For the rest of you who probably need a little more information, I'll explain. Since the PlayStation 2 days, every Sony fan has probably heard of God of War. A third person action/adventure game series, it has certainly become one of Sony's biggest franchises, with Kratos and his story of revenge against the Greek gods who wronged him becoming one of Sony's most popular characters. So far, five games have been released in the main series, spanning across the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PSP, and all five of them have since been bundled into a $40 PS3 package called God of War Saga. That is an awesome deal and I highly recommend it for those who have never played a GoW game or for anyone who would like a refresher on the series.
But enough of the background and shameless plug. When God of War: Ascension was announced last year, it raised quite a few eyebrows because for the first time ever, the developers at Sony Santa Monica were adding an extensive online multiplayer mode to a God of War game. Last week, a beta build of that mode was released to PlayStation Plus members, and after playing it, any fears I had were put to rest.
For anyone who's played a GoW game before, the controls are exactly what you'd expect, and for anyone else, an in-depth tutorial that takes place atop Mt. Olympus will get you up to speed. From there, you swear your allegiance to a god, and this is what shapes your warrior as you advance and level up. In the beta, the only options are Ares and Zeus, but in the final game, Hades and Poseidon are available as well. What's nice is you're never locked into your allegiance; you can change and try something else out at any time. Then as you gain experience and level up, you can customize your warrior, including getting new armor, weapons, and abilities; another nice touch is you can continue to customize your warrior as you search and wait for matches to start.
A variety of game types will be available to players, but the beta included three: Favor of the Gods, Team Favor of the Gods, and Capture The Flag. Favor of the Gods is a basic free-for-all slayer game. Earning kills and other accomplishments earns you "favor" (aka points), and the first person to reach 8,000 favor is the winner. Team Favor of the Gods, as the name suggests, is a team slayer game. Two teams of four battle it out to be the first to reach 8,000 favor. Finally, Capture the Flag is pretty self-explanatory. Two teams of four rush to be the first to earn 5 flag captures, earning plenty of brutal kills along the way. After playing all three, I can say that they are quite fun, and the graphics are absolutely gorgeous; the development team has obviously worked hard to make sure that multiplayer is just as solid as the story mode, and that will be sure to add tons of replay value to this game. There are plenty of surprises that I won't spoil, so if you're interested and a PlayStation Plus member, download it (for free) and check it out!
One last thing: This game seems to be great for fans and newcomers alike. Very little has been confirmed about the single-player story, but what is known is that Ascension will be the first game chronologically, taking place six months after Kratos murdered his wife and child during his crazed time serving Ares (spoiler alert...for an eight year old game), long before the events of the first God of War. Between that and the fun multiplayer mode, this is as good a time as any for gamers to dive in and see what all the fuss is about!