It would be an understatement to say that the announcement of the God of War multiplayer mode was met with a little head scratching. Then again, it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise since several single player oriented games are now including a multiplayer portion as well. With the release of God of War: Ascension only a few months away, Sony has decided to let PS3 fans get a taste of the multiplayer with an upcoming beta. In addition, Gamestop gave away 10,000 beta codes a few days ago for players who couldn’t wait until next month.
A brief training mode teaches the basics and instantly will make any God of War fan feel at home. At the onset, players will be a bit weak until leveling up as with most competitive online games. Winning matches and fulfilling goals grants experience and will unlock different customization options. Armor, weapons, magic, items, and more are present here. Upgrading abilities is virtually the same as in any God of War game. There are a surprising amount of abilities available for use in the beta. Though many will obviously fit a certain player type, mixing and matching creates a powerful (but not unbalanced) loadout.
Currently, the modes being offered for play are pretty basic. There is a straight up deathmatch mode which can be fun with enough players but kind of a mess with only about three. The obvious focus of the beta is the “Team Favor of the Gods” mode which blends deathmatch and domination/control points. Up to eight players are placed on an enormous map called “Desert of the Lost Souls” where they try to rack up kills, capture points, and kill the enormous cyclops, Polyphemus, in the background. The map is full of deathtraps, items, mayhem, and the trademark God of War spectacle.
On the downside, this mode can lose its fun with only a couple players on either side. More traps and environmental hazards might mix up the strategy a bit more as well. A complaint that could be had with the multiplayer is one that is also thrown at the single player game: button-mashing. Yes, a lot of the combat focus around tapping circle or triangle as fast as possible; but doing so might also get you killed around players that change up strategies. Special attacks are hard to aim but can be an enormous help. It is also worth mentioning that it’s entirely possible to stay alive against two other players attacking you. By using the right abilities, players can come out the victors. That is, until being smashed by an enormous cyclops’ fist.
After spending a great deal of time playing matches and leveling up, it’s a good feeling not to have been disappointed by the God of War multiplayer. The series never actually begged for the mode and it still might not be entirely necessary. The fact is, minus a few minor issues, this is how it should feel to play a God of War game online. Keeping in mind that this is just a beta should get a lot of fans excited about what is to come in the final release.
The God Of War: Ascension Multiplayer Beta begins Jan. 8 and is open to all Playstation Plus users. Players who pre-order the game before its March 12 release will receive the “Mythological Heroes Pack” which opens up the armor of Achilles, Perseus, Orion, and Odysseus for use in the multiplayer.