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'[GAME] God of War: Ascension'

This thread has been linked to the game 'God of War: Ascension'.
Wed 20/03/13 at 12:11:
Regular
Posts: 261
The games in the God of War series usually start with a bang with past entries having Kratos waking up on a boat to slay a Hydra and scaling up Mount Olympus on a mission to kill Zeus. However, the opening to God of War: Ascension is somewhat muted in comparison. Kratos begins his journey by escaping the captivity of the Furies, a trio who torture those willing to break oaths to the gods. After this the story shifts back two weeks to show the events leading up to his capture.

The tale provided in Ascension doesnít cover much new ground. The first game has Kratos on a mission to kill Ares, but it seems in Ascension that Kratos has to kill the Furies before he can get his revenge on him. That is the point of their existence, although they create the more personal moments with Kratos as they tease him with visions of his past.

Although some may be tired of the formula, Ascension sticks to the series roots with a mixture of balletic hack and slash, colossal bosses, interesting puzzles and platforming that I love about the series although for better or worse they still have QTEís. The majority of the enemies found in previous games make a return such as Medusa, Cyclopses, Centaurs and Cerberuses with the same set of moves. There are a couple of new enemies, one of which is an Elephantaur who charges at you. The most memorable thing about it is Kratosís finishing move on it as he slices through its brain.

The main difference in enemy behaviour is that when you finish certain enemies, you may have to dodge attacks in between your strikes, which feels more interactive than standard QTE finishers.

There are also gameplay sections where Kratos slides down slopes as you maneuver him around obstacles, jump over gaps and grapple to swing to new areas. This is fairly enjoyable, flows well, and provides another distraction from combat, although Iíd pick bosses and puzzle sections over it.

Ascension has streamlined weapon customization with the Blades of Chaos being the only weapon you can use. You will be given the option to upgrade elemental effects on the blade such as Fire, Ice, Lightning and Soul. I was hoping that some of these elements would play a part in puzzle solving but it isnít the case. The streamlining is no great loss as God of War 3 had 3 other chain-like weapons that all were used in a similar fashion to the main blades. There are enemies in the game that glow in the colour of your weapon elements, but I didnít notice any difference when using different elements against them. Killing enemies with Ice, Lighting or Soul abilities will give you experience, magic or health respectively but you only get a single orb of magic or health so switching elements for this purpose isnít worth it.

Successfully attacking, blocking and parrying attacks will fill up your rage meter which will allow you to execute a powerful ability based on your blade element or if you decide to keep it full your attacks can do increased damage. If you are out of combat for too long or get hit, your meter will drain. I thought that enemies in Ascension were very quick to track your movements, making dodging ineffective at times. This meant that I used my rage abilities as soon as I got them.

Puzzles in Ascension are logical and enjoyable and Kratos obtains an item that allows him to duplicate himself in a static position allowing him to do two things at once and another item that allows him to age or renew pieces of the environment. These items have their use in combat as well. The duplication item spawns a shadow to attack enemies for a duration and the age/renew device can be used to freeze enemies in time.

My favourite parts of Ascension are one of the latter puzzles which were the only one that I had to think about for a while involving a light beam, an escalator and kratosís duplication ability. I decided not to patch the game so I could play through the Trial of Archimedes on normal. Using all my abilities, I managed to beat it on my second attempt and I did find it challenging. I did feel a sense of accomplishment for beating it and it is debatable as to whether it should have been patched considering for some it could have been the only part of the game they found challenging. It took me many more attempts to beat other sections in God of War 3, which to some was considered the easiest in the series at the time. I also enjoyed one boss that had the ability to destroy the ground and rejuvenate it back which forces you to keep on your toes.

However, I found the remainder of the bosses to be forgettable and easy. The Furies even introduce themselves in similar ways rather than standing out in ways other than their appearance. I can still remember the encounters in God of War 3 with Poseidon, Hades, Hercules, Chronos and Zeus whereas the Furies arenít likely to stay in my memory for long. The final boss isnít particularly challenging and a significant portion of it is cinematic and QTEís. The final bosses of previous instalments were challenging enough to give a sense of accomplishment to end the game with, such as Ares and Zeus which both took a fair few attempts to beat. The game ended on a weak note for me.

