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God of War Story Primer—All the Key Events in the Series Before God of War PS4

Kratos sets off on his latest adventure, but perhaps you want to know his story up until this point?

This article first appeared on USgamer, a partner publication of VG247. Some content, such as this article, has been migrated to VG247 for posterity after USgamer's closure - but it has not been edited or further vetted by the VG247 team.

You've been waiting for some time now. It's been five years since Kratos tore through the last of the Greek pantheon. Since the last time the Ghost of Sparta ripped off heads, tore bodies apart, and was generally the angriest person alive.

Kratos is living his best life now.

Things have changed for Kratos though. He's in a new place and he's found a new life. He has a son now, which raises serious questions given that he's deathly pale because he skin is covered in the ashes of his wife and daughter. I guess everyone deserves a second chance. It's time for Kratos to show his son not only how to be a man, but how to murder other mythical creatures.

If you missed Kratos' past adventures, you might be left in the dark on his latest journey. So sit back and let me spin you tale of The Ghost of Sparta, The God of War, and the Killer of Gods.

Tiny Kratos is still scowling.

God of War: Ghost of Sparta - Part 1 (PSP, PS3 Remastered)

It all begins here, which I admit is a bit odd given that Ghost of Sparta was a PlayStation Portable title that most people didn't play. The inciting moment that kicks everything off happens when Kratos is just a child. The Oracle foretold that the fall of Olympus would come from a mortal known only as the Marked Warrior. Zeus did his best to establish Olympus and imprison the Titans, so he's not about to lose the good life over some random human.

Zeus sends Ares and Athena to Sparta to capture the young boy they believe will one day become the Marked Warrior: Kratos' younger brother Deimos, who sports a wicked red birthmark over his left eye. Ares attacks Sparta and tries to take Deimos, but Kid Kratos attempts to protect his brother. Since he's a child up against the God of War, he loses and Ares gives him his distinct scar over his right eye. Ares is going to kill Kratos, but Athena talks him out of it. So begins Rule #1: everything the gods do is always wrong.

Ares and Athena drop Deimos in the Domain of Death with Thanatos, the God of Death. Kid Kratos is super sad that his brother is gone, so he gives himself a tattoo over his left eye in the shape of his brother's birthmark.

God of War (Comic Series)

Driven by the loss of his brother, Kratos spends a few years at the gym and gets really swole. He marries a young woman named Lysandra and has a daughter named Calliope. Ares continues to screw things up by infecting Sparta's newborn children with a plague, including Kratos' first kid.

This sends Kratos on a quest to find The Ambrosia, the food of the gods that can cure all illnesses. Ares has bet on Kratos in a wager between gods, with the winner being the one whose champion gets the Ambrosia first. Kratos gets the magic food, but all the Spartans under his command die. An entire battalion for one kid, who eventually dies anyways. Sure, that's a cool trade.

Kratos kills his wife and child.

God of War - Part 1 (PS2, PS3 Remastered)

Since he got his entire crew killed, Kratos becomes the youngest Captain in the Spartan Army. He wants more power though. When a pretty important battle goes horribly wrong, Kratos calls out to Ares for aid. Ares chuckles to himself, having run into Kratos twice before. He gives Kratos some of his power, binding the iconic Blades of Chaos to Kratos' body and putting him in his service. The chained Blades will be a part of Kratos for the entire series, though they go through a few incarnations.

Kratos does the service thing for a good long while. He and Ares have an understanding: Ares says "Go", Kratos kills a bunch of people. For some reason, Ares thinks things could be even better; Kratos would be so much better at the mass murder if he didn't have that pesky family. So while Kratos is attacking a temple of Athena, Ares teleports Kratos' family into the temple. Kratos does what he does, only to awaken from his rage to find he's killed his wife and daughter.

Kratos is pretty sad about this, but like angry sad, not sad sad. He leaves Ares' service. An oracle that previously warned Kratos not to attack the temple curses Kratos, spreading his family's ashes over his skin, turning it an ethereal white. This is a little weird because flashback Kid Kratos was also pretty pale for a Greek dude, but let's not think about that too much. From that day on, Kratos is known as The Ghost of Sparta. Lost a family, gained a bad-ass name.

