Introducing a feature EXCLUSIVE to TRG: The Double Take.
Sometimes just a few hours isn’t enough to gauge an online experience. Real Gamers don’t just glance at a game – we immerse ourselves! From time to time we will be taking a second look at some online experiences, comparing our initial reaction with one that has delved deeper into a game’s offerings.
The initial feel of a game can be misleading, especially in the multiplayer realm. Uncharted 3, for example, initially feels like any other shooter, third person or otherwise. Yet upon further observation, it is clear that that game is deeper than the facade would indicate. As the old cliche goes – don’t judge a book by its cover. In this case, don’t judge a game by its first few hours of play. I digress!
God of War: Ascension took a bold step in introducing multiplayer to a wildly successful singleplayer experience. Its singlepayer was indeed an evolved take on the series’ familiar mechanics, but what would happen if the developers took those same ideas and placed them into an accessible online form? Sony Santa Monica did just that with some minor adjustments to the core mechanics.
At first, the multiplayer can feel a bit like a button masher. Rarely, though, does button mashing lead to victory in this game.
After many hours of grinding – maxing out all weapons requires a SIGNIFICANT chunk of time – Ascension’s multiplayer shows its depth. Many online experiences struggle to balance the many facets of their offerings but this one nails it on the first try. Whether you wish to pledge your allegiance to Ares, Hades, Poseidon, or Zeus, you’ll have all the tools you need to succeed.
When I began my excursion into GoW:A’s multiplayer, I was admittedly biased toward liking it. I played the beta and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very few things, in my opinion, needed to be changed. For one: not enough game modes. Still, earning “The Favor of the Gods” is the goal but a severe lack of combat specific modes exist. Where is the deathmatch?
For a game so balanced and so focused upon combat, it comes as a surprise that we don’t see more competitive modes. Ascension almost screams for a mode or two that pits skill against skill yet all that exists are modes that weigh gaining objectives against getting kills and assists. Sure, the overall experience winds up being unique, but encounters contain such depth that one wonders why that aspect of the gameplay isn’t expanded upon through modes that highlight the combat itself.
Lag can be a huge deterrent in this game, as with any. It can be a GLARING problem in Ascension, though. In shooters, the need for extra bullets can be difficult to perceive but delayed sword impacts are painfully obvious. Thankfully, an ever-improving matchmaking system seems to limit this latency but be careful joining a party with friends in other countries!
Originally, I scored this game a 9.2. For the multiplayer alone:. While the gameplay itself contains a bit of depth, it lacks the modes that would push it into the realm of “must play,” mostly on the competitve side of things. Patches of DLC maps, equipment, and skills have been promised by Sony Santa Monica during the coming months and hopefully the additions will augment the experience in some way. Custom games and larger than 4-man parties are a must for advanced battles and the level cap should also be increased beyond the current 30-per-God it sits at now. Thankfully, SSM has confirmed the level cap will be increased to 40 very soon.
All in all, that 9.2 score holds up, if potential is factored in. As it sits now, the Multiplayer is a solid 8, though, with the potential to be a 10. So many augmentations will have to be made for it to reach that pinnacle that is seems unlikely it’ll ever get there. For now, devoting several hours to your online champion can be an entertaining sideshow while you wait for The Last of Us.