Since the start of this generation, I’ve been a PS3 gamer. It was my first next-gen console but, even with that Sony preference, I have never played any titles from one of their biggest franchises; God of War. On the PS2, PSP and PS3 the series simply escaped my notice. After trying God of War Ascention at this years Eurogamer though, I can now see that this was a huge mistake.
The demo, same as the one shown with the titles announcement at this years E3, started with gameplay seamlessly leading in from the demo of Kratos staring down at you. From there, the regular God of War gameplay comes in, crashing around with your swords, blood spilling from every winged beast that comes your way. After a boat crashed in the distance though, a new element is introduced. Rebuilding your path, Red Faction Armageddon style.
Rebuilding and destroying a structure so you can jump up it adds a new dimension to the God of War gameplay, but it’s not without its annoyances. Even if you can see in the distance something you need to jump up afterwards, you cannot do it until every single person in the vicinity has been murdered. This makes sense when there is a set piece, but bouncing in front of an invisible wall because something with only one leg is left crawling around is annoying.
The wall became a problem after climbing the structure and battling a big stone man. It was also during this part that I missed something from gaming – a health bar. Whilst these stone beasts aren’t exactly bosses, you can wail on them for minutes with no idea if any of your moves are even working and it’s only apparent when a QTE appears over their head so you can issue a killing blow.
After he was dispensed with came the wall. A structure on the side implied that we would need to deconstruct it somehow, with no obvious path in sight. Both me and fellow Twiddler Alan were playing at the same time, and both of us got stuck at this point, jumping at anything that could be climbable. The most obvious thing – a ledge – was the answer, but was only successful after a double jump which didn’t work most of the time.
God of War: Ascension is essentially a sequence shot. The camera being constant, not cutting away from the action and simply always moving. I love that. I love that in films, but when a shot makes it impossible to see where you’re supposed to go with no visible indicators, then irritation sets in.
Once through another area, the main boss of the demo appeared in the form of a giant with an elephants head. The design of these creatures are absolutely fantastic and simply glorious to look at. With my lack of GoW knowledge, I was happily slicing away and when it came down to issuing a killing blow, I wasn’t quite ready for what was going to happen. What followed was Kratos slicing the elephants head in half, exposing his brain before taking a leap, a jump and into the sea where another huge beast was ready – mouth open.
God of War Ascension looks and plays fantastically. Whilst I have some quirks with it, for fans of the previous titles then it should play and feel exactly the same. For me, it’s told me that I need to get a hold of the GoW HD Collection and finally see what sort of insane, bloody, violence I’ve been missing out on.
God of War Ascension is scheduled for release March 2013 for the PS3.