Kratos versus the Queen of the Furies.

God of War: Ascension (PS3)

Yeah, we're jumping all over the place. The last game before the new God of War was actually one of the earlier ordeals in this entire chain. Anyways, Ares is mad that Kratos left his service because he tricked him into killing his family. ("I don't get it. I thought it was funny," Ares ponders to himself.) Ares orders the Furies to whip Kratos back into his service.

One of the Furies, Orkos, feels really bad for Kratos, so he does him a solid. He sends Kratos on a tiny quest. Kratos kills the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux, in bit of his adventure that is literally just killing time: he wins the Amulet of Uroborus , which lets him manipulate time. Eventually, Kratos finds out Ares' true plot: a god cannot kill another god, so Ares is trying to mold Kratos into a warrior that can kill Zeus. Why he couldn't have talked this all out is beyond me, but refer to Rule #1 again.

Kratos and his friend Orkos. It doesn't last.

The Furies capture Kratos like they were supposed in the first place. They try to convince Kratos to turn back, but he does what Kratos does and kills them. Unfortunately for the new bro squad of Kratos and Orkos, Kratos' bond to Ares isn't gone until the oath keeper of the Furies is dead. And while that was Orkos, it's now Kratos, meaning the latter is still working for the gods of Olympus. Orkos asks for a cool death, so Kratos shanks his new friend and burns down his own house with the body inside.

The chains are a metaphor. Oh wait, no. Kratos and Atlas literally have chains.

God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP, PS3 Remastered)

The other PlayStation Portable game covers Kratos' time working for the gods of Olympus as a supernatural hitman. In the middle of killing the King of Persia, Kratos notices the sun disappear, which is pretty important to life on Earth. This is early enough in his murder spree that he sort of cares about humanity, so he goes to investigate. Kratos finds that Helios, God of the Sun, has been kidnapped. In the chaos, the God of Dreams Morpheus puts the other gods to sleep and attempts a coup.

Kratos kills a bunch of creatures and jacks Helios' Fire Steeds on a trip to the Underworld. Hot on the trail of Helios, Kratos kills Charon, ferryman of the dead, which you would think would gum up the works, but it's never brought up again. Kratos eventually finds out the Titan Atlas has taken Helios. Kratos thinks that's not cool, so he heads to the Pillar of the World to save the Sun God.

There he encounters Hades' wife Persephone, who offers him a deal: give up his powers to enter Elysium and see his daughter again. At this point, Kratos doesn't even want power, so he's all in. It's all a dodge though, because Persephone was the one who freed Atlas because she wants to destroy the world like a Bond villain. Kratos isn't going to stand for this nonsense, so he regains his power by killing the innocent souls in Elysium, the place where people who did good things go to live out the afterlife.

Press O to abandon your daughter and kill some innocent souls.

This is our hero.

Kratos' busts out, even more angry sad because he had to leave his daughter behind, and kills Persephone. Then he chains Atlas back to the Pillar of the World and rides the Fire Steeds back to the land of the living. Riding Helios' Chariot drains him to the point that he can't fight back when Athena and Helios strip him of his new powers, because this is a prequel to the first God of War and Kratos can't have cool new abilities.

At no point does anyone do anything to Morpheus, the god who attempted a coup. It's never spoken of again and Morpheus never actually appears in the game. Very odd.

God of War - Part 2 (PS2, PS3 Remastered)

It's been a decade since he started working for the gods of Olympus. Kratos has some Quick Time Event sex and kills the Hydra, bringing peace to the Aegean Sea. He figures this balances his ledger, meaning it's about time to begin his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Ares. Athena is all about it, so she sends him on a quest to get Pandora's Box. (This will become very important in God of War III.)

At this point Kratos only does three things: kill, screw over people, and scowl. He does these things so well that he gets Pandora's Box, but Ares is the goddamn God of War and hurls a huge pillar at Kratos. Ares' minions take the Box, while Kratos dies and takes a normal trip to the Underworld. (Charon is dead? So...?)

