Ascend does some interesting and inventive new stuff, but lets start with the basics - this is an action role-playing game where you'll play a warrior the size of a small Godzilla and slaughter vast monsters in the name of your god.
Whether you choose the god of light, darkness or void, you'll serve your master by slaughtering massive Titans, causing the humans they've been tormenting to stop dying and start worshipping. Reclaiming land and villages, getting better equipment, and bringing the Titan gods to their knees is the core of Ascend.
One of the most interesting things about the game is the way it brings in multiplayer. Your world is your own, but you'll often see other players in their own world, overlapping with yours. You can't interact directly, but you can inflict curses or blessings. Say you're battling a horde of wolves, and you see a player who follows an enemy god. You can use the Banish spell to open a portal, whisking the wolves off into your competitor's world. You can then watch as he's attacked by ghost wolves, all sporting your Gamertag. If it's someone serving the same god, you can send a blessing.
Levelling up is punctuated by moments of self-sacrifice. Once you reach a certain point, the only way to progress is to kill yourself. Your old body becomes a computer-controlled boss, roaming the land and earning you money, as you take a new, stronger form. These guys earn you gold as they fight, and at some points you might have five of your former incarnations having AI scraps on your behalf.
The last stroke of novelty is the way the mobile version of the game affects your progress. It's a more basic slasher, but you can use the gold and XP you earn in the main game, and even send blessings and curses. It looks like a brilliant pranking brawler with overtones of Shadows of the Colossus, without the uncomfortable moral introspection. Ascend will be available on XBLA at some point in early 2013.