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God of War Ascension; a More Human Anti-Hero

God of War Ascension; a More Human Anti-Hero
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Review

Throughout the God of War series we have seen Kratos as a man of 2 emotions; rage and guilt. The latter emotions are brought out during the flashbacks of his own actions leading to the death of his beloved wife and daughter and the former being his vengeance shown to the very foes he decimates. If you have seen enough of the God of War’s angry side then this game will definitely show you the more “human” side of this mortal turned God. Take a trip to the EARLIEST time in the history of this series and see what the driving force behind this mighty Spartans fury is.

Story:

The story is the earliest in the God of War universe, the game takes place a mere 6 months after Kratos makes the deal with Ares and is a 10 year prequel to the first God of War game so you can guess how long a gap this game will fill, the story starts off with Kratos breaking out of a prison of the damned where those who break their oaths to the Gods are imprisoned but of course no shackles nor restraints last too long against the mighty Kratos.

The story then progresses to where we learn more about Kratos and his final moments with his family through some superb flash backs that tell a gripping story of not only his family but also of his past, the story is propelled by Kratos’s search for the Eyes of Truth which is the only artifact able to defeat the furies, a hybrid of neither God nor Mortal who are in charge of justice throughout the land and of course have the sovereign duty of punishing those who break their oath to the Gods.

Kratos seeks to use the Eyes of Truth to free himself from the wretched furies and start his vengeful path that leads to him exacting revenge against Ares and the Gods of Olypmus (we all know how THIS story ends)

Gameplay:

God of War is by no means on the level of a serious hack and slash game, it has always had its own standard that is nothing like the elite requirements of say Devil May Cry or Bayonetta which requires a skillful hand to pull of heavy hitting combos. The same formula of hit and dodge still applies to this game and the system of parry / counter parry is still present, a new addition to the game is when Kratos is no longer able to use the weapons of fallen bosses, In the previous games Kratos was able to reap the rewards of defeating a boss by wielding their weapon on his trip but this time around the game simply allows you to imbue your blades of chaos with elemental powers such as fire, ice, soul etc.

Each element is infused in the Blades of Chaos ready to be used by the player according to the situation that they are facing. Making combat much more easier in my opinion since you don’t have to juggle between weapons now and each element has its own “rage mode” where Kratos will scatter a fiery attack or a dark attack on the ground around him and deal a massive damage to the enemies encircling him in order to give himself some breathing room.

A new game play element to the series is Kratos having the power to manipulate time through “Life Cycle” as the name suggests players will be able to influence the flow of time unto an object and make a broken object whole or vice versa. This really helps make the in game puzzles much more challenging and you will find yourself in a good game of logic based puzzles where you have to learn the appropriate use of this ability to proceed in the game.

The only real complaints that I have are the game has a lesser of number of boss fights compared to the previous games and that is a shame, the other complaint comes in the combat department, where players now have to use L1 + X to block / counter parry and anyone with a PlayStation controller will know that L1 + X along with analog stick movements is a quick and easy formula for carpel tunnel if over done.

My final complaint with the game lies in the camera, there are some times in the game where the camera zooms TOO far out of focus and Kratos is lost in the combat, this can be problematic on the higher difficulties and there are times where the camera angle is too awkward for the player to properly move on, a skilled player will easily learn to adapt to this and a new comer will definitely learn through trial and error.

Kratos is able to pick up enemy weapons but of course those don’t last forever and will eventually break, he will also be able to make use of the spears as a projectile.

 Graphics & Sound:

The graphical details are absolutely MAGNIFICENT! The level of details in the lighting, texture, blood and even the animations are simply spectacular. Kratos looks absolutely amazing as do the enemies around him and the environments that Kratos travels are truly magnificent, starting from the beginning to the end of the game each of the levels is full of surprise and superb design

As always the gory executions done by Kratos are simply jaw dropping, the level of detail executed in the Spartan obliterating his foes is simply amazing as you watch them for the first time and even the 2nd and 3rd time. The amount of detail in those scenarios truly makes the player cringe and time sends a truly cold chill up the players spine as to how sadistic Kratos can be.

The sound design of the game is amazing, the voice acting is superb and each character truly plays out their role superbly to where they represent a truly believable story weaved around Kratos and his suffering as this story is the earliest prequel to his blood filled adventures. The many sounds that the enemies make are nothing short of amazing too as each stab of the blades of chaos the penetration it does into the flesh of the enemies is truly amazing as always.

Multiplayer:

This is the first game in the series that features a multiplayer component, while many games are taking a big risk with multiplayer endeavors and most of them either just “tack it on” such as Dead Space 2 or at times it can be a monumentous success like that of the Assassins Creed series, thankfully this multiplayer falls into the latter category and is definitely something for players to come back to, giving players the opportunity to tackle each other as Spartan or Trojan or earn the favor of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades or Ares the players can fight in competitive and cooperative game modes such as capture the flag and earning favor for their respective Gods, all the game modes are a blood bath of brutality and merciless gladiatorial combat where the player fight amongst each other for their objectives.

A good addition to the game modes is a horde mode style of gameplay where 2 players are put in a arena called the “Trial of the Gods“which truly makes the multiplayer experience more enjoyable with a friend and those of you who are looking for more diversity in the multiplayer department and don’t wish to spend more time in the other game modes. It is a timed version of Horde where players have to kill wave upon wave of enemies and defeating each enemy earns them additional time but a dangerous boss awaits the player in the fifth round. The game mode can be played solo but the most fun comes with a friend.

XP earned from the above game mode can also carry over to your multiplayer character for the other game modes. This is especially useful if you plan on having an edge in the multiplayer modes and don’t want to spend your first few games getting your head handed to you by higher level players when you jump into the vicious multiplayer world head first.

Currently the maps are good and more are on the way in form of DLC but the multiplayer is something that is truly praise worthy.

 Final Verdict:

God of War Ascension is an absolutely magnificent game, it offers one of the best stories told by far in the series up till and it shows us how truly human this mighty warrior once was, we feel a large variety of emotion for Kratos and we see many of his best moments right here. The other games had a good story to them but this game has the best structure and depth to it.

Combat and camera changes aside the game is an absolute treat for returning fans of the series don’t even think twice and just BUY this game already. It has an amazing single player experience and even an engaging multiplayer experience for the veterans of the series to see their skill level, the game is an absolute gem and truly is the game that will define the end of the PlayStation 3 seeing as how the PlayStation 4 is slowly dawning upon us.

The game has a lot of replay value especially if you are a trophy hunter, the trophies are fairly easy to acquire and some are truly fun to get too. As an avid fan of the series and hack and slash games in general I give this game a big seal of approval.

I can only hope that the adventures of Kratos carry on to the PlayStation 4, especially those of us who are especially keen on learning about Kratos faith at the after credit scene of God of War 3.

Rizwan Anwer

About the author: Rizwan Anwer

Gamer, Music fan, TV Show fanatic, Movie Go-er, Socialite and The Good Guy Greg you meet in video games. I closely follow most multiplatform games, releases and all news regarding them.

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