Advertisement
 
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,

 

The Associated Press This game image released shows Spartan warrior Kratos battling a goat in "God of War: Ascension."

Advertisement

Review: Kratos is exhausted in latest 'God of War'

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - Updated: 4:30 PM

By LOU KESTEN

The Associated Press

Kratos is angry.

That's all you need to know about the motivation of the durable protagonist of Sony's "God of War" series. Yes, the Spartan warrior got tricked into murdering his wife and daughter, but he's been rampaging across ancient Greece for five games now. Given the thousands of corpses he's left behind, you'd think he'd have sated his thirst for vengeance.

Instead, "God of War: Ascension" (for the PlayStation 3, $59.99) brings back the old grouch for another round of bone-crunching, head-splitting mayhem. A prequel to 2005's original "God," the new adventure begins with Kratos chained to a rock and tormented by Furies. Once he escapes, he resumes his bloodthirsty campaign against the capricious Greek deities.

That means more of the brutal combat for which this franchise is known, with Kratos wielding his Blades of Chaos, twin knives attached to his arms with retractable chains. The game occasionally drops limited-use weapons, like clubs or javelins, in your path, but the Blades -- which can be tipped with fire, ice, lighting or the "soul of Hades" -- are usually enough to get the job done.

Most of the melees in "Ascension" begin with Kratos suddenly surrounded by swarms of low-level monsters that can be easily dispatched. The big lug is surprisingly graceful, and once you get into a rhythm of attacking, dodging and leaping, the combat is as smooth as ever.

It starts feeling creaky, though, when you get to the bombastic boss battles. These typically involve beasts many times Kratos' size, so you just have to keep hacking away until you soften them up. Then the action shifts to "quick-time events," in which you have to press buttons to match onscreen prompts -- a technique that short-circuits your rhythm and effectively takes control away from you.

The story here is the series' weakest yet. Six games in, the creators have pretty much used up all the cool Greek gods -- Kratos has already killed Zeus, Ares, Poseidon, Hades and a few dozen more -- so we're left with third-stringers like the Scribe of Hecatonchires. And the writers don't do themselves any favors by telling the story of "Ascension" as a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards. The result is an incoherent mess.

"Ascension" finally introduces online action to the franchise, so if you've been dying to see a bunch of Kratos-like meatheads beating on each other, you're in luck. There are the standard multiplayer contests -- deathmatch, capture-the-flag and a co-op mode in which you fight waves of increasingly powerful beasts -- but they're livened up by occasional interference by the gods themselves.

The latest "God of War" is as gory as ever. If you don't know the meaning of "visceral," you will after you've disemboweled a centaur. And it suffers from a lack of humor, treating Kratos' travails and torments with an unwarranted degree of gravity. Frankly, the tormented Spartan seems more exhausted than bloodthirsty, and it's time Sony gave him a rest. Two stars out of four.

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
Subscribe to The Recorder

 

The Recorder Sports Schedule

 

The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Sheriff's divers find body of Sacandaga fisherman
    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    Amsterdam 12U shines in 21-team Blue Crabfest tourney in Aberdeen, Md.
    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    Manufacturing plant to close in Hagaman
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Robert J. 'Pop' Stewart
    Friday, July 24, 2015

    St. Mary's hires its new principal
    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    Burglaries in Amsterdam are under investigation
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    City is talking about the next step on the list of foreclosures
    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    Candidate petitions ruled invalid
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Town hall troubles Palatine's plans face new hurdle
    Friday, July 24, 2015

    Day care moving into Amsterdam
    Monday, July 27, 2015

Advertisement

Copyright © McClary Media, Inc.

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook