God Of War: Ragnarok premiered recently for PS4 and PS5. Perhaps it’s time to dive into the series and follow Kratos’s journey.
Since its 2005 debut, God of War has been a flagship of PlayStation exclusives. Sony’s Santa Monica Studio created the saga, and they have remained at the top to keep the game’s formula and story consistent.
God of War – 2005 (Main Series/console) – Greek Mythology era
The original game debuted in 2005 for PlayStation 2. It introduces Kratos as a Spartan warrior for the Olympian gods. Goddess Athena orders the protagonist to kill Ares.
Kratos accepts out of hatred. Ares tricked his former apprentice to murder his family. To accomplish the goal, Kratos must find Pandora’s Box before Ares destroys Athens. That sets the player on a linear journey against hundreds of enemies and dozens of bosses.
The gameplay focuses on a 3D combo-based directional combat. Combos come through the player’s main weapons, the Blades of Chaos. There’s a secondary weapon, later on, power upgrades, magical attacks, and quick-action cinematics.
God of War II – 2007 (Main Series/console)
The second entry debuted in 2007 for PlayStation 2, and the setting and gameplay are similar to the original title.
You play as Kratos in ancient Greece. Ares is dead, and now Zeus, God of Gods, strips Kratos from his godhood and sends him to the Underworld. There, Kratos starts a mythical journey to get revenge on Zeus.
The main weapon is Athena’s Blades, and there are now multiple secondary weapons throughout the story. There’re also four magical attacks and skill upgrades. Outside of combat, the game adds platforming elements, puzzles, and many more bosses.
God of War: Betrayal – 2007 (Main Series / handheld)
Betrayal was a mobile action-adventure game by Javaground. It debuted in 2007 for phones supporting Java ME.
Kratos, the God of War, is framed for killing the primordial giant Argos. He sets off to pursue the true assassin, an Olympian messenger.
Betrayal is a 2D side-scrolling game. Still, Kratos has a similar combo-based gameplay, and there’re puzzles and platforming segments as well.
God of War: Chains of Olympus – 2008 (Main Series / handheld)
Chains of Olympus is a Ready at Dawn and Santa Monica Studio title. It debuted in 2008 for the PlayStation Portable (PSP).
It’s a prequel to the original title, as the plot happens 10 years before the opening events. It follows Kratos, a disciple of the goddess Athena, on a mission to find sun God Helios to wake up the Gods from a mysterious slumber.
The gameplay is similar to before. It revolves around combos, the Blades of Chaos as main weapons, and various secondary weapons. Also, there’re puzzles, platforming segments, quick-time events, and bosses.
God of War Collection – 2009 (Bundle)
Good of War Collection packs remastered ports of God of War and God of War II for PlayStation 3. The bundle debuted in 2009 as a single Blu-ray Disc.
God of War III – 2010 (Main Series/console)
The third main entry debuted in 2010 for the PlayStation 3. It’s the seventh installment chronologically and the last story in the Greek era.
Kratos went back in time to stop Zeus’ betrayal. To defeat his father, he must find Pandora to open Pandora’s Pox and murder the King of the Gods.
The gameplay is similar to previous entries. However, the game offers a new magic system, new camera angles, and DLCs. Then, his new weapon is the Blades of Exile, and there’re multiple secondary weapons throughout the journey. Each time Kratos finds a weapon, he learns a new magic attack.
Lastly, the game adds some new movement mechanics. There’s range-grab combat grabble, for example. Kratos can use it to maneuver across ledges and pull enemies and objects. Similarly, Kratos can ride harpies across chasms on some segments.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta – 2010 (Main Series / handheld)
Ghost of Sparta is another Ready at Dawn GoW title. It debuted for PSP in 2010 as the fourth story in the series timeline.
Kratos explores his human past and goes back to his origins in Atlantis. He finds his mother, Callisto, who asks him to save his lost brother, Deimos.
The gameplay follows the same mechanics as the previous PSP entry. There’re quick-time events, platforming segments, puzzles, bosses, and magical abilities.
God of War: Origins Collection – 2011 (Bundle)
The Origins Collection remastered the PSP titles (Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta) for PlayStation 3. It debuted in 2011.
This bundle has 1080p resolution, 60fps, and anti-aliased graphics. Also, it added the DualShock 3 rumble features to the games.
God of War Saga – 2012 (Bundle)
The God of War Saga is a bundle with the five GoW games for the PlayStation 3. The remasters of the original two games are the same present in the 2009’s God of War Collection.
- God of War (Remastered)
- God of War II (Remastered)
- God of War III
- Chains of Olympus (Port)
- Ghost of Sparta (Port)
In Latin America, the bundle debuted as the Omega Collection.
God of War: Ascension – 2013 (Main Series/console)
Ascension debuted in 2013 for PlayStation 3. It’s a prequel to the entire series, so the events are before Chains of Olympus.
