The lights are on
I remember how each new entry in the God of War series used to blow me away with fantastic display of cinematics, gruesome game play, and what I thought to be a surprisingly thought provoking story. God of War: Ascension however,only left me briefly unsettled in my chair, rather than blowing me away.
On the surface, Ascension has everything needed to produce a master piece. The graphics are stunning, the gore is outrageous, and the story is surprisingly heartfelt. What holds this game back, is the small details that make a game truly awe inspiring. The combat in Ascension feels fluid but lacks the polish required to make it as effective as past entries in the series. My biggest complaints focus on the magic system and the rage meter. Magic towards the end of the game feels more natural than past God of Wars, but the problem isn't in the magic system's play ability, its simply how long it takes to be able to use magic effectively.
Magic is tied to the different elements you can apply to the Blades of Chaos, and are as follows: Fire, Ice, Lighting, and the power of Hades. Each element will yield a different magical attack but it takes an annoyingly long time to even unlock these magic attacks as they are at the very end of the skill tree. Also the rage meter has been changed so that, as before it fills up when you do damage to opponents, but it differs from previous titles in that it also drains if you are either dealt damage by an enemy, or if you simply stop attacking. This makes it very difficult in battles where there are an overwhelming amount of enemies to use the rage meter and rage attacks effectively.
One particular point of difficulty in this game also holds it back from perfection. During this point I spent several hours repeating the same battles to try and make it past this point where it is near impossible kill every enemy and survive the experience. This was extremely annoying as I have played past God of Wars on Titan mode or its equivalent and during this play through I was only playing on normal. The repetition of the part also slows the game down, when it should have been speeding towards its climax. In terms of story this game did well, but I would have liked to see more detail. We all know that Kratos killed his family, I would have liked to see more scenes showing how this affects Kratos though. Until the end of the game he is seemingly emotionless, and much of the story is kept in the dark. I was never driven to complete the game like past entries in the series because the story lacks drive. There is no real sense of urgency.It is, however, important to note that the game does look stunning. Many times during my play through I was amazed at the amount of detail laid into this world. Almost every few minutes I was stopping just to simply look at my surroundings.
Multiplayer is fun, but does not make or break this game. Players will enjoy it for a limited amount of time, mostly due to lack of interesting game modes and repetitive outcomes. It is not as impressive as other multiplayer mediums such as Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, or Super Smash Bros. There is no doubt people will enjoy it, but I doubt it will be widely revered five years from now. Ultimately when compared to past God of War games, this game has much to be desired, but even in that respect it is still ahead of the competition, if only slightly.
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