On April 20th 2018, God of War was released on PlayStation 4 and quickly became one of the most revered and celebrated titles of the generation and is already held up as one of the greatest games ever made. For a handful of players, this was their first taste of Kratos as they ventured with him through the harsh landscapes of ancient Scandinavia struggling with the ghosts of his past while trying to teach his son not repeat the sins of the father.
Though the story unfolds beautifully and violently before our ours, there will be a few links of the chain missing for those who hadn’t witnessed the beginning of Kratos’s saga and witnessed the tragedy that shaped a feared yet respected spartan general into The God of War. Full of fast-paced, combo heavy gameplay, intense boss battles, quick-time events, inventive puzzles and buckets of violence, Kratos’s early days were a stark reflection of the man he was before his 2018 return. In celebration of the second anniversary of Krato’s rebirth into the gaming world, let TBG take you back as we look at the events that lead to this stellar experience focusing on the core trilogy and remember, there are consequences to killing a god!
Introducing The Ghost of Sparta
In 2005 gamers were introduced to God of War, Set in a dark… well darker version of ancient Greece we were thrust into a world of swords and sandals like no other and introduced to Kratos. Once a powerful general in the Spartan army who’s name was feared across the land was thought to be unstoppable, until one day his army faced defeat at the hands of the Barbarians. On his knee’s about to be struck down, Kratos calls out to the God of War “Ares! Destroy my enemies, and my life is yours!” As thunder cracks the blackened sky the awesome presence of Ares steps through and rids the land of the Barbarian hordes and he takes Kratos as his personal agent on earth.
Knowing that no mere sword or spear will suffice for a servant of the Gods, Ares fashions Kratos with The Blades of Chaos, huge blades attached to chains that are seared to his arms as a symbol of his servitude to the God of War, Kratos now set’s out to do the bidding of Ares, without question he slays all in his path, relentlessly blood drunk with power, the only persons capable of taming him is his loving wife and child. Seeing that Kratos will never reach his full potential while he still has compassion, Ares set’s in motion a plan that leads to Kratos cutting down his own wife and child. This does not have the effect Ares hoped for as Kratos, beside himself with grief, breaks his oath of servitude and turns his back on Ares causing him to be marked forever for his cruel deeds as the ashes of his loved ones cover his body turning him a haunting shade of white, forever earning him the name “The Ghost of Sparta”.
God of War (2005)
God of War didn’t stand on ceremony, kicking things off with Krato’s ship being attacked by the dreaded hydra. This baptism of fire tutorial has Krato’s strutting his stuff by cutting down hoards of the undead before going toe to toe, or toe to tooth with the hydra in what will be the first of many epic boss battles. After a nightmarish vision of his regretful past, Kratos calls out to the god, Athena.
After turning his back on Ares, Kratos has served the other Gods of Olympus for a decade in the hope he may rid himself of the nightmares that plague him, but Athena has one final task. Ares has begun assaulting her city of Athens and while Zeus has forbidden the Gods from waging war on each other, they task Kratos, a human trained by a god, to defeat the God of War. If he succeeds, his past will be forgiven.
Kratos must now begin his adventure by battling through Athens and facing down creatures from minotaurs to medusa in the hopes of finding a way to defeat a God. Only one item has the power to achieve this, Pandora’s box. Kratos heads into the Desert of Lost Souls where the last Titan, Cronos, crawls for eternity with the temple of pandora strapped to his back. This temple will be no easy task to overcome, filled with terrible traps, perplexing puzzles, mutilating monsters and ancient powers, Kratos must acquire gifts from the gods if he is to stand a chance at surviving this lethal labyrinth.
Just when Kratos gets his hands on pandora’s box and looks set for victory, he is struck down by Ares. Not one to sleep on the job, Kratos’s rage and lust for revenge awaken him and he fights his way through Hades and returns to the land of the living, unleashing the power of Pandoras Box and gaining godly powers he defeats Ares but his nightmares and visions still plague him. Athena informs him that his past is forgiven but the gods will not relieve him of his nightmares. Overcome with grief once more Kratos cast’s himself from the highest peak and plummets to his death to end his suffering but the God’s have other ideas. A throne now sits empty in Olympus, as a reward for coming to their aid, Krato’s is risen to Olympus and crowned the new, God of War.
God of War 2 (2007)
Now crowned the new God of War but still haunted by his past, Kratos seeks comfort in destruction. Using his followers to sack cities throughout Greece he is shunned by his fellow gods and warned to stop his dastardly deeds. Ignoring Athena’s warning Kratos heads to Rhodes to assist his followers when he is struck by an eagle that drains him of his godly powers his situation turns bleak, as the statue of Rhodes comes to life and heads his way. Krato’s manages to defeat the statue but in his weakened state, is badly wounded, the Eagle reappears and turns out to be Zeus, who offers to help Kratos as long as he remains loyal to the Gods. Feeling betrayed once again, Kratos tells Zeus where to stick it before being murdered by the King of Olympus.
