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Hands On With God of War: Ascension's Single Player Campaign

Kratos is on the rise.

With the last home console release, we saw the end of Kratos’ story, and so the only place to go with God of War: Ascension’s single player is back in time. Further back than we’ve ever really seen before.

The game’s opening cinematics fade to the traditional shot of Kratos’ face, before letting you gaze through his eyes for the first time as struggles with being chained up by his very own weapons. It’s interesting to see Kratos so completely defeated at this point, and yet so stoically defiant.

You join him just in time for his daily dose of torture by Megaera, one of the three Furies who have him imprisoned for the act of renouncing his servitude to Ares. Through her own overconfidence, Kratos is able to escape, and begin to chase her across the captive body of Aegaeon, the Hecatonchires.

To be fair to her, this game is just set just months after Kratos was tricked into murdering his family, and well before he established himself as the murderer of absolutely everything. So I guess she really wasn’t to know what a force of destruction Kratos is.

God of War Ascension

Kratos has some more adversity to overcome but it wouldn’t be much of a God of War game without a struggle to enrage our protagonist.

As you’d expect from the beginning of the game, it slowly but surely reveals gameplay to you.

As you chase Megaera through passageways and rooms, battling through the insect mutated enemies she sends your way, the vast majority of what you relearn will be familiar to fans of the series and genre. Quick attacks and heavy attacks sit in their usual places, you dodge with the right analogue stick, and those mainstay combos are the same as they always have been.

If not for the original, by the time God of War 2 hit the shelves, the formula was already honed to perfection, so it’s quite interesting that amidst all this familiarity there are some healthy little changes and tweaks to the mechanics. For example, here’s a new ability to grab an enemy from distance with the Blades of Chaos and effectively take them hostage, holding them with one arm whilst hacking and slashing with the other, before hurling them into further foes.

Another new element is the ability to pick up the weapons used by your foes and turn these back on your enemies mid-combo, in an interesting twist. It’ll help you keep the variety in the combat and could very easily play well with some trickier opponents further into the game.

It actually took me a little while to fully realise that some of these elements were new to the game, I’ll admit, but I think that simply shows what the aim has been during development. They’re making changes but not rocking the boat too hard, and if you have better memories of the various moves from previous games than I, you’ll be absolutely fine.

This is all just gently tweaking what has worked so well before.

The same can very easily be said of the visuals. Though I know there are many who hate the inability to control the camera, and I did take an occasional combat roll (in game) when I wanted to take a peak round a corner, having the camera locked lets Santa Monica Studio push some incredible vistas out of the PS3’s aging hardware.

The PS3 exclusives for 2013 all show Sony’s first party developers at the very pinnacle of what this machine can do.

God of War Ascension

Of course the large, dynamic environments are back. Of course they are.

During the running battle with insect infested Hecatonchires hands, fighting all the way across his body, I still found it endlessly impressive just how much the environments shifted.

We’ve seen such things before in God of War 3, but having absolutely every element on screen animated and in constant motion just doesn’t get old for me, especially when tied up with the variety of combat you see just from fighting these infested hands in different situations.

So really, for the single player, I guess this is a case of bringing more of the same to the table. A few changes here and there without disturbing the near perfected gameplay of before, all wrapped up in a plot which hopefully shows a more human side to Kratos, as promised.

Let me be clear that this is hardly a bad thing. For those that bemoan a lack of change there’s the headline grabbing online multiplayer, but for those that just want another spectacular adventure with Kratos, this is still set to be another entry worthy of the name.

For more on GoW:Ascension’s multiplayer, TSA dipped a toe into the online beta last December.

  1. kjkg
    Since: Apr 2010

    Cannot wait for this game. Loved all three of the main players in this. Still to play the PSP titles, will eventually.

    It’s slightly silly (but unavoidable) that he has moves and attacks that when he becomes a fully fledged God killer, he completely forgets.

    Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 09:20.
    • Sad Panda
      Since: May 2010

      Play the PSP games, you won’t be disappointed, I honestly find them the best games in the series.

      Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 10:16.
      • Taylor Made
        Since: Oct 2011

        Lets not get carried away now, the psp ones ate not the best in the series, Ghost of Sparta is up there but not that high. They do live up to the series roots & give you what you want but best in the series no

        Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 11:53.
      • KeRaSh
        Since: Nov 2009

        He stated his personal opinion.

        Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 11:55.
      • Sad Panda
        Since: May 2010

        Yeah, it’s only my opinion.

        I just seamed to have more fun with the handheld version. I’ve enjoyed all 5 titles to date and am looking forward to the next one.

        Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 13:02.
      • kjkg
        Since: Apr 2010

        I do admit, I’d quite like to have all 6 platinums once ascension comes out.

        Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 14:20.
      • kjkg
        Since: Apr 2010

        I’ve just gone and bought the 2nd collection. Should be here Thursday or Friday.

        And preordered Ascension today also.

        Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 15:12.
  2. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    More of the spectacle of GoW3? Yes please!

    Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 09:57.
  3. wirralsman
    Since: Oct 2010

    Another good proverbial toe dipping.

    Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 10:08.
  4. skibadee
    Since: Oct 2009

    yes please love GOW tempted to get the special edition.

    Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 11:35.
  5. Taylor Made
    Since: Oct 2011

    Pre ordered the ps3 bundle with this & the controller. Can’t wait, my most anticipated game on 2013

    Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 11:54.
    • blackredyellow
      Since: Mar 2009

      Awesome. The controller looks so cool!

      Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 19:03.
  6. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    I’m unsure if i would enjoy GOW:A as i didn’t enjoy the GOW HD collection. I just found the games to be a bit repitive and to be frank, dull. I suspect Kratos will only be 25% rage this time around instead of being videogaming’s most angeriest character. I suspect the changes made to the gameplay won’t be enough for me to enjoy it. Shame, as GOW is interesting.

    The MP may suffer though as hack and slash requires a decent framerate to ensure that the gameplay is fast and if there is lag, it may end up looking like a slide show, unless they’ve locked it at 30FPS for the MP, to reduce the chance of encountering heavy lag. I don’t say this often, but i would probably spend more time brutally killing TSAers online then i would with the SP as it seems like it would be very enjoyable. I know it doesn’t make sense that i would most likely enjoy the MP, when i hate the gameplay, but when have i made any sense? Don’t answer that. :-p

    Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 12:39.
    • Kennykazey
      Since: Mar 2010

      I played the MP beta, and it ran very smoothly. I did encounter some lag in one match, with one of my opponents skipping about a bit, but it wasn’t a game-breaker and it’s just in the nature of online play.

      My main concern was the terribly slow matchmaking. One of the slowest I’ve encountered. But hopefully it’ll be faster in the final game.

      Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 13:55.
  7. Kennykazey
    Since: Mar 2010

    I’m glad they haven’t changed much, I like it the way it is.

    Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 13:51.
  8. blackredyellow
    Since: Mar 2009

    Have the special edition pre-ordered! I am very excited to play this!!!

    Comment posted on 19/02/2013 at 14:28.

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