Sometimes I believe I am actually psychic. As me and my photographer were huddled in the back of a taxi on the way to the God of War: Ascension lock-in event hosted by GAME in Glasgow, the weirdest feeling crept into my mind; “I hope we aren’t the only people there”.

“This town will be a ghost town soon in the next 10 years…” snarled our taxi driver randomly in a raspy voice, as me and the photographer looked at each other nodding with facial expressions that said “Please don’t murder us!”

When we finally arrived at GAME in Glasgow’s Union street, we were welcomed by a locked door. The doors did eventually open and we were welcomed in. Then it hit me, goddamnit, I am psychic! It was to say the least a very unfortunate evening for the God of War: Ascension lock-in team, with approximately only 3 other people turning up whilst we were there covering the event. A pretty awkward experience!

PhotobucketAnother unfortunate thing (though it could have been a misunderstanding with the press release, communication etc.) is that we were only able to try out the demo copy of the game. Although this time I was very kindly walked through all the new features of the game as I played by a very lovely SONY Events Rep. who was hosting the event alongside the GAME staff.

There are two really fantastic things about the new God of War and they are that the graphics look stunningly beautiful (as ever) and the combat flows gorgeously. As the SONY Rep. chatted on, he explained to me that God of War: Ascension has come about development-wise from the gathered feedback from fans that wanted a more balanced experience between God of War 1 and God of War 2.

From this concoction, God of War: Ascension now boasts more puzzles as opposed to just an all out slug-fest seen in God of War 3 –but we all like all out slug-fests, right?

PhotobucketI can confirm through my many playthroughs of the demo that the game’s combat flow has been perfected – Kratos can pull in enemies and use a variety of sub weapons at ease, completely dominating his opponents with little effort. That is not to say the game isn’t challenging; the battle flow may have been perfected but it still requires a lot of skill to play this game well.

I was assured as I played through the demo that the gore content has been kept in. This was confirmed when I split an elephant man boss’s head wide open to reveal his brain – Yummy!

Another major aspect of fresh gameplay is the ability to “heal” and “decay” time. With this ability, you’re allowed to restore buildings or break them down again so that you can navigate your way through the level. In the demo, you “heal” a recently destroyed building so that you can jump up some falling debris to reach the top of the building’s elevator. Upon successful navigation, you can then continue “healing” the building to its complete state to use its elevator – Pretty nifty I have to say! Hopefully this is used in boss battles somehow.

PhotobucketAs the demo came to the end, I really wanted to play the multiplayer, however it wasn’t on demo on the night. However the SONY Rep. did state that the combat was very similar to the Dreamcast’s Power Stone series – That honestly really did intrigue me (and saddened me when he confirmed that his comparison wasn’t understood by many people he’s previously spoken to, as they didn’t know what Power Stone was - for shame!).

He also divulged that, depending on difficulty, the game is looking to be roughly 30 hours long. This may be due to puzzle difficulty and general exploration when trying to fully complete the game (e.g. like perform a 100% run of the game), so it’s being touted as even “bigger” than God of War 3.

There will also be lots of DLC and lovely additions to whatever choice of special edition or limited edition you choose to buy. I felt this point of unique content distribution being decided by online manufacturers could be why the shop event was so quiet that night.

It’s just a fact that with so many means to buy your goods online and the incentives customers now get through certain sites like Amazon or ShopTo etc, many customers just can’t be bothered to make their way out to a physical retail store like the old days. Back before the internet, you would have to actually go out to test drive or see a product, and now that’s just not the case.

My heart really went out for the team there at GAME and SONY. They tried their best under the circumstances and it made me really sad to see two young guys outside the store passing up the opportunity to come in and play God of War: Ascension for free, but were more interested in the prospect of the free pizza and naan bread that the event provided. Such is life.