The plot happens right after Kratos kills his wife and daughter. Responding to Ares’ trickery, the Spartan demigod renounces Ares. The God of War responds by torturing Kratos. So, the protagonist must escape, confront his wardens, and free himself from Ares.
The gameplay evolves from previous entries. The Blades of Chaos are Kratos’ main weapons, and there’re magical attacks, power-ups, puzzles, and platforming. There’re also new movements, skills, mechanics, and promptless quick-time events.
God of War Collection (Vita) – 2014 (Bundle)
The next bundle packs God of War I HD Remaster and God of War II HD Remaster for the PlayStation Vita. The collection debuted in 2014.
God of War III Remastered – 2015 (Remaster)
In 2015, Sony released God of War III Remastered for the PlayStation 4. Wholesale Algorithms made the port. The newer version had 1080p resolution, 60 frames-per-second, and a new photo mode.
God of War: A Call from the Wilds – 2018 (Spin-off)
A Call from the Wilds is a text-based spin-off experience for Facebook Messenger. It was a marketing experiment to promote God of War through social media.
The short story follows Atreus, Kratos’ son, on an adventure in the Norse wilds. He learned about runes and archery from his mother, and now he’s traveling to find a dying deer he heard telepathically. Kratos has to save him from the enemies he finds in the mountains.
God of War: Mimir’s Vision – 2018 (Spin-off)
Mimir’s Vision was a mobile AR app for ARCore Android 7.0 or newer devices and iOS smartphones and tablets. It debuted in 2018 as a companion app for God of War.
The experience lets users tap, zoom, and explore a map to find points of interest, lore, and stories behind Kratos’ Norse adventure. Mimir guides users from The River Pass to the Mountain Peak to showcase the new map of the upcoming title.
God of War – 2018 (Main Series/console) – Norse Mythology Era
God of War, debuted in 2018 for PlayStation 4. It reached Windows PCs in January 2022. In February 2021, it premiered for PS5 with a free upgrade option. It offers up to 2160p at 60 fps or 4K at 30 fps.
The game introduced the Norse Mythology setting to deliver a soft reboot. Series newcomers can enjoy the story without losing too much. It also introduces a secondary protagonist, Atreus (Katros’ son), and Loki as the main antagonist.
The game re-imagines the saga with a semi-open world, character progression, and over-the-shoulder perspective. RPG elements include recipes, crafting, perks, passive bonuses, and NPC vendors. Elsewhere, you’d find the usual platforming segments and puzzles
Lastly, Kratos’ main weapon changes from dual swords to a magical ax, a magical shield, and his fist. He can trade between these to perform offensive and defensive skills and chain combos. He can also upgrade his skills and gear. Meanwhile, Atreus attacks with his magical bow.
God of War Ragnarök – 2022 (Main Series/console)
Ragnarök is the latest entry in the action-adventure series. It debuted in November 2022 for PS4 and PS5 as the first cross-gen God of War title. Notably, it lost the Game of the Year Award (Game Awards 2022) to FromSoftware’s Elden Ring.
The game continues the story and the mechanics of 2018, but there’re various novelties. In particular, Kratos gets more weapons, like a magical spear, double-chained blades, and various shields. It makes combat more dynamic and versatile.
Additionally, players control Atreus at various parts of the story. He fights with his bow and relies on fast dodges and agile skills to evade enemy attacks.
Lastly, the story happens three years after the 2018s release. Players get to explore the nine realms of Norse mythology in an epic battle against Thor. The God of Thunder has a mysterious rivalry with the Spartan warrior.
Every God of War Game in Chronological Order
- God of War – 2005
- God of War II – 2007
- God of War: Betrayal – 2007
- God of War: Chains of Olympus – 2008
- God of War Collection – 2009
- God of War III – 2010
- God of War: Ghost of Sparta – 2010
- God of War: Origins Collection – 2011
- God of War: Ascension – 2013
- God of War Collection (Vita) – 2014
- God of War III Remastered – 2015
- God of War: A Call from the Wilds – 2018
- God of War: Mimir’s Vision – 2018
- God of War – 2018
- God of Wa Ragnarök- 2022
Krato’s vengeful quests against Gods and monsters has extended through nine main games, two spin-offs, one remaster, and three collections. The total is 15 God of War entries.
Its simple setup comes through hack & slash combat and action-adventure traversal. Later on, the studio added character progression elements to lean the series into the action-RPG genre.
The timeline follows the release date to a degree, but If you’d like to play the story from beginning to end, here’s the order:
- God of War: Ascension
- God of War: Chains of Olympus
- God of War
- God of War: Ghost of Sparta
- God of War: Betrayal
- God of War II
- God of War III
- God of War (2018)
- God of War Ragnarök
Lastly, the series has two main eras. The first setting is Greek mythology, where Kratos fights monsters, demons, and Gods from the Greek pantheon. The second era starts in 2018: it introduces a new plotline, Kratos’ son Atreus, and a Norse mythology setting.