I think few people were surprised to hear Sony planned to release another God of War game. God of War: Ascension will serve as a prequel to the trilogy, showing Kratos before and — from the looks of it — just after his run-in with Ares. From what we saw at the show, the gameplay is every bit as visceral and hard-hitting as we expect. I’m sure I don’t need to mention the game is gorgeous to boot. But it wasn’t the singleplayer game that caught our eye.
In today’s age of “we have to add multiplayer,” it’s easy to approach multiplayer offerings with a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, how would multiplayer even fit into Kratos’ world? The answer, as one of the developers told us, is “very God of War.” The 8-player objective-based system will see teams of 4 select the favor of Zeus, Ares, Poseidon, or Hades, and brawl it out while trying to achieve 5,000 points. Did we mention there’s a giant boss lurking over the entire level? In our gameplay, once a side reached 4,000 points, the gods dropped a weapon onto the field. We made a beeline for it and proceeded to kill the boss, thus gaining us an additional 1,000 points. Just think about that for a moment: multiplayer during a boss fight. “Very God of War.”
Winning matches will earn your character favor with the gods, which you can use to upgrade and enhance your character. The idea is that players will continue to level and perfect their play style through this system. However, the developers were very quick to stress that new players will not find themselves in an unbalanced blood bath. The levels themselves contain GoW-style offerings with traps and weapons you may use to your benefit. So even if you’re not as strong as your opponent, if you’re quick and clever, you’ll easy outwit them.
Wits will be a big part of the multiplayer offering, too. A lot of emphasis was put on the need to plan your attacks and strategize with your team. Santa Monica isn’t looking to offer a button mashing frenzy. To say we were “intrigued” is putting it mildly.
God of War: Ascension is set to release on March 12, 2013 for PS3.