I’m a huge God of War fan. It’s one of my favorite video game series, right up there with Metal Gear and Mortal Kombat.
In fact, one of the proudest moments of my life was when I beat the original God of War on “God Mode” and called the phone number they gave you for doing it. I thought it was going to be like The Last Starfighter and Kratos was going to ask me to be the next god of war, for real (keep in mind that I was 27 when this happened). I still have the memory card safely tucked away in my closet, but alas I’ve never again been able to muster up that kind of dedication to replicate the task on the God of War HD Collection for the PS3.
Needless to say, when God of War II came out I went balls deep in it and discovered one of the best video game sequels ever made. Finally, God of War III was one of the best conclusions to a series I had ever seen, and like most people I was left wanting more. More God of War games came in the form of smaller, bite sized entries on the PSP, but smaller didn’t mean bad. Ghost of Sparta, the second PSP game, is hands down my favorite story in the series and really fleshed out Kratos as a character and a person.
Keeping all that in mind, I went into Ascension with a fairly open mind and an open heart. I hoped for a solid entry in the series, but was a bit apprehensive about it being another prequel. After all, what more can be told about Kratos’ story of vengeance and ascension to godhood? Not much, it seems.
Not Safe For Work ~ Video Game Nudity
God of War: Ascension
Systems: Playstation 3 [Reviewed]
Developer: SCE Studios Santa Monica
Release: March 12, 2013
God of War: Ascension tells the story of Kratos’ struggle to break his blood oath with Ares, the God of War. Since breaking an oath with a god means you will be mercilessly hunted by the Furies – The goddesses of vengeance: Tisiphone, Megaera, and Alecto – it’s no easy task. Unfortunately, it’s not a very exciting one either, story-wise at least. Since we’ve already seen Kratos kill Ares in the original God of War, we know how this turns out. Sure it’s fairly fun to get to the end result, but the whole time I was playing Ascension I was thinking to myself, “does this story really need to be told?” After beating the game I can conclude that it did not.
Ascension added very little to the God of War mythos. Unlike Ghost of Sparta, another prequel that told a small yet extremely personal tale of Kratos and his brother, Ascension brought nothing new to the table. It’s a shame because, extreme violence and nudity aside, the God of War games all told a surprisingly compelling tale of righteous revenge through tight writing and a great voice acting.
Of course the God of War games aren’t popular just because of the story they tell; their gameplay is second to none. With extremely tight controls and easy-to-learn-but-tough-to-master combos, each game made you feel like a total bad ass. Ascension is no different in that regard, and while some improvements to the combat have been made there were some missteps as well.
This time around you don’t have to worry about discovering or learning any primary weapon other than Kratos’ Blades of Chaos. You can imbue your blades with four different powers, switching them on the fly and mid-combo, and since each power grants you different results for the same button combination, the combat feels fresh and open for experimentation. It made me feel more connected to the Blades of Chaos than ever (pun not intended) because I was spending all my time with them and perfecting my combos.
Kratos can also pick up weapons dropped by enemies and use them at his leisure. This is another great improvement to God of War series because, for most weapons, you can keep your favorite one for as long as you like. There’s a sense of discovery with the secondary weapons too, because you can incorporate them into your blade combos with different results (javelins can be tossed, clubs can disarm enemies, etc).
Finally, there are two magical items you acquire that are used for puzzle solving and combat, as well as your rage meter and magic. What kind of magic you use is dependent on what power you have currently selected, and if said power is upgraded enough to have a magical attack. Your rage meter is also connected to your selected power and can release a pretty devastating attack, provided you can keep your meter up long enough without taking damage to use it.
All of these powers and stipulations probably seemed fun on paper, but in practice they can be a bit daunting to keep track of. In previous God of War games I could enter a zen-like state of combat, but with Ascension I felt like I was always struggling to keep everything straight in my head. The core combat mechanics are still fun, but even with the exclusion of other primary weapons, I think less could have been more in this case.
Another God of War mainstay is the inclusion of elaborate and clever puzzles to break up the combat, and Ascension was no different. This time you can use three magical items (two of of them can be used in combat) to assist you in solving said puzzles, the most impressive of which is the item that lets you “heal” or “decay” certain objects. Even when using it for the simple task of repairing a bride, the results are always impressive and fun to watch. Even though I was never hung up for too long on any one puzzle, the “Ah ha!” moment you get when you finally figure it out was still pretty exhilarating.
Finally, God of War: Ascension brings something completely new to the table: Multiplayer. I didn’t spend much time with that aspect of the game, so I’ll let NSFW Gamer writer DFN fill you in on it since he’s been playing the hell out of muliplayer these past few days.
God of War: Ascension left me feeling a bit conflicted. It is easily my least favorite game in the series because it lacked the huge set pieces, perfectly paced story, and memorable characters of previous games. But the core combat mechanics are still a blast, if a bit overly complicated, and the puzzles are fun in general. Sony billed the multiplayer as a selling point for Ascension, but honestly I couldn’t care less. I don’t play God of War games for that, I play it for the things I mentioned above. Your enjoyment of God of War: Ascension will depend on what you want to get out of it, but for me it felt like a wasted opportunity as it barely told a story that didn’t need to be told in the first place.
As I said above, God of War: Ascension felt like a missed opportunity and that holds especially true with the sex and nudity. First of all let me get put this out there – There is no sex mini-game in Ascension. The video above leads you to believe that it’s the intro to the series’ mainstay, but instead it pulls a bait-and-switch on you, leaving you battered and bruised instead of leaving you with empty balls.
Ok so no sex mini-game, what about character nudity? Previous God of War games gave us the Oracle and her see-through top, Lahkesis and her one exposed boob, and random monsters with nice tits, so how could a game with three main female bosses go wrong? For starters, none of them are nude. To add insult to injury, the least attractive one, Megaera, is also the one with the most exposed skin, but even she is wearing armor that covers her nipples.
There are a few enemies with exposed breasts – Gorgons, Sirens, and Empusas – but that’s about it. Even Oracle Aletheia who you have to go talk to in Delphi is fully clothed and slightly overweight. I guess that’s realistic and all, but I really don’t play God of War games for their realism, I play them for the sex and violence and Ascension is drastically lacking in the former.
Not only is God of War: Ascension my least favorite entry in the series as far as story and characters go, it’s also the weakest when it comes to sex and nudity. Sure the brothel scene above is hot, but that’s really all there is. If you compare Ascension to other games it would get a 5 out of 5 for nudity, but when compared to other games in the series it’s pretty sub par.