Previews

God of War Ascension preview: Multiplayer adds a new dimension

Gaming's greatest antihero is back - and he's brought some friends

The new issue of PSM3 is on sale now.

These days, news of another God Of War game is met with a brief ruminatory pause. Sounds good, for sure, but who is there left for Kratos to kill? Cast your mind back over the past few years: he's already finished off Hercules, Hades and most of the other Greek megastars. He's tackled hydras and harpies and the odd Cyclops without so much as a blink. In God Of War III, the guy even had a decent pop at Zeus unless he takes on the sun.

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These days, news of another God Of War game is met with a brief ruminatory pause. Sounds good, for sure, but who is there left for Kratos to kill? Cast your mind back over the past few years: he's already finished off Hercules, Hades and most of the other Greek megastars too. He's tackled hydras and harpies and the odd Cyclops without so much as a blink. In God Of War III, the guy even had a decent pop at Zeus. It doesn't get much bigger than Zeus. What's next? Is he going to pick a fight with the sun?

There's nothing to fear, though. God Of War: Ascension winds the clock backwards rather than forwards, returning the furious omni-murderer to his earlier, slightly less pathological days, when he was just an angry young man who'd been tricked into butchering his entire family. Ascension tells the story of his first act of revenge, then, as he seeks to break his bond with Ares, the original god of war and the source of all his unhappiness, before chopping the unfortunate deity into hundreds of slippery little pieces with his whirling chain blades. Family, friends, and lavish bloodshed: it's the stuff of Greek legend already.

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EXCHANGE AND SPART

Will killing his old boss give Kratos closure? Probably not. Four games in - more if you count the excellent PSP instalments - and the purple Spartan's mood is hardly going to brighten too drastically. It should make players feel better, though, as they explore a tweaked weapon and combat system - which might even throw in a few new instruments of torture to mess around with along the way - and navigate huge levels that apparently ditch the series' trademark over-reliance on QTE sequences. On top of that, the animation and lighting's been improved, too (not that God Of War III was ever exactly a chore to look at), and we're promised more of those insane setpieces to go along with all the wonderfully overwrought hyper-violence. Maybe the developers will even fix that double-jump.

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