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God of War Story Explained So Far (In Order)

Before Ragnarok arrives, here’s the entire God of War story so far explained, as well as whether you need to play the rest of the series before the new game.

Fans of the God of War series have been witnessing Kratos’ story for 17 years, with the release of God of War back in 2005.

Now, in 2022, players will be able to experience the upcoming God of War Ragnarok. But whether you’re a fan of the series needing a refresher, or a new player swept into the hype, we’ve got you covered.

God of War Story So Far

Before God of War: Ascension

Before we get into the mainline games (where we will be skipping Betrayal since it is unimportant), it’s worth knowing some of the events that occur before God of War: Ascension, the starting point of the franchise.

God of War Ascension Trailer

Kratos is a demigod, half-mortal, and half-god. His father is none other than the King of Olympus (and the Gods) in Greek mythology, Zeus, the lightning-bearer himself. Kratos also had a brother, Deimos, who was also a son of Zeus.

There was a prophecy, called “The Marked Warrior”, that said the downfall and end of Olympus (home of the Gods), and the death of Zeus, would be brought by a mortal who is The Marked Warrior, as opposed to the Titans. Deimos had strange birthmarks at birth, causing Zeus to believe he was to be The Marked Warrior. Zeus sent Ares, his son, and Athena, his daughter, to capture him.

Since Kratos and Deimos were kids at the time, Kratos failed to protect and rescue Deimos. He swore that he’d never fail again, and decided to tattoo his body with the iconic red markings, in honor of Deimos.

Over time, Kratos becomes an adult and a great warrior for the Spartan army. He has a wife and a daughter, with the daughter catching the plague. Kratos goes to find a cure, which he finds and ends up curing his daughter.

However, there wouldn’t be much of a story if everything ends well. Despite his wife’s pleas, Kratos was on a warpath to ensure the world knew the “glory of Sparta”, which brought him face-to-face with a brutal set of Barbarian tribes, who wanted to kill Kratos due to his infamy. The Barbarians almost kill Kratos, but our protagonist calls to Ares, the God of War, pledging his allegiance so long as he would remain victorious.

Ares accepted his offer, giving him the Blades of Chaos, which burned chains into his wrists as a reminder that he was loyal to Ares. Making it out of the battle alive, Kratos keeps his side of the offer, raiding and killing loyally for Ares. However, on one fateful day, Ares decides to transport Kratos’ wife and daughter to a village that Kratos is raiding. Despite an Oracle’s warnings, Kratos slaughters everyone in the village’s temple, killing his wife and daughter by accident.

Ares believed that killing his wife and daughter would make Kratos the perfect warrior, losing his link to the mortal world. Horrified, Kratos renounces his allegiance to Ares and swears vengeance on the God of War. After burning down the temple, cremating his wife and daughter, the Oracle cursed him to forever be stained with the ashes of his family, causing his skin to be white and becoming the “Ghost of Sparta”.

God of War: Ascension

Set six months after the events that led to him becoming the Ghost of Sparta, God of War: Ascension is the earliest game in the series.

God of War Ascension

For breaking his oath to the God of War, Ares called for The Furies to hunt down and capture Kratos. To weaken him, the Furies cast horrible illusions on Kratos. Just before he is captured, Kratos is in a bad state and seeing illusion of his home in Sparta.

The Furies’ oath-keeper, Orkos, sees this and deems it unjust. For this reason, he decides to side with Kartos and tries to break him out of this state, successfully releasing him from the illusion. As part of his plan to aid Kratos, Orkos instructs him to look for the Oracle Aletheia, who would reveal how he can be freed from his bond with Ares.

While Kratos doesn’t trust Orkos, he listens to his instructions and finds the Oracle. The Oracle reveals that the only way Kratos can be free from Ares is to eliminate all the Furies. Soon after that, Orkos tells Kratos Ares’ plan was to mold him into the perfect warrior in the hopes he’d kill Zeus and allow the God of War to become King of Olympus.

