Learn how to fight as if you were taught by Kratos himself in the God of War: Ascension Multiplayer Beta, exclusive to PlayStation Plus.
Your first stop is the Rotunda of Olympus, where you learn the nitty-gritty of gruesome gladiator combat. Here you'll pick up vital techniques on special attacks, blocking, parrying and combos.
These early battles are essential to master, as the computer-controlled opponents are a lot more forgiving than other fellow gamers you'll face in the multiplayer modes. Don't be afraid to replay these training stages to brush up on your skills until you're confident of your battle prowess.
Choose your god wisely
Before you leave the Rotunda of Olympus, choose which god you'll pledge your allegiance to. In this Beta, you can pick between Zeus or the Greek god of war, Ares.
If you're a combo brawler who likes close combat, give Ares a try. You'll be blessed with defence-crippling fire magic and items to give you the edge in physical confrontations. However, if you prefer a more tactical fight, pick Zeus. With the Greek god of thunder and lightning on your side, you're able to call down powerful electrical magic to stun opponents, as well as use items which improve your defence.
The art of war
Victory is all about balancing attack and defence - going all out will only get you so far before you come up against an opponent who will overpower you. Parry regular attacks to stun your rival, and wear down stubborn blockers with throws and defence-smashing special moves. Quick attacks can get you out of a fix and swiftly dodging can earn you precious seconds and space to counter.
Essential arena awareness
Hercules' pit has wall spikes which you can slam your opponents into for extra damage. It can also give you time to collect any items or power-ups that materialise in the arena.
If you're feeling sneaky, you can push your foe out of the ring for a quick victory. Play it smart and you can lure a powerful enemy into attacking you while you're close to the edge of the arena. Then quickly roll out of the way as they start their combo and strike them from behind - gravity will do the rest...
Demigod Hercules isn't just a passive observer during your fight - he takes part in it, too. If he opens up the cave below his throne, rush inside to activate a trap switch. This rains down deadly arrows onto the arena and, hopefully, your hapless foe.
Also listen out for when Hercules screams in rage, as he'll leap down into the pit and create a devastating shock wave that can stun any warriors caught in it. Time your jump perfectly and you can take advantage of your opponents' carelessness.
Stick with it, Spartan
Even if you're getting hammered by a merciless adversary, don't quit the game. You'll get bonuses for completing the match, which you'll need to make your Champion stronger.
If you know there's no way to win the match, focus on completing achievements which can give your character a boost for future battles. Opening a specific number of red orb chests or grabbing special treasure can help improve your Champion, letting you buy armour, weapons and items before your next match.
Join PlayStation Plus and download the action-packed God of War: Ascension Multiplayer Beta at no added cost from PlayStation Store today. If you're not yet a member of the value-packed PlayStation Plus service, find out how to subscribe here.