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God of War: Ascension – Single Player Demo Insight and Impressions


The Demo is Epic yall!

The term watching it and playing it are two different things rings very true, at least in this instance. I wasn’t all that blown away when I watched the 30 minute gameplay footage that’s been online, typical God of War stuff ( I’m already sold on that) but when you get the controller in your hands maaaan buddy!

So initially I had trouble with the screen settings (I got too cute with it) and didn’t quite understand what the settings were requesting, however the second playthrough I nailed it perfect.

Welp, Kratos is baaaaack way back even — like prequel back, and apparently he’s in big trouble with 3 Sisters collectively called “Furies” well, specifically one of them I believe her name is — if I’m not mistaken, Megaera. I won’t spoil the rest but this demo shows off a lot of different gameplay elements and you should get a good feel on what to expect when the full retail releases. Lets’s break it down.

Graphics

What’s the matter? Looks like you’ve seen a GHOST

The graphics are of course phenomenal and is what we come to love and expect from SSM although isn’t a huge jump from God of War 3 (also expected) but I looove what SSM did with Kratos’ skin, his skin actually looks like its covered in ash this time as opposed to  just a gray body simulating ash — big difference. Sure the detail is in God of War 3 but it seems more pronounced here, the imperfections across his body and face  are in line with what ash would actually look like if poured over someone — still seeing some of his original skin color as well. Actually, his skin looks more white-ish this time like ash (dry skin) and not ash (smoke) lmboo.

Also happy to say the blood still splashes on his body when spilling enemies blood alah God of War 3, I just wish it would stay on him (dried up of course) until he wiped it off or went in water. He’s donning a skirt this time made of cloth over his usual leather look and you can tell it’s lighter (weight wise, not color) and adds more of a flappy feel. I love the 3D version of the “chaos blades” shown in it’s full glory in the pause menu.

Gamplay/What’s different

It is God of War, so the core gameplay is what you expect, but there are some new additions and differences.

So immediately what I notice upon starting gameplay is Kratos feels faster, lighter and  smoother, could be the frame rate, could be Sony Santa Monica simulating Kratos’ youth —  if the latter I understand and I am all for it,  if the former I battle with it, on one hand I love the smoothness and overall new feel, on the other hand I’m a big fan of physics and always thought characters should have some sort of weight to them — no deal breaker of course.

They put in one of  my top requests for the new game and that is to swing the blades with control, that is have one blade get stuck in a enemy and then be able to swing the other blade in a plethora of ways, kind of how they did with the Hades fight in God of War 3 but instead of it being enemy specific and contextual that it’s done at will. Happy to say it’s now  part of gameplay and they did me one better! ‘I see your request and raise you one’, says Sony Santa Monica. Not only can you do the aforementioned but you have complete control! I mean you can freely move in any direction and in turn  the character moves with you — with the blade still stuck in! Not only that, your not just stuck with (no pun) the option to swing at the enemy you just attacked  but you have the freedom to swing at any enemy on screen, all while the blade  is still stuck in the first enemy! You can literally walk them around like a dog on a leash while you attack others — soooo gratifying. Enemies can even break up the animation so you are still vulnerable. And that’s not even everything you can do once you have a enemy in this position, have fun exploring, it’s truly freedom at it’s best. So natural! So dynamic!

All this is done with the R1 button, which now seems to be the core grapple button replacing the circle button. Speaking of buttons Kratos can now sprint by pressing  L3 once your sprinting, if you press square Kratos does a ramming move, if you press triangle he pounds the ground and if you press circle he does an upper cut, yep! Kratos can now use his bear hands. He also can kick,  (using circle – no sprinting necessary) provided he doesn’t have a secondary weapon he picked up equipped – yep! Kratos can now dislodge weapons from enemies, use them to his own advantage and what I really love, keep them for as long as you want! Until you want to discard them.

I’m really digging the new light technique displayed over the enemies head when they’re dazed instead of the “big circle” in the past, it’s more consistent in what you would see in that world,  far less intrusive and it does better for immersion.

I’m not digging however the new way you can rip somebody in half. I don’t know if it’s enemy specific but I feel less in control than in the past. It’s almost as if  I’m watching a cut scene, before, at will, you could walk up to a certain enemy and rip ‘em in half, now it’s like you throw the chains and it does it for you, mind you and only in certain instances (when they’re dazed).

There’s a new way to combo as well. Now, to combo you have to build up your “rage meter” then you can unleash the deadly combos your used to seeing from this famed anti-hero. No more “Rage of Sparta”? Now that this rage meter seemingly replaces it, it’s less likely we’ll see the “Rage of Sparta” but  it does makes sense — according to the timeline. It was given to Kratos by the “gods” in the original God of War and given to him by the “Titans” in God of War 2.

I was leery about the new way we would have to open chests, I actually liked the struggle it took to open chests in previous games it reminded me that Kratos was still human.  But I actually like the new way he busts’ through the red orbs chest — with brute strength. The green orbs chest didn’t seem to change all that much in terms of how you open it, so ultimately I got the best of both worlds.

Environments

Environments are still dynamic as ever, I love the way the environments are used as part of the fight, especially with big epic boss battles. There will be things you do in the demo alone never done in a God of War game (at least 1,2 and 3) so Kudos to SSM for being up to the challenge tasked; trying to bring new dynamic ways to traverse through the God of War worlds’ epic landscape.

Tidbits

Well, we know of  at least one power we’ll get to play around with upon ending the full retail game; “Prisoners Oath Stone”, which grants infinite rage. Because of the imprisonment of the guards throughout the demo and the message written on the scribe it gives us a telling fact into the story; that Kratos was not the first to pledge an oath; in turn break an oath with the gods and will almost certainly not be the last.

Actually, that title goes to Aegaeon “The Hecatonchires” pronounced hecka-tonka-reez,  (whom you will encounter in the demo, you may not recognize him though he had an extreme makeover lmbooo) he was the first to break the oath and be made an example of courtesy of the aforementioned  “Furies”.

Go download this demo now! I may mess around and play this demo at least once a day until March 12 (God of War: Ascension release date). What are your thoughts on the demo? CCU wants to hear from you.

Want more! Check out our Original Pieces section with more great original content on various topics in the game industry.

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