The general history of Kratos, the spartan of the God of War saga, has already been told … but there are many chapters of his past yet to tell, as in God of War Ascension, which shows a more “human” side of Kratos.
Long before he was a god of war and the destruction of Olympus, Kratos was a mortal who, at the height of his military career, had swore allegiance to Ares , putting his life in the service of the God of War. That was the beginning we all know, the studio at Santa Monica told us about the first God of War , back in 2005. And since then, we have been enjoying five games, with this new release and the first prequel passing through PS3 .
Ascension tells facts before the first God of War . So, we meet again with Kratos in a more “human” form, just six months after he killed his wife and daughter with his own hands. This leads him to break the oath with Ares, and makes Furies make an appearance on the scene , three sisters in Greek mythology called Erinyes and who’s job is to punish the crimes of blood, infidelity and honor.
After moving Kratos to jail built by the giant, his torture begins, which includes both a physical punishment as visions of his family still alive . These tantalizing visions will accompany the game, and sometimes you will not know if what you see is true … or not. In any case, it is in the very jail where Kratos begins this adventure, an adventure that spans over 30 chapters and as previous God of War, using flashbacks to tell a story from a different points in time.
The development of these chapters follow blindly the basis of the series, combining the hack’n slash combat style, an platform puzzle areas , all wrapped in an elegant setting that recreates classic Greek mythology like no other media audiovisual remembers. In fact, this time they recreate some key stops in the mythology history, like the Delphic oracle tower or the island of Delos, where myths that they had built a giant statue of Apollo.
The action is still revolves around our protagonist , with multitudinous-style fighting against all types of fantastic creatures. Many of them are recycled from other GoW , as we saw in the chimera in GoWIII or the centaurs in GoWII , along with a few newly created ones (as elefantauro or some new soldiers with a mutated insects). In any case, the cast is so varied and well dosed, that at no point you feel like the enemies are repeating or becoming tedious.
But most important is that, far from being a “more of the same”, the fight conveys has a different feeling. It puts the enemies more in an onscreen way and thet are more intelligent (blocking more often our attacking, with cut combos …) to which we must add other interesting news, to engage one of our swords of chaos to an enemy ( that we can shake or even throw against it) and keep attacking with the other to rest.
And there’s more: the new Fury bar which is refilled by attacking enemies (without being beaten) and improves the attack of our swords and allows us to perform special techniques , not to mention the quick time events to finish off some enemies, that is more dynamic by allowing us in some cases mandatory strike blows between button presses or dodge attacks with the left stick .
Actions like sprinting (press L3), using magic and other mechanical views in previous GoW are also present here, which finishes the combat round up, probably being, the best combat system of the whole saga . Many elements and combos are known and well run, but in general, together with new sensations, Ascension can boast the most comprehensive combat system of the whole saga.
Yes, it is missing one thing: more variety of major weapons . Kratos only has his famous swords of chaos, which can imbue the effects of the four gods (such as lightning or fire from Zeus Ares) … and that’s it. No more weapons, no enemies to get the final. The only new thing that he has are the secondary weapons (sword, shield, slingshot, spear, hammer …) which we collect in the stages and, in some cases, have one limited use to a number of attacks.
What has not changed at all is the game’s wild pitch , reaches new heights here with some really gruesome annihilation’s. But the game itself tells us it’s rated M, so you shouldn’t be scared by all the gore, an opened melon head of a jellyfish or put to cool the brains of another creature. Furthermore, these atrocities have a visual effect on Kratos.
Undoubtedly, within this festival of tripe the palm is carried by bosses , both by design, an variety of their size as per their gruesome end. These matches are usually the best the game has to offer.
The other elements, such as the platforms or puzzles, have not changed too much and follow are ” user friendly” in the series, being careful not to let the players get stuck. For the part corresponding to the platforms, is still quite evident the way forward (bricks or pieces that show you the route, invisible walls that prevent us get to where we should b …). Even now there are Quick Time Events , for example, grab a huge creature at the right time.
For some parts, the puzzles themselves present something new , by introducing two amulets we get along in our adventure. With Uroboros that we can interact with certain parts of the environment and regenerate or destroy elements (from a bridge to a water mill wheel) pressing the left or right stick, while the Orks charm lets you create a “clone” of Kratos , for example, attach a lever, an pulling a chain or pressing a switch.
Combining both charms is often the key to overcome some of the more complicated puzzles , or you can do some “cheating” by watching our walkthrough. Normally animation reclamation or destruction in total, does not allow us to leave the environment to solve except in cases where no notice if possible.
There is no shortage of red orbs to improve our weapons, collectibles as usual gorgon eyes and phoenix feathers or even documents that are scattered throughout the environments and shed some more light on some characters like Archimedes. Until there are relics hidden an extra abilities that give us time to increasing power combo or use magic to infinity, but we must first complete adventure.
