God of War : Ascension Review
Cart: God of War Ascension
Coin: Sony Santa Monica
Kratos has a problem. He is running out of gods to murder, maim and mutilate and likewise, the God of War series does seem to be running out of steam and crucially, new ideas.
That is not to say Ascension is a bad game, yet it really is more of the same classic God of War formula that has fueled the first five games in the series, but with an added multiplayer component. You still make mincemeat of all the smaller enemies, with the combat feeling identical, aside from the fact that you can give your attacks different elemental edges, such as fire and lightning, and you still skirt around the bigger foes, wearing them down until the inevitable QTE sequence.
God of War 3 was a brutal, yet incredibly gorgeous game, so to say that Ascension feels like a big expansion pack for that title isn’t the worst criticism in the world, but it is hardly a compelling reason to splash the cash. I say it has the feel of an expansion because there are very few moments that illicit a ‘wow’, like the fight with Poseidon in GOW3, and the only truly new element is the Amulet of Urobotus, which allows you to build or destroy highlighted section of scenery in a mechanic not too dissimilar from the paint/thinner in Epic Mickey.
There are some really decent puzzles that Sony Santa Monica create with this tool, so it is a shame that it arrives quite late in the adventure, when it should have been there from the start.
The online multiplayer is actually pretty deep and works far better than you would imagine. It is class based, with support roles available and the combat does flow nicely against other players. The game may be worth getting for these modes alone, especially for hardened God of War players wanting to prove themselves.
The single player is where the game is ultimately let down. If you remember playing God of War 3, you will know that it is a game of peaks and troughs, with middling sections to get through while you wait for the next spectacular boss battle to blow your mind. Well, Ascension’s whole single player campaign feels like it is waiting for one of those incredible battles, but they never come, which leaves you with an enjoyable yet surprisingly lightweight single player game that never feels epic or punchy enough to raise the pulse.
The QTE sections are also getting rather tiresome now. Honestly, I would rather just sit back and watch Kratos mutilate and kill in these parts, instead of having a atmosphere-ruining button prompt appear on the screen.
Overall, this is only really worth it for the surprisingly spiffing multiplayer modes, and if you are looking for some online gaming a little different from all the brown FPS games, then Ascension is a good bet. If you are looking for a single player game to go one-up on the spectacular God of War 3, then this is most definitely not it.
Let’s hope that the inevitable PlayStation 4 game sees the series get a much needed injection of creativity, or at least give us some more mile high enemies to take on.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.