|Dev: Santa Monica|
|Release: March 12, 2013|
|Players: 1, (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content|
I will admit the whole idea of multiplayer in a series that’s always been a solo affair had me boggled at first; it just seemed needless. But after spending several hours with God of War’s particular brand of multiplayer, I get the feeling that all of the previous games could have benefited from having something as fun as this. It’s pure, unadulterated violent fun. It offers tons of chaos, tons of blood, and tons of incentive to be a sneaky S.O.B. who lurks around stealing kills, looting chests, and completing objectives.
There are several types of matches – Match of Champions, Team Favor of the Gods, Capture the Flag, and Trials of the Gods – ranging from a giant free-for-all to cooperative beat downs. Each mode felt like it was built as a giant stress reliever. The chaotic nature of the maps breeds a type of gameplay where you don’t care if you just died; all you want to do is get back in and kick some more ass. It’s almost like a digital "Fight Club." Even so, you don’t exactly have to be the best fighter to win. I won several matches by being the one that stayed out of the fights and stole the chests that appeared, swooping in at the last minute for the kill or gaining the favor of the Gods when they intervened in the fights. (Protip: Having someone like that on your team is vital to winning team matches.)
Visually, Ascension astounds. The lavish environments are as impressive as ever and even have a layer of life to them. The visual upgrade is further showcased in the sheer scale of the cinematic battles. For example, there’s a scene early in the game where you ride on top of mechanical snakes while the camera swoops around the area, pulling back away from Kratos and enemies. The combat continues as you command, only you feel as if you are watching an epic cinematic battle rather than a fully controllable fight scene where the camera stays on top of your character the entire time.
God of War: Ascension may not answer the longstanding questions we all have about the aftermath of God of War III, but I think this is one of the best things to happen to the series. Instead of watching Kratos become less and less mortal, we are reconnected to him as a human betrayed by the Gods. Though I was ready to give up on the Ghost of Sparta, Ascension has brought new life to the franchise. Now I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Date: March 7, 2013