Why God of War: Ascension's multiplayer has our attention
- God Of War
Words by Mick Fraser
The new gameplay trailer for Sony’s God-slaying prequel, God of War: Ascension, appeared on the ‘net this week, showing off the rather awesome-looking multiplayer component. Here’s the trailer and what we think, natch.
We’re not sure about the current trend of shoehorning a multiplayer mode into every existing franchise. Hell, it’s difficult not to straddle the fence on the subject. Properties like Bioshock and Dead Space were made absolutely no richer for the inclusion of an online mode, while Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood were greatly enhanced by it. Hmm.
Either way you look at it, one series you probably wouldn’t have expected to ever feature multiplayer is God of War, the Playstation-only one-man-versus-the-Heavens opus centring around the demi-god Kratos and his assortment of sharp stabby implements. With the prequel, subtitled Ascension, heading back in time to an era before our tattooed slaphead went insanely deicidal, it seems a good choice to introduce something as new and dramatically different as a multiplayer element.
And if we’re honest, it looks bloody great. Deeper than you might expect, the mode (or at least what has been revealed so far) focuses on two teams fighting for the right to sacrifice a “Megalops” (which is dev team talk for an enormous, screen-filling cyclops). This involves capturing and defending two huge chain systems that drag the creature ever closer to the multi-levelled arena and hold it in place while you lop each other apart.
The violence is best described as exquisite, offering the kind of limb-slicing, face-crushing bloodbaths that only God of War can prescribe. Timing your attacks correctly will leave your opponent open for a finisher (much like in the solo campaign), which will either do massive damage or, for example, impale them on the end of your ridiculously-oversized double-bladed sword.
Choosing which god to worship (from Ares, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon) will determine certain skills and which weapons and armour pieces can be unlocked or equipped, so there’s a certain amount of depth where character progression is concerned – far more interesting than just selecting a musclehead, arming him and smacking the snot out of each other. Weapons and equipment will be scattered around the arena, allowing for team members to improve on the fly, and if Sony’s claims that you’ll be able to “level up” during a match come to fruition then there’s a lot of room for dynamic, tactical play.
Killing the other team and maintaining control over the Titan’s chains will earn Favour, the cosmic currency required to call down the Spear of the Gods. When this colossal weapon smashes into the arena, the onus is on seizing it and using to put an end to the Megalops once and for all.
With so few details so far announced for the solo campaign, it looks like Sony’s Santa Monica Studios are really pushing the new direction – and it’s easy to see why. All the trademark brutality and gargantuan bosses we’ve come to expect from God of War thrown into 8-player arenas, with added character progression and, Mother of God, loot? Where do we kneel?
Now all we need is that long-rumoured Vita tie-in (hint hint).
God of War: Ascension is being developed by Sony Santa Monica Studios and published by SCE. It is scheduled for release some time in the fist half of 2013. For more information, visit the official site.
Words by Mick Fraser (Twitter: @Jedi_Beats_Tank)