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Old 03-14-2013   #1
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God of War Ascension review + trophy fix.

I have a review, and tropy tweak for God of War Ascension here from Ign.com.

Review link - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/03/...cension-review

Trophy link - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/03/...-war-ascension


God of War: Ascension Review

Alex Simmons

Worthy of the Gods or fresh from the pit of Hades?

→ March 14, 2013 Few game series know how to make a dramatic entrance quite like God of War. From tangling with the Hydra at the beginning of the first game to facing the Colossus of Rhodes to the more recent breathless, brutal battle against Poseidon in God of War III, Kratosí first steps into a new adventure are never forgettable. So itís somewhat surprising Ė and indeed disappointing Ė that the beginning of God of War Ascension kicks off with more of a muted hand-clap than the usual rib-shattering bang.

Having broken a blood oath with the Gods, Kratos becomes the target for three demonic sisters known as The Furies. The opening fight against one Fury, Megaera, is essentially a string of small-scale scraps punctuated with the occasional QTE battle against bigger beasts. While it serves as a palatable introduction, it doesnít quite have the breathtaking scale and gut-punching action that GoW3 delivered in spades. Yes, youíre fighting mythological beasts the size of a house, and that may sound pretty damn incredible, but after the Titan-felling intro from the last game, it doesnít impress in quite the same way.

Thankfully the tempo ramps up quickly, and Ascension rapidly settles into the high-octane groove fans will be familiar with. Itís business as usual when it comes to combat, and therefore, itís as satisfying as ever. Weapon upgrades provide much-needed depth and variety without ever becoming overwhelming; so while itís possible to punch and kick your way through most of the campaign using just a handful of basic moves, there are countless combo-strings to discover should you wish to experiment further.

There have been tweaks to the combat however, with Kratos now only using the Blades of Chaos rather than discovering new weapons along the way. Itís no great loss though,

God of War: Ascension
March 12, 2013

God of War: Ascension returns players to the storyline of the epic God of War franchise. Join Kratos as he seeks freedom, redemption and the clarity to avenge his family in the most ambitious God of War adventure in the series so far.

because instead variety comes as you imbibe different powers into the Blades along the way Ė the Fire of Ares torches enemies alive; Ice of Poseidon freezes foes; Lightning of Zeus delivers a vicious electric attack and the Soul of Hades calls upon the undead for help.

Learning how to use each power effectively is another source of depth. For example, vaporise an enemy using lightning and youíre rewarded with magic-restoring blue orbs; do the same with the Soul of Hades and green health-giving orbs are yours for the taking. Itís a subtle but effective way of getting us to mix and match our attacks, but also provides a strategic lifeline when thereís no energy re-gen chest nearby.

There are secondary weapons, too Ė limited-use additions to your arsenal like the javelin, which is useful for ranged attacks, or the attack-blocking shield. While I found them useful in the early stages, they rapidly became superfluous as my Blades got upgraded.

The magic system has changed slightly, too: super-powerful magic attacks are locked away much further down the weapon upgrade tree, meaning you cannot rely on them as heavily as you mightíve done in previous games. Itís a positive step because it really encourages you to think wisely about where to allocate experience points rather than being the ultimate badass from the outset. Often, itís moments when Kratos is overwhelmed with enemies that magic provides his only lifeline.

Difficulty throughout is, for the most part, balanced and well-considered. Checkpoints are in abundance and health chests are generously scattered around, so much so this is probably the easiest of all the God of War games overall. But at times Ascension takes challenge to the next level Ė not necessarily by making enemies tougher to kill, but by throwing so many bad guys on screen itís hard to actually figure out whatís going on. Dying in such situations feels cheap and frustrating.

Then there's one section Ė the Trials of Archimedes Ė that will likely frustrate even the most skillful of players. Many of the crutches I'd relied upon earlier Ė the ability to save often or top off my energy Ė are suddenly pulled from under our feet, and the resulting chapter is tougher than anything Iíve played in a God of War game before. Itís not just that itís hard Ė God of War games have always been tough, and a stiff challenge is something I relish whenever I spend more time with Kratos Ė but there are times when it actually feels unfair, because occasionally thereís literally nothing you can do to avoid death.