In their quest to defeat them, the Furies capture Kratos and torture him for two weeks before he escapes. After escaping, Kratos achieves his mission of killing the Furies. Returning to his home in Sparta, Orkos arrives and congratulates him. However, he also reveals that the Furies made Kratos the new oath keeper before their death.

Orkos explains that the only way they would both end their bond with Ares is if Kratos kills him. He proceeds to ask him for an honorable death. Kratos refuses at first, but Orkos’ pleading forces his hand, and Kratos kills him.

The game ends with Kratos realizing that ending his bond with Ares was masking horrible visions of the moment he killed his wife and daughter. With all this sorrow and barely keeping his sanity, Kratos burns his house in Sparta along with Orkos’ body inside it.

God of War: Chains of Olympus

The next game to take place in the franchise is Chains of Olympus. It’s a pretty filler story, so we’re not going to go too in-depth with this story.

God of War Chains of Olympus

Kratos is in service to the gods, helping them with any issues they may have. Except for Ares of course, for reasons we already know. Helios, the God of the Sun is kidnapped and Morpheus, the God of Dreams, puts the Gods into a deep slumber.

Kratos’ journey takes him to Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, who offers Kratos the opportunity to reunite with his dead daughter, with the price being he loses his powers. It’s a sly trick, one that Kratos doesn’t fall for, and he finds out it was Persephone who plotted to kidnap Helios. He kills her, stops her plan to break the Pillar of the World, and sets everything back to how it should be.

God of War

We’re finally at the first game to release in the franchise, God of War. Kratos has been doing the Gods’ tasks for 10 years, and the Ghost of Sparta is finally on his last objective from the God Athena, and that’s to kill Ares.

In exchange for this task, Kratos asks for the nightmares from his past deeds that torment him to cease and for a chance at redemption.

Unfortunately, the only way to kill Ares is by using Pandora’s Box, which is held in Pandora’s Temple on the back of the Titan, Cronos. Additionally, no one has survived Pandora’s Temple.

God of War

Using the Titan Horn to summon Cronos, Kratos finally enters Pandora’s Temple. However, Ares was aware of the plan to kill him, and he impales Kratos with a stone pillar, killing him and sending him to the Underworld. But Kratos is simply made of rage at this point, so he climbs up out of the Underworld, retrieves Pandora’s Box, and opens it for godly powers. Ares fights him, but ultimately Kratos comes out victorious.

However, Kratos doesn’t receive the gratification he had long hoped for. Athena explains that the Gods have forgiven his sins, however, the nightmares were not a thing they promised to erradicate.

After learning this, Kratos attempts to kill himself. After he drops from a cliff into the waters, Athena rescues him and reveals she has other plans for him instead and makes him the new God of War.

God of War: Ghost of Sparta

Receiving the title of the titular God of War, Kratos is still completing tasks for the other gods, despite being a full god himself now. Kratos is sent to look for Ambrosia, the cure that healed his daughter before Ascension, to destroy it and stop any of Ares’ followers from resurrecting the previous God of War.

God of War Ghost of Sparta

Later, Kratos receives visions of his mother being held at the Temple of Poseidon in Atlantis. He makes the detour to Atlantis and encounters his mother, who assured Kratos that it really is her, and that Deimos is alive. His mother suggests that Kratos’ brother is in the Domain of Death. Kratos enquires about his real father (he doesn’t know about Zeus just yet) and before his mother could say anything, she turns into a monster. Kratos is forced to kill her, and he’s rightfully annoyed at the gods once again, as he goes to find Deimos.

On the way, Kratos finds and frees a Titan called Thera, which causes Atlantis to sink. He heads to the Temple of Thanatos and finds Deimos, who isn’t very happy to see him. The two fight, before Thanatos turns up, causing the two to work together to kill him. Unfortunately, Deimos’ freedom doesn’t last long as he is killed during the fight, giving Kratos another reason to hate the gods.

God of War II

Kratos, still the God of War, leads the Spartan army to attack and assault Athens, which hasn’t made him popular with the other gods. Zeus drains his god powers, sends the Colussus of Rhodes to attack Kratos, and then sends Kratos the Blade of Olympus which further drains his powers to help him defeat Colussus. After this lengthy fight, and being tired from losing his powers, Zeus comes and kills Kratos when the latter won’t pledge his loyalty to Zeus.

