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God of War

Review: God of War: Ascension

Mar 07 // Dale North
God of War: Ascension (PlayStation 3)Developer: Sony Santa MonicaPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentRelease: March 12, 2013MSRP: $59.99 This prequel story kicks off not long after Kratos killed his family, at a time where he is still dealing with that pain. He's now out to cut ties with Ares for this terrible act he was tricked into, and Ares has three horrible sisters known as the Furies, Ascension's antagonists, out to punish him for trying to break his oath with the god. These Furies capture, confine, and continuously torture Kratos. This manages to spark and grow that head-ripping rage in Kratos we've all come to know and love.  Kratos is still in full-on badass territory in Ascension, but he's not quite to the level we're used to yet, with a slightly trimmer build and less in the way of scars. You'll see him grow in both strength and rage over the course of the 8+ hour single-player campaign. It's not that he is weak at the beginning -- you'll even witness the acquisition of his Blades of Chaos -- it's just that he ends up being so powerful by the end of the game that you can't help but feel like a god. Developer Sony Santa Monica did a wonderful job of weaving its story into gameplay, making Ascension feel more like an adventure than ever before. Story beats are smartly tied into Kratos' journey, getting us away from the stage-boss-cinematic rotation of previous games. Some of the cinematic story bits tie directly into battles. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but Sony Santa Monica has pulled off one of the greatest bait-and-switch boss introductions ever. A lot of the magic behind the God of War franchise is in how minimal work, like simple three-button combos, turns into brutally fantastic results on-screen. The hack-and-slash core mechanics of the series are still intact, though a new progression system adds elemental magic to the Blades of Chaos. Fire, ice, thunder, and soul magics are acquired at different points in the story, and they can be upgraded alongside the standard blades with red orbs. Fully upgraded, these elemental magic additions allow for some pretty explosive attacks -- ones that will prove highly useful in the final chapters of the game. Overall, combat feels and looks a bit tighter than before. This improved fluidity goes nicely with some additional moves to Kratos' arsenal. World Weapons, like swords, clubs, spears, and shields, are found during gameplay, and can even be pulled from various enemies' hands. Kratos can now take these and use them as his own, with the circle button being dedicated to their use. Each weapon has its own feel and purpose. The sword is fast and chains nicely into Blades of Chaos combos, while the heavy club is slow, though it can be charged up to hit harder. Shields can be used both defensively and offensively, and spears, while finite in supply, can be thrown to hit enemies from a distance. The addition of World Weapons alone makes for combat that feels much more varied than ever before. The game does a great job of placing these weapons in the best situations, so coming across one is always like finding the best toy on the playground. The R1 button is now assigned to chain tethering, a supremely useful addition. A press of this button when faced toward a beat down enemy sporting a red halo initiates a zoomed in special kill -- that's always fun. Stuns, shield grabs, and other neat tricks are also assigned to this button/function. You're free to incorporate this long-ranged grapple into your move set, allowing for in-air juggles that look and feel fantastic. I loved being able to hold an enemy, leashed with one chain, while attacking others, and then later pulling that enemy in as a sort of finale. It's equally fun to take a tethered enemy and swing them around like a fleshy wrecking ball to take down other enemies. There are also some new abilities that are tied to acquired items that let Kratos pull of some neat tricks. The most impressive of the bunch lets Kratos manipulate time for a specific object, letting him ruin or heal something to change its state. For example, a broken bridge can be made whole again. Another lets Kratos clone himself to be in two places at once. Both of these are used heavily in the game's many puzzle sections, though both can also be used in battle. The most welcome of Kratos' new bag of tricks has nothing to do with combat at all. Getting around between battles has always been a bit of a drag for the franchise, but now Kratos finds himself doing anything but walking with new movement skills. Expect running and jumping, swinging from chains, kicking through walls, and many other kinds of explosive entries into rooms this time around. Also, Kratos now muscles over cliffs and through ruins as a climber, with a grip strength that would make Nathan Drake jealous. And why walk when you can slide? Kratos can scrape down walls, slide through ruins, and glide over ice and metal now. Ascension is packed with new modes of movement to break up the action and add some excitement to getting around.  Kratos' brains are tested alongside his brawn in Ascension's many puzzle segments. While a couple of the less important puzzles hover dangerously near clunky territory, most are a nice challenge for your noggin, and a few are deviously constructed, forcing you to pull from every trick you've learned up to that point to solve them. The best of them add magical skills to the more standard stuff, like platforming and lever pulling. Near the game's ending, a string of large scale puzzles are brilliantly strung together in an overall challenge that has you fighting (literally) to figure out what goes where. After some truly taxing trials and several smaller rewarding aha! moments, it all comes together to form one of the most clever and impressive level-based puzzles I've ever seen. The reward for all of this work is massive in more ways than one. For as difficult as some of the puzzles are, they're nothing compared to some of the fighting challenges Ascension presents. Even with all of the changes to the God of War formula this game brings, locked-in-a-room, wave-based challenges are still the norm, and a few of them are so difficult that I wondered if I'd even finish the game.  