God of War: Ascension review

The Sony exclusive favorite returns in a fourth game of angry talking and enemy face smashing. While the multiplayer is a lovely addition, I can’t help but feel a little bit of the same old same old whilst playing the actual game, content wise.

Due to the addictiveness of SimCity, I’ve slowly smashed my way through God of War. Whilst enjoyable, any God of War fan will immediately feel at home with the exact same mechanics of smashing enemies into the ground with your chain-swords with the constant tapping of either triangle or square. Executing enemies with the red slit of doom over their heads remains ever so satisfying but ever so unchallenging.

Whilst the story itself is interesting to follow, it sometimes loses the player amongst all the furious button mashing. At one point I simply had no idea what I was doing at that certain location, I remembered I had had a flashback, but wasn’t sure whether that flashback was over yet, simply because everywhere you go there are things that need killing in the same fashion.

“Things that need killing” is basically the game’s way of telling you that you’re going in the right direction. If you’ve been walking around aimlessly without killing anything for a while, you’ve probably gone the wrong way (which is hard since it’s a very linear game?). Whilst somewhat being a flaw, it is also the beauty of not ever feeling completely hopeless or lost as the game continues giving clues as to what you should do in the given area, without giving too much away. It’s trivial to the experienced puzzle solver but entertaining to the rest of us.

One of the big drawbacks of Ascension, I found, was that when it came to bosses (especially the large ones) it was very hard to figure out where exactly to hit the boss in order to get the desired result (dead). I couldn’t quite put my finger on whether that was a good or bad thing. Good because it challenged the player to experiment with different tactics to overcome the bosses, or bad because it encouraged confusion and a “wtf” attitude towards the “You are dead” screen.

Completely new to the God of War franchise is the multiplayer aspect. With a variety of different modes and mechanics akin to that of fighting games except with a lot more space to maneuver and several teammates it proved to be much more fun than anticipated. Character customization lends a hand to the comedy in some God of War players, especially those sporting the purple-armor-no-pants look. Obviously as you progress through the levels, you unlock more badass looking armor with the relevant stats. You are also required to pledge allegiance to a certain god to benefit from their power, basically outlined as a damage class, a stealth class, a tank and a magic class. Not entirely original but they fit nice and snug next to each other in multiplayer.

Also on a side note, multiplayer in Ascension isn’t what you’d expect (out-mashing your opponents). It actually requires a fair bit of skill, setting traps, blocking and counter attacking whilst also timing your attacks so not to get caught of guard and become prey to a volley of combos that will no doubt lead you to the dead screen.

When they said co-op multiplayer, I expected some sort of split screen Bloody Palace type stuff. Alas I was disappointed to find out that your co-op partner had to be on a different console, damnit. Nevertheless I gave Trial of the Gods and although not a very effective way to garner a large amount of XP unless you do really well, it’s fun, especially with a friend. It incorporates some revive mechanics and exhibits the best of PvE in Ascension.

God of War is a fantastic franchise, filled with button mashing fun. Ascension adds to the family of God of War games we know and love, but it doesn’t revolutionize the game outside of the multiplayer. Within the multiplayer it provides a good amount of hours lost in people killing and unlocking unlockables. However, other than that, God of War: Ascension is a better looking rendition of previous God of War games, Kratos is still angry, but he is still awesome.

3.5 out of 5

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