Bringing multiplayer to franchises that never seemed to need it in the first place use to be something most would scoff off right away. Dead Space 2 shows us how some developers just throw this feature into a game with no care, while games like Assassin's Creed offers something unlike anything out there today. God of War Ascension was announced last year and instead of talk about the single player story with Kratos, Santa Monica Studio has put a heavy focus on the multiplayer.
After spending a good amount of time in the beta that recently released to all PlayStation Plus members I now see that this is much more than an added mode with a bunch of Kratos look a likes bashing skulls. From the get go I breezed through the tutorial acting as if this was just another God of War game and then I got into an actual match. I was getting the stuffing kicked out of me and had no idea what I was doing wrong.
That is until I realized that you are not suppose to play this like a normal God of War game. There is a heavy focus on timing, parrying, and working together when you are a team to reach success. Once you slow down, stop mashing square and triangle the real game begins. The fact that this game wasn't some mindless multiplayer component really helps it become addicting.
At the moment the beta is a bit limited on modes and map, but has a lot of customizing features to explore. The two game modes available as of this writing is Favor of the Gods and Team Favor of the Gods, with Capture the Flag coming soon. Favor of the Gods is your standard deathmatch mode where four player are in an arena to see who can get a certain amount of points first. This is normally achieved my killing your opponents in a brutal way. Right when a player is about to die you can grab them and execute one of the many brutal kills you would expect from God of War.
Team Favor of the Gods is where you will spend most of your time since it offers the most unique experience. This is where two teams of four see who can get the most points, but instead there are much options to get points this time. While you can still kill opponents for points, you can also find chest, capture points on the map,trigger traps for enemies to fall into, and take down a giant attacking the map. Mixing all of these options in with the surprisingly deep fighting mechanics makes this multiplayer beta hard to resist.
When you are not smashing skulls into the ground you will be unlocking gear, powers, and weapons for your champion. At the start of multiplayer you choose allegiance to one of four gods; Zeus, Aries, Hades, or Neptune. This will affect who magic powers you have in game, but if you want to test out the other god's powers you are free to do that as well. You unlock new things to use all the time and this lets you mix it up with new items to get better stats. Also you can find treasures like in Uncharted 3's multiplayer that act the same and unlock new gear and weapons. This is much easier and less random than Uncharted thankfully.
Even if you in no way a fan of the God of War games, this multiplayer beta really does a great job of doing something new with an old formula. Still when you take it for what it is, the game is still about extremely large men killing each other over and over, but mixed with the logic behind chess. If you still have not gotten a chance to try this out the beta can be downloaded free of the PlayStation store for all PlayStation Plus member for the next few weeks. God of Wat Ascension is looking much more than just a spin off and the breath of fresh air the game series has needed.