As the arms of hades reach up from the underworld to once again try and claim Kratos, the Titan Gaia, mother of earth, rescues him and informs him that if he is to undo his past and take revenge on the gods, he must seek out the Sisters of Fate who can alter his destiny by sending him back through time. Gaia provides him with Pegasus and he set’s off to find the sisters and get his revenge on the Gods of Olympus. After meeting the Titans, Prometheus and Typhon, Kratos heads to the island of creation where he encounters several others who are on the same quest including his old nemesis The Barbarian King, Perseus, Icarus and even the Titan, Atlus, father of Zeus, who tells Kratos of the great war Zeus started that lead to the Titans being trapped.
More enraged with hatred for the Gods, Kratos faces the Kraken before finding the sinister sisters of fate. Refusing to aid him, two of the sisters head back to try and stop Kratos from defeating Ares, Kratos follows and defeats them both before returning and facing the third and final sister. After doing so he returns to Rhodes and prevents Zeus from murdering him but before he can strike the final blow Athena intervenes begging the two Gods to end the fighting, Kratos swings for Zeus but Athena jumps in the way and is cut down allowing Zeus to retreat. As she dies in his arms, Athena tells Kratos the truth, Zeus is his father and was afraid Kratos would overthrow him just as Zeus had done to Atlus. Now more pissed off than ever, Kratos goes back in time and rescues the Titans, the game ends with the Titans climbing Mount Olympus, the Gods looking down as Kratos rides on the back of Gaia “Zeus! Your Son has returned!”.
God of War 3 (2010)
In what could be heralded as one of the most climatic trilogies, God of War 3 begins exactly where 2 finished. Kratos ascending Mount Olympus with the Titans while the Gods rally their defences. The first one to step up to the challenge is Poseidon. Throwing everything he has at the Titans and ensnaring Gaia, it’s up to the angry bald man to once again get stuff done. After a brutal fight, Kratos defeats Poseidon by gauging his eyes out and throwing him off the Mountain, as the Sea Gods body hits the ocean the waves turn violent and thrash wildly flooding the whole of Greece. Zeus hulks up and drives Gaia and Kratos back, refusing to save Kratos and declaring him a mere pawn, Gaia drops him and he plummets down to The River Styx which drains him of his powers and destroys the blades of Chaos.
Shortly after he encounters the spirit of Athena who informs him that as long as Zeus reigns, Mankind is doomed, she bestows on him The Blades of Exile and informs him the only way to kill Zeus is to extinguish The Flame of Olympus. Kratos reaches the end of The River Styx and finds himself standing before the Three Judges of the Underworld and The Chain of Balance before facing Hades, after defeating the God of the Underworld and unleashing the Souls of the Dead upon the world he has a vision he believes to be his daughter, as guilt and shame clash inside him with rage and anger, he continues his ascent with one thought, kill Zeus, no matter the cost.
Along the way Kratos encounters and defeats numerous foes including Hermes, Helios, who’s deaths causes the skies to turn black, Hera, whose death ends all plant life in Greece, Hephaestus and even Hercules himself (voiced by Kevin Sorbo) after none prove up to the task of stopping the Ghost of Sparta, Kratos must assemble the labyrinth that holds Pandora and break The Chain of Balance to raise it tot he top of Olympus so she can extinguish The Flame of Olympus that burn within Pandora’s Box. All in a days work for Kratos who is blinded by his lust for revenge he heads for his final showdown with Zeus, after a long and brutal battle, he finally slays his father and looks out upon the chaos and ruin that has been brought about with no god’s left to manage nature.
It is then revealed by the spirit of Athena, that when he opened Pandora’s box to defeat Ares, he was filled with the hope for Mankind but was unable to see as he was blinded by grief, where all the evils the box contained infected the Gods, driving them mad. Athena asks Kratos to return the power to her as she knows how to use it to help mankind, not wanting to trust a God and refusing to be a pawn any longer, Kratos impales himself on the sword of Olympus as an angry Athena looks on as the life drains from the God of War. After the credits we witness the continued devastation happening across the lands before revealing a trail of blood, and Kratos’s body gone.
God of War (2018)
Many years later we rejoin Kratos, a new man in a new world with new gameplay to reflect his more tempered personality. After seemingly wandering for years he found himself in a land far away from the ruins of Greece and settled down with a new wife who bore him a son, Atreus. Living peacefully for years in their woodland home and accepting his past, Kratos’s world is once again turned upside down by the death of his wife, Faye. Her last wish is to have her ashes taken to the highest peak in the nine realms. Now he and Atreus must embark on a journey across the harsh lands but the toughest task that faces Kratos, raising his son who has no idea of his true nature of his fathers past.
But once again Kratos’s past catches up with him, hounded by the God’s of Asgard, who do not take kindly to having The Ghost of Sparta in their land and have a keen interest in Atreus, God of War once again provides sprawling adventure full of mystery, rich lore, brutal combat, memorable characters and one of the most emotional coming of age stories ever seen in gaming, seen through the eyes of a father who’s many sins cannot be escaped by his son.
Every gamer owes it to themselves to experience this modern classic and if you have not yet played it, what better way to spend God of Wars second anniversary than by stepping into the ultimate tale of Choice and Consequence now.