It feels like Sony Santa Monica wanted to increase the challenge to match Kratos' increased power and new arsenal, but there are a few times where it feels like they went a bit overboard. I can confidently state that I have never restarted from a checkpoint as many times as I did with God of War: Ascension. While I'll admit to having pretty poor reflexes, and I know that I'm not the best action game player out there, I'm willing to bet that just about everyone will have a pretty hard time with one particular challenge stretch near the end of the game. If you don't end up screaming at your television, I'll be surprised. When God of War was new, prompted button presses during cinematic action excited us. Now this mechanic is commonplace, and some might say outdated. I wouldn't go as far as to say that Ascension relies on QTEs, nor would I say that they mar the experience, but they're still part of the gameplay here, and those that were hoping for something more interactive this time around may be disappointed. They have added some new interactions on top of the standard face button attacks, though the interspersed instances of timed dodging with the left analog stick do not feel that much different. I have a feeling they were going for something more dynamic, but it really is still just inputting a command within a set time frame to proceed through a cinematic. As always, there's a huge, flashy spectacle to go with these events, so they're at least entertaining for your eyes and ears. Sony Santa Monica seems to be showing off that they know the PS3 inside and out with Ascension. I swear I could almost feel tension emanating from my PS3 while playing this game, as it seems that this team cranked every knob to the maximum level to make Ascension as stunning as possible. Huge cinematic set pieces and boss battles are a mainstay of the franchise, with predecessor God of War III having some of the most fantastic man vs. god clashes ever to grace a television screen. Somehow they've managed to top that with Ascension, with backdrops and beasts that seem to push the limits of what's possible for the hardware. The environments are a new high for the franchise -- some outstanding work has been done to give this game much more atmosphere than any of its predecessors. Throughout the game you'll find brilliant use of scale, making Kratos as small as possible, and his enemies as big as possible, sometimes ridiculously so.  The single-player campaign is a constant string of "wow" moments that I'm sure will stand out in your mind for years to come. For maximum enjoyment, do not let anyone spoil the big moments God of War: Ascension for you. Find the biggest screen and the loudest sound system you can, crank it up, and dive in. Even outside the fantastic boss battles Ascension never stops being impressive. Visually, the game usually hovers at merely beautiful, but it often ramps up to jaw-droppingly gorgeous, making for a game that could just as easily entertain hands-off spectators.  From the glossy textures, slick animations, and ultra-realistic lighting, there's a shine and polish that runs throughout the game that makes it a perfect send-off for the PS3. There are a few scuffs that missed polish, though. One of the biggest of these are sound dropouts. The problem was apparent in our preview sessions, later in the released demo, and now in the final code. Sometimes, at critical moments, the music, background sound effects, or even a primary sound will not be heard. Seeing a massive gate door come crashing down without an accompanying sound effect was funny, but having key emotional moments marred by the music stopping momentarily was less enjoyable. This seemed to happen most during background loading or saving. Other smaller bugs managed to crawl up from the depths, though they're small gripes in an otherwise smooth experience. Every time Kratos slid down a ladder, the sliding sound effect would not stop as long as he remained on the ladder, even if he was done sliding. Sometimes enemies would spawn behind barriers, or get caught in item boxes, too. One graphical glitch had the entire stage and characters going black, with only lighting and particle effects showing. This was one of the prettiest looking game glitches I've ever witnessed. My only real gripe on intended effects is on the screen shaking effect, which was taken overboard in places. Everything from the ground rumbling to large monster movement to weapon impact has the screen shaking. Sometimes the combined effect of the three ends up being dizzying, especially in segments where Kratos' on-screen presence is small. Trying to keep track of Kratos and his enemies while everything shook was frustrating at times. I found myself having to pause and look away from the screen to get my bearings. I feel bad griping about these issues as Ascension was such a thrilling ride overall. It's like griping about squeaking wheels on one short segment of the fastest, craziest, most thrilling rollercoaster ever. And like a great coaster, you'll want to get right back on for another ride.  