Watch on YouTube

Kratos isn't a normal dude though, so he literally fights and crawls his way back out of the Underworld. He meets the grave digger, a random guy he met earlier-weird-and gets Pandora's Box back. Pandora's Box makes Kratos huge (what?) and he takes on Ares directly. Ares tries to do the mind-bending thing, taunting Kratos with his failures, like murdering his wife and child. Things like sadness and guilt are for lesser men though; Kratos shrugs it off, grabs the Blade of the Gods, and kills Ares (above).

Revenge complete, right? Kratos thinks so, but he's still plagued by the nightmares of all those he's killed. He attempts to commit suicide, but Athena's like, "Dude, just become the God of War." Hey, that's the title of the game. Cool. Kratos does this.

Kratos meets Thera and sinks Atlantis.

God of War: Ghost of Sparta - Part 2 (PSP, PS3 Remastered)

Despite being a god now, Kratos can't shake the nightmares. He wants to know more about his past, so he takes a trip to the Temple of Poseidon in the city of Atlantis. He somehow finds his mother, Callisto, who tries to tell Kratos about his dad, but instead just reveals that his brother Deimos is still alive. Somewhere in all this he kills the monster Scylla and his mother, who got turned into a monster. He also frees another Titan, Thera, which blows up a volcano and sinks Atlantis. Oops.

Kratos meets the grave digger again, but somehow doesn't kill him. Instead, he kills a whole bunch of people for little reason, eventually p**sing off Poseidon and ending up in Death's Domain, which is where he wanted to go anyways.

Watch on YouTube

The God of War finds and frees his brother Deimos, but Deimos is mad as hell because he grew up in Death's Domain. Eventually, Deimos gets over it and both brothers decide to fight Thanatos together. This is a bad idea because while Kratos is Kratos, Deimos is not Kratos, and dies. Kratos kills Thanatos, which again seems like a problem, because he's literally the God of Death.

Kratos then walks his brother's body up a mountain, where he meets the grave digger again, which should clue Kratos in that something is up with this guy. They bury his brother. Athena drops by to bring Kratos to full godhood, but he flips her off and tells her that he's about make all the gods pay. He stalks away, so he doesn't hear Athena ask for forgiveness and call him "brother". Shock!

God of War: Betrayal (Mobile side scroller)

Kratos is a very good God of War, in that he fights and kills all the time. He's a very bad god, because he fights and kills all the time. At this point in his murder career, Kratos is leading the Spartans in the conquest of all Greece. He kills things and eventually Hermes' son Ceryx tells Kratos that Zeus isn't happy with him.

None of this matters because this was a game for flip phones.

Kratos vs the Colossus of Rhodes.

God of War II (PS2, PS3 Remastered)

Kratos is still leading the Spartans to conquer Greece. Athena tries to talk Kratos out of fighting, despite the fact that he's literally the God of War. He ignores her because Rule #1 applies to him too now that he's a god. Kratos joins his Spartans as a god, only to find his powers mysteriously transferred from him to the Colossus of Rhodes.

Zeus pops up with a plan. Kratos can put his godhood into the Blade of Olympus, making him mortal, but focusing his power enough to kill the Colossus. He does this, because Kratos hasn't met a person, creature, or idea he can't kill. Upon finishing off the Colossus, Kratos finds himself betrayed by Zeus, who uses the Blade of Olympus to kill him.

Zeus' betrayal.

Kratos is back to the Underworld again, which still seemingly works despite the murder of the God of Death and the ferryman Charon. Kratos is saved by Gaia, mother of the Titans. She explains the sordid family history of how Zeus used the Blade of Olympus to end the Great War between the Titans and Olympian gods. The Titans want Kratos' help to get revenge, which is right up his alley as all Kratos does is get revenge.

Kratos goes on another journey, getting the winged horse Pegasus killed and killing Theseus, Perseus, the Barbarian King, Icarus, Euryale, and the captain of the ship from the beginning of God of War, just for good measure. He's just killing folks and freeing Titans. His ultimate goal is to meet the Fates and change his past. Since the only thing between him and that happening is a ton of bodies, Kratos meets the Fates. He kills all three of them and takes control of their Loom, sending him back to before Zeus betrayed him.

