Just the other day I was passed a beta entry code for God of War: Ascension’s multiplayer component. The team at Sony Santa Monica is putting the game in players’ hands and I was one of the lucky many to have an early crack at it.
While the beta makes up only a taste of the full multiplayer experience – You can only align yourself with two of the four Gods (Zeus and Ares), and there are only two game types and two maps – it was still a fun experience that has me second guessing my original stance that multiplayer makes no sense in a God of War game. Honestly, maybe God of War is made for multiplayer, we just never thought about it until Sony Santa Monica announced it.
So instead of doing a run-of-the-mill preview, which is actually something we did last April believe it or not, I’m instead going to run down a few reasons why multiplayer in God of War is a good thing.
It’s that same great GoW gameplay you love.
There are a lot of reasons why gamers have fallen in love with the God of War series over the years. One of those reasons is the silky smooth gameplay that allows you to look like a total god-killing boss with just a few, simple button presses. That smooth gameplay that has become synonymous with God of War makes the transition perfectly intact to Ascension’s multiplayer component.
If you’re familiar with the God of War series, then you’ll step into multiplayer and be parrying, chaining combos and dodging like a champ in no time. Because let’s face it: a game build on a foundation of solid gameplay has a much better chance of becoming a memorable multiplayer experience than one that isn’t (looking at you, Anarchy Reigns).
It’s kind of Power Stone meets Super Smash Bros.
The classic 3D fighter Power Stone will probably be the first game players reference when talking about Ascension’s multiplayer component. Those comparisons are completely accurate. Ascension’s multiplayer takes place on larger-than-normal maps for a brawler title, filled with power-up chests, death traps and weapons to pick up and use against your foes.
But I’d also say there are some comparisons to be made between Ascension and the much lauded Super Smash Bros. series from Nintendo. The action is frantic, oftentimes leading you to not really know just how well you’re doing during a match. Furthermore, matches in Ascension can have wild swings in momentum that echo the same feeling of playing an intense game of Super Smash Bros. with your buddies.
I think Sony Santa Monica is doing something right if games like Power Stone and Super Smash Bros. are brought up in the same breath.
Don’t worry, there’s experience to be had.
In today’s multiplayer gaming climate, if your title doesn’t have an experience point system built in with reward incentives, it’s just not worth gamers’ time. It’s sad, but true. Thankfully, God of War: Ascension has that, too. After you pledge allegiance to one of four Gods, which grants you your specific magic power, you can then go about unlocking new abilities, armors and weapons as you play multiplayer more and more. In the beta alone there are 30 levels. The final game will have more supposedly, giving you plenty of incentive to keep playing the multiplayer portion of Ascension after you finish the main campaign.
Series-specific takes on classic game types.
Lastly, Ascension’s multiplayer does some neat things with the tried-and-true multiplayer game types such as control points and capture the flag. For instance, in “Favor of the Gods” mode, players compete over control points spread across a map while a chained-down Titan rampages across it. Eventually, the Gods intervene and send down the Spear of Olympus to the battleground for the two teams to compete over, with the purpose of using it to kill the Titan and win the round.
The nuts and bolts of this game might be classic capture points, but it has its own unique God of War spin to it that you can’t help but admire. If the full game can deliver this for all the different game types, even if we’ve seen and experienced them before a million times over, I’ll be one happy camper.