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God of War Ascension Review (Single player)

Before “Ascension” I had only played “God of War 3.”  I had a PS2 when the series came out, but I just happened to find myself on the Xbox a lot more. I loved “GOW3” and plan on playing the rest of the titles, but until then let’s take a look at the most recent release, “God of War: Ascension.”

“God of War: Ascension” starts ten years before the events of the original “God of War,” with Kratos chained up by the Furies and being beaten until he agrees to fall back in line and follow Ares.

Whether it be during gameplay or during cut-scenes, the game is beautiful.  In that respect “Ascension” lives up to “GOW3”.  My only issue with this is that I felt as if the cut-scenes were used more to show the the grandeur of the area you were in rather than convey story. Companies like Konami and Capcom really know how to utilize their cut-scenes to further a story and get you engaged, and I feel Santa Monica really missed the mark on that. I know there was talk of “GOW: Ascension” is giving us a more in depth look at Kratos and explore more of his origin, but I just didn’t see it. The story did absolutely nothing for me, and that kind of sucks because I love Greek mythology and I loved what the “GOW” franchise did with it, just in this instance it needed more.

Gameplay is your standard “GOW” hack and slash combo-based style with a revamped quick-time-event system to take out bigger enemies and bosses. Also here for you enjoyment are freestyle quick-time-event mini-games where you dodge incoming attacks from the enemies you have in your clutches so that you can continue to pummel them. Throw in some platforming and puzzle solving and you have the makings of a really good game. As fun as it is to eviscerate goat-men hybrids (I would call them satyrs, but I’m just not sure), and scalp giant elephant warriors with the generic hack-and-slash combos, I just wish there was more freedom to create your own badass combos with an awesome finish. The only other issue I had with the game is the issue I have with all the “God of War” games and any game really that uses the right stick to dodge: lack of camera control.

When you take camera control away from the player but add horrible camera angles, it can make certain situations unbearably frustrating. One such situation is when chasing Castor and Pollux and you’re sliding down a collapsing bridge/walkway. Because of the lack of camera control you aren’t really able to judge jumps at certain points this will screw you up. I must have done that part about seven times and almost threw my controller at my beautiful television.

Although visually beautiful and fun to play, I don’t feel “Ascension” lives up to the legacy of the rest of the franchise. Repetitive enemies and a shorter story that doesn’t really add anything to the rest of the franchise in exchange for a useless multi-player make this installment okay at best.

Final Verdict for “God of War: Ascension”

3.5 out of 5