Consisting of six releases across four different platforms, Sony’s God of War is arguably the most consistently high quality action series to be found in gaming. Ascension is the seventh and, in keeping with the previous games, a new man has supplanted Stig Asmussen as game director, Todd Papy, who also worked in a lead design role on God of War III. It is being developed entirely in-house at Sony’s Santa Monica Studio and is being built upon an upgraded version of the stunning engine that ran its predecessor.
But enough developmental details. Like the previous portable entries, Ascension is a prequel to the core trilogy. Indeed, it is the earliest game in the chronology, taking place shortly after Kratos was tricked into the cold-blooded murder of his wife and daughter. It was this betrayal that set him to take revenge against Ares but there are obstacles that stand in his way, not least of which is the prison of the living damned to which he has been sentenced. In this place, he must fight against the insanity that threatens to become his reality if he is ever to escape and achieve his goal and ultimate destiny. To be sure, the ending is a given but what makes this game appealing, for once, is not the end goal but the journey. It promises to delve deeper into the past and mind of Kratos than any previous entry has even attempted, granting the Ghost of Sparta humanity and perhaps a sense of connection for the first time.
The gameplay will be highly derivative of earlier iterations. In short: fast-paced combat ruled by the use of the familiar Blades of Chaos, occasionally broken up by epic boss battles and the infrequent use of QTE sequences to enhance the cinematic feel of the game and all of this interspersed with some platforming and puzzling segments that may or may not be frustrating enough to make one rage-quit. Although unconfirmed, it is reasonable to expect a range of different weapons and powers to be acquired throughout the game and some light role-playing elements in regards to weapon upgrades. Don’t take this as gospel truth, though, it’s all speculation and the folks at Sony Santa Monica could well throw us a curveball.
What is cold, hard fact is that, for the first time, God of War will be implementing a multiplayer suite. The only mode revealed thus far is a four vs. four match up that creates an interesting dynamic as players must first seize, then hold points on a relatively small map. Once the point is captured, the team that did so is granted a weapon powerful enough to do away with the Cyclops Polythemus, who looms menacingly in the background. Players will be able to select to be the champion of one of four Gods, with armour and weapons changing dependent on allegiance.
The game promises to, once again, push the boundaries of what is capable on current-gen hardware, with revamped lighting and animation, along with more of the scenic backgrounds that wowed gamers in God of War III, and more detailed characters than ever before, no mean feat considering what was found in the previous game.
Will it be at E3?
Although not specifically confirmed, it is widely expected to be one of the “twenty new experiences” that Sony will be bringing to the convention. With it being one of the console manufacturer’s flagship titles for 2013, it would be wise for them to appease long term fans by showing them at least something of the single player campaign that remains unseen by the masses.
What we want to see
We want to see the promises fulfilled. Kratos has always been a victim of his rage, and to see that eased somewhat to instead show the conflict of his soul is appealing to anyone that wants fresh insight into the character. We’d also like for each weapon to feel unique, unlike God of War III. A scaling back of the spectacle wouldn’t be remiss either.
Perhaps the thing that we want most is for this to end up as a worthwhile piece of the mythology, rather than a blatant cash-in on the popularity of the franchise. We’d also appreciate for it to be the final feather in the cap, but this isn’t likely if it sells as well as previous games.
Check back tomorrow for a preview of Grand Theft Auto V. What do you want to see in God of War: Ascension? Let us know in the comments section below.
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