Few game franchises can go on for more than a decade without releasing a single bad entry. Since 2005, Sony’s God of War series has been one of those rare gaming giants. The franchise has not only produced a steady stream of new entries but has also consistently achieved commercial and critical success. Home console, portable handheld or even on the web, the God of War franchise is synonymous with excellence.
With God of War Ragnarok set to take the legendary series to new heights, we’re taking a look back at Kratos’ history to see which great game reigns as the god of them all.
Here are the gods of all war games, In order from worst to best.
9. God of War: Ascension
As the last proper entry in the PlayStation 3’s God of War family, Ascension doesn’t get the same love as its predecessors.
This prequel takes place before the events of the original God of War. The game follows Kratos as he struggles to break free from Ares’ control and stop the original god of war from laying siege to Olympus. The combat and presentation on this entry in the series was as strong as ever, and the boss battles were as memorable as any other God of War game. However, the story was somewhat hampered by trying to stick to a specific time period, and the multiplayer mode was an unnecessary addition that didn’t live up to the solo game.
8. God of War: A Call from the Wilds
Ahead of 2018’s God of War release, Sony and Facebook teamed up for a text-based adventure starring Kratos’ son, Atreus. Playable entirely within Messenger, A Call from the Wilds plays just like the classic PC games of yesteryear, albeit with modern conveniences.
For example, you can leave and come back at any time without losing story progress. Call of the Wilds is a departure for the God of War series, which has always relied on action gameplay, but that doesn’t make the title any less interesting. You can even get some concept art, so you’ll be rewarded for the time you’ve invested in Atreus.
7. God of War: The Ghost of Sparta
Another early Kratos adventure was Ghost of Sparta, the second God of War game to achieve success on the PlayStation Portable. In this game, the demigod tries to rescue his brother Deimos from Thanatos, the god of death. Given how well the formula worked in Chains of Olympus, it’s no surprise to see Kratos return to the PSP. But we were surprised to learn that another aspect of Kratos’ life is so closely tied to the Greek pantheon.
Unfortunately, this was the last portable entry God of War would receive, as Kratos never received a dedicated adventure on the PlayStation Vita.
6. God of War: Betrayal
Like A Call from the Wild, Betrayal is one of the few God of War games available outside of the Sony PlayStation ecosystem. Made for mobile phones in a pre-smartphone world, Betrayal was a side-scrolling escapade set before the events of God of War II. It was one thing that Sony was willing to experiment with an authentic story for Kratos beyond the PlayStation brand; That this title was also a worthwhile game.
Sadly, unless you already have Betrayal installed on an ancient Nokia phone, there is no way to play this game anywhere today.
5. God of War: Chain of Olympus
In his first portable adventure, Kratos had to stop the goddess Persephone from releasing one of the fabled Titans to destroy the world. When the game first came out there were many skeptics who wondered if the PSP could handle a franchise as strong as God of War.
The depth of gameplay in Chains of Olympus was virtually identical to the title’s console brethren, and the title set a new standard for what games could visually achieve on the PSP. Yes, you might have gotten a stiff paw from how intensely you gripped the PSP for hours on end, but it was definitely worth it.
4. God of War III
As the only proper sequel in the franchise coming to the PlayStation 3, Sony Santa Monica was under a lot of pressure to make God of War III a worthy successor. Fortunately for all parties involved, God of War III wasn’t just a spectacular follow-up; It was without a doubt one of the best games on the PlayStation 3.
Weapons like the gauntlets of Hercules were more lethal; The boss fights were more epic than Titan Kronos, and the story provided the final chapter to an era in Kratos’ life. Had the series had a true ending, it would have been a fitting send-off.
3. God of war
The game that started it all is still one of the best action/adventure titles of all time. God of War didn’t just introduce us to Kratos and his over-the-top brand of violence; It also redefined the action genre for years to come.
God of War pushed the PlayStation 2 to limits that we never thought possible at the time, and it gave the system another unique feather in its already cracked cap. The first game was equal parts confusing and punishing but never oppressive in its difficulty. It’s a time-tested classic that still holds up amazingly well today.
2. God of War II
Just because Sony released the PlayStation 3 in 2006, doesn’t mean the company is ready to release the PlayStation 2. God of War II debuted on the PS2 in March 2007.
The game took everything we loved about the first title – the endless combo-building combat, the vicious brutality, the compelling mythology – and amplified it tenfold to give us a sequel that surpassed its predecessor in almost every way. Maximizing every aspect of the PS2 hardware, God of War II is as epic a swan song as the console could have hoped for. And it sets a wonderful stage for the next adventure in Kratos’ god-killing career.
1. God of War (2018)
The latest entry in the God of War series is the series’ finest hour.
God of War (2018) is effectively a soft reboot. Although it follows the exploits of Kratos, the core gameplay has been modernized. Unlike previous entries, the camera is always focused on Kratos’ back. It may take some getting used to, but it makes the fight sequences feel more intimate and visceral. Puzzles are still a significant element and often toss in random elements to keep things alive.
More than any other title in the series, God of War has a greater emphasis on story and character development. Anyone can enjoy this title without having played the previous installments, but those who have been with Kratos since the beginning have an extra weight. New characters like Atreus (son of Kratos) and the Norse gods Freya and Balder are just as fascinating as the main characters. God of War (2018) was and is one of the best games released in recent years.
Next: I finally fell in love with Breath of the Wild – here’s why it took me so long.