Filled with the unchecked anger of a God who takes down the whole pantheon of Greek gods, the God of War games are one of the best action game franchises out there. It has breathtaking set-pieces that see series protagonist Kratos going face-to-face against gods and creatures from Greek mythology and decimating them in the most violent and brutal ways possible.
The series is known for its tight platforming, interesting puzzles, robust hack-and-slash combat, and most of all, some of the best and most spectacular boss battles. Over the years, the series has seen massive changes, which have seen Kratos go from a mindless killing machine to a subtle and often polite father figure.
Although it was primarily set in Greek mythology, the series has recently adopted Norse mythology after Kratos practically destroyed the entire Greek pantheon. With the upcoming God of War Ragnarok being right around the corner, here's a look back at the franchise's history.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author's opinions.
Putting all mainline God of War games on a tier
7) God of War: Chains of Olympus
Chains of Olympus is the perfect example of the flexibility of the series, which allows it to be an equally enjoyable game even on the tiny screen of the PlayStation Portable. It is one of the most ambitious games on the handheld platform, with gameplay that practically mirrors the original title and includes the series' signature bombastic action set-pieces and boss fights.
Chains of Olympus was set during Kratos' ten years of service to Olympus, as he tries to save the city of Attica from Persian invaders before getting engulfed by the gods and their conspiracies of destroying the Pillar of the World.
Although the premise starts strong, it doesn't quite land its footing regarding character development and pacing.
6) God of War: Ghost of Sparta
Ghost of Sparta, in every sense of the word, is an improvement over the last handheld entry in the God of War series. It saw significant additions to the formulaic gameplay that made the title much more enjoyable.
The biggest overhaul was done to its narrative. As opposed to a cookie-cutter plot of Kratos getting entangled in yet another godly conspiracy, the story here is a personal tale of the mad spartan and his long-lost brother Deimos.
Ghost of Sparta resolved many lingering questions fans had regarding Kratos' past while delivering a high-octane action-adventure experience. The only gripe users might have with the game today is its dated visuals, which, even for a game that came out more than a decade ago, are not to sniff at.
5) God of War: Ascension
When Ascension came out, it was immediately apparent that the developers at Santa Monica Studio, although very passionate about their beloved action-adventure series, were severely running out of ideas on where to take the series next.
After their last title saw Kratos annihilating the Greek pantheon, there weren't many unexplored stories to set an entire game on.
Ascension wasn't a bad game; it was a decent action title, but the series had run out of steam by that point. Those playing God of War games since 2005 were clamoring for something new and inventive to reinvigorate the franchise.
The game saw players delve into Kratos' past again as he tried to overcome the guilt and resentment over his family's death while hunting down the Furies who tortured him for breaking his oath to Ares.
Although the story is pretty entertaining, it feels derivative of the previous five games in the series and ultimately feels like an unnecessary rehash of the same formula.
4) God of War (2005)
The game that started it all, God of War (2005), was one of the most iconic action games in PlayStation's history. Taking notes from other hack-and-slash action games of the time, like Capcom's Devil May Cry, the title gives players a visceral hack-and-slash combat experience.
Watching Kratos violently kill a three-headed Hydra at the start of the game with nothing but his dual chained blades and unchecked aggression was undeniably the most spectacular display of raw strength and brutality. Kratos' journey from a mere mortal to becoming the titular God of War is genuinely marvelous.
The diverse and engaging gameplay of the game saw gamers fight a plethora of creatures from Greek mythology, solve environmental and platforming puzzles, and partake in some of the most cinematic boss battles.
The puzzles and long-winded platforming sections made repeat playthroughs a chore, which is the only nit-pick of the game.
3) God of War 2
God of War 2 is one of PlayStation 2's most beloved titles, featuring a revamped combat of the original game backed by some of the most cinematic action set-pieces in the franchise. Its opening with a multi-staged fight against the Colossus of Rhodes is a particular highlight of the series.
The sequel did everything the original game did, but on a much grander scale, which made it even more memorable. Following his victory over Ares, Kratos set out on a path of vengeance against the rest of the Greek gods.
With an even more fluid and responsive combat system and less intrusive puzzles and platforming sections, the sequel massively improves over the original title.
2) God of War 3
The finale of the original trilogy saw Kratos finally reach mount Olympus and challenge the almighty Zeus, who he blames most for the suffering and trauma he has faced in his life. God of War 3 picks right up from the end of the last game, which ended on a cliffhanger.
It is built from the ground up for the PlayStation 3, leveraging the hardware's capability to deliver one of the most cinematic and visually stunning God of War experiences to players. The game provides every aspect of the series with finesse and a sense of finality, making it the best game in the entire trilogy.
1) God of War (2018)
God of War (2018) is a radical reinvention of the series, completely changing users' perception of Kratos as a character. It sees an old and gruff Kratos, who, after the conclusion of the last title, ends up in the Norse lands, where he starts a family.
The game starts with Kratos and his son, Atreus, setting a pyre for his dead wife, Faye. She wished to have her ashes spread from the highest peak of all realms, which motivates the father and son duo to set out on a journey that sees them both embrace each other despite their faults and imperfections.
Until then, Kratos had always been portrayed as a rage-fueled killing machine, but this new game tries to change that and humanize the character without altering his identity.
This is doubly true for the gameplay as the new title introduces an over-the-shoulder camera, bringing the action much closer than before. It also sees new additions like mild RPG mechanics and a semi-open-world design.
While the game might feel somewhat derivative of most modern AAA titles with its quest structure and gameplay systems, the narrative and storytelling at play here are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best the series has ever offered.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author's opinion.