In this sense, the adventure is quite continuity , although it would be unfair if we did not acknowledge that there are also other items such as ramps descents in which we must avoid obstacles and jump within the appropriate, time to give variety.
But certainly, the “worst” part of the game is that the story which is the least attractive. Do not get me wrong. During that lasts 9-10 hours of the campaign, you’ll be entertained and you will not stop until its finished. It’s just that the compete plot of Olympus is complicated , especially when the main figures of Greek mythology have been “burned” and our main enemy are “minor”. Yes, glancing out Ares and other gods, but their presence is scarce …
Nor can we deny that we are in the most dramatic installment of the series, at least from the point of view of the scale and technology. And that Ascension is again offering some gigantic enemies and some scenarios that offer a lot of moving parts that, in general, make us feel small. But this also brings a series problem: sometimes the camera zooms out to show both the action that is hard to know which way we look and who we are hitting.
The technical part goes to show that the PS3 is at its best, with some watermarks makes the game look even better than any other delivery. It runs at 60 frames per second , but manages to keep the 30-40 fixed without slowdowns or ANY downtime when there is overpopulation of enemies and effects on screen. Yes, sometimes coalesce with many effects, many enemies particles and sometimes confusing action (especially when our Fury bar is full and our weapon reaches its full potential).
Meanwhile, the soundtrack, has been carefully done like always . The voices of the series are still there ( Kratos and Gaia, the narrator, retain their normal voice ), although other voices that are not at the same level. Specifically I am referring to the three Furies, who are particularly loose. I do not know whether the guidelines should be given to the voice actors, but in some dialogues where boring on absurdity . Luckily, these are isolated cases and they do not talk too much.
Regardless , the single player campaign of Ascension is like the previous GOW series , but do not expect to find much new beyond the combat, because there are none. As we said, the campaign is continuity and does not risk virtually nothing to offer something to stay away from the beaten path in previous installments. In fact, the biggest news in this release is out of the campaign … and are the online modes.
The multiplayer mode (which requires online pass , as the most recent Sony) is for up to 8 players , and offers a total of 4 modes, which are roughly a twist to classic modes of shooters, as deathmatch, capture the flag or master nodes or zones . The grace here is that the environments are often traps which disturb / kill rivals, chests (they give us favor with the gods, to level up), divine weapons that help us …
The fourth mode in question, is so far undisclosed, is a cooperative mode for two players , but can also be played alone. It’s a horde mode to use, in which we must overcome enemies each round, killing all creatures within a time limit. Personally it’s the one I liked the most, because I tend to like more cooperative play with a friend against strangers.
Many of these modes have variants 2 vs 2, 4 vs 4 or all against all . They are enjoyable, varied and offer other items in the biggest ( no maps of two sizes , designed for small 4 player variants and larger ones for 8). Many of them are inspired by various passages of the saga, as fighting GoWIII Hercules himself or Olympus. Still, not too many maps, and give the feeling of exhausted soon, despite being very careful and have mythological and other moving parts.
What is also missing, as the online shooters, are the levels , the unlockables and classes . When you start playing, we pledge allegiance to one of the four gods (Ares, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon), and each defines the type of character that we are (murderer, more oriented to magic, warrior …) and abilities. We can change the oath at any time , although each evolve independently (ie, the level that accumulate in Ares is not that we have to change the Zeus).
Regardless of this oath, we can choose the weapon you want from the 3 available (mace, sword and spear) , you are also able to level up, as do the various parts of our armor (helmet, breastplate and legs). And is that all our equipment and level up gives us points in different areas , such as elemental power, resistance or attack force.
There are a total of 30 levels and leveling up unlocks new elements of our team and gives us skill points . With these points we enhance the magic of the character (usually have an average of 3 different) and bought relics skills that give us extra, and regain life each time you execute a brutal an enemy. So you can unlock everything and see everything we take some time …
We can not stop talking about the so-called ” work “, what other games would be challenges . They come in everything from kill X enemies with a certain weapon to more special, as killing the huge Polyphemus in stage 3 times. Many have several levels and we confer favors from the gods to level up to level faster … and are another way to bite us in the game.
The experience, in general, is very fluid, and a 100 meg connection we have not noticed slowdowns in games Of course, as in the public beta, which was held a few weeks ago, get in some games has taken us longer than we would have liked . Maybe I can fix via update.
We have no doubt that the online modes are a nice addition, as it is well done as to achieve a milestone: a mechanical adapt to slash hack’n online modes that are not chaotic . Is missing somehow more original content, but hey, the experience is fun and varied to please everyone (a success include a cooperative mode). Perhaps it is slightly short option (maps, anyway …) but we assume that it will be something fixed via DLC …
For all this, God of War Ascension is one of the biggest blockbusters and cared Sony for which will probably be the last year of PS3 and almost certainly the last game of Kratos in PS3 . We wished that the Spartan had been fired for something less “conservative”, which would have introduced more new mechanics in their development … but as it stands, his more loyal fans will enjoy it. The rest will depend on their level of need.