5 Ways Kratos' Latest Shows the Player Mercy
5. Checkpoints are Helpful
This might not seem like a big deal, but most if not all of the checkpoints are save points too (you can see "saving" in the bottom right corner of the screen.) Yeah, boss battles are still something you'll have to accomplish in one sitting but that seems fair. What used to drive me crazy was slashing through horde after horde only to have to restart at the beginning if I bit the dust. To my knowledge, this started getting better (less frustrating) with God War 3, so I'm not sure if it has to do with the architecture of the PS3 as opposed to PS2. Whatever the reason, I felt much relief.
4. The Upgrades Rock
Some newer games allow all the collecting you do to keep adding up even if you die. Meaning if you get killed, but racked up 3000 points, you still keep all 3000. This is not the case in Ascension but it never was in the series. However, with all those red, blue and white (Gorgon eyes!) chests to rip open with R1 you'll have no problem upgrading your weapons and skills rather quickly. On my first play through, I'm still partial to putting everything into my blades and health, but that's just me. The blood-red filling of the meter is still as satisfying as ever.
3. The "Videogamey" Aspects are Exploitable
(skip to 1:08 in the video below)
Fans of God of War and Uncharted will keep the argument going but both series are perhaps the best-looking videogames franchises ever. I loved the new Tomb Raider but much within the first few minutes of booting up Ascension I remembered "oh yeah, THIS is what amazing visuals are." Kratos is so finely detailed his features give way to tiny specs of hair, scars, heck, even his pores are easy to spot. The areas are ginormous, of course, but spacious and lived-in as well. That said, all the tech and glitz can't hide how obvious it sometimes seems that Kratos is separate from the background. Sometimes his feet still seem too floaty on the ground. His switching from battle to pretty much anything (jumping, um, walking) suffers throughout, making him seem one click away from being a cutout.
Other times, objects you need to interact with look equally separated from the terrain, which came in handy when I found myself lost or not sure about what I areas I could or couldn't enter. I basically looked for the more obvious-looking crevices and peaks and victory was mine.
2. Kratos is Less Angry, More Relatable
Since most of the game takes place ten years before the events in the original God of War, Kratos is less angry. Some critics have said this creates a discrepancy between playing an unstoppable killing machine in the game who, in cutscenes, seems sober, reflective, bummed out. All true, but I think this is probably Ascension 's greatest storytelling feat. As a gamer, I don't need much in way of motivation to attack and maim but I appreciate the writers' intent here: namely, to make us feel just how human Kratos was.
1. Quick Time Events are Finally Easy and Fun
One of the defining parts of the series has been the huge set pieces that are amazing to watch but annoyingly have the player frantically hitting triangle, square, circle or x at precise moments. Here the placement is key: if you know the arrangement of the buttons like a true geek then you really don't need to "see" the exact icon anymore. If the icon is at the top of the screen you can know for sure it's triangle. A tiny fix (that started in part 3), but it makes the QTE a pleasure to do and experience. Plus, new to the series, Kratos is given a little button mashing in between the QTEs. Ripping a head off a centaur by his own hands...priceless.