Breaking oaths (and bones).
The Pitch: Kratos returns for his seventh adventure. Taking the plot all the way back to the beginning, Ascension tells the story of Kratos breaking his oath with Ares, and his battles with the Furies, who are just always super pissed off (presumably because people keep mistaking them for Furries).
What It Really Is: The God of War series is Sony’s lynchpin in the adventure genre, which explains why Kratos has shown up seven times in the last eight years. The pitfall of this strategy is that, eventually, there’s just no story left to drive the game forward. Sony’s answer to this predicament is to dive into Kratos’ past; a good idea in theory that just doesn’t pan out in reality. This approach leaves Ascension with a flimsy, predictable plot, which is especially disappointing for a game that promised to deliver the backstory of our favorite Sony character. What the thin plot does provide is an excuse for Kratos to battle through a good variety of fantastical landscapes. We give Santa Monica studios a lot of credit: they really are squeezing more out of the PS3 in its twilight year than we would’ve expected, and Ascension benefits greatly from the boosted visuals. The environments shine brightly with their myth-inspired quirkiness, and Kratos’ own ashy form is equally impressive. As more 3rd person adventure games are turning away from button mashing combat, God of War basks in its glory, stripping away extra weapons and letting you focus on Kratos’ chain-blade, and the wicked animations that turn your button hammering into graceful kill sequences. Who knew decapitations could be this pretty?
Maxim.com Ready-Made Press Blurb: “We're going to give God Of War: Ascension 10 severed spinal columns out of 10!” -Maxim.com
Fun Fact: God of War adds a multiplayer mode for the first time in Ascension. The mode lets you create your own character to use in battles against friends and online foes, and customize him by swearing an oath to the god of your choice. Also, it lets you rock custom tattoos. Next up, God of War: Inked.
Who It’s For: When it comes to 3rd person button mashers, there are few that are held in such high esteem as God of War. If you’ve played three or more of the previous games in the series, Ascension is pretty much an obligatory cop. Of course, if you haven’t been there since the beginning but you’re looking to squeeze the last bit of value out of your PS3 before Sony graces the world with the PS4, you’re not gonna see more quality than Kratos’ latest.