While online multiplayer is a new concept for the franchise, I'm glad to say that God of War: Ascension's multiplayer isn't some tacked on mess that was included to be able to put a bulletpoint on the box. Multiplayer in Ascension is surprisingly deep and refreshingly unique. I can't wait until this game goes live so I can slash and bash some more faces. You'll start out with a muscular but otherwise blank slate of a warrior when first jumping into Ascension's multiplayer. Pledging your alliance to one of four gods -- Zeus, Ares, Hades, or Poseidon -- helps determine what your character will become, with each choice bringing its own strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. Your choice also starts you at the bottom of a skill tree that you'll climb as you fight in battles and gain experience. Experience is earned by winning, of course, but kill streaks and other challenges will also reward you with points. For example, Labors, which are "commandments from the gods," give you very specific goals to knock out while fighting. They have you doing things like attacking a statue in a stage three times, with successful completion bringing both experience points and armor unlocks. This experience will go not only into your character and his abilities, but also into his armor and weapons. Depending on your god alliance, working up this skill tree will gradually unlock more unique armor and items to use in future battles. Experience also goes into earning Relics, which are passive abilities that give you battle perks. For example, the Relic of Regeneration refills a player's magic bar for each successful grapple or throw. Combat is pulled straight from the single-player game, though there are smaller differences tied to each alliance, and perhaps a greater focus on defense, blocking, and parrying. All characters have light and strong attacks, all can block and launch, and all have grapple moves and finishers. Special item-specific attacks are tied to each of the three weapon types, and are used by holding down L1 and hitting either the light or strong attack buttons. These powerful moves have a cool down timer attached to them, as do alliance-specific "god item" special attacks.  All of the alliances seem to have access to the same core weapons -- hammers, swords, and spears. But magics, strengths, weaknesses, specific resistances, and other stats are tied to your alliance. The fighting is fast and flashy in Ascension's multiplayer, much like it is in the single-player campaign. Basically, if you've ever wondered what it would be like to throw a bunch of Kratos-types in one room to fight it out, this will serve as an answer. What's great about the combat system is how approachable it is -- anyone that has played any God of War game will be able to pick this up and start slashing.  I played against other press members for a few hours prior to launch, going through the various multiplayer modes in some increasingly competitive bouts. Early free-for-all matches, called Favor of the Gods, had every warrior out for himself, out to kill to see who would reach 8,000 favor points (you're killing to sacrifice bodies to your chosen god) first. Those that slashed the fastest seemed to win early on, but I think that effective blocking and smart use of other abilities, like the powerful magic spells, won out eventually.  This evolved into a four-on-four team version of Favor of the Gods, with the first team to pull in 8,000 favor points winning. These matches were fast and crazy -- imagine three or four players of one team frantically slashing away at one cornered opponent, with Ascension's fiery effects lighting up the screen. Some might say that the flashiness of the attacks makes the action a bit hard to follow, but my strategy of swinging the fastest until the air cleared seemed to serve me well. Capture the Flag continued with the four-on-four teams, with the standard mode roles applying. It was a nice change of pace from the free-for-all matches, though the stages these matches played out in kept things interesting. Another mode called Trial of the Gods has players teaming up to go against waves of enemies together to see how long they can survive.  It seems Sony Santa Monica had some fun with the stage design for multiplayer. Each are packed with plenty of toys like spawning weapons and power-ups;  portals for health and magic refills are scattered about as well. Add in teleporting ports, item chests, fire traps, catapults, fire bombs, flame turrets, and more, and you've got a crazy sort of funhouse feel that keeps the combat light and fun. It's like being in a wild, attraction-packed theme park with bottomless toyboxes placed about. It's all staged just so that no one could find themselves taking it too seriously. This made it so that I was more than happy to jump back in for another round every time.  In the rare instance that you have a chance to look around the stages, you'll appreciate how much detail work was put into them. Aside from the varied obstacles they all present, there's also some kind of secondary goal for each. Whether it be fire bombing people in the distance or poking out a massive cyclops' eye, there's never a dull moment.  Multiplayer is everywhere right now, but there aren't many games that offer fast, accessible, melee-based fighting like Ascension does. Tacked on? Hardly. Ascension's multiplayer is a daring move that pays off big. It's a game in its own right, worth the price of admission on its on for online gamers looking for a new kind of challenge. Fans of games like Capcom's Power Stone will be thrilled. Ascension had challenges coming from every direction from early on. Some of the franchise's core mechanics have grown a bit tired over the past years, which had gamers questioning the need for another title. Beyond this, some questioned the need for a prequel story. Most of all, the idea of a multiplayer addition was initially off-putting to vocal series fans. But, like Kratos, Sony Santa Monica ripped through every one of these challenges with their bare hands to bring us a game that is so fantastic that it should make anyone that ever questioned them feel bad for doing so. God of War has never looked or played better than this. Kratos has never been as deep or interesting as this. They've set the bar so high that I have no idea how they'll be able to follow this one up. Sony Santa Monica should be proud. Series fans should be proud. 
GoW: Ascension review photo
Dis sh*t Kra ... tos
How do you top something that was already considered over-the-top? Especially when this particular brand of over-the-top has become pretty familiar since in past eight years? We all know that God of War's protagonist, Kratos,...

