God of War: Ascension Act One, Impressions & Thoughts

Bigger and badder must have been the concept that SCE developer, Santa Monica Studio was going for when making God of War: Ascension. The combat and visual elements certainly deliver in that front. The moments where Kratos fights monsters larger than him increased and the ease to defeat them is not the same as in the classic trilogy. By simplifying some game play elements, a nuance has been lost. Even the same ol’ deliverables that gamers are acquainted with are not as spectacular.

This game is worth playing more for learning the fate of Kratos breaking his oath to Ares than actual gameplay. The story takes a step back in time to when this Spartan was working for the original God of War, and he broke his oath to him because he was tricked to killing his wife and child. As a result, the Furies interceded and stole him away to a faraway pace for imprisonment and torment. Even the choice of including these mythical figures is worth noting. The Erinyes, as they are originally called, are purveyors of justice. Some could say they are winged avengers. Normally, they serve Hades and Persephone, but in this game they are independent divine enforcers of a higher order. Although the Greek world is small, to see how all these figures relate in the God of War universe is amusing.

In the original trilogy, Kratos will kill Zeus and his godfather, Kronos. For this new game to have the Furies torture Kratos for his patricide, although it has not been committed yet chronoligically, is forebodingly fitting. These creatures were born from the blood of Ouranos (Uranus, the god of the sky), when he was castrated by his son Kronos; this act is motivation enough for why the Erinyes exist. The storyline the developers created is certainly worthy of a great Greek tragedy.

Of course, Kratos escapes his otherworldly prison, and where he goes is most likely back to Earth, the prime material world, in order to recover his memories. End Act One.

The only thing new in this prequel package is the online multiplayer mode. Here, battles nearly worthy of the attempt to storm Troy can be tried out, like Team Favor of the Gods, Favor of the Gods, Trial of the Gods, and Capture the Flag. The final option is nothing new. As more gamers flock to trying this option out in Mordor-worthy proportions, more about this online feature will be evaluated.

And should that happen, some gamers may require a larger screen to play these sub-games. A problem the God of War series have been gently plagued with is with its camera positioning. Ascension is no different. When the camera goes wide, trying to identify where Kratos is on a 42″ screen is difficult. The bloody glowing blur of his chains is the only telltale identifier. And gamers may well opt for area affect attacks when gameplay shifts to this perspective. Investing in a 90” screen is not possible and a city treasury will have to be sacked to afford having an IMAX screen to play this game on. Alternatively, a PS3 can be plugged to a projector.

In the early act, some paths are linear. Hunting for phoenix feathers and gorgon eggs (to improve health and magic meters) can easily be missed in a game that relies on constant movement than wandering around. Auto save points help when a game is reset, but the feeling of including them instead of fixed areas feels like a cop out. God of War should include creating player frustration, and that should be a good thing. Players can pretend to be like Kratos.

In the early part of the game that features puzzles, none of them are all that sophisticated. God of War III was one game that had more troublesome moments than others.

Because this series works in a linear path, figuring out a solution is not too difficult. The challenge is more with how to take out as many opponents in one blow than to swallow red orbs to fill the rage meter (to enhance Krato’s damage dealing and absorbing ability.) Now if only this game delved into including some role-playing aspects then maybe players can determine the final fate of Kratos on their own than with a fixed destiny. That would mean alternative pieces of dialogue and cut-scenes that would infuse this world with a more dramatic element. Having more characters for Kratos to interact with can add to the tale more. Yes or no answers can swing the direction of a tale. While these ideas can change this platform style fighting game to an entirely different product, maybe that’s what the developers need to do to infuse a new life to this franchise.

The PS4 is right around the corner, and to give this series of games a new purpose is required to keep it alive for another console generation.

Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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