Along with all of the panels and displays at the New York Comic Con, I also got to check out some upcoming video games. One of the games I’m looking forward too is the fourth entry into the God of War franchise, God of War: Ascension. Fortunately, Sony had a booth showing off the new multiplayer element to God of War, and I got to check it out.
By now the premise of both the game and the multiplayer is no big secret. Set, six months after Kratos murdered his wife and child (oh I’m sorry did I forget to mention SPOILERS?) and shortly after selling his soul to Aries, Kratos sets out to defeat the three furies in order to break his bond with Aries. This adds up to a Kratos who is more human and relatable, but also still has the Blades of Chaos and can whoop some serious ass.
The multiplayer, on the other hand, puts you in the shoes of the troops that Kratos either controlled or fought against. You start out as just an ordinary man, until you sell you soul to one of four deities (Zeus, Ares, Hades or Poseidon). Your choice determines your combat style as well as what abilities you can earn. The mode I played is called “Favor of the Gods.” Two teams of four soldiers (serving either Sparta or Troy) fight to earn points (or “Favor”) by achieving kills, collecting orbs and claiming (and defending) territory on the map. The goal is to earn enough Favor to acquire the Spear of Olympus and (in my case) destroy the Titan cyclops Polyphemus.
The first thing I can to do was customize my character. This including choosing my armor, primary weapon (sword or mallet for me) and magic ability. Once the match starts its all beat ’em up. Yes you can dodge and block, but during my session it was all about striking first and keeping it up. There is a dash that gets you out of trouble and aside from not having the Blades of Chaos it’s just like playing the solo mission. This includes quick time kills that are even more satisfying than normal when performed on the person standing next to you. The map is on the small side, which is good given the limited numbers of players. While the moments with several players on the same screen were fun, it was those rare times where I ended up one on one with another player that were the most enjoyable for me. The combat is quick, simple and satisfying. Imagine if someone next to you was playing as Zeus at the end of God of War 3. Yeah, it feels like that.
The only real complaint I have is that the camera doesn’t quite work with multiplayer. There are arrows identifying where other players and objects are, but overall I had a bit of a hard time finding the action. I spent a little too much time looking for someone to fight. When I did though, God of War: Ascension’s multiplayer gets a lot right.
God of War: Ascension is set to be released exclusively on the PS3 on March 12th of 2013.