Developer(s): SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation 3
Release date(s): NA March 12, 2013
EU March 13, 2013
AU March 14, 2013
UK March 15, 2013
Genre: Hack and Slash, Action-adventure
Kratos is captured by the Furies for breaking his oath to Ares
After God of War 3’s shocking ending, fans of the series wondered the about the fate of their favorite Spartan hero. Luckily, Sony brought their iconic brawler back to tell another chapter in his story. God of War: Ascension takes place one year after Kratos was tricked by Ares, the God of War, into murdering his wife and daughter (that’s before Chains of Olympus and ten years prior to the original God of War game). A pact with a god cannot be broken so the Furies were dispatched to capture and punish Kratos for his defection. And that brings up to the games opener. We see Kratos chained where one of the Furies, Megaera tortures him for breaking his blood oath with Ares until she subsequently releases him. Kratos attacks Megaera and brings us to the fight to escape the Prison of the Damned, a prison that has been built upon the massive 50-armed giant Aegaeon, the Hecatonchires, as punishment for breaking his oath with Zeus. As you make your way through the prison, you get to familiarize yourself with the improved combat system.
After weakening it, Kratos splits the Elephant Man's skull to see what's on his mind
Blades of Chaos in hand, Kratos hacks he way through enemies as he has in previous titles. Mixing heavy and light attacks with the chain blades is still a stable in the game. The added twist is that Kratos new grapple allows him to tether one Blade of Chaos to an enemy while attacking it or one of the surrounding enemies with the other. As an added bonus, the Spartan can dodge and maneuver while keeping the one enemy wrangled, ending the annoyance of Kratos being flanked when grabbing an opponent. This new Chain Tether also adds to combat as it is set up as a finisher for larger enemies. An example of this is when Kratos is faced with a dragon-type monster known as the Manticore. Once weakened, a prompt appears signaling Kratos to Chain Tether the beast. Looping one chain around its leg, he uses the other to continue hacking away as the creature tries to fly away. The camera zooms in, bringing you into the action. Another interesting combat feature is the inclusion of World Weapons. Some can be found lying about but most are dropped by your enemies which Kratos can pick up and use as a secondary weapon. This plays off the concept used throughout the main arc of the series except those secondary weapons are given to Kratos as gifts. For the first time ever, God of War goes multiplayer. Choose one of four Olympian Gods to pledge your services to and then prove your loyalty by competing in various trials or a dangerous game of “capture the flag”. Like in previous titles, the Challenge of the Gods mode retains the concept it always had since the first game. Complete the challenges and you will be rewarded handsomely. You can take a few friends with you and fight against opposing teams in one of several stages where you break open chests and raise alters in the name of your god to win their approval. You get to choose from Zeus, the King of Olympus; Ares, the God of War; Poseidon, the God of the Sea; and Hades, the God of the Underworld. So choose wisely.
Multiplayer is introduced for the first time in the series. Here, the goal is to kill the Cyclops in earn the gods favor.
PRO: Working off the graphics engine used for God of War III, Ascension is beautifully detailed as the game utilizes the PS3’s power. Characters and environments are brought to life with amazing graphical detail from rippling muscles of powerful, hulking enemies such as the Cyclops to the life-like scenery of a mountain range or a lush forest where you can almost feel the breeze. The improved combat system makes Kratos a truly fearsome warrior. He has been a fearsome all along but now he’s even more so since he is ten years younger in Ascension. Versatility has never been a problem for the Spartan Captain and with his ability to pick up various weapons to use at his disposal, this further emphasized. And don’t think that because he doesn’t have a weapon that Kratos losses this versatility. Without a weapon, Kratos can attack enemies either bare knuckled or kick them away “300” style. The best bonus as a long time player is the addition of multiplayer. Now you can grab your friends and conquer Greece in the name of your Olympian God. Customize your warrior and have at it in a capture-the-flag type of gameplay. This just adds to the fun.
CON: I will not say anything for fear of displeasing the Gods.
OVERALL: God of War Ascension continues the tradition of pushing the series beyond expectation by giving gamers a whole lot of new additions while still retaining the formula that has made the series and Kratos stand out from the pack. The series has always received high regard since the original game blew away gamers and critics in 2005. Eight years and six games later, Kratos is still the best at what he does. And what he does ain’t pretty.
God of War: Ascension is bestowed 5 out of 5.
Side note: For those of you having a hard time keeping track, here’s how the series breaks down in chronological order.
1.God of War: Ascension (2013)
2.God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP 2008)
3.God of War (PS2 2005)
4.God of War: Ghosts of Sparda (PSP 2010)
5.God of War: Betrayal (Java ME 2007)
6.God of War II (PS2 2007)
7.God of War III (PS3 2010)
All titles, except for GoW: Betrayal, are available in the God of War Saga Pack.
Until then, see you on the next level!
Live God of War: Ascension Trailer. The one and only time you’ll see Kratos shed tears.