Wow. So I finished up the game earlier today and, well, this is one of the least enjoyable GoW games in the series. It's kind of sad, really, just what they did with the game after how enthralling and enjoyable GoW 1, 2, and 3 were. Even GoS and CoO were enjoyable since the faults they had were pretty acceptable due to their being on the PSP. I just wish they had done this game better, but with them deciding to shoe-horn the MP into it I think the dev team's focus wasn't anywhere near where it should have been. Graphically it looked amazing and there were some aspects that were just mind blowingly awesome, but not enough to keep up with what the other entries in the series have done. I guess I'll list my issues below in no particular order.
1 - Game Length. This game just felt way too short. There was so much "dead space" in the game that it never really felt like it was getting going, and then when it did, it was quickly over. Throw in the somewhat confusing progression of the game, and it just felt incredibly short. Especially in comparison to the epicness of the main three games in the series.
2 - Change to the Save System. I mentioned this earlier, but EVERY OTHER GAME IN THE SERIES had this done perfectly with the save halos and the ability for you to make multiple save files where needed. In this game, you have to rely on the autosave feature and you only get one save file. If your user profile is corrupted, you lose all of your progress. If you want the choice to have multiple save files, in past games you could do it. In Ascension, you don't. If there is a bug with the autosave feature itself, you could find yourself losing hours of progress due to the software forgetting to autosave for you.
3 - Glitches. There are lots of glitches popping up in the game that I don't recall seeing in the other GoW games. Cameras getting stuck, bosses getting stuck in loops that make it so you can't finish them off, button prompts not showing up on screen causing you to die, autosave not working properly, music and sound suddenly cutting out, and some others that I haven't run into yet but others across the web have been reporting.
4 - Underwhelming Musical Score. Perhaps a lot of this was due to the glitch involving the audio cut-outs, but the musical score was just overall quite lacking. It didn't provide the energy that was always there in other games. I guess this was amplified by my next point.
5 - Low level of combat. Don't know if it was just me, but there seemed to be large open spaces throughout the game with little to no enemy combat like we saw in the other games in the series. It just seemed empty and barren, and with the lackluster musical score, it just seemed more like a giant searching game and less of an action game.
6 - Too many sliding sections with QTE platforming. I personally hated these types of "sections" in the GoW games and was always happy that there were just one or maybe two of them throughout the genuinely long playtime. Things like the chains in GoW III, or the bridge traversing in GoW II, I think it was. Ascension has a LOT of sliding sections where if you are a fraction of a second off on the button presses (if they didn't glitch and not show), you tumbled to your death. So instead of gameplay being extended by your need to develop strategies, the gameplay is extended as you need to rely on rote memorization of where the jumps and grapples, or even the QTE button sequences are, in order to survive.
7 - Lack of enemy variety. The enemies all seemed to be the same to me. The gorgons, in particular, look more like robots than they did in their past few games. Just "bleh."
8 - Lack of proper narration. The other games in the series always had a good narration going on, whether from off-screen narrators or on-screen NPCs, that helped you get the sense of where you were, why you were there, where you were going, and why you were going there. This game seemed to jump around a bit and the lack of iconic landmarks from real Greek mythology or Greece itself doesn't help.
9 - Not enough combat and too much platforming. This game was more like a platformer type game as opposed to an action game. I seemed to spend most of my time moving around from one area to another amongst all the short areas in the game instead of actually fighting enemies. Was not like what the previous games were.
10 - Absence of the "mini-game". Now I don't go and play GoW for sexual gratification, but the "mini-game" has been an in-joke of sorts in all games in the series and a trademark item. It's up there with the spiral staircases in terms of recognizable traits. The fact that it is absent in the game (while the staircase is present) just makes Ascension feel like it's missing something.
I mean, the game is a God of War game so I do enjoy playing it, but there's so much that seems to be missing (such as the Challenges) that I feel unfulfilled. I really hope that they just stop the series here with this one as it appears as if the developers are no longer interested in it and are just throwing things together and changing things that are already fine. I fear that another game, with MP again being the primary focus, would just hurt the series even more.