A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While elements of God of War: Ascension focus on puzzle solving and teamwork, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.
While the action promotes strategic thinking and the puzzles require some problem solving skills, this game trades primarily in stylish, sensational, blood-soaked fantasy violence, which it depicts as cool and fun.
Positive Role Models
Kratos, the game's protagonist, is a vengeance-seeking, scowling, perpetually angry fellow. He is raging mad at both the gods and himself for having killed his wife and daughter, and he takes this anger out on virtually every creature he comes into contact with.
Ease of Play
The fast-paced action, which employs a new attack button configuration, may be the most difficult in the series, especially for players who pride themselves on building up massive combinations. Thankfully, multiple difficulty levels help to ensure rookies still have a decent chance of making it through to the credits in one piece. Difficulty in online modes depends largely on the skill of the human competition, which can be fierce.
Violence & Scariness
This game is a nearly non-stop series of intensely graphic, highly visceral combat scenes involving a wide range of fantastical beasts including bugs, zombies, harpies, as well as mythological creatures, such as Cyclops, Medusa, and Hekatonkheires. Players use sharp-edged melee weapons -- chain blades, swords, and spears -- as well as blunt weapons like mauls and hammers to not just kill -- but also eviscerate their enemies. Expect frequent close up and often slow-motion depictions of heads and limbs being lopped off, intestines and organs spilling out of abdomens like noodles out of a hot pot, and gallons of dark red blood spattering both the environment and Kratos, the game's hero.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kratos is seduced by a large harem of naked women with enormous, jiggling breasts. They touch his arms and try to coax him to bed by complimenting his strength, though they do not succeed. Also, some fantastical female creatures appear topless, though with little detail.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
This game is part of the popular God of War series, which has produced not just games but also various collectibles, including action figures.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that God of War: Ascension, like all games in this M-rated series, is extraordinarily violent. Few games feature blood-soaked battles with more severed body parts or spilled innards. It's gory enough to make even media desensitized grown-up gamers occasionally whistle in disbelief. The game also carries some mature sexual themes, particularly in a scene early on in which players encounter a large room filled with women whose naked, oversized bosoms jiggle freely. And Kratos, the game's protagonist, makes a particularly bad role model for kids and adults alike, given that his propensity for violence leads him to kill just about everyone he runs into, including (in the past) his own wife and daughter.
Is It Any Good?
God of War: Ascension is impeccably designed and perhaps the most visually grand entry in Sony's PlayStation-exclusive action series. Tweaks to combat -- including a new ability to pick up weapons lying around the world -- have been expertly inserted into action that otherwise feels welcoming and familiar. Plus, the wildly over-the-top, undeniably cinematic boss fights are nothing if not memorable. From a technical and graphical perspective, it ranks highly among achievements in PlayStation 3 games.
And yet it's still lacking a certain something. It could be that it is becoming too familiar, that players have seen everything they want or expect to see at this point in the series. Maybe it's simply that Kratos' story, which has followed an epic arc that includes what felt like a conclusion, feels like it should be over. It's still worth a look for grown up gamers who crave finely tuned brawling action -- especially fans of the series who have always wished they could test their godly war skills against other humans in online multiplayer -- but don't expect the experience to have quite the same impact as that of previous games in the series.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.