God of War: Ascension, the prequel to the God of War games, hits stores on March 12th, but the single player demo hit the PlayStation Store today. So today marks the first time the QDR has been a video game demo review. A lot of folks were worried that the single player of this game would suffer due to the inclusion of the multiplayer mode since Ascension marks the first time a God of War game has had multiplayer. After beating the demo twice now, I don’t believe that fans should have anything to worry about.
The demo begins with Kratos chained up by the furies, and he’s later taunted by one who breaks his bottom chains and that’s when we’re off to the races. It is very much God of War; exactly what you would expect from the series. It’s a button mashing, hack-and-slash, but the combat is every bit as good as its predecessors. There are a few changes to the combat, such as the rage meter, and the new ability to use your opponent’s weapons (and the ability to spring, which I don’t believe the other games in the series had), but it is for the most part the same. And that is a good thing as far as I’m concerned, because the combat in God of War has always been very satisfying.
This demo should run you 30 minutes or so, give or a take a few minutes. The gameplay is exactly what you would be expecting: battle waves of enemies until the path opens up and you go to the next area to battle another wave of enemies. The God of War formula boat hasn’t been rocked with this, at least not in this demo.
One thing you’ll notice, and we’ve come to expect from the series, is that the game looks absolutely amazing and feels very good as well. This one is very cinematic, and it works wonderfully because the game is just so awesome to look at. The demo has a couple of mini-boss battles leading up to the big boss battle (which you don’t get to play here), and there’s some great action sequences leading up to these or immediately following them. One of my favorite parts of the demo was guiding Kratos as he slid down a crumbling tower/building into the sewers… very reminiscent of the flying/dodging sequence from the God of War 3 demo.
I previously participated in the beta for the multiplayer portion of the game and honestly enjoyed it a lot more than I figured I would like God of War multiplayer; it is pretty fun to play this kind of game against other real people. The multiplayer beta had a few hiccups, as you would expect from a beta months out, such as stuttering and it froze my system a couple of times. As solid as the multiplayer was, even in beta form, it wasn’t enough to sell me on Ascension. I needed to see, to feel, the single player. Now that I have, I have absolutely no doubt that Ascension will deliver a top notch single player campaign that we God of War fans expect from the series.
If you have a PS3, you definitely need to visit the PS Store and download this demo. It’s a little over 3GB. The demo also contains some bonus content that most of us probably aren’t interested in. Yes, when you start the demo up you’re going to have to listen to the game director talk a bit and then watch a trailer for the History channel’s “The Vikings” series. The bonus content is a couple Ascension and Vikings trailers/featurettes; nothing amazing, but potentially something cool if you’re looking forward to Vikings.
You may notice a dip in the frame-rate sometimes, but by and large God of War: Ascension is a beautiful game that’s also a ton of fun to play.