God of War: Ascension is a third person action-adventure video game developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). The game was first released on March 12, 2013, for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console. It is the seventh installment in the God of War series and prequel to the entire series. Loosely based on Greek mythology, the game is set in ancient Greece with vengeance as its central motif. The player controls the protagonist Kratos, the former servant of the God of War, Ares, who tricked Kratos into killing his wife and child. Kratos renounced Ares, breaking his blood oath to the god, and was imprisoned by the three Furies, the guardians of honor and enforcers of punishment. Helped by the oath keeper Orkos, Kratos escapes his imprisonment and defeats the Furies. Although free of Ares’ bond, Kratos begins to suffer the nightmares that plague him throughout his adventures.

The gameplay is similar to other games in the God of War series. It focuses on combo-based combat, achieved through the player’s main weapon—the Blades of Chaos—and other weapons acquired by the new World Weapons mechanic. The player may also use up to four magical attacks and a power-enhancing ability as alternative combat options. Continuing the use of quick time events, the game adds a new promptless free-form system, in addition to the mechanics of the previous installments. It also features puzzles and platforming elements. In addition to its similar gameplay, it is the first installment to include online multiplayer for both competitive and cooperative play. It also features a revamped combat system, new gameplay mechanics, and downloadable content.

God of War: Ascension received generally favorable reception from critics, who praised its fundamental gameplay and spectacle true to the series. Some reviewers stated the story was not as compelling as previous installments, with IGN stating that in comparison to Zeus and Ares, “the Furies don’t quite cut it”. The multiplayer received a mixed response. Although reviewers claimed gameplay translated well into the multiplayer, they were critical towards the balance and depth of combat. Edge magazine, however, approved of the multiplayer, stating it is an “evolutionary step” with “some fine ideas … that will form part of this genre’s future template.”
The gameplay is similar to previous games in the series. In both the single-player and multiplayer, it is primarily a third-person video game viewed from a fixed camera perspective with some scenes in the single-player featuring a first-person camera view. In the single-player mode, the player controls the character Kratos in combo-based combat, platforming, and puzzle game elements, and battles foes who primarily stem from Greek mythology, including cyclopes, cerberuses, empusas, sirens, Gorgons, satyrs, harpies, and centaurs. Several monsters were created specifically for the game, including parasitic insects, juggernauts (elephantaur), wild hounds, stone talos, wraiths, and manticores (several monsters also appear in the multiplayer). Platforming elements require the player to climb walls and ladders, jump across chasms, and slide down walls to proceed through sections of the game. Some puzzles are simple, such as moving a box so that the player can use it as a jumping-off point to access a pathway unreachable with normal jumping, while others are more complex, such as moving several objects into their correct positions in order to proceed to the next section of the game.

Throughout the game, the player finds chests colored green, blue, or red, and each chest contains orbs of the corresponding color. Green orbs replenish the player’s health, blue orbs replenish magic allowing further usage, and red orbs provide experience for upgrading weapons, magic, and relics—making new, more-powerful attacks available. Red orbs are also collected by killing foes, destroying certain inanimate objects, and using the World sword (each attack yields orbs). As in the previous games, the player can collect Gorgon Eyes and Phoenix Feathers in white colored chests. The Eyes and Feathers increase the length of the Health and Magic Meters, respectively; finding fifteen Phoenix Feathers and twenty Gorgon Eyes maximizes each respective meter and thus, the player’s power.

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