We’ve been getting nothing but the multiplayer angle on God of War: Ascension for most of the last year –making an open arena brawler that feels and looks like the regular God of War gameplay is a major accomplishment– but now it’s time for the single player experience to take center stage. The story of Kratos as a mortal and before his rise to mini-god is ripe for all kinds of exploration and new ideas. As a franchise God of War has become the standard for the hack-and-slash genre where multiple fast-paced attacks in open areas are key to the fun. Like a good movie, it comes down to the quality of the enemies in these types of games because you know the hero is going to prevail sooner or later. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the enemies and combat in God of War: Ascension are going to be top notch.
The complement of attacks Kratos has at his disposal aren’t too much of a departure; at least what we’ve seen so far. He’s still got the heavy and light attacks along with his ranged grapple attack with his trusty chain blades. The ability to pick up weapons like spears, clubs and special swords has already been revealed in multiplayer and works the same in single player. Area attacks and other special moves that come with Kratos sprinting are extremely handy too. The ability to stun and then “dismantle” enemies in the middle of a fight is particularly satisfying in Ascension because there are some truly nasty creatures in the new game. We’ve seen the half-man half-goat variant before and now we know there’s a half-fly half-man enemy type as well. We even get to see how those buggers are made in real time.
Enchanted insects that crawl out of holes in one of The Three Furies’ chest proceed to attack normal men and embed themselves in the victim’s head and upper body area. The result is a horrifying looking guy with tiny insect wings sticking out of his back and an insect body sticking out of the back of his neck. Damn things can’t even fly. So when confronted with five or six of those things, it feels really good knowing you can stun and then rip their heads clean off. If that’s too subtle for you, there’s also the option of picking up the fly-men and rendering their abdomens in two and tossing the halves casually.
The series of minibosses God of War throws at you lived up to the franchise history in the demo we saw. The hecatonchires are monsters with 100 hands and 50 heads. It just so happens that the Furies have “remodeled” one of these things and turned it into a prison where Kratos awakens (to start off the story of God of War: Ascension we’re told) to kick things off. Now how you build a prison out of giant 100 handed monster shouldn’t matter to you. Just know that the game world comes to life with cell blocks literally being picked up by one giant hecatonchires and then smashed like a shoebox with another hand. Giant 40-foot hands are everywhere in this level. Somehow that same angry member of the Furies inects one of the hecatonchires hands with a few of her nasty green flies and the thing becomes a giant fly-headed “hand” complete with razor sharp tusks and spiked mantis feet that wants to kill Kratos. It’s still connected to the world, yet acting independently to trap and then attack Kratos. Oh and this is just a miniboss. The major boss toward the end of the demo is the same thing just way bigger.
We’ll have plenty more on God of War: Ascension in the weeks to come because the single player experience has a lot going for it.