Fans of God of War rejoice, Kratos' story is not over, at least not yet. God of War: Ascension is a prequel to the God of War series developed by Santa Monica Studio for Sony. So get some towels ready for clean up, with Kratos' fury for vengeance, we're going to be spilling buckets of blood.
The story for God of War: Ascension takes place ten years before the events of the first game, God of War and just before the PSP game God of War: Chains of Olympus. After calling on Ares to grant him the power to defeat his enemies in battle, Kratos is tricked into killing his own wife and child. Swearing revenge he breaks his oath to Ares, who sends the Furies to punish Kratos. Ascension tells of the battle between Kratos and the Furies and his discovery that Ares wishes to use Kratos to help him take Mount Olympus from Zeus.
Controls and Gameplay
God of War: Ascension is a third person action brawler game where Kratos battles creatures and demi-gods from Ancient Greek mythology. The controls this time around are quite the tap dance. Combat has been tweaked to favor a more block and combo style of fighting. Whereas in previous games it favored a strong attack approach.
Your primary attacks are with Kratos' trusty twin blades. Those you will be able to upgrade with four separate powers (fire, ice, lightning, and death) that you can switch between on the fly. Additionally you will gain three magic items to help aid you in battle. Mastering as many techniques as possible is highly advisable for a rather lengthy battle late in the game, trust me.
A first for the series is the addition of a multiplayer option. It gives a small story element where the player plays a fellow oath breaker imprisoned by the Furies. The oath breaker briefly crosses paths with Kratos before being whisked away to battle.
Graphics and Sound
Continuing the high quality realistic look of the series, God of War: Ascension pulls no surprises, it still looks as wonderful and great as God of War III. Earlier when I said buckets of blood were going to be spilled I wasn't kidding. Many of Kratos' killing animations include things such as tearing heads off monsters, eviscerating centaurs, and cracking open the skulls of juggernauts.
Like the graphics the audio also continues to be high quality for the series. Many of the voice actors from the series continue their roles, including Linda Hunt as the narrator, Kevin Sorbo as Hercules, Steven Blum as Ares and Terrence C. Carson as Kratos.
God of War: Ascension is a fine entry in the series and fills in a small chunk of Kratos' epic spanning tale of vengeance. While the quality is as high as the rest of the series the overall feeling is that Ascension is a game to keep the series active. There are no great revelations to the story and, while action is as challenging as ever with the tweaked combat system, it brings nothing new to the table. The multiplayer is nice and does provide something new, but ultimately it wasn't really needed; the God of War series has gone through six games without it.
No, Ascension is a nice love note from Sony to the fans of the God of War. A promise of something more, God of War IV anyone? It is something for the completist. A fine game that gives God of War fans more to battle while they wait for the next epic chapter of Kratos' story. I give God of War: Ascension a 4 out of 5.
God of War: Ascension is rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).
My version of God of War Ascension was part of the God of War: Ascension Legacy Bundle. My original launch PlayStation 3 died from the dreaded Yellow Light of Death (YLOD). The bundle came with all the remastered PlayStation 2 and PSP God of War games, God of War III, and a special red version of the super slim PlayStation 3. The only God of War game that is missing is God of War: Betrayal which was made for mobile phones. If you are looking for a replacement or to finally take the plunge into owning a PlayStation 3 I would recommend this bundle. You get seven games and a PlayStation 3 with a huge 500 GB hard drive. Plus it's red, the coolest color there is.
God of War: Ascension is available now exclusively for the PlayStation 3. For more informaition on God of War: Ascension and the God of War: Ascension Legacy Bundle see the God of War: Ascension web site.
And just for fun I made an unboxing video of the God of War: Ascension Legacy Bundle.