Game review: ‘God of War: Ascension’ delivers underwhelming plot, predictable gameplay

Jonathon Reid, Staff Writer

Hate to be the one to break the news, but for the God of War veterans out there, Ascension is a letdown. With a paper-thin storyline and the inherent ability to kick ass, it is essentially a glorified beat-em-up. Granted, following God of War III in all its’ greatness is no easy task by any means. But, it seems the developers lost their passion for the series, as if they were just following checklists and meeting requirements instead of breaking boundaries and pushing the creative envelope. Thankfully though, Kratos is still the sadistic, neck-breaking butcher we’ve come to know and love. Although, this time, he is fighting for his own freedom.

In search of truth, Kratos is on a mission to free his mind from illusion. The three Furies responsible for his enslavement are the main antagonists of this installment, Tisiphone, Megaera, and Alecto. The Greek goddesses are sent to kill Kratos for betraying his oath to the God of War, Ares. With the help of Orkos, the son of Alecto, Kratos must find the Eyes of Truth. This item allows him to see through the alternate realities induced by the Furies.

Weapons and items are limited compared to its’ predecessor. The Chains of Chaos is your only weapon but they are imbued throughout the game with four different elements: Fire of Ares, Ice of Poseidon, Soul of Hades, and the lightning of Zeus. Each one has their own set of combinations that provide numerous ways to defeat your enemies. The Oath Stone of Orkos allows you to be in two places at once; it has the capacity to assist you in puzzles or in combat. The Amulet of Uroborus can “heal” or “decay” certain obstacles, like fixing a platform so you can advance or even renovate an old chest to grab some goodies. It also has the ability to slow down targeted enemies, giving you that extra edge in battle.

Even with the lack of different weapons, there is a good balance between button-mashing and strategy. Although, repetitive moves will guarantee you a lot of restarts and maybe even a broken controller. Each enemy has their respective weaknesses that are necessary for you to take into account. You may know some already: if you have played God of War III you will unfortunately recognize quite a few enemies.

There is a flow to Ascension that is unparalleled. Sub scenes move seamlessly into gameplay. Boss battles are incredible with breathtaking graphics, underwater seascapes that evoke the “wow” factor. Simply put, movement throughout the game is unpredictable and exhilarating.

With all that being said, is it a terrible game? Not in the least. Would first-time players of the series see the game as anything less than astonishing? Doubt it. But it still fails to exceed certain expectations for the veterans out there. A lackluster plot, fewer weapons, redundant enemies, and an overtone of inadequacy force this title be average at best.