God of War: Ascension Preview
Santa Monica’s most ambitious God of War takes it back to where it all began.
The God of War franchise is an action/hack ‘n’ slash that is set in the world of Greek mythology. You play as Kratos, an ex-Spartan warrior who plans to take on the gods for their betrayal. GoW:A is a prequel set before any of the events from the previous six games and concentrates on his path from mortal to God. Ascension’s story will be more emotional than previous God of War’s and will delve into Kratos’ tormented past and psyche that has been ‘never seen’ before. Judging from the God of War: Ascension Super Bowl commercial, the main focus will show that Kratos was tricked by Ares into slaughtering his own family and the repercussions that follow. Check out the ‘From Ashes’ trailer below to get a sense of what direction Santa Monica hope to take the story:
Big changes are happening with Ascension with a new to God of War online and offline multiplayer. Not stopping there, there’s also a revamped combat system which is an added element to the game where you can pause and manipulate time along with the already mentioned deeper and emotion enriched story. For the people that are worried about change ruining the franchise, Todd Papy who is the Game Director at Santa Monica had this to say, “Early reaction, people are scared of what we are doing” but insisted that change is needed to make things feel “fresh and new.” He also stated that even though the game will see major changes it will still feel familiar.
Graphically the game is set to still be one of the best looking games on console with amazing scale and superb lighting and particle effects that add to the experience. Animations are fluid and tight, and transition from gameplay to cut-scenes are seamless. This is an attempt to keep you engrossed into the game and never get drawn away from the experience. What’s amazing is that the multiplayer will look just as good and have the same scale as the single player although the poly count might take a bit of a hit. Todd Papy also mentions that they had been taking some advice off of the boys at Naughty Dog for the multiplayer, but it looks like they might have also taken a little bit of advice for the single player because now Kratos will clamber around rocks and objects in a similar fashion to Nathan Drake. Todd explains this new climbing system is being used so you can get up objects faster and to get you back into the action quicker.
Multiplayer is also looking robust and a decent addition to the single player. You can connect with seven other players in a variety of team and free-for-all modes. You have to align yourself to a God– Zeus, Ares, Poseidon, Hades – which is a clever way of choosing a class. Each god will provide you with different moves, magic and weapons and as you rank up you will unlock new apparel, weapons, body paints, etc. The battle area’s range from small and claustrophobic arenas, to open multi-platform spaces with a towering creature overlooking the battle. One mode that was shown off, you and your team had to be first to kill the gigantic Cyclops, Megalops, to win. The arenas are also littered with traps so you can spike, fire and saw your opponents. Santa Monica emphasised the need to make sure that multiplayer is well balanced and if they get it right they will keep people engaged to the multiplayer. Get it wrong, however, and people will by-pass it altogether.
The changes to the game are positive steps for the series and we have every bit of faith that Santa Monica can pull it off. Game is set to be released 12th March 2013 in the US and 15th March 2013 in the UK.