God of War 2

Kratos ends up in the Underworld again and finds the Titan Gaia. She asks for Kratos to team up with her and put an end to Zeus, telling Kratos to find the Fates and ask for them to use their time powers to get the Blade of Olympus back and retrieve his godly powers again.

Kratos finds the Fates, who aren’t willing to help him, so he murders them and steals their powers. He returns to the battle, where he receives his powers and is about to kill Zeus, but Athena takes the final blow instead, telling Kratos to avoid killing the King of Olympus or else the world will end. Knowing our stubborn and rage-filled Ghost of Sparta, Kratos doesn’t care and uses the time powers to bring back the Titans, teaming up with them to assault Olympus.

God of War III

God of War III picks up exactly where the previous game left off. Kratos is on a mission to the top of Mt. Olympus with the Titans in tow, taking the fight directly to Zeus and any gods who may side with him. The first one to challenge Kratos is Poseidon, who after an incredible battle, is killed. This causes the oceans and seas to go out of control, killing most of Greece’s population.

Zeus comes to kill Kratos and Gaia before they can kill him. Another fight ensues, where Gaia ends up sacrificing Kratos to save herself, which is a bad decision if I’ve ever seen one. Kratos ends up in the Underworld, yet again, before being greeted by the ghost of Athena, who is now offering to help him kill Zeus, by putting out the Flame of Olympus. On his journey to do this, he meets and kills plenty of characters, including Hades, Hermes, Hercules, Cronos, and Helios. Each time a major character dies, the world descends into further chaos, with plagues and darkness becoming the reality for any living Greek. He also fights Gaia again before killing her.

God of War 3

Kratos finds out that he needs Pandora, the girl, to put the Flame of Olympus out, which protects Pandora’s Box. After another small journey, Kratos reaches the Flame before fighting with Zeus again. Pandora puts out the Flame, which kills her, and when Kratos opens Pandora’s Box it turns out it is empty. Gaia reappears to kill both of them, but Kratos impales Zeus into Gaia’s heart with the Blade of Olympus. But Zeus isn’t going to die that easily.

After another fight, Kratos ends up beating Zeus to death, finally finishing off the King of Olympus. Athena appears again, telling Kratos that when he opened Pandora’s Box in the first game, it corrupted the gods, giving them complete fear, while Kratos was empowered with hope. Athena wants the power for herself, but Kratos doesn’t want that, and kills himself with the Blade of Olympus, giving hope back to humanity. That’s where the story ends for Kratos until you realize a blood trail going off the edge of Mt. Olympus.

God of War (2018)

God of War’s pseudo-reboot game in 2018 saw Kratos return, this time in Norse mythology. Between the events of God of War III and God of War, he met a woman named Faye and had a son called Atreus. While Faye knew of Kratos’ past, they thought it would be best not to tell Atreus that his father was a god who slaughtered almost all of the Greek gods, and everything is fine.

The game opens up after the death of Faye, who had two wishes when she met her demise. The first one was to cut down some trees with a golden handprint of them around their home, with the second being that they should scatter her ashes at the highest point of all the realms. However, the trees were actually stopping the Norse gods from finding Kratos and his family, and cutting down the trees brings some unfriendly faces to Kratos and Atreus.

God of War Kratos

Baldur arrives, one of the Norse gods, and has a huge fight with Kratos. Baldur’s reasoning is that he can’t feel any pain and he is invincible, so wants someone to actually kill him. Seemingly, Kratos completes his request by snapping his neck and dropping him down a huge chasm.

Kratos and his son head off to complete the second wish, meeting two Dwarven brothers who help upgrade Kratos’ gear and offer some arrows with mistletoe to Atreus. They then meet a witch in the woods, who tells them that the Black Breath blocks off the mountain. They need the Light of Alfheim to remove this obstacle, which can only be found in Alfheim. That means they need to use Tyr’s Temple in the middle of the Lake of the Nine, where they also meet the World Serpent.

