Obviously, some major spoilers ahead.
God of War: Ascension: Kratos is brutal, but has those tender moments and even grows to care for his ally Orkos. It is still very early after he killed his family, so that sense of shock and grief is still heavy on him.
God of War: Chains of Olympus: You can see that Kratos feels trapped and angry in servitude to the Gods, but keeps pushing forward. We get an incredible moment where he finds his daughter in Elysium and is forced to forsake her yet again to save her. There was even a moment where he gave up his power to do this. He was willing to forsake his ambition which is what lost him everything. To me, this was a great demonstration of the humanity Kratos had left. I felt this game was summed up perfectly when he screams to the Titan Atlas at the end that the promises of the Gods is all he has at this point.
God of War 1: We see a lot of Kratos's brutality and anger on display, but everything he does is with purpose. He is more driven by the promise to be free of his visions than he is by vengeance. Vengeance is definitely driving him forward, but not like in later entries of the series. This Kratos is still somewhat calm and reasonable.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta: The gods betrayed him by making him the God of War rather than freeing him from his visions. Kratos learns of his mother and his brother's imprisonment in this one. This is his last tie to his humanity, and he loses both in this game. He stopped at nothing to find his brother, even allowing an entire city (Atlantis) to be destroyed in his quest, Not only does he lose both, he learns of his true relationship to Zeus.
God of War II: Kratos's humanity is essentially gone now. He has murdered his family, found and lost his daughter again, lost his mother and brother, and was still haunted by visions of his past. All he has is war. The only escape he can find is to continue being the monster the God's created. It is almost an injustice to the character of Kratos to play God of War II right after the first. You miss so much development that helps explain why he is so arrogant and angry. I admit, I played this one without playing the others first. I thought Kratos was just an unlikable monster (I mean he is, but at least there are good reasons for it).
God of War III: Kratos is totally gone here. Nothing matters to him anymore. No life is worth protecting. He even sacrifices Pandora to get a shot in at Zeus. You can argue he had compassion for Pandora, but there is the telling scene where he is attempting to hold her back from sacrificing herself, while Zeus insults him. This is all it takes for Kratos to let Pandora go and fight Zeus. I do not believe the Kratos from God of War Ascension through God of War 1 would have done this.
At the end of it all, Kratos stares at the destruction he brought about in his quest for vengeance. Memories still haunting him, but no purpose to drive him forward anymore. An irredeemable monster, with nothing to show for his victory.
Each game in the time-line of Kratos really does a good job at building his character in his journey. He was not always the unfeeling, unrelatable monster we saw in II and III. He was definitely brutal, and a war monger, but there was still humanity behind him. At the end of III we have a character with nothing left. A character who has to live with the fact that he destroyed everything and it brought him no peace. It makes God of War 2018 a far more impactful story when we look at this entire character arc.
© Post "Playing through the Old God of War’s, You really get the sense that Santa Monica had an outline for Kratos’s development" for game God of War.
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