It misses that vital spark of inventiveness

There's a feeling of déjà vu that pervades much of God of War: Ascension.

It's a game which dodges the question of what comes next by taking us back to Kratos' origins. Despite being set before the man became a god, the Spartan anti-hero still deals plenty of damage, spilling blood like a clumsy waiter spills red wine. But despite all the usual tricks – epic battles, epic vistas and epic violence – the lack of any real narrative, and substitution of the better known residents of Olympus for the Furies (the goddesses of punishment), means there’s little to become truly invested in; Kratos himself remaining an alienating force of angst. Santa Monica Studio have at least endowed him with new tricks – the ability to wield dropped weapons and capacity to channel the powers of Zeus, Hades, et al – but it’s not enough as you embark on yet more ‘find three keys to progress’ quests. An added online mode seemingly confirms the developers thought likewise but, though a reasonable addition, even this can’t quite provide that missing spark of inventiveness.