The past is ever heavier. It’s full of memories, regrets and context that grow every day. This past is known and defined. This is why we are tempted to “put the past behind us” and focus on the future, which is unknown and therefore all that we want it to be. But the past matters, especially in games with a long franchise arc. And there’s one franchise worth exploring right now more than any other.
God of the war saw its latest iteration drop this week to much fanfare and near-perfect scores. The second entry in a series reboot that began in 2018, God of War: Ragnarok seeks to continue the white action and fatherly frustrations of god-slaying hero Kratos and his demigod son, Atreus. But today’s fans shouldn’t look away from the past. Because playing through the story of Kratos is an adventure worth taking on.
There are three games in the first God of the war trilogy. the original God of the war discontinued in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. god of war 2 was released on PS2 two years later, in 2007, and the third installment God of the war 3 was released in 2010 on PS3. The only way to play these games today is to own the old technology and old software or download them as part of a Premium PlayStation Plus membership.
Chances are you haven’t played any of these three titles in a long time, if at all. So what are you missing?
While there are a few rough edges, the biggest draw to revisiting the original trilogy, especially if you’re a fan of Norse games, is how important the story beats will feel. Players inherently feel a deeper connection to modern father Kratos because he is drawn as a more grounded human character. Watching him wield the Blades of Chaos for the first time in older games is like playing through a piece of mythology rather than just an action game exposition.
The story and the narration are fun and all, but the real appeal of the original trilogy is the action.
Gone is the slower, deliberate drama of today. You are thrown back into the era of extremely edgelord gaming with relentless and over-the-top combat. 2005’s Kratos is a young Spartan general bent on revenge, whipping the Blades of Chaos and dismembering his enemies with lightning speed. The 2005 God of the war worth revisiting just for the battle of Hydra alone.
god of war 2 is in many ways a fitting sequel in that it takes what worked in the first one and turns it into 11. The core combat remains the same but enough quality of life improvements to make it feel like an upgrade. There is also a much bigger story which makes the experience more epic. It’s widely regarded as one of the best PS2 games of all time, and for modern fans, it gives even more insight into why Kratos is so hesitant to make deals with the gods.
god of war 3 unfortunately isn’t the sequel fans were hoping for. The character of Kratos turned into a caricature of an angry asshole all the time that players felt no connection to. The power fantasy the series had delivered evaporated as the third game leaned into all the bad tendencies. Everything is very extra in god of war 3, including hyperviolence during major encounters like the QTE beheading of Helios and a stunning ending for Poseidon. It has depictions of badly aged women and little to no innovation in the gameplay or story department.
However, the reboot redeems this game in a unique way in that you see Why Kratos just needed to go relax. The first two games are worth playing through to the end, but the third installment is more of a curious detour than a final destination. But if you fall in love with today’s Kratos and want to uncover (or revisit) his long and tortured past, then play this trilogy ASAP.
the original God of the war trilogy is available to Premium PlayStation Plus subscribers as part of its catalog of classics.
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