Image: Sony Santa Monica
Come this Friday, the PlayStation 5’s big hit for the holiday season, God of War: Ragnarok, will finally release. The second installment in Sony Santa Monica’s soft reboot of the hack-and-slash franchise (which started with the PlayStation 4’s God of War) isn’t just getting good reviews, it’s getting great ones from the big outlets. At time of writing, some writers have called it one of the best PlayStation games ever an pretty high in their personal rankings of the series overall.
The original God of War released in 2005 on the PlayStation 2, and since then, has become one of Sony’s most consistent franchises. Next to Ratchet & Clank from Insomniac Games, the God of War franchise is the only other first-party Sony series from the PS2 to successfully make the leap across more than one PlayStation generation. Back during the original PS2 trilogy and spinoffs across other PlayStation systems, its big selling point was series lead Kratos and the brutal violence he would inflict on anyone and anything in his path. Juvenile as that may sound, it proved to be a working formula. Not every entry reached the same high, though, and it was clear by 2013’s God of War: Ascension that there was truly nowhere else to go with Kratos after he’d murdered enough of the Greek pantheon for the kills to lose their meaning.
God of War Ragnarök – State of Play Sep 2022 Story Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games
Enter God of War 2018, which took Kratos to Norway during the time of the Norse gods. With a one-shot camera trick and Kratos’ young son Atreus as the game’s big hooks, the soft reboot brought new life to the franchise. Across both the PS4 and PC releases, it received critical and commercial acclaim and became one of the strongest examples of PlayStation’s obsession with blockbuster triple-A titles. (Or, as it may also be known: the Dad Game.)
Across the Greek and Norse eras, Kratos has had some grand, truly cinematic events, whether it was through gameplay or cutscenes. My favorite moments aren’t original, but I still love them: Kratos receiving the Blades of Chaos in the reboot remains extremely Good as a mix of characterization and gameplay, and the fight against Poseidon that kicks off God of War III may be one of my favorite openings to a game, ever. For this week’s Open Channel, we want to know some of your favorite moments from across the franchise’s history. And if you’ve heard about what happens in Ragnarok, don’t be a dick and spoil what happens.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.