God Of War Recap: Everything You Should Know Before Playing Ragnarok

God Of War Recap: Everything You Should Know Before Playing Ragnarok

If you’re at all interested in video games you’ve probably heard the chatter around God of War Ragnarok. It’s PlayStation’s biggest release of the year and a highly anticipated sequel to the 2018 game God of War. 

God of War itself was a soft reboot of sorts for the popular franchise, framing the game around the story of Kratos and his fractured relationship with his son, Atreus. It was widely considered a masterpiece by critics and players alike and now standards are high for Ragnarok.

If you’re new to this whole God of War world, or perhaps it’s been four years since you’ve even thought about Kratos and his boy, you’ll be glad to know that God of War Ragnarok is very newbie friendly. But if you’d like a basic guide to the story and characters from God of War (2018) here’s a recap.

God of War recap: What happened last time?

Who is Kratos?

god of war recap kratos
Image: Sony Santa Monica

Who is this buff bearded guy you see on the cover of God of War, you ask? That’s Kratos, the protagonist of all the God of War games.

Kratos is a Spartan warrior and demigod who was tricked into killing his family and later avenged their death by taking Ares’ spot as the god of war. He’s also a son of Zeus and killed his father in the third game.

Just to be clear, Kratos is a fictional character and not a Greek god that you’ll find in your mythology books.

In the Norse reboot of the series in 2018, we find Kratos has settled down in Midgard with a woman named Faye and has a son named Atreus — or as Kratos refers to him ‘boy’.

Kratos is known for being a gruff and arrogant warrior, with violent tendencies that border the moral lines of right and wrong. He is the god of war after all.

Who is Atreus?

god of war atreus
Image: Sony Santa Monica

Atreus is Kratos’ son and the other main character in God of War (2018). For the most part, he’s a nice kid with a sweet disposition, who struggles to connect with his cold, brooding father.

Atreus is also completely unaware he’s the son of a God and therefore part god himself. It’s an internal struggle that’s brought him plenty of health issues as a child.

What is the gameplay like?

god of war
Image: Sony Santa Monica

God of War is a single-player action-adventure game. It’s a combination of cinematic cut-scenes and third-person combat sequences, paired with a tactical loot and armour crafting system and elemental special attacks.

Kratos has access to two main weapons throughout the game. The Leviathon Axe is a frost-based weapon that has the ability to be thrown and recalled in what is possibly the most satisfying gameplay mechanic ever created.

He also gains access to the Blades of Chaos, which are a pair of knives attached to chains, that he is known to use in other God of War games.

Atreus also assists in combat using his bow and arrow to provide support and will occasionally distract or stun enemies for Kratos to finish off.

Between bouts of combat, a lot of the gameplay is puzzle based, with Kratos needing to use the weapons at his disposal to solve clues and unlock new areas for progression.

If you’re a fan of the likes of The Witcher, Elden Ring or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you’ll probably enjoy God of War.

Let’s recap the story of God of War (2018)

god of war story recap
Image: Sony Santa Monica

During God of War, we see Kratos and Atreus go on a journey around the Nine Realms to fulfil Faye’s wishes that her ashes be scattered atop the tallest mountain.

Along the way, they meet a number of friends, like Mimir — a wise talking head — and Brok and Sindri — two dwarven brothers who help Kratos and Atreus with their weapons and armour. There’s also Jörmungandr, your friendly neighbourhood world serpent.

They also meet their share of foes. In particular, Baldur, the invulnerable son of Odin and Freya, becomes the game’s antagonist.

Going into full plot spoilers here, we learn that the mountain they seek is not in fact the one located near Kratos’ home in Midgard, but is actually in Jötunheim, the land of the giants.

Nothing is simple or straightforward in God of War and amongst the different spells, weapons and artefacts you need to retrieve in order to access this mountain, Kratos and Atreus’ relationship becomes the heart of the story.

Kratos has been fighting hard to leave his godly life and a shameful past behind, but by hiding Atreus’ divine nature from him, his son succumbs to sickness.

After coming clean with him, Atreus lets the knowledge that he is a god go to his head and his arrogance leads him to murder Modi, the son of Thor, who has been pursuing them alongside his brother Magni.

How did it end?

god of war recap
Image: Sony Santa Monica

Throw in a few dragon fights, a tour down the throat of the world serpent, and a quick trip to Hell, and Kratos and Atreus are ready to travel to Jötunheim, only to be stopped by Baldur and Freya.

For context, Baldur resents his mother for the spell she cast upon him that allows his invulnerability, which she did in an effort to save him from his foretold death.

His hatred runs so deep that even after being beaten by Kratos and having the spell undone by a mistletoe arrow, Baldur still attempts to murder Freya. Kratos kills Baldur, inciting a vow of vengeance against him from Freya. But Kratos maintains he did the right thing. Having killed his own father in the past, Kratos thinks they should learn from his mistakes.

Finally allowed up the mountain at Jötunheim, Kratos and Atreus uncover a message that Faye has left for them, revealing she is a giant, as is Atreus, who the giants refer to as ‘Loki’. They also learn that Odin was the one who sent Baldur after Kratos and Atreus, but his mission was to kill Faye, not knowing that she was already dead.

Another part of the prophecy that only Kratos sees is Atreus seemingly standing over his dead father. Not a good omen.

Not to mention Baldur’s death paves the way for the prophecy of Ragnarok to take place.

Where will things pick up in God of War Ragnarok?

god of war 2 new games november 2022
Image: PlayStation

Right, now that we’ve recapped all the important stuff, you’ll be glad to know God of War Ragnarok is a direct sequel to the 2018 game and follows Kratos and Atreus three years later.

Baldur’s death has brought about Fimbulwinter and as it comes to an end the prophecy of Ragnarok is set to take place. Atreus and Kratos must embark on a journey to put a stop to the end of days and find out the meaning behind the Loki prophecy.

When can you play it?

God of War Ragnarok is set to release on PS4 and PS5 on November 9, 2022. It’s already receiving high praise from critics giving it good Game of the Year potential.

You don’t have to play God of War to enjoy the sequel but it’s just a downright great game and you can pick it up for cheap online or with a PlayStation Plus subscription.

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