to go to higher platforms and some levels even break apart. It’s just not arena based levels as I experienced when playing the beta.
Fun Multiplayer Modes
There are four modes in total that vary the gameplay to make sure you never get bored. The four modes you get to play include: Team Favor of the Gods, Match of Champions, Capture the Flag and Trial of the Gods.
Team Favor of the Gods is arguably the best mode in the entire game. This is because its objective based and plays a bit like the old Star Wars: Battlefront games. Not only do you gain points by killing off opponents, but you can also increase your team’s score by collecting special weapons/items, opening treasure chests and even obtaining checkpoints. This mode can be played in teams of two or four people. I must say, it’s a very entertaining mode to playthrough.God of War: Ascension Review ,