God of War: Ascension, Act Two. Examining the Long Road to Delphi

*spoiler alert

Picking up from where the boss battle from Act One left off, Kratos has defeated the Hecatonchires and (as told in flashback) finds himself in the abandoned town of Kirra. From here, the gameplay and narrative improves. The challenges players have to face are far more interesting—they need some thought to figure out—and maybe Kratos should start donning a familiar fedora. The chained blades are more often used to cross chasms than not. The camera angles and vast distances to convey scale are still problematical. This game favours more cinematic elements than challenging game-play. Now if the player can control the camera, then getting through some scenes might become easier.

Kratos will finally pick up weapon modifiers like the Soul of Hades. They mostly give him the ability to afflict elemental (fire, water, lightning (air) and undead (earth)) type attacks. Sadly, none of them seem to do double damage against beasts representative of the opposite element. Instead, depending on the power used, they will help Kratos replenish health or magic. This trade-off is acceptable, but developers could have considered including some basic alchemical theory. One new feature, the ability to heal or decay objects with the Amulet of Uroboros, is acquired. Players will have to know how much a fortification will have to be regenerated in order to get to the next part of the game.

On a surround sound system, this act is far better in putting players into the world with its soundscape. The subtle use the sitar puts this act in a different level. As Kratos goes searching for the Oracle of Delphi, the snake symbology cannot go unnoticed. Players may well miss this reference that writer Marianne Krawczyk has injected into this tale. The snake a symbol of vengeance. In Greek mythology, it is a symbol of Asclepius, the god of medicine. Kratos is on a journey to recover his lost memories. To see him weld the Amulet of Uroboros to heal or destroy objects is not without some irony. This character is a destroyer of worlds. To see him forge his own destiny is part of this franchise’s ongoing premise—despite the fact that all the agents of the cosmos (the Greek Titans and Gods) are against him.

In the other games, namely God of War II, Kratos can be considered to be a fixed point in time. In anything he does, the world will change around him than the other way around. By going to Delphi, Kratos is doing more than just looking for answers. He wants the Oracle’s help to restore his memories.

As for why the prophet Castor is adamant in not letting him see the Oracle to learn of his past or future, that’s never explained. Does Castor know something of Kratos life that players do not? The reasoning his mad prophet has is not explained and the likelihood of getting a different point of view requires reading a novel. Throughout most of the God of War series, nearly everyone is against this warrior and they do not get the character development that’s needed to understand why the world fears him. And very few characters from this Spartan’s past are known to be very trusting.

The historical research done by Krawczyk to recreate the Ancient mythical Greek world is well done. Not many gamers are also anthropologists and they may not notice the nuances that this particular act extols. In ancient times, the real Temple of Delphi was built atop a fault line where hallucinogenic gases from below would give the oracle “visions.” Whenever there would be a tremor, however minute, the vapors would rise from the ground and be inhaled by the oracle,. She would then would go into a trance. To see Kratos (and the player) feel this affect is very appropriate. This acid trip makes for some interesting game-play moments.

As for where Kratos may go next, after players have gone through all the adventures, maybe fans of this series will find him travelling to other countries in scenarios leading up to the original God of War game. He will have to go somewhere in the Mediterranean to build an army willing to go against Ares. Based on one hint suggested in God of War: Ascension, when Kratos reaches the bridge, a traveller from the Land of the Pharaohs left a note hoping his tribute will be sufficient. Another tease includes Kratos finding a painting in the Cistran which reads: Of all the prophecies I have seen, this one haunts my dreams / The full truth of this nightmare yet remains hidden. -Aletheia

Other enterprising gamers have cracked the string of characters QUJIKPHIUEEEKMJQUJ, and individuals who know their mythology will recognize that the Egyptians place the sun, falcon, apis bull and lion in high regard. In the game, they are the sun, bird, bull and lion.

As for whether or not this tease is a hint of what’s to come for this series, Sony Santa Monica is keeping mum.

Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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