March 18, 2013

God of War: Ascension

Developed by Santa Monica Studio

» Lasting First Impressions


he God of War series is a bit of a Game of Shame for me; I have all the games, but I’ve never played them through.  I briefly played the original game but never made it very far.  So with a brand new game from Santa Monica Studio, God of War: Ascension, taking place in the time before the first in the series, I figured now would be a good time to begin my relationship with one of the most recognizable video game characters, Kratos.  This would give me a new perspective on our hero and allow me to see his story from the very beginning; from a time when he was just a Spartan warrior who broke his pact with the gods and his life was ripped away from him.

From my brief experience with the original God of War, I knew going into this that it was essentially a button-masher game with quite a few Quick-Time Events thrown in for good measure.  That tried and true formula is still employed today in this latest iteration of the series.  That’s certainly not a bad thing, since that’s what fans of the games have come to love, so there’s no reason to change that now, and yet this formula still feel much more refined.  The quick time events don’t seem to be as demanding as I remember them to be which made the larger than life boss battles much less frustrating and more fun to play.  Like any brawler style game, there are numerous button combinations that can be used to unleash devastation on the enemies; almost too many to ever keep track of.  On top of that, Kratos’ main weapon will, very early in the game, be infused with elemental powers such as fire, ice, and lightening.  Each of the weapons and elemental powers can then be upgraded to unleash more destruction and with much more flair.  Eventually this makes the player feel like they are truly a god and are nigh unstoppable.

GOWAscension Screen 1

It probably goes without saying that God of War: Ascension, probably the last of the series to grace the PlayStation 3 system, takes full advantage of the hardware capabilities and delivers one of the most eye-popping experiences players have ever experienced.  Not only are the images crisp, colourful and absolutely stunning, but the game plays out like a true cinematic experience.  During gameplay, the camera will pan out and around to highlight the action taking place on screen.  As Kratos fights atop moving vehicles or tumbling buildings, the game instills a sense that you are truly participating in an epic fantasy drama on the big screen.  The action is fast and frenetic and it will take a quick wit about you to get past even the smallest of boss battles.  Fortunately, even if you do fail on your first try, the game saves are frequent enough that you are never far from where you were when you died.

GOWAscension Screen 2

I have never been a fan of the button masher genre of games and I find myself tiring of them very quickly.  God of War Ascension, however, seems to be something greater than that.  There was something simply enthralling with the gameplay found here and I didn’t want to stop playing.  There is enough variety between the simple battles with the enemy masses and the giant, epic battles with the sometimes impossibly large bosses that the game never gets boring or tedious.  Couple that with the hunt for treasure chests to upgrade your health, magic, and weapons and the game definitely keeps the player wanting to continue on.

I honestly never thought I would find myself looking forward to playing more of a game like this, but there is something magical about this iteration of the God of War series.  Set outside the previous trilogy, this is looking to be Sony’s push for one more title in the franchise before we move to the next generation of systems.  God of War Ascension is  going to leave players yearning for the next, inevitable title to grace the PlayStation 4.  Personally, I’m looking forward to finishing up this one and then continuing on to the original trilogy.

Santa Monica Studio, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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  1. Chris

    I’ve put about an hour into Ascension and have been bored to tears. It is seriously just more God of War, which isn’t a bad thing but it’s nothing special in my eyes.

    • Sean

      I had trouble with the original God of War so I had never gone back to the series. Ascension sort of opened my eyes to what I’d been missing. Loved the feeling of playing an epic action adventure set piece.

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