God Of War: Ascension Preview
My experiences with God Of War have always been iffy at best. I played GOW 1 and enjoyed myself, until I got to the end where the game promptly crashed, meaning I could never finish off Ares. Truly annoying. God Of War 3 I also played. It looked pretty, played okay, but the story was very hokey and there was so much repetition. So, when I sat down to play God Of War: Ascension, my expectations were tepid to say the least. The demo I played was the same one that was shown at E3 2012, so there was no new surprises from what I saw, but when I put my hands on the controller to play, things started to kick in.
The first thing you notice is how amazing the game looks. All the previous God Of War games are well known for pushing the PlayStation to its limits. Ascension is no different. The way the camera is out of the players control allows for some epic shots, most notably when you’re spinning around a three headed hydra. But that’s not all; there’s the fantastic draw distance, a complete lack of dodgy textures, and the way the water shimmers – it’s beautifully done. Of course my favourite improvement is how the sun now glances off the nipple of Kratos, it’s realism like you’ve never seen before. Until that is, you start the killing, now that nipple, and the rest of Kratos – is covered in blood.
Like you’d expect, God Of War: Ascension is immediately gory. As Kratos tears into his enemies, blood and guts spray everywhere, leaving him a shade of red rather than white. The blood stays on Kratos too, a gruesome reminder of his tumultuous personality. As I sliced and diced my way through the standard GOW bad guys, I slipped right back into Kratos mode. All the combat felt familiar, which is no bad thing. I was soon pulling off the same combos that I was back in 2010 and 2005. The same dodging and rolling, and yes, even pulling off gory executions. Then I stood among the wreckage of corpses and smiled. It felt the same, but it felt good. Especially at the close of the demo where I tore the brain of an elephant-man out of its head. That felt good. Very good…I’m not a psychopath. Or am I?
The platforming elements are also very similar. Creed style climbing and jumping, although generally on a more epic scale. The one big new change that Ascension introduces is rather strange. The team at Santa Monica has thrown in a mechanic very similar to Red Faction: Armageddon. When Kratos stands in a special glowing spot, he can move certain areas of the environments back and forward in time. I used it build and destroy parts of a wooden scaffold in order for Kratos to bounce up it. In this scenario it was used quite simply, but looking forward, it could be used for some interesting puzzle mechanics.
After sitting down to play just ten minutes of God Of War: Ascension, my negative feelings about the franchise instantly fell away as I slipped back into the ultra-violence and the superanger of Kratos. It does feel the same as God Of War 3, but it has felt like enough time has passed since Kratos has appeared on our TVs.
God Of War: Ascension is released on Playstation 3 on March 15th 2013