God of War: Ascension, Act Three: Understanding the Motifs in Apollo Rising

*spoiler alert

The god Apollo did not figure prominently in the God of War universe and he may never will. In God of War: Ascension, to see the titanic statue of him in ruins suggest worship for him has fallen. But when Kratos visits the Island of Delos, the birthplace of this God of Light (the role of Sun God falls more with Helios) and Artemis the Hunter, perhaps the two are guarding something more than meets the eye.

In legend, Apollo is a figure of light and healer. He is often depicted wearing a laurel crown, and sometimes shown carrying a bow and arrow. Players of this franchise will recall that in God of War III, Kratos discovers the Bow of Apollo in Hades’ underworld. The character Peirithous was the last person to hold it. As for how this former king obtained it, maybe future games will give more detail.

And only a sharp eye will notice not-so subtle hints in the direction this act is going. The symbol that marks the gate to the town Kratos has to travel through has a striking familiarity. Although this ocular symbol is used in Spartan art and architecture in Krato’s ‘dream sequence,’ it may hint towards a fact that there is a greater all-seeing force at work. Some other culture may well be vying for control of the Earth. After all, the Erinyes are defined as a different kind of cosmic force who do not bow to the will of the gods, and their son, Orkos, is supposed to uphold their tyranny.

And if one hint about upcoming God of War games may be going to Egypt (which is still speculation at best), this act is riddled with more. For the eye is a window to one’s soul and this act looks further into Krato’s human side. The subtitle of this particular game starts to make sense since ‘ascension’ often means developing some kind of enlightenment of the soul. And there’s nothing better than to peer into Kratos’ past. Players get to learn about what his values are.

Eye symbology is everywhere in this particular act, and the familiar shape adorned in the ghost village of Sparta looks very much like the Eye of Horus. In Egyptian lore, this particular shape is from the right eye of Ra, a sun-god. Another falcon-headed deity is Horus, a protector/ warrior-god for all the pharaohs said to have descended from him. This connection is important as it shows a relationship with man and the divine. In God of War, the relationship is similar. Either worship the gods in a way that they want or be thrust into servitude.

Other references made include what Kratos has to do while inside the statue of Apollo—to heal its eyes—and with what Orkos explains to Kratos in a cut-scene. In order to protect the Fury’s plan for overthrowing Olympus, the Oracle’s eyes were removed and hidden from the world. Her vision is known to bypass illusion, and it may also give the Ghost of Sparta peace from his slowly encroaching insanity. And it translates into another item he/players have to pick up: The Eyes of Truth. They are required to successfully complete in the final act.

In Kratos’ attempt to navigate a statue taller than the Statue of Liberty, the challenges players have to make are varied. Some work well to challenge players, but some gameplay may also frustrate. The puzzles are not bad, but there is a luge-style course that is annoying. If sliding around feels difficult in other parts of the game, this particular one takes the cake! Players may well have to be olympic athletes with the controller’s thumb sticks. A sensitive nudge can cause Kratos to launch into an abyss.

By now, players will have leveled up Kratos’ many elemental abilities and the Soul of Hades can come in handy against monsters crowding around the Spartan. Depending on the numbers, to successfully vaporize enemies for green orbs is not without some difficulty. This ability is useful if each opponent can get isolated in battle during the much lamented part of the game in the next chapter, The Trial(s) of Archimedes. With no chests offering health or magic regeneration, varying the attacks will be required. Players with nimble fingers to pull off combat combos will be required to successfully work through this battle. Also, when the enemies have a red halo over them, Kratos can inflict a Brutal Kill in order to regain health or magic. There is no telling when the patch to making this chapter less difficult will be released.

As for where this game goes, Kratos is going to have a showdown with the last two Furies, which really needs no commentary.

Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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