God of War: Ascension Beta Impressions

All the epic fights, brutal finishes and insane combos that define the God of War series are going online. If you’ve every dreamed of making your own Kratos-style warrior and duking it out with your friends, then you have something to look forward to in God of War: Ascension.

The game is in open beta right now. PlayStationPlus members currently have exclusive access, but developer Santa Monica Studios has said more beta invitations will be rolling out as they approach release.

The team has some ambitious goals set with the game. Looking to add a small story element with each multiplayer match.

On startup you will be taken to a grand coliseum where you will get to choose your allegiance to one of four Greek gods: Ares, Hades, Zeus or Poseidon. In the open beta only Ares and Zeus are available and whomever you choose will affect your combat role.

A player who chooses Ares, for example, will focus more on high-powered melee attacks while a player who chooses Zeus will act as more of a battle mage.
There’s a brief training segment you can choose to repeat until you feel comfortable with the controls and then you can take your skills online.

Before each match you can change you allegiance if you want, but you have to stick with your choice through the rest of the match.

Training Gameplay

As of press time, the only game type available is “Team Favor of the Gods” on a map called: “The Desert of Lost Souls.” Team Favor of the Gods is an objective based game-mode similar to team deathmatch where two teams of four fight and platform around the map while attempting to reach a set amount of points (favor) in order to win.
Favor is earned by killing enemies, capturing alters and collecting orbs from chests.

You’re constantly kept on guard however, as enemy players are not the only threats. Environmental hazards such as in-ground spikes can be set and – in the Desert of Lost Souls – the Titan Cyclops Polyphemus can attack and crush players who get to close.

Several boosts and treasures are also spread throughout the map. You can pick up an extra weapon to surprise your enemies, or pick up the Boots of Hermes for a temporary speed boost.

The game takes some getting used to. You really have to remember your combos and know when to cast spells. But it’s also just as crucial to know when to block. I can’t tell you how many times I was slaughtered because I played to aggressively and never thought to block against my target. Once you get it down, however, Santa Monica’s efforts really shine through. Nothing is more satisfying than getting the drop on your opponent and taking them down with a brutal finish!

Match Gameplay:

There are certain areas around the map, which contain mechanical gears that control the chains binding Polyphemus. If your team can manage to capture multiple gears and earn enough Favor, the gods will award your team with the Spear of Olympus, which will help you kill the one-eyed giant.

However, you need to make sure you hold your ground. If the enemy team captures another territory the spear will be lost and Polyphemus will reset to his original position.
As is typical with most multiplayer games these days you will earn experience at the end of each match based on how you and your team performed. You will level up and also earn coins to purchase new weapons, armor, and spells for your character.

I’m very interested to see what else Santa Monica has in store for the multiplayer as well as the campaign.

God of War: Ascension is set to launch in North America on March 12th of next year and March 13th in Europe.

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