God of War: Ascension is the sixth game of the award winning God of War series featuring the returning anti-hero, Kratos. Ascension is a prequel story that takes us all the way back to the beginning of the God of War saga and shows us the events that unfolded leading up to the plot of the original God of War game. Before Kratos could challenge Ares, the Greek mythology God of war in the original story, he had to fight for his freedom from his blood oath to Ares. Tasked with the responsibility of enforcing the blood oaths and punishing those that would break it were a group of guardians known as the Furies. In order for Kratos to break free of his blood oath he has to fight his way through the Furies' illusions and defeat all three of them in battle.
The plot behind God of War: Ascension is a more personal story for Kratos simply as a man beginning his legendary journey to defeat the Gods. That being the case, the story did not have the same epic feel as the previous three God of War console games in the original trilogy. That is not to say the story wasn't enjoyable, but it did feel more in line with the PSP side stories of Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta. The graphics however is where Ascension really shines. The deep and rich environment details along with the beautiful animation really impressed and once again proved how powerful the PS3 console still is this late in it's lifecycle. God of War: Ascension is easily and without a doubt, the best looking God of War game in the franchise. All in all, the single player campaign in Ascension is a solid experience and will require around a 10 hour play through on normal. God of War Ascension also offers for the first time a New Game + feature and chapter select which will allow gamers to replay specific chapters or hunt down treasures that unlock special abilities that can then be used in New Game +, giving the game a very good amount of replay value.
Ascension did add some new enjoyable gameplay elements that didn't interfere with the overall God of War timeline. Unlike past God of War games where Kratos had access to several different main weapons aside from his iconic Blades of Chaos, Ascension focuses on his Blades as his primary weapon throughout the game, but adds the new God power system where Kratos can channel energy from either Zeus, Hades, Aries or Poseidon. Selecting different God energy resulted in different types of attacks, combos and magic from Kratos' Blades of Chaos. For example, selecting Zeus power gave the Blades and electric attack bonus or selecting Hades power gave the Blades a souls attack bonus. Ascension also added a new secondary environment weapon feature where Kratos can wield various different weapons he finds throughout the game for a limited amount of time. The most significant new features were the Amulet of Uroborus relic which enabled Kratos to either reverse or advance time which also allowed Kratos to either repair or decay objects throughout the game. It also allowed Kratos to freeze enemies for a short period of time. Also new to Ascension was the Oath Stone of Orkos relic which creates a shadow clone of Kratos allowing him to be in two places at once. Also useful in battle since the shadow clone attacks enemies as well. Finally there is the Eyes of Truth relic which allows Kratos to see through Furies illusions and helps blind enemies in battle.
These new elements also added to the new multiplayer theme being offered for the first time in a God of War title. In the multiplayer, you create a character and choose a God to side with between Zeus, Ares, Hades or Poseidon. Much like in the single player campaign, which deity you choose determines what specific powers and attacks your character will have. There are four multiplayer modes which includes Team Favor of the Gods, Match of Champions, Trial of the Gods and a classic Capture the Flag. The multiplayer is an enjoyable secondary experience. Not many single player franchises can pull off a successful multiplayer feature, but Ascensions multiplayer did a solid job of introducing multiplayer into a God of War game.
Overall, God of War Ascension won't be remembered as the best chapter in the God of War saga, but that doesn't mean it was a disappointing game. Very rarely can a franchise go as long as God of War has and still be as successful. The fact that Ascension is still a great game six titles later speaks volumes to the high quality of the franchise. When a game like God of War Ascension is this good and still considered the "weakest" of the franchise, that right there tells you everything you need to know about God of War.