God of War: Ascension

Common Sense Media says

Supremely violent action game has strong sexual themes.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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. 

Sex

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.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is part of the popular God of War series, which has produced not just games but also various collectibles, including action figures.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety concerns. This game supports online play with open voice communications, which means players could be exposed to inappropriate language and subject matter. Players can also freely share identifying information with one another. 

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • solving puzzles

Collaboration

  • teamwork

What Kids Can Learn

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. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • solving puzzles

Collaboration

  • teamwork

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. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

You may have thought you'd seen the end of Kratos after God of War 3 ended with his apparent demise, but in GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION, a prequel to the original trilogy, players get to see a younger version of the ashen-skinned hero. The story begins with Kratos in chains and being tortured by a Greek Fury for betraying Ares, then follows him on a bloody and brutal quest to win back control of his own fate. As in previous God of War games, this one is all about gory, visceral combat and spectacular set piece battles, including a massive, lengthy level set entirely on and inside of the moving body of Hekatonkheires, a 100-armed creature turned into a stone prison housing traitors to the gods. New to this edition is a multiplayer mode in which players can do battle with and against up to eight other players while earning experience and rewards including better weapons, armor, magic, and items.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about antiheros; characters who are clearly bad yet somehow still earn the audience's support. Is Kratos an antihero? Do you think he can ever redeem himself? Does he want to redeem himself, or is he interested only in bloody vengeance?

  • Families can also discuss the impact of violence in media. Should games be treated differently than other media because players control rather than passively observe the action?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:March 12, 2013
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content (PlayStation 3)

This review of God of War: Ascension was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byCraze55 May 5, 2013
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Family fun with bludgeoned heads galore

Family friendly game where a lovely man named Kratos heads of to kill some people. This review is completely fake
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old March 15, 2013
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Not For Kids

Not For Kids Blood & Gore Intense Violence
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bycombodombie June 24, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Sex Trophy.

It was removed, but still, SEX TROPHY.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex

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