To break the God of War franchise down into the simplest of terms, it is a beautiful challenge. Since the first game came out for the PS2 in 2005, God of War has set new visual standards with highly detailed rendered environments, while simultaneously building a fan base of gamers who want games to be tough, the end cinematics and game credits serving as a reward for not just time logged, but for skill displayed. And to that end, Santa Monica Studio’s latest iteration in the critically-acclaimed series, God of War: Ascension, is a rousing success.
The elements that made past iterations of God of War so enjoyable—giant set pieces, outrageous, sprawling boss battles, and epic cinematography that would put some Hollywood action flicks to shame—are all here. If anything, the pace is even faster than before as wave after wave of enemies descend upon you and monsters the size of small mountains take up the screen. Against such outsized enemies you’ll often appear so small it’s almost comical, but the effect of scale is powerful, and adds to the sense of challenge, and subsequent sense of satisfaction, that the series is famous for.