God of War Poseidon video photo
God of War Poseidon video

Fear Poseidon in this new God of War: Ascension trailer


He's not all that, Sony
Mar 07
// Chris Carter
Like it or not, God of War: Ascension will have multiplayer. As you may know from the beta, your character can pledge allegiance to a certain god -- this new video from Sony showcases Poseidon, "a god to be reckoned with." O...
God of War: Ascension photo
God of War: Ascension

God of War: Ascension will have a co-op horde mode


Fight waves of monsters with a friend
Mar 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
God of War: Ascension's fourth multipalyer mode is Trial of the Gods, a two-player co-op (or solo) mode where you have to face five increasingly difficult waves of enemies. The twist here is that you're racing against the cl...
God of War: Ascension photo
God of War: Ascension

300's King Leonidas shown off in God of War: Ascension


Weirdest tie-in ever
Mar 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Wow. I totally forgot this was happening. So yeah, King Leonidas from the movie 300 is in God of War: Ascension as a multiplayer character. You can play as the King of Spartans only if you pre-order the game from GameStop. Pre-ordering Ascension from any other retailer will get you The Mythological Heroes Pack. This will let you play as Perseus, Orion, Odysseus, and Achilles.
God of War Empusa photo
God of War Empusa

This God of War foe has the 'best boobs in the industry'


Get ready to slice up a succubus in a few weeks
Feb 28
// Chris Carter
It's always interesting to take step back, breath for a second, and see how creatures and characters are made -- since, you know, we usually just slice them up in five seconds and completely forget about them. God of War: As...
God of War HD photo
God of War HD

European PlayStation Plus gets God of War HD


*Golf clap*
Feb 28
// Jordan Devore
As a nice tie-in for God of War: Ascension's release in March, European PlayStation Plus subscribers are getting a copy of the original game remastered in high definition at no additional cost. You'll have the next two weeks ...

The power of videogames can bring the family together

Feb 26 // Taylor Stein
Somewhere in the middle, my parents and videogames As a 1990's kid, the majority of parents that raised my generation either viewed videogames as a complete waste of time, or they just didn't understand the appeal. Where mom and pop celebrated my other childhood extracurricular activities like girl scouts, basketball, and soccer with great fervor, there was always an absence of enthusiasm when it came to my virtual exploits. No one ever threw me a congratulatory party after I rescued Princess Peach from Bowser's castle or applauded my hard work after collecting countless puzzle pieces in the world of Banjo Kazooie. Not that I was expecting them to, but still. In my past, videogames were always perceived under the guise of unimportance, as a fad that would be outgrown.  At age five, I was slaying octoroks in Hyrule on NES. By age seven I saved the Lylat System from the evil Andross through the mastery of barrel rolls. The trend continued into adulthood and here I am, as devoted to saving worlds and wasting bad guys as ever before.While my parents were uninterested in adopting gaming as their own vehicle of enjoyment, there was always an essence of conciliation that facilitated my growing habits. As a youth I embarked on numerous crusades to justify the glory of videogames to my genetic forerunners, a battle that I grew weary of fighting, and forfeited long ago. There have been glimmers of hope among the downhill conversion strategy however. Through obnoxious pleading, I successfully convinced my mother to watch me play Final Fantasy X. What started as maternal obligation, actually grew into general interest. Whether it was due to a stroke of luck or holy intervention, my mom became fascinated with the narrative most simply stated as kids, traveling the world, to defeat an enormous creature of destruction. To this day, she refers to the game as 'the one with Tidus and Sin', and while it boggles my mind as to how she cannot recall the name, I hold the memories of her genuine attention very close to my heart. Why some parents are in favor of gaming In the eyes of their children, mothers and fathers are synonymous with un-cool, passé, and outdated. No matter their actual age, something about entering the realms of parenthood instantly reduces one's trendiness credibility to near zero, at least in accordance to the mystical rules of kid law. Parents who approve of games for themselves or their children represent a rare statistic, an opposition to the stereotypical condition of predisposed antiquity.Beyond the allure of earning bonus points from the neighborhood tykes, there are a wide array of reasons why a parent would embrace videogames for their young ones. Sharing a hobby is one compelling rationale, an activity that would lend to bonding on epic levels. The tumultuous years riddled with teenage angst could very well be replaced with adolescent tranquility, double rainbows, and world peace. While I may be prone to obvious hyperbole, passing the torch of acquired gamer knowledge from father to son, or mother to daughter is truly a special experience. It might not share the same mass appeal as learning to ride a bike or throw a football, but hey, maybe it should.Traversing virtual landscapes along with saving naive princesses and shooting frothy-mouthed aliens can actually be quite beneficial as well. According to New Scientist, "Sophisticated video games have had demonstrable effects on their players. For example, people who frequently play action games often outperform non-gamers on measures of perception and cognition." When in doubt, quote a guy in a lab coat. In reality, keeping the youngsters occupied is worth its weight in gold. Think about all the trouble they could be getting into, and then be appreciative that the only prostitute he'll be beating with a bat is in Grand Theft Auto. Concerned parents and videogame controversy To starkly contrast the warm fuzzy feelings of the previous paragraph, there is a separate breed of pro-creators who demonize the interactive adventures that many of us hold so dear. Whether adhering to misguided perceptions like, "Videogames will rot your brain", or a sense of personal vendetta against all of game-kind, there are some parents who are unable to acknowledge the medium or its place as an act of leisure.Money is one thing, videogames are f**king expensive! Not to mention, the next generation of consoles is lingering on the horizon which will ultimately multiply the fund requirements for any parent. Others might be wary of the violent or mature content within many popular franchises, but that's what responsible parenting is about. Five-year-olds probably shouldn't play Dead Space 3 before bedtime, but that doesn't mean someone within an older age bracket shouldn't either. Can you imagine putting a toddler in the shoes of the revenge-driven maniac, Kratos from the God of War? Probably not the best idea.Perhaps the most persuasive argument within the parental anti-videogame consortium, is that youths should spend their time doing something more constructive than sitting in front of a TV all day. Fortifying an ass groove in the living room couch clearly asserts your dominance over the space, but gaming should not be 24/7 sport. Eat those vegetables, finish your homework, play outside and THEN get back to working on that sofa dent. The future of parents and gaming While my parents never championed the title of gamer, growing up in the '50s and '60s wasn't exactly an ideal or realistic era to be bitten by the gaming bug. With the vast advances in technology over the past few decades, videogames have ascended into the mainstream on a silver platter. Smartphones, tablets, consoles, PC, and handhelds allow for gaming to exist in just about every format.Accessibility has driven mass appeal, and mainstream allure now welcomes gaming aficionados of all ages, genders, and social positions. These days, the bipartisan nature of approval versus disapproval of videogames is a diminishing distinction. Just about everyone can unite under the flag of gamerdom in some way, and I would expect that kids, parents, young and old will become even more enamored with gaming in the years to come.How did your parents view playing videogames when you were a small fry? Which category do your parents fall into? Do you plan on raising your future kids as gamers? Image sources [1][2][3][4][5]
Parents and videogames photo
Love, hate, and everything inbetween
Not every hobby is created equally nor is every pastime equally respected. As a gaming enthusiast, videogames represent the epitome of entertainment in my eyes. They alone reign atop my personal pedestal of happiness, a speci...

