God of War: Ascension preview – brimful with brutality

The God of War series is known for it’s brutal killings, colossal boss fights and a constantly fuming protagonist, and that’s exactly why people have fallen in love with Kratos’ god-killing exploits.

Ascension marks a new uncovered period for the demi-God, chronicling the era before Kratos became enraged as the “Ghost of Sparta”; while the game may be taking a new direction as a prequel, the death and destruction of the series is alive and well in Ascension.

God of War: Ascension’s road to reveal ended up being a little bumpy after numerous leaks (although wrong) stole a little thunder from Sony’s inevitable announcement. Ascension was officially unveiled, and besides the game’s timeline, not much else was mentioned.

E3 2012 gave us a closer look at Kratos’ next adventure, and although some people thought the game would be toned down due to the timeline, it’s safe to say that the visceral nature and brutality of the franchise is alive and well in Ascension.

As expected, and hard to not notice, the game looks impressive. The visuals are on par with (or possibly better than) God of War III. Santa Monica have said that they were learning about the engine during God of War III’s development, and now have a solid understanding of how to crank the most out of the retooled visual infrastructure.

That said, God of War III boasted some some stellar visuals that still hold strong today, and Ascension is aiming to top that. Kratos, while appearing a little more tanned due to not being covered in his family’s ashes, is looking detailed like never before.The environments look great, things move in a silky-smooth fashion and the game just has that “shine” that Sony Santa Monica is known for delivering.

The enemies shown in the demonstration differ from the typical skeleton soldiers Kratos plowed through in GoW III. The “henchmen” (so to speak) in this segment are goat-like creatures, who also seem to die via decapitation, which is good, because Kratos’ speciality is head-ripping.

The camera zooms in on the brutal executions, showing the meticulous detail on Kratos and the other characters in the game. The series has always prided itself on creating a cinematic experience, where gameplay and cut-scenes fuse seamlessly, and this is still evident, as the camera swoops in and out from Kratos, the scenery and enemies he’s about to take on.

A new feature shown is also the inclusion of some of Kratos’ more constructive powers as opposed to his destructive ones. Kratos uses magic to rebuild broken scaffolding, allowing him to acrobatically leap up and get to higher ground. These magical abilities will undoubtedly play a more central role in the puzzle-solving and traversal elements throughout the game.

God of War: Ascension looks to be adding a lot of new features to the series, but is definitely not shying away from it’s roots, as Kratos delivers an impromptu lobotomy to a giant elephant mini-boss and even takes on a Kraken. The violence and cringe-worthy moments are at the core of the franchise and seem to be in-tact with Ascension.

Competitive multiplayer should also add a new element to the gameplay, as for a first-time in the series, players will be able to create their own warrior, select a god to worship and take to a number of different arenas in order to battle it out for supremacy.

God of War: Ascension may have been slightly overlooked at E3 due to all the other big announcements and reveals, although Kratos’ next adventure will inevitably grab gamers’ attention heading towards the end of the year.

Read more about God of War: Ascension, which is pegged for release on 12 March, 2013.

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God of War: Ascension preview – brimful with brutality

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