The most brutal feud this side of the PlayStation continues with the war-tested Kratos returning to action in God of War: Ascension.

The God of War series remains one of the most popular third-person action titles of the last two generations of gaming. Its tried-and-true recipe has spawned countless games without diverging from the basics. It’s a rare feat that proves the “keep it simple stupid” formula can work. While this statement might be justified, it doesn’t mean we’re not getting a little tired of trouncing our way through mountains of mythical beasts - because we are. It might be unfair to pass judgement on the series (or rather the formula) on Ascension alone, but no matter how solid the game is, the years of mashing is dragging us down.

Focusing on the present, Kratos finds more bloodshed in his linage as themes of murder, revenge and blood-oaths contiune. Even as tasty as the "Before he was a god, he was man" tag-line sounds, Ascension never hits the scale of its predecessors. Call it a lack of emotional connection, or the monotonus theme of revenge, but it falls short to what "God of War III" accomplished. Without a reason to care, expectations need to be held up by the gameplay and thankfully Ascension does this flawlessly thanks to its fluid backbone fighting mechanics and brutal imagery.

Contrasting its narrative, scale is one trait that is pushed more-so than before. Ascension has you ascending to new heights, which include hour long levels on the body of a massive titian. Climbing this monstrosity and traversing through the other diverse locations is a daunting task, especially because they do a great job of occasionally shifting the environment. Ascension never reaches an “Uncharted” level of interaction, but its core concept of the interactive/moving levels does do plenty for the look and feel of each section. Yes it is overused, and hard to focus on the action when Kratos is like a die-cast miniature; but it spices it up enough to keep your mind off the repetitive nature of the combat.

Like you might have expected, the framework is much the same. A button-mashing, QTE filled action brawler with a few puzzles and platforming sequences added to the mix. Beyond the straight-up 1-2 punch, the other elements are quite weak, which is surprising. In comparison to the other God of War titles, Ascension mainly focuses on combat and scale with the other elements following behind. The few innovations introduced are not really noteworthy, though the ability to add varying elemental effects to your trusty blades is a nice touch. Even with some new spice, Ascension is a “paint-by-the-numbers” affair which is ok if you wanted roughly the same God of War experience as before.

The production values are impressive in Ascension, even if the subject matter is repetitive. The use of violence is way over-the-top in conjunction with previous titles with the same type of feel to the enemies and situations. Creativity is king, and even with the standard line-up of bad guys, the art direction and jaw-dropping kill animations are top-notch. It’s great to see Kratos take on some of the massive and normal boss characters - these battles never boring due to their immovable presence and tactical diversity from the common foe.

New to the series is a multiplayer mode that is basically a class-based button-mashing free-for-all. Adding multiplayer to God of War is a risky move and one that really doesn’t do much more than to provide a diversion. It’s not overly bad given what the developer was working with, but it’s just not the type of game that needs a “tacked on” multiplayer mode. Still, if multiplayer is to be a thing of God of War’s future, it is building a solid foundation by taking this route. However, I think a more left-field approach is needed. Nevertheless, we can sum this one up as simply ok.

Before diving into the new God of War, you have to take a look at your own expectations. If you expect Ascension to be the next evolution in the series, you’re going to be disappointed. In basics, Ascension is good, however when stacked up to the other games in the series, Kratos just misses his mark. Sum it up to a lack of connection, the shorter length, or the pure repetitive lack or originality; God of War: Ascension is solid in the basics, just don’t expect much more.

  • Although a bit overused, great use of scale.
  • Brutal as ever. Kratos is still a bad-ass.
  • Crisp production.
  • Small improvements added to the combat.
  • Wild monsters and level design.
  • If its your thing, God of War multiplayer.
  • We’ve been here before and it’s getting a little bland.
  • Zoomed out gameplay turns into a guessing game.
  • Weak puzzles and platforming sections.
  • Multiplayer feels ultimately unnecessary .
  • Ultimately forgettable once you’re done.
Quote: "God of War: Ascension is solid in the basics, just don’t expect much more."
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 04.07.13 | Platform Reviewed: Playstation 3

Similar Games: God of War: Origins Collection (8.8) | God of War III (9.0)


God of War


Sony Santa Monica


US Release
March '13



Players 1
Online MP 2-8
12MB Install
5.1 Surround
HD 480-1080i