After playing the new god of war my passion for the franchise grew even stronger. But not because Kratos is "finally deep and mature". But because it reminded me of everything I took for granted in older games since well.. I played gow as a kid.
Spoilers ahead. Foul language.
Kratos is a character with so much nuance and subtlety that most people believe he had no nuance or subtlety. Yes I will be quoting things I heard people say in videos and comments. At the first second of the first game he was a man haunted by his failures and mistakes and attempts suicide. Desperate he makes a deal with Ares, that wants to turn him in a murderfucking killing machine. Acting more and more barbaric in the name of his master, Ares. We all know the story but I'll tell it anyway. Ares tricks him into killing his own wife and little girl while he blindly kills villagers without compassion. That right there is fucked up. Let me put an emphasis and say it again, he kills his own daughter. She was a kid. Imagine if Joel ended up killing Sarah. Yeah. As if it wasn't enough he was cursed into wearing their ashes on his own skin as a permanent reminder of his biggest sin. Consumed with self hatred, remorse and rage he kills Ares. That also being a task given to him by the gods. Tries to kill himself because Athena played with words, his sins being forgiven. But not forgotten. They could never. Feeling abandoned and hopeless he tries to die. But that he cannot do either, the gods needed someone to replace Ares. And that he did.
Tricked once again, by Zeus this time. To place his godly powers into the sword and ends up being killed.
"Why? Why would you betray me?"
Zeus doesn't just kill him but also several spartan soldiers and ultimately Sparta. You can clearly see Kratos looking at the soldiers dying with sadness and disbelief. "You will pay for that Zeus. Be certain of that."
Up untill that point Kratos had lost his brother, his mother, wife and child. The only thing he had left was Sparta. Think about that for a minute. For a while he was their God. They called for him and he answered. We embark on a journey to the sisters of fate and at certain point Kratos kills, without knowing, his very last spartan soldier. Just like he killed his family, without realizing who they were untill it was too late. Zeus had destroyed Sparta. "Everything you have ever know will now suffer because of your sacrilege."
"The people called out for you. They begged for their God to save them, but you did not come.. I was left with no choice. I had to seek out the sisters to change the fate of our beloved sparta. For I am all that is left.. Now you are all that is left. I have faith that our brothers of Sparta will live on through the true God of war." Sorry I had to quote all of it, this scene is so damn powerful. After Kratos shouts in rage he completely disregards that cute kraken trying to kill him. The gameplay starts and you think you're going to fight that adorable monster but NO. Kratos is having a fucking breakdown that if you try to attack he'll just scream instead. "I GROW TIRED OF THE LIES OF THE GODS."
Want to give emphasis on this particularly. "I CANNOT CHANGE MY FATE" "I AM CURSED".
We were going after the sisters of fate to change his fate and yet that's what he screams. Think about that for a moment.
Gaia appears on his mind (illusion whatever) wearing his wife's face. Gaia wtf. Yes she wanted to appeal as much as possible making things personal af. She even says "take the fire that burned your beloved sparta. Let it fuel your RAGE". Bro idk how I didn't see it before. But Gaia was manipulating him like a dog from the start.
Time and time again almost everyone kept betraying him, manipulating him, creating illusions of his family to keep him in line into doing something. The loved ones? Dead. Possible friends ending up dead. Sparta dead. And he grows bitter and bitter, more and more angry. The hate grows for both ways, to his enemies and himself.
Interesting note is that Kratos values family since the beginning. To find out that Zeus is nothing more than his own father.. he's haunted by the fact he killed his child and there was zeus wanting to destroy Kratos, his own son.
He was always a father and that is his heaviest burden. "But surely you can understand, you were once a father too.."
By the time of gow3 the man has fucking lost it. To being sassy sarcastic to smashing the head of a civilian when he clearly could just get down and pass through. Poseidon's Princess got the most attention because boobs but I still remember those little guys fleeing for their lives and Kratos just gets "get outta the damn way". Sure he already did some shit before but in this game I think it's more apparent to be clear enough "let them suffer. The death of Zeus is all that matters".
If you're a good lad unlike me, you'd be starting to feel that.. how far is too far? He's becoming a monster. But after everything he's been through what do you think he would do to someone singing like an idiot and saying things like "kill any family members lately?" Bruh. Shove your honor talk in that hole.
After witnessing Kratos do some fucked up shit we almost forget he's a goddamn human being (demi god whatever) but then Pandora reawakens his paternal instincts and he no longer thinks revenge is worth giving up her life. But she keeps saying this is what she's meant to do. When she says he's hurting her, he lets go. With pandora screaming to let her go and Zeus taunting him "don't fail her like you failed your family", imagine the pressure. Screaming and letting her go only to find out it was all for nothing. Bruh. Seriously.
And I didn't even talked about every single gow game there is. God of war is a literal greek tragedy. That story is fucking deep. The thing is the game mingles that story alongside that brutal gore gameplay of hack and slash with lots of epic battles. They don't make a cinematic game, they don't show close ups so strong you can see his pores. But it's there. It was always there. In the new gow they inversed the two sides of Kratos, showing more of his humanity and a little of his capacity to violence. As for the other games you saw more of that juicy violence. Kratos has got to be a protagonist with one of the most sad heartbreaking stories of gaming. Some people don't see that because even though after everything, he does not portray himself as a victim. And honestly I love that about this character.
The new gow is a damn pat in the back, is like the light in the end of the dark stinking tunnel we thought would never end. To see that man actually being able to have another family, another kid. And this time successfully protecting his family. That is fucking HUGE.
This time guys. It didn't end in another stunning failure. This time… Kratos did what every father should do, protect it's boi.
PS: Kratos was no good guy but if you think about it, the gods were already infected by the evils within pandora's box. Athena herself said that Zeus needed to die. "There is no hope for mankind as long as zeus lives". So ultimately even though Kratos didn't give a crap about the world, he killed the gods that would eventually become destructive to mankind itself. And after all that he gives the power of hope to humanity. And we know humanity still lives on and will rebuild itself. "They will not know what to do with it!". So… In the end he wasn't even the villain he appeared and believed himself to be.
Look around you Athena, the world stands in ruins. What good is your message? It is over.
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