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Kratos, the Deity Ass-Kicker

May 15, 2012

Ben Rogers reveals what he would like to see in God of War 4.

Extreme massaging

Who, like me, was super excited for the teaser of the next console outing of the mighty Kratos, and who was a little disappointed when we were told we were in for another prequel? Go on. Raise your hands. That’s right, there is no shame in it.

The problem is that for the next console outing, most of us would have believed the next installment of the main God of War series, but to use a main platform title for yet another prequel will obviously annoy many fans. I for one am disappointed, rather than annoyed. Let Kratos move on and take his story to new places, instead of padding out his backstory more. The original background was nice and neat, easy to absorb and got you right into the game.

Maybe the creators are a little nonplussed as to where to take Kratos, seeing as his prime motivations were completely wiped out in the conclusion to God of War. Let’s take a look at the problem.

Motivation 1: Betrayed By The Gods

Looking at the main trilogy of the God of War console titles, first off we have God of War; Kratos, a fearsome Spartan general, gives his life to Ares, God of War, to save himself in Battle. Ares manipulates Kratos into killing his wife and child in a bloodrage, so Kratos wants to cleave Ares a new rectum (quite rightly).

Motivation 2: Betrayed By The Gods Again

In the sequel, Kratos, now God of War himself, is becoming too powerful and unjust. Zeus, fearing betrayal himself, betrays Kratos. Go figure. Zeus stabs Kratos with the glowy sword of immense power. Kratos feels a tad miffed, so rewrite time by destroying the keepers of time. I know. It’s a big damn paradox moment. He goes back in time and fights Zeus, and accidentally kills Athena. He gets more angry. He rapes the time line again and brings back the titans.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going.

Motivation 3: ANGER (caused by epic betrayals)

In the third God of War, Kratos, now in charge of a multi-elemental army of titanic gods, means to destroy Zeus and the rest of the Olympic Pantheon. He fights his way to the top, decapitating, disembowelling and pummelling all members (well, those who don’t put out. Aphrodite, we’re looking at you). We think we learn about Kratos’ capacity for love and guilt but it’s more shoved down our throats in the last 20 minutes because the story gets lost behind all the number of epic God on Kratos battles. The battles are only meaningful because they had been ‘bigged’ up in our heads.

Saying that, the two portable titles of God of War have been great and given us what we most enjoy in Kratos: gratuitous amounts of gore and violence. However, they have done little to flesh out the character meaningfully. It’s just slapping more betrayal on top of the Betrayal Sundae, or Kratos losing someone dear to him because the gods won’t play nice. I have to admit, I only played Chains of Olympus as of this moment. The fact Kratos had to turn his back on his child to be a big god-damn hero and save the world was a real emotional drama in Chains of Olympus  that had more personal weight than anything in the third console title.  There were also nice touches of killing Persephone, consort of Hades, which was again mentioned in God of War 3.

The problem is Santa Monica is content throwing more logs on the fire to flesh out a character who was interesting in the original God of War, a tormented husband and father who only wants peace, but became  a character verging almost on parody of himself in God Of War 3.

Let’s get the facts straight. I love God of War, it’s one of the best hack ‘n’ slashers out there, and rightly is the most famous of all hack ‘n’ slashers out there.

Kratos is so much of a badass, he has lost his way. He’s almost a caricature in my mind now: one of those little pencil drawings which exaggerate your features. Well, Kratos in my mind is a guy with a massive head screaming, eyes boggling madly, covered in blood and ripping someone’s head off. Don’t you adore that image? So why does Santa Monica try to keep adding authenticity to a character who is only remembered for demented anger.

They blatantly tease his survival after running himself through with the Blade of Olympus after the credits of God of War 3, so why do they seem to be stopping Kratos at destroying one mythos. Let’s see a clean slate, please. Kratos going toe to toe with Thor and Odin?

Or how about some Celtic Gods?  I have found one on Wikipedia called Sucellus, who is wonderfully sub-categorised in ‘Gods with Hammers’. Described as the ‘good striker’, he is portrayed as a middle-aged bearded man. I mean come on Santa Monica, make him 15 foot tall, give him a massive hammer with a skull on the hilt, a harem of sexy topless women and you got a boss in God Of War 4.

For all out parody, go for the Egyptian Gods, who cares? He’s Kratos, so he certainly doesn’t!

Let’s have Kratos versus Buddha, Buddha’s quiet contemplation on the meaning of all things could give me ‘super mystical’ powers. Buddha floating around cross-legged, dropping righteous thought bubbles on Kratos, Dr Robotnik style.

Let’s go the whole hog and have Kratos fighting the Holy Trinity. Can you imagine it? Kratos twirling the metaphysical head of the Holy Ghost on his fingers, sitting on a bloodied and bruised Jesus, then God walks in and Kratos says something witty about the Last Supper and God won’t be making it. Then the heavenly clouds turn to fire. God and Kratos go into a epic slow-mo mid air punch. Bliss.

(And if any Christians are reading, my apologies.)

Image link: God of War official website

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