God of War: Ascension’s First 30 Minutes: Hands-On Preview
The level itself was pretty impressive. The prison, as it turns out, is actually built on a huge monster — the hecatonchires, literally a titan-size creature with 100 hands. Once the hecatonchires comes alive (as you might imagine he would), the level begins to shift and sway. Numerous boss fights with insect-like creatures spouting from its hands take place on platforms and rooms that are shifted; Papy noted that one of the goals with Ascension has been to add more motion to the levels in general, so having a huge hand close around a chunk of the prison and tear it off, then start twisting and turning it, seemed apt.
My playthrough ended after fighting three or so of the praying mantis-like monsters, mostly in the same way you’re used to; it reminded me some of the battle with the spider-like horse things employed by Poseidon in God of War III. Each ended with a grapple that turned into a standard quick-time event, the likes of which we’ve been seeing for quite a while.
Thirty minutes isn’t much by which to judge a game, but Papy said that this opening level (of which we saw maybe half or two-thirds, he said) is the largest opening in a God of War title to date.
“This is by far the largest God of War game we’ve ever made in terms of content, with multiplayer,” McDonald told me. “It’s about the same length of Kratos’ story as the other games.”
While the preview build didn’t show much in the way of story, the mechanics of the game, as well as its scope and scale, feel right in line with the God of War norm. Ascension’s changes seem to all be for the better in terms of combat and gameplay, but the combo-heavy power-fantasy core remains, and that’s probably something about which to be optimistic.