I feel that the series has done better in the past and I see Ascension as one of the weaker in the series but it is still a good game with enjoyable combat, platforming and puzzles that will at least satisfy series fans.

The Multiplayer is an interesting addition to the series. When you create a character you can pledge allegiance to one of the four gods: Zeus, Ares, Hades and Poseidon. This is presented well as you can see statues of the four gods in the training arena. During training the game teaches you the mechanics such as the attack triangle: parry beats light attacks, Heavy beats parry and light attacks beat heavy attacks. As light attacks have quick animations you can ready yourself to parry when an enemy gets close and because heavy attacks have a slower animation you can get a light attack in if they open with it. Enemies glow red when performing unblockable attacks, forcing you to dodge. Enemies glow white when invulnerable and they glow blue when they are open to attack. Each god has slightly different playstyles and advantages and provides different special attacks and potions. Each arena has different environmental events to take into consideration such as areas to replenish health or magic, collect secondary weapons and fight neutral enemies. In one arena, a Cerberus spawns and if you wound it enough to latch onto it with your chain, you can ride on top of it and attack players with it. I also enjoy being able to perform gruesome finishing moves on online players. Itís like Mortal Kombat without having to memorise a Fatality combo. Athough I think it is well made, I donít know whether it will keep my interest for long.

I canít recommend Ascension for full price on single player or multiplayer alone. However, if you enjoy both of them then it is easy to recommend. If you are looking for the definitive God of War single player experience then you wonít find it here. If you are itching for more Kratos adventuring then this is still worth a playthrough.
Sat 23/03/13 at 22:10:
Regular
Posts: 261
Thanks Chasfh.

I'm sure they tried to as they made additions and changes. I'm not sure whether they were constrained as Kratos has killed nearly everything in Greek mythology or whether multiplayer took time away that could have made it shine. It has been nearly three years since their last installment so they aren't milking it to death. Maybe its unfair of me to compare it to past installments considering they didn't have multiplayer, giving them time to increase its "epicness".
Wed 20/03/13 at 16:00:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,462
I think "Satisfying series fans" is where the issue lies with the majority of these games. It seems to be the thing now, to release one or two outstanding efforts, followed by a less than sterling follow up that promises more of the same.

Perhaps games developers should look long and hard at how their series can progress, rather than relying solely on those already hooked to make it a success.

Good review though!
Wed 20/03/13 at 12:11:
Regular
Posts: 261
The games in the God of War series usually start with a bang with past entries having Kratos waking up on a boat to slay a Hydra and scaling up Mount Olympus on a mission to kill Zeus. However, the opening to God of War: Ascension is somewhat muted in comparison. Kratos begins his journey by escaping the captivity of the Furies, a trio who torture those willing to break oaths to the gods. After this the story shifts back two weeks to show the events leading up to his capture.

The tale provided in Ascension doesnít cover much new ground. The first game has Kratos on a mission to kill Ares, but it seems in Ascension that Kratos has to kill the Furies before he can get his revenge on him. That is the point of their existence, although they create the more personal moments with Kratos as they tease him with visions of his past.

Although some may be tired of the formula, Ascension sticks to the series roots with a mixture of balletic hack and slash, colossal bosses, interesting puzzles and platforming that I love about the series although for better or worse they still have QTEís. The majority of the enemies found in previous games make a return such as Medusa, Cyclopses, Centaurs and Cerberuses with the same set of moves. There are a couple of new enemies, one of which is an Elephantaur who charges at you. The most memorable thing about it is Kratosís finishing move on it as he slices through its brain.

The main difference in enemy behaviour is that when you finish certain enemies, you may have to dodge attacks in between your strikes, which feels more interactive than standard QTE finishers.

There are also gameplay sections where Kratos slides down slopes as you maneuver him around obstacles, jump over gaps and grapple to swing to new areas. This is fairly enjoyable, flows well, and provides another distraction from combat, although Iíd pick bosses and puzzle sections over it.

