Our review for God Of War: Ascension went live yesterday – it’s spoiler free, so have a read. Alongside it came reviews from pretty much every other site, with a couple of exceptions, and as part of that Metacritic’s page for the game burst into life, jumping from the 70s to the 80s, before resting (this morning) on 79%. That will change, but it’s where it’s at now.
That’s a good way below God of War III’s 92%.
With a mixture of scores ranging from the 7s to the 9s, Ascension has at least garnered a solid bottom-rung and an impressive top-tier in terms of rankings, which means that anyone on the fence can rest easy knowing the lowest score given is still a ‘very good’ 7/10.
But why is it still a good 13% below the last PS3 game in the series? Fatigue in general, perhaps, with Kratos’ latest not really pushing the bar, or just the fact that it’s simply not quite as cohesive a game. It’s still a good single player experience (in isolation, 7/10 seems fair for the campaign) but the multiplayer appears to have been quite divisive between critics.
It’s worth bearing in mind that aside from the various early betas open to everyone, the multiplayer servers only went online on Monday, and although there were sessions available for everyone to test the online modes, only in the medium and long term will the nuances and strategies for that side of the game make themselves known.
Our score for the game bounced around a little before resting on an 8. An 8 is “very good” here on TSA, and although we had quite a few issues with the game (notably the silly QTEs and the sometimes iffy level design) it’s worth bearing in mind that these aren’t isolated to this particular entry in the series, and there’s something in New Game+ that removes one major complaint and a second run with prior knowledge through fixes the other anyway.
This isn’t justifying the score as such, it’s trying to explain it outside of the review itself. Ascension will tick pretty much every box that God of War fans are wanting, despite not being perfect and despite dialing down the scale of the enemies for the most part.
Remember though that in Ascension Kratos isn’t a god, he can’t really fight other gods, and instead Santa Monica have focused on providing him with huge scale environments instead of huge scale enemies. There’s a couple of big guys, but this plays out more like the two (brilliant) PlayStation Portable games in terms of bad guys.
I still have an issue with the Furies in the game – they should be absolutely devastating yet instead, depicted in their human forms, they’re little more than regular bosses with added health points and a few extra tricks. They’re never scary enough to warrant all the build up, sadly, unlike the screen-filling Titans we know and love.
But, yeah, Ascension is good. Very good. The puzzles are smart (I really enjoyed two of them, especially the last one) and there’s enough references to Greek mythology to keep the interest levels up beyond all the scrapping. The one god barely touched in the series plays a visually impressive part towards the conclusion, and there’s enough challenge here (even on Normal during one section) to satisfy the hardcore fans.
Not perfect, no, and a little short on God of War III, but still very good.