You should play the 'God of War' trilogy before the new one comes out

The poster for the 2018 “God of War” game release, featuring the main character, Kratos and his son, Atreus.

When one thinks of a Greek tragedy, they may think of someone like Achilles, whose heel was the only part of him that wasn’t invincible. They may think of the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun. 

You might also think of Kratos, the ghost of Sparta. Of course, he doesn’t hail from the stories of old. However, his story encapsulates the spirit of Greek mythological legends by being as thunderously epic as it is crushingly tragic.

The “God of War” game first released in 2005, and it followed a decorated Spartan general by the name of Kratos who had made a pact with Ares, the god of war. Ares used Kratos’ lust for victory and power against him by tricking him into murdering his own family. Devastated by his own actions and the betrayal from the god he swore his life to, Kratos sets out on a warpath filled with rage, vengeance, and regret as he eventually finds himself facing the gods of Olympus with his own two Blades of Chaos. 

This is the premise for the first “God of War” game.

First and foremost, the “God of War” trilogy are character-action games, which put you in the center of fast-paced, combo-oriented beat-em-up combat. You can put “God of War” in the same genre of games like “Devil May Cry,” “Bayonetta,” and “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.”

The combat in the “God of War” trilogy is like if “Doom” didn’t have guns. Kratos is one of the most brutal fighters in a character action game, using his Blades of Chaos to sweep large groups of enemies all at once. 

Other weapons like the Nemean Gauntlets in “God of War III” shake the very earth when you use them to stop charging minotaurs in their tracks. “III” was when the weapons got really good, the Nemean Gauntlets are the best side-weapons in a character action game.

Whereas “Devil May Cry” have different analog stick inputs along with button timing to pull off a sick combo, “God of War” leans more into a rush-down style. You’re practically nonstop hitting enemies in the trilogy.

We can compare these games all day long, but where “God of War” really stands out is its interconnected level design and puzzles. These areas are handcrafted and I feel like the developers’ vision of a science-fantasy Greece worked out super well here. 

The puzzles are engaging and a nice break from combat, too. I don’t think they’d be as effective if the level design and overall aesthetics were different, but thankfully that feeling has been retained in the “God of War” reboot in 2018 set within Norse mythology.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t played the reboot yet, I highly recommend starting from the 2005 original. The gameplay stands the test of time, and there are a lot of moments in “God of War” 2018 that call back to the trilogy in heartfelt ways.

Overall, the story of Kratos has since evolved from a Greek epic/tragedy to a Norse Legend. Not only are they extremely engaging, but they’re mostly lore accurate as well. The story of the ghost of Sparta is one you don’t want to miss.