God of War photo
God of War

God of War: Ascension single-player demo on PSN today


Also, new trailer
Feb 26
// Dale North
Later today, look for the shiny new single-player demo for God of War: Ascension on the PlayStation Network, not too far ahead of the March 12 release date. From what Sony tells us, it sounds like it's the same one I played ...
God of War photo
God of War

God of War: Ascension's single-player demo hits Feb 26


Participate in Facebook "experience" to get early access
Feb 15
// Conrad Zimmerman
Sony has revealed the release date for the single-player demo of God of War: Ascension, which we have been told will be proliferating through the tubes of the internet on February 26. Not soon enough for you? There's also way...

Roses and tears: 10 depressing videogame romances

Feb 14 // Taylor Stein
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – Big Boss and Eva Love can blossom anywhere. If the Metal Gear series has taught us anything (besides the usefulness of a cardboard box) it is that romance is especially prominent on the battlefield. Why would bullets, explosions, and a team of evil super soldiers deter one from indulging in a little affection? While Big Boss fought off Eva’s motive-driven advances, he was unable to resist her overt feminine charm indefinitely. After a romantic encounter complete with wine, a fireplace, and a bear skin rug, Eva skipped town, leaving the battle-hardened veteran heart-broken and empty handed. I guess Snake would've been better off sticking with his M1911A1. Final Fantasy 10 – Tidus and Yuna Ah, there’s nothing sweeter than teenage love. Combining raging hormones with the responsibility of saving a world tormented by perpetual death is certainly a unique formula for passion. During their pilgrimage to defeat the ever-returning nightmare Sin, Tidus and Yuna found romance as a convenient way to ignore the foreboding reality of their quest: Yuna’s death. Throughout a series of plot twists and extensive battles, players save Yuna from her sinister fate. Too bad the protagonist Tidus turns out to be from a dream world and disappears into a poof of nothingness. Dead Space – Isaac and Nicole The horror genre isn't ideal for heartfelt connections. The closest that scary games often get to featuring physicality is through a zombie bite to the neck. Too bad no one sent the memo to Isaac Clark. What started as a standard repair job on the intergalactic mining vessel the USG Ishimura, quickly turned into a terrifying test of survival among reanimated corpses and alien monsters. Did I mention that his girlfriend Nicole was stationed aboard the ship? I’m sure you know where this is going. Not only does the poor systems engineer discover that his girlfriend has been dead since before his arrival, he develops mental instability causing him to see visions of her, courtesy of an alien artifact. Thanks, Nicole, insanity is a perfect parting gift. Infamous - Cole and Trish There are very few actions in life that cannot be forgiven. Being held responsible for an explosion that wiped out a chunk of a city, killing thousands, would definitely be one of those unforgivable moments. Ever since The Blast, Cole's relationship with his girlfriend Trish took a turn for the worst. Blaming him for the death of her sister, Cole became a monster in her eyes. In an effort to win back her trust, the now super-powered hero went above and beyond to assist Trish and the citizens of Empire City. Just as affections were beginning to turn around, Trish was kidnapped, forcing Cole to make a difficult choice. Save the love of his life, or save a team of doctors; serve his personal desires or act on behalf of the greater good. Either way, Cole is pretty much screwed. Choose Trish and she spends her last dying breath describing how much she despises what Cole has become. Rescue the doctors and Trish praises his decision yet still dies from her injuries. Lose-lose situation is an understatement. Final Fantasy VII – Cloud and Aerith What does a spiky-haired soldier, an innocent flower girl , and a well-endowed bartender have in common? In the boring arena of reality, absolutely nothing. Within the fiction of videogames however, the trio arguably represent the most notable love triangle in the gaming world. Regardless of who the player chooses to pursue as a romantic interest, Aerith or Tifa, fate intervenes in the cruelest way possible. A scene of tranquility is instantly transformed into the epitome of shock, alarm, and terror. While praying at an alter, the silver-haired villain Sephiroth seemingly appears from the heavens and impales Aerith with his eight-foot-long Masamune. In an instant she is gone, collapsed in Cloud's arms. To hit the point home, Aerith's theme song begins to play in the background, and the reality that Final Fantasy VII actually had the audacity to kill off a main character halfway through the game, is fully realized. Mass Effect 3 – Commander Shepard and Romantic Partner Saving the galaxy from sentient machines may seem like a tall order, but after three installments of the Mass Effect series, it's pretty safe to say that Commander Shepard always finds a solution. Whether through diplomacy or a firefight, humanity's savior has proven to go above and beyond the call of duty. This applies both on and off the battlefield. Seducing a slew of men, women, and alien crew mates is all fine and good, but the end of the world has a way of offering a sobering reminder as to what is at stake. There will be no civilian life for Shepard and her partner; no white picket fence and no blue children. Ensuring the survival of the entire galaxy is not a job that one simply comes back from. All that can be said between the larger-than-life figure and her significant other is a somber goodbye before the true suicide mission commences. At the end of Mass Effect 3, the hero alone ventures into the depths of the Reaper operated Citadel. The first human Spectre is given a choice that will forever alter the course of the galaxy, to end the cycle of destruction that has continued in secret for millennia. Ultimately, Shepard's decision opens a new chapter for the galaxy, while putting an end to her own. Whether truly dead or not, Commander Shepard's closest squadmate is forced to hang her name on the Normandy SR2's memorial wall. In an act of remembrance signifying Shepard the soldier, the legend, and the human being.  