To put it into context, I spent just over nine hours getting to that point in the game, then six hours straight trying to beat wave after wave of enemies. Of course, itís not impossible, and the sense of achievement I got from actually beating it is immense, but the fact its difficulty is so out of line with the rest of Ascension is strange. While hardcore God of War fans will no doubt lap up the challenge, for many it could be off-putting.

Elsewhere, the story isnít as compelling as it has been in previous games. Kratos will always hold a special place in my heart, but second-string villains like the Furies donít quite cut it after youíre used to going toe-to-toe with Zeus and Ares. Indeed, I didnít rally behind Kratosí cause in quite the same way I did when it was him versus the Gods, and while the narrative is meticulously delivered Ė it always has been in God of War Ė the story felt a bit incidental.

That's not helped by a relatively scarcity of "Wow" moments. Credit where it's due Ė there are occasions when the sheer scale of what I was looking at made my eyes pop, the finale is a spectacle Iíll never forget, and Kratosí fight through the Statue of Apollo is a real highlight. Now and then youíll stand up and scream, ďThis is exactly what a God of War game should be like,Ē but these are often outweighed and outnumbered by the times when the action is by-the-numbers and feels like the same thing we've played countless times before.

The same criticism cannot be aimed at Ascensionís multiplayer, however. Itís a genuinely fresh addition to the series that successfully carries over many of the hallmarks of the much-loved single-player. Players align with one of four Gods, which gift them different abilities. Followers of Ares are all-out warriors, the minions of Hades favour stealth kills, and Zeusí warriors are battle mages. The differences between each are subtle though, so rather than forcing you to completely change your play-style when switching allegiances itís more a case of knowing your characterís strengths and playing to them.

Favour of the Gods is the most enjoyable of the modes on offer, with two teams going toe-to-toe to catch the eye of Olympusí elite. Itís essentially a high-score race, with points awarded capturing bases, opening chests, collecting valuable items, and of course killing your opponents. There are environment-specific items to play around with too, like the Spear of Olympus, which is the only way to kill off the Polyphemus Cyclops that plagues one of the maps Ė and in doing so awards your team a lot of points.

While multiplayer has its moments, the combat doesnít really offer the depth to make it a truly engaging experience. Mastering the attack-block-parry system Ė which is the foundation on which combat is built Ė is at times rewarding, but too often battles revert into button-mashing scraps where skill is rarely rewarded. In fact, the only real way to prove your dominance in the multiplayer arena is through the countless unlocks and weapon upgrades available, but because XP is dished out so generously Ė simply finishing a match is enough to level up in the early stages Ė thereís no real reason to experiment or play skilfully. As a result multiplayer feels more like a curiosity that provides a few hours of enjoyment rather than being an essential additions

The Verdict

Unfortunately itís a criticism that can be aimed at Ascension as a whole Ė itís an enjoyable game, but one that doesnít quite live up to the pedigree of its predecessors. The story, which promised so much by revealing a more emotional side to Kratos, stumbles along and is so flimsy itís almost incidental. The combat has been refined and is therefore as satisfying as ever, but the lack of any really memorable set-pieces Ė combined with its tiresome reliance on carbon copy battles against waves of exactly the same enemy Ė result in a game that is at times spectacular but all too often forgettable. Kratos fanatics will no doubt revel in the challenge it presents, especially the gruelling Trials of Archimedes, but thereís no escaping the fact Ascension is the weakest in the series.

Sony Changing Controversial Trophy in God of War: Ascension

Bros Before Hos becomes Bros Before Foes.

by Colin Moriarty
March 11, 2013

A minor controversy surrounded God of War: Ascension last week. As the reviews began to roll out, some commentators expressed dismay at and disappointment with a Silver Trophy in the game, one called Bros Before Hos. Sony has confirmed to IGN, however, that this Trophyís name will be changed in an upcoming patch.

"We have created and will soon push out a patch for God of War: Ascension that alters the title of one of the game Trophies,Ē a statement from Sony Santa Monica reads. ďThe text was offensive to some members of our community and impacted their enjoyment of the game. We are endlessly committed to ensuring that our community can fully enjoy the experiences the team has created. As such, weíve addressed the feedback and amended the Trophy in question."

As such, the Trophy will now be known as Bros Before Foes, but will be triggered by the same in-game event.

Our full review of God of War: Ascension is forthcoming this week once we can test the gameís public-facing servers. In the meantime, catch up with all things Ascension by reading our review-in-progress.
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