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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: Sony Santa Monica
Genre: Action
Players: 1 (2-8 online)
Rated: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content)
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Marcus Prunty

May 9, 2013 - Kratos canít seem to keep himself out of trouble when it comes to seeking vengeance. Heís picked fights with the likes of Ares, Hades, Poseidon and even Zeus himself. Heís become a major thorn in the side of the Gods. At the end of God of War III I thought we had seen the last of Kratos and his battle with the Gods. Then I heard about Sony Santa Monica announcing God of War Ascension for the PlayStation 3 and I found myself wondering how this title plays into the mythos of Kratos and God of War. This games starts off with the story of a blood oath being broken with the Gods and how the furies deal with people who break their oaths. And our favorite anti-hero Kratos becomes their latest target and the opening battle between him and Megaera starts off smalls and builds up to the usual colossal battle sequences with quick time events and combos.

The story for this game centers on the furies trying to punish Kratos for breaking his blood oath to the Gods. Thatís right folks; we are dealing with a prequel that takes place before the events of the first God of War game. While this sounds okay for a basis for Kratosí adventure, it isnít as epic of a story as we are used to experiencing. It seems more like a footnote or a chapter or two in a normal God of War game. Although God of War isnít super in-depth when it comes to story anyway, GOW has always done a good job in making its story over the top and all reaching. They did do a decent enough job stretching it out for the full game.

The combat system this time around has been tweaked. No longer are there all the weapons that you have had in previous God of War games. The Blades of Chaos takes center stage and thatís how I prefer it to be. The blades now have the ability to absorb special powers, like the Fire of Ares which burns enemies, Ice of Poseidon which freezes enemies, the Lightning of Zeus which sends an intense lightning attack and the Soul of Hades which allows the blades to raise the dead to help you defeat you enemies. The ability to switch between these special powers via the d-pad makes it easy to mix and match and switch between the powers at will. And different powers give different rewards when you kill an enemy. The Lightning of Zeus will reward you with blue magic orbs, while the Soul of Hades will give you green health orbs. When you are in an area where there are no health chests or magic chests switching between certain powers can aide you well in surviving the onslaught. The game does provide a couple additional weapons to the Blades of Chaos namely a javelin for long range attacks, and a shield that you can block with. They are nice to use but as you advance in the game and make your Blades stronger you wonít ever use them.

Ascension is more balance than in previous God of War titles. No longer are you the super strong badass you use to be able to become early on in the game. For instance the magic system is tweaked to the point that the really powerful attacks are further down the upgrade list then in the other games. This makes you have to earn those upgrades that you really want as well as think more about what you want to upgrade. And this part of the upgrade tree is definitely something you will want to think about as magic will save your ass more often than not during the most intense battles.

Speaking of intense battles, you have never experienced anything on the same level of the Trials of Archimedes in any God of War game before. I will admit when I play GOW I use the same combos pretty much since the original GOW so my combat skills arenít the best in the world and that was proved evident to me when I reached this point in the game. This chapter pretty much made me almost quit playing the game which is weird because I have never been frustrated like this before in a God of War game. The best advice I can give is donít give up it will take hours and you will die a ton of times as waves after waves of enemies just keep coming. Iím not over exaggerating this is definitely the most frustrating moment I have ever experienced but what I felt when I finally got passed that point was relief and a great sense of accomplishment.

And once you have tackled the Trials of Archimedes and the rest of the story, God of War Ascensions hits you with the never before seen Multiplayer mode. When I first heard about God of War finally getting a multiplayer mode, I was a bit torn because I never thought the game needed it before because the games were full of depth and a wealth of content. In the multiplayer you have to choose between 4 different Gods to align yourself with. Different Gods have different types of fighters. The Gods that you have to choose from are Zeus, Ares, Hades and Poseidon and they all stand in statue form around the rotunda of Olympus. Once you choose your God there is a tutorial to help you get the mechanics of the gameplay down this will be mainly refresher if you played any of the games before. After that, you customize your warrior the way you want him to look and jump into the multiplayer.

The different modes that comprise multiplayer include death match, team death match, horde mode, and capture the flag which sounds very typical of a shooter but not necessarily a fighting game. In Trial of the Gods (horde) mode one or two players fight five waves of bad guys from the story mode and are followed by a boss battle on a timer. Every kill seconds are added and once you run out of time the match is over. Match of Champions (death match) is when four or eight players fight each other with weapons while earning favour points, a certain number of favour points will end the match, you can also collect points by opening chests and or setting off traps. Capture the flag mode has two teams of four players who are split into Spartans and the Trojans. You grab the flag run back to your base. As youĎre carrying the flag, you canít attack like you normally would be able to but your granted abilities as well as some healing. And the last mode Team Favour of the Gods (team death match) is where two teams of two or four player fight it off for favour points just like in Match of Champions. I will admit I didnít like the idea of multiplayer when I first heard of it but now that I have played it I wish they would have gave it to us a lot sooner as itís freaking amazing.

The visuals of God of War Ascension are on par with God of War III in that they really shine on blu ray. The scope and magnitude of the levels is just beautiful. The shine and shimmer of reflections off armor is detailed. The cutscenes are improved and more detail. There not quite cinematic to the level of the Uncharted franchise but they are definitely great to behold. The sound design is once again top notch as the sounds of weapons clashing, and bones and flesh being ripped and shredded make everything visceral. The music ramping up and the tones used rev you up as youíre fighting your way through the hordes of enemies you encounter. This makes for an all-around great experience.

Is God of War Ascension a must have or a must play game? The answer to that is simply ďYESĒ. If youíre a fan of the franchise then you definitely need a Kratos fix and Sony Santa Monica definitely gives you one here. My only gripe I have with the game is the weak story and itís only considered to be weak when you compare it to the other games in the franchise. If you rank it on its own itís a very solid story that gives hours upon hours of gameplay. And just when it would normally end you still have endless hours of multiplayer to keep you in the God of War universe as you pledge your soul and allegiance to one of the Gods. Just when you think you were done with the saga that is Kratos life he keeps coming back and Iím very thankful for that because I have never been disappointed in his journey. Go grab a copy of the game yourself you will love it.


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