Alright, the God of War series is a long running tale told in the style and time period of the Greek and Roman mythology through many different media outlets, including video-games, books, comics, and a movie is reportedly in the works. God’s, demigods, titans, and mythological creatures roam the earth as you follow the Roman general Kratos on a tale of revenge, violence, betrayal, sex, adventure, exploration, and revenge, did I say revenge? There is A LOT of revenge in this game series, and it is possibly the most satisfying revenge of all time. The game developer “Santa Monica Studio” has been the mind behind all this violence and bloodshed since the first God of War game on ps2 back in 2005, spanning six God of War games, most recently being God of War: Ascension. If you have followed the series this long, there are plenty of story bits you will catch onto that newcomers to the series will not, but if this is your first God of War game, don’t worry, because it is a prequel and as such any important missing story will be elaborated on in the game.
God of War: Ascension is a gorgeous game, as every God of War game before it, it raises the bar of what is thought to be possible on any given console they release on. You will venture across islands, through under-ground tunnels, swim caverns, climb mountains, traverse massive statues, across, up, down, and through titans (massive beings easily the size of a mountain, soar through the air on griffons, cross portals into other dimensions, travel through time, control time and more. You will kill creatures of all kinds, cyclops, Minotaur, Medusa, amazonian women, centaur, dragons, furies, scarabs, as well as many more inventive and less heard of creatures, and kill them in gloriously gory feats of violence.
The story is told through narration (usually accompanying stylized visuals), in-game footage (while you play), and pre-rendered footage (for those dramatic angles and up-close shots), all to stunning effect.
The game-play comprises mostly of combat and exploration, tossing in small tidbits of puzzle solving, collecting and platforming to varying degrees of success. Quick time events (you lose control of Kratos and input button prompts to do actions) were invented by the God of War series and are still used heavily here, so if you don’t like them than that’s too bad. There are tons of collectibles for those interested. You can upgrade your weapons (too few in the game) and powers (too many) using red orbs, essentially experience points that come from slain enemies and hidden chests to open. There are also green orbs that heal you and blue orbs that re-fill your magic meter, and yellow orbs that fill your “rage” meter, which allows you to execute a particularly devastating attack which varies by which weapon you have equipped.
All in all I really enjoyed Ascension, it is text book “epic” (and yes that word has become sigh worthy as of recently). It tells an enthralling story that is especially enjoyable for those who know at least a little Greek mythology. The gameplay is sharp, the collecting is addictive, upgrading is gleefully enjoyable, the violence (I could talk about the violence for hours) is gruesome, gory, fantastically (and sadistically) fun. My only gripes are that platforming and puzzling have never been the series strong suit and sadly that is also the case in Ascension. The game is a little short, taking the average player about 10 to 12 hours the first time around, but new game+ options open as well as a harder difficulty upon completion. There is a multi-player offering this time around (a first for the series), but it gets boring easily and simply is not my cup of tea. I recommend avoiding the multi-player completely (just ignore it’s existence).
*Note: The game features long stretches of nudity, as in most Greek and Roman mythology nudity is not thought of as taboo, and this game stays authentic to that. Hundreds of female creatures, statues, and gods are occasionally naked, so if that is a touchy subject for you than take that into consideration. None of the nudity is gratuitous or exploitative.
**Originally posted on the website Breakdown Review