God of War: Ascension multiplayer beta hits PlayStation Plus on January 8

God of War Ascension tutorial

In a newly published blog post found on Sony’s official PlayStation.blog, the company reveals a surprising wealth of information on the upcoming multiplayer beta test for God of War: Ascension. We first brought you word of this test in November when Sony opened sign ups for the beta to the public, but at the time we had yet to hear when this test might occur. While Sony still hasn’t revealed when the average PlayStation 3 owner might be able to join the test, we now know that PlayStation Plus subscribers will be granted early access and could be playing the unreleased game as early as January 8.

Ah, but that’s not all. Instead of merely offering up this special release date, Sony’s associate product manager Derek Osgood also uses the opportunity to go into candid detail on what the company plans to include in the beta test. “We are kicking off the Beta with our signature Team Favor of the Gods mode and the yet-to-be-seen Favor of the Gods mode, which plays like Team Favor of the Gods, but without the teams. In both modes, you’ll fight to reach the requisite number of favor points from the Gods, earning points via kills, bonus brutal kills, opening chests, capturing domination points, and, if you’re skillful enough, performing executions using the Spear of Olympus,” Osgood writes.

Further, Osgood also offers up information on which multiplayer maps PlayStation Plus subscribers will find in Ascension’s multiplayer beta. To wit:

You’ve seen the Desert of Lost Souls, featuring our massive Titan, Polyphemus. If you were not fortunate enough to experience this map at one of our various events earlier this year, you will get your chance to go head-to-head in this epic map in the Beta.

Only a fool would believe we are stopping there — this is God of War! God of War: Ascension multiplayer levels are broken out into two categories: larger maps, which feature big open environments (like the Desert of Lost Souls), and more compact arenas, which bring the action in tight to test your reflexes as you fight for survival in close-quarters combat. Fans of God of War III will remember the Hercules Arena, one of the Top 5 most epic moments in the God of War franchise, and we’re really excited to introduce our “Forum of Hercules” Multiplayer Arena level!

In addition to these online offerings, Osgood also claims that the beta will grant users access to the game’s tutorial level, saying that players will “be able to test [their] might with both Zeus and Ares allegiances, and experience a taste of the player customization options and upgrades that will be in the final game.”

While we’re still waiting to hear when Sony plans to open the beta test to the general public, those of you who just can’t wait to slay online foes could sign up for a PlayStation Plus membership purely for early access. Of course, the service also offers users a handful of free, big-name games (LittleBigPlanet 2 and inFamous 2 are two examples) that alone could serve as ample impetus to shell out for a PlayStation Plus membership (which Amazon currently has listed at $50 for a year of service). Alternately, if you have no interest in the beta or would rather save your cash for God of War: Ascension, the game is slated to hit store shelves on March 12.

Gaming

Once the dust settles, 'Fallout 76' will be a nuclear wasteland worth exploring

The launch of Fallout 76 has been nothing short of apocalyptic, but that doesn’t mean the game is dead on arrival. Bethesda has a path forward, paved by The Elder Scrolls Online, another game that suffered a rocky start.
Gaming

Players' 'Red Dead Online' beta progress will carry over to the full release

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Gaming

What you should know about 'Battlefield V,' and what to expect with Tides of War

Battlefield V is one of the most ambitious games Electronic Arts and DICE have ever released, including full campaign, multiplayer, and battle royale modes, all while not charging players extra for new maps.
Gaming

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.
Gaming

Joker from ‘Persona 5’ will take your heart in ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’

Joker, the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts from Persona 5, will arrive to Super Smash Bros. as its first DLC character. The announcement was a surprising one, because Persona 5 is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Gaming

‘Magic: The Gathering’ enters esports relevance with $10 million prize pool

Wizards of the Coast is pushing Magic: The Gathering into esports relevance with a prize pool of $10 million across the tabletop version and Magic: The Gathering Arena. Will the game be able to compete with Hearthstone and Overwatch?
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for December 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles, as well as bundles that feature games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Gaming

Get some bang for your buck with these Nintendo Switch console deals at Walmart

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the past, but you can still get some bang for your buck on game consoles before the holiday season is done. Walmart has various Nintendo Switch bundles on sale right now.
Product Review

‘Just Cause 4’ is mindless fun that leaves little room for much else

Just Cause 4 revels in explosions and over-the-top action, but its world feels empty and hollow. With few new ideas and a stale open world, it's a fun but shallow piece of escapism.
Gaming

‘CS:GO’ goes free-to-play and players are not happy about it

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), has gone free-to-play this week in a controversial move. Players are angry that the problem of cheating will get much worse now that anyone can make a disposable account to play.
Gaming

The most common Xbox One X problems, and how to fix them

The Xbox One X is a brilliant console, but it's not without its issues, ranging from simple annoyances to severe hardware problems. Here are common Xbox One X problems and how to fix them.
Gaming

How to delete and reinstall games on your Xbox One

Removing and reinstalling games on the Xbox One's hard drive isn't difficult, but it's a process that not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, our guide will run you through each step so you'll know precisely what to do.
Gaming

‘Street Fighter V’ players will get bonuses if they allow in-game ads

Capcom will show in-game advertisements on Street Fighter V starting December 11. Players may choose to deactivate the ads, but they will miss out on some bonuses and content if they do so.