Shadow of the Colossus – Wander and Mono Love has the power to transform a young man into a hero; a vigilant civilian into a seasoned warrior. In the case of Wander, the desire to revive his romantic interest Mono, inspires him to commit a laundry list of questionable choices. Stealing an ancient sword is risky yet understandable. Entering a forbidden land is yet another precarious decision. But following the instructions of an ominous, obviously evil, being is a step in the wrong direction. Whether due to naivety or injudiciousness, Wander proceeds to slay 16 enormous colossi in the hope that his new "ally" will reawaken the beloved maiden. Instead, the sinister lord Dormin possesses his body, transforming Wander into darkness incarnate. In the end, Mono successfully opens her eyes and returns to the land of the living. Wander, however, regresses to the age of an infant, marked with horns upon his head to signify a curse. As the only bridge connecting the forbidden land from the rest of the world falls, only Mono, altered Wander, and his trusty steed Agro remain. The two are together again, yet they are worlds apart. Alive but isolated in a land of danger and mystery. The Darkness - Jackie and Jenny Hit man with a heart of gold may seem like an oxymoron, but in the case of Jackie Estacado, the seemingly opposing identities are more than true. After the death of his parents at a young age, Jackie was sent off to an orphanage where he met the love of his life, Jenny Romano. Their childhood friendship blossomed into an adult romance; a relationship seemingly too good to be true. Unfortunately, Jackie's profession would be the factor to catalyze the sudden change from conjugal bliss to marital tragedy. On the eve of his 21st birthday, Jackie was targeted in an assassination attempt by his own organization due to fears that he was attempting to take over the Franchetti Family. In an effort to shake Jackie at his core, Don Uncle Paulie kidnaps Jenny and travels to the orphanage from their youth. Jackie arrives in a homecoming of sorts to witness his enemies berating Jenny. In a scene of absolute helplessness,  the Darkness seizes Jackie's body, preventing him from intervening as the Don raises his gun to Jenny's face. Boom. Jenny crumples to the floor and the antagonists escape. Even through suicide, Jackie is unable to find peace. The Darkness cannot live without its host, and thus he returns to the land of the living, forced to continue his existence as a pawn of the malevolent being. Gears of War 2 – Dom and Maria Battling for humanity’s survival against a horde of reptilian humanoids may seem like a challenging feat, but the steroid-pumped, macho men of Gears of War claim otherwise. Corporal Dominic “Dom” Santiago, one of the elite soldiers chosen to fight against the Locust, is forced to not only deal with the hardships of war, but also with an internal struggle fueled by the death of his children and disappearance of his wife Maria. When news is received about her whereabouts, Dom trudges through hordes of alien forces to her rescue. The good news is Dom finds his wife alive. The bad news is she is malnourished, scarred, and mentally broken from the torment of slave labor. In the ultimate display of love, Dom ends her suffering with a single bullet to the head. Damn. God of War – Kratos and Lysandra Kratos may be Sparta’s most prominent ladies man, boasting encounters with countless women and even the Goddess of Love, but he wasn’t always the king of promiscuity. Before the demigod was known to partake in threesomes with advanced button-pressing sequences, he was a devoted husband and father. In a desperate move during a losing battle, the Spartan devoted his allegiance to the god of war Ares in return for victory against enemy Barbarian tribes. Through a twist of fate fueled by Kratos’s thirst for power, he was tricked by Ares to raid a nearby village. Blinded by Ares' power,  Kratos slaughtered every man, woman, and child in the village, including his own wife Lysandra and child Calliope. If that wasn’t enough, Kratos was cursed by a village oracle, forcing him to forever wear the ashes of his dead family on his skin. From that day forward, Kratos became known as The Ghost of Sparta; and ever since then, God of War has represented one of the most depressing love stories in videogames. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What is your favorite videogame romance? Have you ever felt moved or saddened by gaming love affairs gone wrong?
Sad videogame romances photo
Still think love conquers all?
Valentine’s Day inspires a variety of emotions. While love is in the air for many, cupid has more sinister plans for a select few. A poor Valentine's Day for an average person might include seeing a movie alone or a sol...

