'God of War: Ascension' Takes Kratos To New Heights

March 14, 2013

Kratos is one of gamings’ most tragic tales. This former captain in the Spartan army has lived a harrowing life, having crossed paths with too many gods, and seen his wife and daughter accidently killed by his own hands. After all these years, the battles aren't over for the God of War just yet. His latest journey, Ascension, serves as a prequel to his other games, and introduces players to a new side of Kratos, but he's still as badass as ever. Just when you thought that there wasn't anyone or anything left for Kratos to kill, he went and found some more.

Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Almost eight years ago, Sony's Santa Monica Studio gave birth to the first God of War game, and proved that making a truly good hack-n-slash game could be accomplished. Blending enjoyable gameplay with an Ancient Greek setting created this anomaly of a game that blew up, and help push its tortured protagonist, Kratos, to the front of the line for Sony's go-to characters. Since then, the franchise has grown to see sequels on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, as well as side stories on the PSP and on mobile devices, and Santa Monica have been right there the whole time. No one knows Kratos better than them.

Set prior to all of the other God of War games, Ascension tells the story of some of the key moments that lead up to Chains of Olympus, and eventually the original God of War. The story begins when Kratos awakens to being bound by chains and tortured by one of the Furies for being an oath breaker. Our hero escapes, and begins his bloody rampage on the Furies by chasing them down as he scales the petrified, giant Hecatonchires (the original oath-breaker), who is brought back to life when the Furies' insect-like minions reanimate various appendages, turning them into ravenous snake-like monsters. And that's just the opening chapters of the game.The gameplay doesn't stray too much from the franchise's signature fixed camera, Blades of Chaos-driven, bloodbaths with some quicktime events mixed in for good measure. If you've ever taken control of Kratos before, you'll feel right at home in Ascension.

Like all of the God of War games, Ascension will only be available on Sony's hardware. In the case of Ascension, it may be Kratos' last adventure on the PlayStation 3.

For being one of the ancient world's most gifted warriors, Kratos sure has been dealt a pretty crappy hand. Our hero just wants to be free of his bonds to the Gods, instead of being their plaything. Ascension builds on one of the greatest video game stories of all time by adding a new chapter of the tale to its beginning, and, in doing so, helps give us even more insight into Kratos' origins, building out his character that much more. The fundamentals of the game don't change too much (kill everything that isn't trying to help you), but Santa Monica have adds in some new tricks to Kratos' arsenal (like being able to manipulate time - no biggie) that make the game feel fresh, without over complicating things.