With God of War: Ascension less than two days away from release in North America, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this prequel will be another high point in the series.
God of War: Ascension is set a few years after Kratos kills his wife Lysandra and daughter Calliope due to the trickery of the current God of War, Ares, and many years before the events of God of War: Chains of Olympus and the original God of War. Kratos soon swears off his oath to Ares and refuses to do any more for him. Because of this decision, three furies known as the Goddesses of Punishment, Justice and Torment have been sent from Hades to capture and torture Kratos indefinitely. Due to his growing rage and want for revenge against Ares as well as his desire to redeem himself in the face of the Gods, Kratos manages to break free of his imprisonment and figures out that if he can kill all three of the furies who imprisoned him, he can successfully sever ties with Ares without consequences. It’s nice to see an opportunity for another story in the series especially since God of War III concluded the story and with Ascension being a prequel, this would also be a great jumping on point for people new to the franchise as well as returning fans to get reacquainted with it.
A More Human Kratos
While we all know Kratos as the rage-filled, homicidal, God-killing man, he was once just a family man before his life went to hell thanks to Ares. For those of you who saw the recent live action commercial for God of War: Ascension, that trailer was only a peek at what Ascension‘s story is trying to convey about Kratos as a character. Ascension will even include flashbacks depicting Kratos with his family and scenes such as Kratos tucking his daughter into bed and having talks with his wife. It’s nice to see this much backstory being put into God of War: Ascension, as well as being refreshing to see more of Kratos that doesn’t involve killing. Even though most of us knew Kratos wasn’t a one-dimensional character, I’m glad Santa Monica Studios is putting this much effort into evolving Kratos as a character for his fans
Combat and Traversal Evolved
Kratos will still have his signature Blades of Chaos and will have a new tethering ability to haul enemies around like a wrecking ball of sorts. More importantly, for the first time in the series Kratos will be able to disarm and use enemies’ weapons against them and find weapons lying around on the battlefield. These “world weapons” range from a sword, to a club and spear. Kratos will even be able to use his own fists when he doesn’t have a weapon equipped. This may seem like a drawback at first, since God of War: Ascension seems to be doing away with unlockable weapons as the game progresses, and thus doing away with the need for XP gain. Ascension, thankfully, has another trick up its sleeve. Kratos is now able to input elements into his Blades of Chaos and can now upgrade those elements, which in turn allow for combo extensions and special move enhancers as well.
The team at Sony Santa Monica has also worked on making traversal in Ascension more responsive and smoother by allowing more dynamic traversal such as scraping down walls and more fluid animations while exploring.
Now I know that this is kind of a shallow category because most gamers will say, “Graphics don’t make the game,” but for anyone who appreciates hardware and what it can do, the team down at Sony Santa Monica are showing exactly what the PS3 is capable of. For the most part when games are usually released toward the end of the console life cycles they usually either look like they hit the standard in terms of graphical capabilities or they look worse than they could have, possibly due to budget constraints. With God of War: Ascension, Sony Santa Monica is giving the Ps3 one of the last, best looking games of this console generation.
God of War: Ascension is another recent game that has added multiplayer to what was once a single player franchise. With that being said, Sony Santa Monica isn’t putting it in just as a half made addition, nor are they putting it in just to try and get more longevity into the game, but because with what their doing with multiplayer in Ascension fits in a small secluded story sense. Players are tasked with picking a character and then selling his soul to one of the four major Gods which grants specific player abilities and playstyles: Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, or Ares and can either go in alone or be apart of one of two teams of four to try and take control of maps to earn the favor of their Gods in various game modes. The multiplayer component will feature players as either Spartans or warriors of Troy during team matches and will offer up to eight players and have four other game modes as well such as Team Favor of the Gods(TDM), Favor of the Gods(FFA), Trial of the Gods(Co-op arena), and Capture the Flag. Ascension’s multiplayer will also feature maps spanning all of the major areas in the God of War series.
In short, Sony Santa Monica is looking to shake up the formula enough to bring something new to the series without alienating its fanbase. With the new interesting backstory focus of this reboot, the upgraded and versatile combat system, and the well executed inclusion of multiplayer, God of War: Ascension is easily looking to be another must buy for any PS3 owners and God of War fans alike.