The tepid critical and commercial reaction to this year's God of War and Gears of War prequels will hopefully send a message that I've been wanting the powers that be in all of entertainment to receive for years: Many of us who like a thing don't care about what happened before in the thing we liked. Prequels — who asked for them?
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There's a Trophy in the new PS3 game God of War: Ascension that rewards you for scoring a thousand-hit combo. Imagine the bloody combat artistry required to win this accolade! Imagine using the game's wonderfully varied arsenal of combat maneuvers.
For the first four and a half hours of the new God of War, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the game was made by malfunctioning robots. They were given the God of War formula, and with swivelling clamp-hands, they made what is technically a God of War game. Kratos is angry! Chain-blades must be swung! Beasts will be gored! The first level must be as epic as Mount Olympus! You will be given extra attack moves! And then more attack moves! And then more — the ones you'll never use!
Last month, Sony started trying to convince us that we will need a PlayStation 4. The system is coming out at the end of the year. This month, the new God of War, God of War Ascension might as well be an argument that we don't.
I was lucky enough to visit Sony Santa Monica for the announcement of God of War: Ascension and I remember talking to the folks behind the game's animation. Many in the team claimed they were reluctant to use mocap in-game, mainly because they wanted to make Kratos' movements seems more than human. More intense, more extreme. Makes a lot of sense.
One day R18+ games will be classified in Australia and won't be newsworthy, but today is not that day. We've just gotten word that God of War: Ascension has been classified R18+ and, given Queensland's issues with passing the correct legislation, retailers have been advised that they cannot sell the game in that state.
By now, we've all heard how God of War: Ascension will finally allow fans to free friends of their entrails via an online multi-player mode. What we haven't heard, however, is how Kratos will retain his reputation as gaming's most pissed-off protagonist in the title's single-player story mode. This was remedied at a recent Sony media event, where I learned the Ghost of Sparta's also got some new tricks tucked into his loin cloth.