Monday, April 29, 2013

God of zzz

I am actually catching up. The bottom of the list is in sight and releases are slowing down in advance of impending hardware. I imagine that a good chunk of fourth quarter games will see next generation ports, which doesn't bother me. The point of a new toy is to use it, not belabor it for not being everything it can be within a week of bringing it home.

Between sickness and NorCal regionals I did not play as much of God of War: Ascension this weekend as I had planned. It is telling that I could walk away from the game so easily; fever has not been an obstacle in the past if the game was good enough and I had forgotten that there was a major this weekend. Rooting against Chris G took precedence over killing things with Kratos, and thus the die was cast.

I did play enough of Ascension to figure out that it was definitely missing something. It had Kratos, who I like, though he is in even less of a talking mood than we have seen him in previous games. The combat is still there and I do not mind the bigger moves being hidden behind a rage meter. There are still giant set pieces that force the camera into a position so far from the action that distinguishing the flailing mass you control from the ones you are trying to kill becomes almost impossible. All of the pieces were there, but nothing fit together. This is the first God of War that I have found in no way compelling. Kratos just seems to be moving from place to place, killing things, without a main theme or quest to guide him.

The problem I see is that very little is explained. Kratos wakes up as a prisoner of the furies, captured after having betrayed Ares. So is this between 1 and 2? Not sure, and before any clues are given the games jumps several weeks into the past to before Kratos was captured. When is the greater story arc is this? Why is nothing spelled out in even the most basic way? What's left is a mess of great individual levels with nothing in between them. God of War: Ascension is less than the sum of its parts.

Need proof? I actually fell asleep during a puzzle two nights ago. I woke up when the controller his the floor. The last game to do that to me was Final Fantasy XIII. How's that for inauspicious company.

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