God of War backstory photo
God of War backstory

Learn how Kratos comes to life in this video


Spoiler alert: his actor isn't as angry
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
In this new video from Sony, we get a further glimpse into the motion capture process, specifically in regards to how Kratos comes to life in the upcoming God of War: Ascension. I don't know about you guys, but I can't get e...

Preview: The first 30 minutes of God of War: Ascension

Feb 02 // Dale North
[embed]243872:46693[/embed] God of War: Ascension  (PS3)Developer: Sony Santa MonicaPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleases: Spring 2013  Kratos' roots are unveiled in Ascension. While he's still easily classified as a badass, he's perhaps a bit less hardened in this prequel story. He certainly doesn't look like much of a badass in the game's opening. After being tortured endlessly by the Fury, the game opens with our hero bound to a platform, with both arms and legs chained. The hideous Fury Queen comes to beat Kratos while he's down, but a poorly aimed attack from one of her gross, sharp appendages creates an opportunity for his escape.  The action slowly ramps up from basic control training to a full-on chase, with the Fury Queen throwing every trick she has at you -- level traps, waves of nasty bugs, bugs possessing humans to turn them into beasts, and eventually bugs diving into and possessing the body of a frozen, stories tall ancient brute that I think called Aegean the Hecatonchires. If I'm right, all credit goes to Google's amazing ability to take misspelled text and turn it into something usable. As you'll see in the play through video, the fight slowly scales in scope, from ground level brawls, to in the sky and off the side of cliffs, to later in a moving chunk of ground and building in the sky, held by the reanimated of the previously mentioned ancient monster. And then, as always, huge, crazy bosses. They've done some really great work with scale and scope to keep the wows coming. I found myself wow-ing aloud constantly while playing through what you're seeing. Fighting in the boxed off, floating prison you'll see in the middle of the play-through was a bit unnerving, from both a fear of heights standpoint and from the tight, constantly moving play space where waves of enemies continued to appear. This is where the opening jumped from 'nice' to 'yessssss' for me. The tension level also turned up quite a bit starting from this point, gradually increasing up to the hands-y final boss battle (you'll see what I mean).  I found myself digging into the game's new World Weapon System from here on out, which has Kratos using new gear like swords and spears alongside his usual blades. The sword I picked up earlier in the stage was great for close-quarters attacks, and I liked playing with the unique finishers that the sword added to Kratos' arsenal. I'll admit that I show a bit less finesse in attacks and combo-ing as the grand finale neared (frantic button mash city!), but there was never a time where I didn't feel like a killing machine. They've absolutely nailed that feeling. You'll see for yourself how satisfyingly nuts things become in the opening's final battle, so I won't get into it too much. The only thing this video won't give you is color on how Ascension feels. My first takeaway is that it's smoother than ever before, and that Kratos has never moved so well. It might be hard to put a finger on what exactly was overhauled for this outing from watching a gameplay, but you definitely feel it when playing. His new moves also feel nice. If you want a break from slinging chains, new weapons like the previously mentioned sword feel faster and more responsive. Mixing up the action between the two adds a new dimension to God of War combat that I'm looking forward to exploring more. Oh, and Kratos can slide down walls now. This feels and looks fantastic.  One of the game's staff had to cut me off after this boss battle, as this was not some finite demo. It could have kept going as someone from Sony told me that we were playing a final build. Damn that guy! But that's how well Sony Santa Monica has done with God of War: Ascension's single-player -- I wanted to keep going. Get ready, as this is going to be really good. Even from my limited half-hour taste, I can't see God of War fans being any less than absolutely thrilled with Ascension.    
GoW: Ascension photo
Single-player unveiled
We've been seeing bits of pieces of upcoming PS3 game God of War: Ascension since last year, but we've really only seen it's multiplayer side. That changed this week when director Todd Pappy and his team unveiled the game's s...

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GTA V delay, Playstation 4 hints & New PS Vita games!


