The sun's rays make his complexion seem gold, and highlight the red painted markings. His heavy breathing proclaims he's ready for battle - and it ready for him.
An awful, one-eyed horror is revealed, saliva flying out of the monster's mouth. Even the bravest of men would have retreated. Our hero stands alone. Raises his sword, pulls down a helmet forged from the remains of other defeated creatures. Readies for battle.
But then something unexpected. Something never seen in previous tales. Another armed warrior enters, and together the two work as one to defeat their enemy. A few seconds later, stone tiles bleed red with gore.
This is still God of War. Still one of the rawest and most brutal interpretations of Greek mythology ever. But something is different. Neither of these heroes are the tormented warrior Kratos. These newcomers are anonymous; two avatars under control of members from Santa Monica Studio.
God of War has gone multiplayer.
My first thought is that co-op has finally come to God of War. But oh so wrong I was. The warriors two continue through gorges and dilapidated corridors and spill out onto a great battlefield, where they're joined by two more, also garbed in red. Across the way await four blue-painted warriors, equally as battle-ready. An epic struggle commences.
These brave souls are not alone in the arena. In the treacherous sandstorm watches a hulking monstrosity large enough to take on a titan.
It is none other than Polyphemus, the Cyclops. Luckily, this beast is chained by the gods, but there is nothing to stop him from attacking the soldiers who are stupid enough to approach him.
However, Polyphemus is also the goal, with the gods rewarding whichever army manages to slay him. To do so, the monster must first be tamed even further, by way of two points in the arena. One Red charges to one of these points and starts pulling a huge lever to tighten the chains of the cyclops further, weakening the one-eyed creature for the moment.
Elsewhere the bloody battle continues. Many wield swords, that can turn into two small daggers, than by way of attached chains can be swung much like the legendary blades of Kratos. Others are armed with huge hammers, the impact of which cause surroundings to shake . We watch some combine their attacks to cause maximum damage to their opponents. It's controlled chaos.
The blue-painted team fight hard into to give up first place, but it's already too late. The reds have hit the two points, and draw the attention of Zeus, who casts down a might thunderbolt for them to use.
One of the red men pick up the enchanted weapon and all four warriors approach the now weak Polyphemus. The man with the thunderbolt weapon jump up on the beast, while the others try to hold it still with their chains. Something that quite possibly could be a cooperative Quick Time Event begins, ending with the Cyclops face being torn, with blood spraying in all directions.
And so ends an ordinary round of the game mode Team Execution of God of War: Ascension. Two teams of four players each battling for control of two points on the map, only to assure profits by slaying the huge Cyclops in the middle of the stage. And this is just a small taste of a very ambitious multiplayer component named Champion of the Gods.