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'God of War: Ascension' multiplayer beta on the way

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God of War: Ascension developer Sony Santa Monica will soon be testing out the game's multiplayer component in a beta period, the studio announced today.

God of War: Ascension developer Sony Santa Monica will soon be testing out the game's multiplayer component in a beta period, the studio announced today.

"It's critical to our team that we receive as much community feedback to tune and prime our multiplayer mode for one of the best experiences possible," said game director Todd Papy. The multiplayer beta will be available worldwide, and PlayStation Plus members will get an early crack at it. But the first public access goes to Gamescom 2012 attendees: Ascension will be playable in both single-player and multiplayer form on the show floor.

Sony Santa Monica also provided additional details on the game's multiplayer component. At the start, you pledge yourself to the service of one of four gods — Ares, Hades, Poseidon, or Zeus — each of whom offers a unique play style with its own particular combat abilities. You'll earn experience points to upgrade your warrior with new armor, weapons, and abilities; the idea is that cooperative teams will be diversified enough to take on all challengers.

The game's main multiplayer mode is called Favor of the Gods. Two teams of four battle for points (known as "Favor"), which can be earned through kills as well as other activities, including capturing altars and collecting the series' trademark red orbs. Power-ups confer brief bonuses such as extra speed. The first team to reach the round's predetermined point total wins. But on the way to victory, both teams will have a shot to take down a colossal beast with the Spear of Olympus, which drops from the heavens and could turn the tide of battle.

God of War: Ascension is set for release on March 12, 2013, exclusively for PlayStation 3. A new multiplayer trailer from Gamescom is available to watch below; for more details, check out our previews from April and E3.