Written by Twisted Ideas
One of the surprising features of God of War Ascension is that contains online multiplayer. This is odd for a tight 3D brawler to incorporate. Is multiplayer going to impact the single player in any way? Doubt it. Having played the single player last year and feeling underwhelmed is the multiplayer that one thing that gets me excited?
You start your online experience by creating choosing an alliance with one of the gods. Only Ares and Zeus are available in the beta. You receive different bonuses depending who you align yourself with. Before you enter a match you will see options allowing you to customize your Champion. You have weapons, armor and abilities that you can equip to customize. Weapons and armor effect can affect your strength, defense and other stats. Abilities contain your magic, items and relics for passive and reactive abilities. You can earn equipment as you level up and/or complete feats in matches. Each alliance has their own experience and leveling. Weapons and armor level up as you use them in matches. Abilities can be enhanced by paying tokens you earn as you level up.
Combat is what you expect from God of War but with a few new features. You are now able to parry, use new abilities with cooldown time, activate a combo breaker. You can grab opponents but only when they are vulnerable when they dodge and after being hit by certain moves or combos. You can block most standard attack but they can be broken with charged attacks, some abilities and magic. Each of the stages have weapons that can pick up and use and traps you can activate and set. Each can be very effective if players are caught on the receiving end.
There are currently three game modes: Favor of the Gods, Team Favor of the Gods and Capture the Flag. Favor of the Gods is four person Free-For-All. Team Favor of the Gods is Domination style game where you have to capture three points until you reach the target score. Capture the Flag has you running into opponent’s bases and stealing their flag and returning it to yours. Each mode has power ups, weapons, health and magic pools and stage hazards. Your objective is to reach the target goal whether it be the score or number of flags.
The format for online involves you playing against more than one opponent. There are times where opponents either interrupt combos or steal kills. This is especially frustrating when you have a dominating performance. The matchmaking is terrible. Whether it is the lack of players or the net code you may have a hard time finding games. Team Favor and Capture the Flag do not start unless the game is full and games do not repopulate if players leaves a game. In Team Favor of the Gods or Capture the Flag an uneven team is more detrimental than it is in a shooter. The panels that restore health appear too frequently in Favor of the God and can easily change the flow of a battle. Most of the time lag isn’t an issue until it is and you have players skipping across the stage.
I know that this is a beta but there’s a lot of work to be done. There is no way to interact with other players in-game other than talking through a headset. You cannot make parties for team games, see their levels or send messages outside of the manual input in the XMB. The game doesn’t give you enough feed back and when it does give you some it’s hard to see when in action. When fights involve more than two people it’s very difficult to tell what is happening or if you’re being hit. Also there are skills and abilities that are tied into alliances. I have no idea what some players are doing but abilities on Zeus’s side are extremely cheap like magic that seems breaks combos sucks you into it with little or no way to avoid. Also Team Favor has an objective where you can kill the cyclops and win the game prematurely. There is nary a word about that in the game and there’s a long obnoxious cinematic showing the other team winning.
There is more for me to explore in the beta but I do not care. I’m having a horrible experience with the beta because what seems to be choices I made in the beginning of the game and terrible matchmaking. Early on when matches were combat based I enjoyed it slightly. As the combat shifted more towards magic I felt helpless. I could have switched my gear and even alliance to deal with magic effectively but because matches are long and finding matches just as long I lost interest real fast.
I’ve been over God of War after 3 but, admittedly, Ghost of Sparta surprised me. I’ve played the E3 build of the game and now the multiplayer and Sony hasn’t shown me anything to spend money on them in the first quarter of the year.