Athena impaled by the Blade of Olympus.

With the knowledge of the future and a little bit of cheating, Kratos fights and beats Zeus. Athena shows up to protect Zeus, because she wants to protect Olympus, but ends up dying by getting between Kratos and Zeus. She reveals this has all been a big plan focused on stopping the cycle of father killing son, revealing that Kratos is Zeus' son. Kratos isn't about to have none of that though, so Athena dies having accomplished very little.

Kratos still has control of the Loom, his magical DeLorean, so he takes a trip back to the Great War between the Titans and the Gods. His plan: grab the Titans at full strength and bring them to the present to fight the Gods. Thus the game ends on a cliffhanger, with Kratos and the Titans climbing Mount Olympus.

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God of War III (PS3, PS4 Remastered)

And the grand finale of the original saga is finally here. Titan and god meet in a battle around Mount Olympus. Poseidon is rocking a bunch of Titans, so Kratos decides to take him out of the conflict (one of the best fights in the entire series). Kratos straight punks Poseidon and kills him, causing the entire Earth to flood, killing most of humanity. This is Kratos' biggest body count, giving him an awesome Kill to Death Ratio.

Kratos and Gaia confront Zeus, but it doesn't go well. In fact, Gaia betrays Kratos, calling him expendable now that the Titans are free. He gets sent back to Hades again. Athena meets him there, having gained enlightenment in death. She hooks Kratos up with some new weapons and sends him on his next quest: put out the Flame of Olympus. On his way out, he kills Hades, because he had to put a bow on messing up the Greek version of Hell.

So now Kratos is making his way back up Mount Olympus to take out Zeus once and for all. Along the way, he meets Pandora, a non-living creation that is the key to Pandora's Box, which is inside the Flame of Olympus. On his way up he kills Helios (shouldn't the sun go out?), Hermes, Hercules, Hera, Hephaestus, Skorpius, and Cronus. At this point, I wonder why anyone even tries to stop Kratos.

Anyways, Kratos meets up with dear old Dad and uses Pandora to open Pandora's Box, only to find it empty. Kratos and Zeus keep fighting, eventually ending up inside of Gaia's body. There, Kratos finally ends his father, impaling Zeus against Gaia's heart, killing them both. Zeus isn't quite done yet, attacking Kratos as a spirit.

After all the murder and chaos Kratos has caused, with the help of Pandora he eventually finds hope within his heart, destroying all of the nightmares that have tormented him for so long. This would be a great after school moment, except Kratos follows it by forcing Zeus' spirit back into his body and beating the semi-corpse into new states of death with his bare hands.

Athena shows up, congratulates Kratos on killing their dad, and then demands the power of Pandora's Box. After some sassy back and forth, Athena comes to realize that Kratos doomed the world when he used Pandora's Box back in the first God of War. At that time, all the ills of the world infected the gods, while the power of hope ended up in Kratos.

Kratos impales himself with the Blade of Olympus, a mirror of the time he impaled Athena.

Yeah, the murderer of gods and destroyer of worlds is the guy that got hope. When Kratos had his personal heart-to-heart while fighting Zeus, he finally reclaimed the power of Hope, which was buried underneath all the murder and rage. Athena demands that Kratos turn the power over to her; instead, he stabs himself with the Blade of Olympus, releasing hope to the world. Athena gets angry at Kratos, but pulls the blade out and leaves his body there. Some time later, the body is gone, leaving only a trail of blood.

Where did Kratos go? Apparently to mythical Norway, because that's where we pick up with an older, wiser Kratos.

Much nicer.

In the end, God of War has always been about family. Kratos' family of gods causes him to kill his family of mortals, which makes him kill his family of gods. Kratos loses his wife, daughter, brother, and mother over the course of the series. As a god, he ends up killing his own father, sister, and several brothers. Family and betrayal underpin every facet of his life from beginning to end.

Hopefully, he drops the "betrayal" part, otherwise Atreus is going to be killing daddy in the new God of War.

Check out our tips and guide for God of War, including every Horn of Blood Mead location in God of War and the location of each of God of War's Idunn Apples.

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