Ascension has streamlined weapon customization with the Blades of Chaos being the only weapon you can use. You will be given the option to upgrade elemental effects on the blade such as Fire, Ice, Lightning and Soul. I was hoping that some of these elements would play a part in puzzle solving but it isnít the case. The streamlining is no great loss as God of War 3 had 3 other chain-like weapons that all were used in a similar fashion to the main blades. There are enemies in the game that glow in the colour of your weapon elements, but I didnít notice any difference when using different elements against them. Killing enemies with Ice, Lighting or Soul abilities will give you experience, magic or health respectively but you only get a single orb of magic or health so switching elements for this purpose isnít worth it.

Successfully attacking, blocking and parrying attacks will fill up your rage meter which will allow you to execute a powerful ability based on your blade element or if you decide to keep it full your attacks can do increased damage. If you are out of combat for too long or get hit, your meter will drain. I thought that enemies in Ascension were very quick to track your movements, making dodging ineffective at times. This meant that I used my rage abilities as soon as I got them.

Puzzles in Ascension are logical and enjoyable and Kratos obtains an item that allows him to duplicate himself in a static position allowing him to do two things at once and another item that allows him to age or renew pieces of the environment. These items have their use in combat as well. The duplication item spawns a shadow to attack enemies for a duration and the age/renew device can be used to freeze enemies in time.

My favourite parts of Ascension are one of the latter puzzles which were the only one that I had to think about for a while involving a light beam, an escalator and kratosís duplication ability. I decided not to patch the game so I could play through the Trial of Archimedes on normal. Using all my abilities, I managed to beat it on my second attempt and I did find it challenging. I did feel a sense of accomplishment for beating it and it is debatable as to whether it should have been patched considering for some it could have been the only part of the game they found challenging. It took me many more attempts to beat other sections in God of War 3, which to some was considered the easiest in the series at the time. I also enjoyed one boss that had the ability to destroy the ground and rejuvenate it back which forces you to keep on your toes.

However, I found the remainder of the bosses to be forgettable and easy. The Furies even introduce themselves in similar ways rather than standing out in ways other than their appearance. I can still remember the encounters in God of War 3 with Poseidon, Hades, Hercules, Chronos and Zeus whereas the Furies arenít likely to stay in my memory for long. The final boss isnít particularly challenging and a significant portion of it is cinematic and QTEís. The final bosses of previous instalments were challenging enough to give a sense of accomplishment to end the game with, such as Ares and Zeus which both took a fair few attempts to beat. The game ended on a weak note for me.

I feel that the series has done better in the past and I see Ascension as one of the weaker in the series but it is still a good game with enjoyable combat, platforming and puzzles that will at least satisfy series fans.

The Multiplayer is an interesting addition to the series. When you create a character you can pledge allegiance to one of the four gods: Zeus, Ares, Hades and Poseidon. This is presented well as you can see statues of the four gods in the training arena. During training the game teaches you the mechanics such as the attack triangle: parry beats light attacks, Heavy beats parry and light attacks beat heavy attacks. As light attacks have quick animations you can ready yourself to parry when an enemy gets close and because heavy attacks have a slower animation you can get a light attack in if they open with it. Enemies glow red when performing unblockable attacks, forcing you to dodge. Enemies glow white when invulnerable and they glow blue when they are open to attack. Each god has slightly different playstyles and advantages and provides different special attacks and potions. Each arena has different environmental events to take into consideration such as areas to replenish health or magic, collect secondary weapons and fight neutral enemies. In one arena, a Cerberus spawns and if you wound it enough to latch onto it with your chain, you can ride on top of it and attack players with it. I also enjoy being able to perform gruesome finishing moves on online players. Itís like Mortal Kombat without having to memorise a Fatality combo. Athough I think it is well made, I donít know whether it will keep my interest for long.

I canít recommend Ascension for full price on single player or multiplayer alone. However, if you enjoy both of them then it is easy to recommend. If you are looking for the definitive God of War single player experience then you wonít find it here. If you are itching for more Kratos adventuring then this is still worth a playthrough.

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