God of War: Ascension – Multiplayer Preview

I’m going to do my best to convey exactly what I saw when Santa Monica Studio showed off God of War: Ascension‘s multiplayer mode in Southern California last week. Of course, I may have missed a few details, what with all the blood and guts turning my stomach over. One thing’s for sure, even with eight Grecian warriors on screen, there was more than enough shouting, stabbing, and entrails to go around.

At the outset, the demo seemed to start with a close shot of Kratos, set to do battle, but as the camera pulled out and the player character donned a set of customizable armor, it was revealed that there were actually two players fighting a mini-boss Cyclops. One player used chains to pull the monster down while the other leapt onto the beast’s back. Dragging a massive sword down the monster’s chest, Vito Corleone-style, both players were treated to a nice close up of the Cyclops’ small intestine as it spilled out of the fresh gape in his abdomen.

To prove that the demo we were seeing was in fact live, the developer up front asked each to perform a taunt. With that house keeping behind them, the two warriors proceeded down a corridor that opened up into a full multiplayer arena, complete with an affectionately dubbed “Megaclops,” a Titan-sized brother of the previously violated Cyclops in the starting area.

Of course, the real surprise was that there were six other warriors hopping around the battlefield, beating the crap out of each other while the giant roared and struggled with the massive chains attached to his head. The two players from the start hopped on a quick zipline into the action and proceeded to attack the blue-tinged enemies. Having literally cleaved their enemies in two, the partners made their way to the first domination point.

We were witnessing a game of Team Execution, a mode that pits two teams of four against each other in a struggle over a series of points. These points were actually gears that controlled the chains attached to the giant Cyclops’ head. When a red team member activated the chains, it would pull the big baddie to one side of the arena, and if a blue team member activated the chains, the Cyclops would be yanked to the other side.

On the second successful chain capture, the player we were following received the Spirit of Olympus, a lightning-infused spear that also gave the player some projectile attacks to ward off enemies. With all the chains activated by the red team, the Cyclops was forced to the right platform.

Here, the player attacked the monster’s hands until he could start wailing on the creature’s face. A short quick time event commenced, and by the time it was over, the full might of the red team was in force. Having latched onto the Cyclops’ eyelid, the red team opened wide so that the Spirit of Olympus could be jammed straight into the iris.

Santa Monica Studio explained that these multiplayer battles would be fought to honor the different Gods players can align themselves with. Aligning yourself with Aries or Poseidon will result in different powers and perks. Players can also differentiate themselves with different armor and weapons, making combat as deep and engaging as Call of Duty, while sticking to the gore kills and visceral visuals God of War is known for.

The team on-hand was quick to remind us that God of War: Ascension is still a very single-player affair, noting that they decided to establish the single-player focus with the teaser trailer. While beating your friends to a bloody pulp in multiplayer will be a big draw for the title, Kratos will still star as the main act.

Look for more details on God of War: Ascension during out E3 2012 coverage. Check out more screenshots of multiplayer action below.