God of War: Ascension, the latest game in the top-selling Greek mythology based series has, surprisingly, been receiving mixed reviews. The game has been touted as a prequel to the entire GoW saga; It seems like it’s aim is to humanize Kratos by exploring the man he was before he sold his soul to Ares and slaughtered both his loved ones. It seems like exploring Kratos’ relationship with his wife and daughter would make for excellent material for a new installment in the franchise, but according to numerous reviews, the story is lacking. Additionally, , the gameplay and level design has taken a turn for the simplistic.
What could have been changed to make Kratos’ latest outing epic and shocking instead of dull and forgettable? Zeus commands you to look below and see !
5) More Weapons
In past GoW games, Kratos had a multitude of mythological weapons at his disposal to brutally bring the pain. Medusa’s Head, Wings of Icarus, Athena’s Sword, The Golden Fleece; all of these were amazing weapons and items that allowed Kratos to pummel his enemies in his trademark bloodthirsty style. But in Ascension, Kratos is robbed of these death-dealing devices, and is left with the bland Blades of Chaos. Yes, he’s given the ability to add use different elemental properties (Fire, Electricity, Water, Darkness), but he’s still throwing around the same old knives. There are a multitude of mythological weapons that could have been integrated seamlessly into the storyline, but sadly, it seems as if the designers were content with just sticking with what worked before.
4) Developed Characters
All the furies receive for character development is a short, poorly written prologue that’s not even part of the game proper. How are players supposed to hate these demons when they’re not even given individual personalities? In past games, Zeus, Hera, Hades, and Gaia were mult-dimensional characters who received proper fleshing out. Not so with the furies. Or Orkos for that matter. A few scenes of dialogue just do not cut it. If you’re going to give the hero a partner, at least let the player get to know him.
3) Remove the Trial of Archimedes
What was this? It seems as if the Trial of Archimedes was designed intentionally to cause gamers all over the world to rage-quit. Three waves of enemies, little health renewal, no check point; what were the designers thinking? The battle is so annoying that a patch has been announced that will quickly remedy the problem. Well, Santa Monica, thank you. At least we have that.
2) Get Rid of the Plot Holes
What truth is Kratos searching for exactly? The game’s storyline seems shoehorned into the series’ mythology, forcing Kratos to somehow forgot his slaughter of Calliope and Lysandra. Kratos’ mission then so becomes to discover why exactly he broke his bond to Ares, and yet he continually refuses to re-instate his bond…something doesn’t make sense here.
1) Develop Kratos
It’s obvious the writers meant to do this. The tagline for the game is, after all, “Before he was a god, he was a man.” But somewhere along they way they forgot that the best way to humanize a character is to have that character interact with other characters. Out of all the GoW games, Ascension seems to be the most bare. There’s only a few people Kratos gets to talk to on his journey.
How heartbreaking would it have been to play as Kratos and experience the slaughter of his own wife and child? To feel his pain and agony firsthand? Why not put players right into Kratos’ darkest hour, and have us commit his sin along with him? Building up the relationship between Kratos and his family before the murder would only further cement feelings of guilt within the players heart. Out of all the reasons why Ascension is the weakest in the series, this is it. Players were no doubt yearning to see Kratos bond with his wife and daughter, but all we were received were illusions imposed by the furies. It just wasn’t enough.