The Destructoid Show takes you on a sexy date
Feb 01
// Max Scoville
If you missed today's live Destructoid Show, you missed all the important news ever, and there's no way possible that you were properly informed by any other outlet because our journalistic integrity and timeliness is unmatch...
Live-action God of War photo
Live-action God of War

Ellie Goulding teams up with Kratos in this new GoW video


Warning: video may cause depression
Feb 01
// Chris Carter
If you love beautiful voices and really depressing footage of innocent people dying, I have the perfect video for you! This new God of War: Ascension live-action trailer spot shows Kratos getting his smile on, and, uh, certa...
GoW: Ascension gameplay photo
GoW: Ascension gameplay

See the first thirty minutes of God of War: Ascension


Huge gameplay reveal
Feb 01
// Chris Carter
Are you itching to get your hands on the new God of War? This video should placate you until then, as it's the first full thirty minutes of the game, unfettered by commentary, compliments of Polygon. What you're getting is t...
GoW: Ascension gameplay photo
GoW: Ascension gameplay

Watch an extended boss battle for God of War: Ascension


From a good idea to badass boss
Jan 31
// Chris Carter
Kratos takes on a manticore in this new God of War: Ascension video, and in typical GoW fashion, it's not pretty. What you're about to watch is a video explaining a boss fight, all the way from the initial creative process, ...
God of War bundle photo
God of War bundle

God of War: Ascension bundles up with a red PlayStation 3


So much God of War
Jan 31
// Jordan Devore
That "snazzy" Garnet Red PlayStation 3 will be available in North America later this year, but you're going to have to get a whole lot of God of War should you want the limited-edition console. Sony has announced the God of W...
Sony teaser photo
Sony teaser

This Sony teaser looks like it's for God of War


But in what capacity?
Jan 28
// Jordan Devore
This "Game Day 2013 Teaser" video just appeared on the official PlayStation YouTube channel. While it's unmarked except for the date "February 1, 2013," it sure does look like it's hyping something related to God of War. Spe...
$20 off game pre-orders photo
$20 off game pre-orders

Get $20 Amazon credit for pre-ordering Dead Space 3, more


SimCity and Crysis 3 also applicable
Jan 25
// Jordan Devore
Are you planning to buy SimCity (physical copy), Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, or Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel before launch? Amazon is throwing in a $20 credit on all four titles, which I don't need to tell you is strongly wort...
Early demo access photo
Early demo access

Buy God of War for early access to The Last of Us demo


God of War: Ascension bonus
Jan 24
// Jordan Devore
In a move that may very well get people who were already going to buy God of War: Ascension to pick up a copy sooner than later, it's been announced that Kratos' new game will include early access to a demo for The Last of Us...
God of War demo photo
God of War demo

God of War: Ascension single-player demo in the works


Scheduled for late next month
Jan 21
// Jordan Devore
The half-minute teaser video for single-player in God of War: Ascension looked good, but there wasn't a whole lot of substance to be found in the footage. Thankfully, the powers that be are gearing up to put multiplayer on th...
God of War SP video photo
God of War SP video

Have a short God of War: Ascension single-player teaser


Elevator pitch
Jan 18
// Jordan Devore
Much of the promotional work on God of War: Ascension has been centered around the game's new multiplayer mode. Which is fine, but I think most long-time fans will be buying this prequel for its single-player campaign, leavin...
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Behind the scenes of God of War: Ascension's multiplayer


What do you think of the multiplayer?
Jan 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The team behind God of War: Ascension has shared a behind the scenes videos showing how they started life on the multiplayer component to the game. The video spans over two years of the development process, and it's really c...
Mega Man photo
Mega Man

Mega Man 9 and 10 now free for PlayStation Plus members


And access to the God of War: Ascension beta
Jan 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
PlayStation Plus members are getting both Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 for free this week. Yes, both games! The God of War: Ascension multiplayer beta has also opened up to all Plus members as of today. Additionally, the "Rece...
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Go sign up for the God of War: Ascension Beta


Do it. Do it now!
Nov 30
// Chris Carter
Because every God of War fan ever requested multiplayer as the number one must-have new feature in the upcoming God of War: Ascension (lol), Sony is having a beta for it. You can sign up for free here by logging in with your ...
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Sony open to story changes for God of War movie


Screenwriters hope to stand out in genre
Nov 28
// Jordan Devore
What we know about the God of War movie doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but the latest update on the adaptation from screenplay writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan has me feeling slightly better about the situation....
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The multiplayer God of War in God of War: Ascension


Trailer focuses on Ares' gifts to followers in online play
Nov 12
// Conrad Zimmerman
Another video featuring the multiplayer soon to be found in God of War: Ascension is here for your viewing pleasure. It's all about the perks of declaring your loyalty to Ares, which seems like a pretty good choice when...
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God of War: Ascension trailer harnesses the power of Zeus


Zero to hero in no time flat
Oct 22
// Jordan Devore
Zeus? How in the -- oh, right. This God of War: Ascension trailer is centered around the game's multiplayer. That's a bit more comforting. As you may or may not know already, players can align themselves with specific gods t...
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First look at God of War: Ascension collector's edition


And a glimpse at the pre-order bonus
Oct 11
// Jordan Devore
While details about the collector's edition for God of War: Ascension got out early due to a retailer listing, Sony has now shared the information itself, along with an image of what the box, Kratos statue, and steelbook case...
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God of War: Ascension multiplayer started out as a mod


Sep 14
// Jordan Devore
"Huh?" seemed to be the common reaction to the announcement of multiplayer in God of War: Ascension. I have since warmed up to the concept, though it is admittedly different. Sometimes, it's worth exploring such options just ...

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