‘God of War: Ascension’ Doesn’t Live Up to Predecessors

After a three year wait, PlayStation console gamers are given “God of War: Ascension.” After the long anticipation, gamers wanted something even better than “God of War III.” After all the hype, advertising, and that quite emotional commercial during the Super Bowl, we are given this sad excuse of a “God of War” title. I am absolutely ashamed that this title managed its way into this series.

Our favorite character Kratos, who would be described as the shadow of evil in the valley of darkness, appears fragile and weakened. You would think after betraying Ares, the God of War, who made him kill his wife and daughter, he would be out for blood. Kratos doesn’t seem like himself at all; unless it has to do with the guilt trip, there is no excuse for his lack of aggressiveness.

To be fair, the events that take place in this game are years before the PSP’s “Chains of Olympus” and the PlayStation 2’s original “God of War.” Not every gamer owns a PSP, so this should be a prequel that can be played with ease for console gamers.

Keeping its roots in the times of the Ancient Greeks, we get to venture to places such as the Prison of the Damned, Kirra, Delphi, and Delos. All are inhabited by the monsters of Greek mythology such as centaurs, Medusa-like serpents, goat-men, banshees, sirens and a lot of other annoying creatures.

The graphics are possibly the only thing that saves this game from being completely abysmal. It would have been nice if the resolution outputted to 1080p, instead of 720p, because Ancient Greece never looked so gorgeous. The developers SCE Santa Monica Studio, are aware of an issue which others and I are experiencing, which causes the sound to cut in and out. While frustrating, it doesn’t completely ruin this title.

Kratos still wields his Blades of Chaos, which can be upgraded with the souls of the fallen, but even they seem quite weak. I am by no means what some would call a “button-masher,” but how many times am I going to perform a combo move on an enemy before it presents me with the animation of grappling it so I can initiate the mini-game fighting sequence. At least these never get old, as you rip and tear enemies apart, tapping the correct button which appear on the screen.

The fact that Kratos is given a Greek arsenal of goodies yet seems defenseless is bind boggling. The Rage of the Gods, is filled after defeating enemies and can be activated when you want. You can switch between the Fire of Ares, Ice of Poseidon, Lightning of Zeus, and the Soul of Hades. I prefer to switch between the Fire of Ares and the Soul of Hades because it does a lot of area of effect damage (AOE). Some newly-added helpful points are the weapons scattered around the worlds, including a sword, mace, javelin, slingshot, and a large shield. So far, my favorites have been the sword and shield.

Kratos does discover a few new relics along his journey, one in particular which I thought was very clever and certainly helped save the game play mechanics and content. The Amulet of Uroborus can be used to rebuild structures that are destroyed so Kratos can advance on. It is quite fascinating to see massive amounts of stone be instantly rebuilt. The pressure sensitive controls make healing and decaying quite enjoyable.

This wouldn’t be a “God of War” series, though, if there weren’t those lovely colored chests scattered throughout the map. The colors of chests still yield the same result as all the last games.

There are still Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers available for Kratos to gather, which can help in increasing his health and magic. With all these at your disposal, you’re probably wondering why I am calling Kratos weak.

Out of all the God of War games I’ve played, this one forces you to play extremely defensively, with basically dodge rolling, parrying, and blocking as your only three means of defense.

Dodge rolling especially can be quite a nuisance if you accidently dodge roll into an oncoming attack, which is possible when there is a gang of six on screen. The combo-based attack system is still utilized, which provides a wide array of attacks, but the combat style in this seems unpolished and extremely laggy. If my attack was to be square, square, triangle, I am lucky if the two squares are executed before I have to dodge or end up getting attacked, canceling the sequence of the combo.

Unlike the other “God of War” titles, “Ascension” has a multiplayer feature, which isn’t even worth discussing because it is ungodly-boring. It delivers nothing special, and has basic generic modes of team versus team, with bland game play. SCE Santa Monica Studio has been releasing patches for the game, however, so hopefully they can do better with this title.

As of right now, I am currently stuck on chapter 28, the Trail of Archimedes, which makes me want to spartan kick my PlayStation out my dorm room window.

Kratos stagers his weakened body in, and takes a seat at a three out of five stars.