After retrieving the Light of Alfheim, and clearing the Black Breath, the Ghost of Sparta and his son head up the mountain, and at the top, they find a man who is fused to a tree. When they arrive, the man is interrogated by the two sons of Thor. After they leave, Kratos finally meets the man, called Mimir, who tells them that the true highest peak of the realms is in Jotunheim, the land of the giants. Kratos chops off Mimir’s head, and Mimir becomes the story-telling head that is attached to Kratos’ gear.

Mimir is how we find out that the witch in the woods is actually Freya, the ex-wife of Odin. On their journey to find the way to Jotunheim, Kratos and Atreus are ambushed by Magni and Modi, Thor’s sons, who were ordered to fight our two protagonists by Odin. Atreus goes full rage mode during this fight, and they kill Magni. This rage comes from Atreus’ heritage and gives him an illness, which Freya can’t cure without a special heart, that can only be found in Helheim. And as an additional frustration, Kratos’ main weapon, the Leviathan Axe, won’t damage any enemies in that realm.

God of War 2018

Kratos returns to his Norse home, dusting off the Blades of Chaos despite his grievances with wearing them again. He heads to Helheim, retrieves the heart, and Freya cures Atreus. Kratos tells Atreus that he’s the son of a god, which Atreus seems pleased about. However, he gets a bit of an ego and ends up murdering Modi in the next encounter they have with him, causing Baldur to send the pair to Helheim.

The father-son duo is still heading to Jotunheim, but as they get closer, Baldur returns again. Freya intervenes, not wanting any death, and surprise, surprise, Baldur is Freya’s son. Baldur hates Freya though, as she made him immune to pain, and he attempts to kill her. Kratos uses his personal experience to talk Baldur out of it, and Atreus fires a mistletoe arrow at Baldur, which turns out to be the one thing that makes him able to die and feel pain. The duo fight Baldur, killing him eventually, causing Freya to hate Kratos.

They finally reach Jotunheim, where a mural on the wall shows a lot of events that have occurred, with some seemingly being the future. They find out Faye is a giant, and that Atreus was meant to be called Loki before Kratos insisted on the name Atreus. The pair scatter the ashes of Faye and head home. Unfortunately, Fimbulwinter starts, a sign of Ragnarok approaching and the game ends.

Before you go on to play the next game, make sure to play it with the God of War Ragnarok Dualsense controller.

How Many God of War Games Are There?

There are nine games in the God of War series, here are all of the games in release order:

  • God of War (2005) – PlayStation 2
  • God of War II (2007) – PlayStation 2
  • God of War: Betrayal (2007) – Mobile
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus (2008) – PlayStation Portable (PSP)
  • God of War III (2010) – PlayStation 3
  • God of War: Ghost of Sparta (2010) – PlayStation Portable (PSP)
  • God of War: Ascension (2013) – PlayStation 3
  • God of War (2018) – PlayStation 4, PC
  • God of War Ragnarok (2022) – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

The series is split into two eras, with the Greek mythology taking place until God of War: Ascension. Since God of War 2018, the game has been set in the second era as Norse mythology.

Kratos and Atreus in God of War Ragnarok

While the above is the release date order of the series, the actual story of the games is misplaced thanks to a variety of prequels and stories that take place in-between other games. We’ll go in order of the story itself in our next section.

How to Play the God of War Series in 2022

You can play the entire God of War story, aside from Betrayal, as part of PlayStation Plus Premium.

God of War (2018) and God of War III Remastered, both PS4 games, are available to play on PlayStation 5 as standard games. All of the other games are available as part of PlayStation Now, including the PSP games, which were remade for PS3.

All God of War Games on PlayStation Plus Premium

That means you can also play the whole series up to Ragnarok on the PC, thanks to PlayStation Now. Or you could pick up the new God of War Ragnarok PS5 bundle and play them on the latest console!

Can I Play God of War Ragnarok Without Playing the Others?

While you can play God of War Ragnarok without the rest of the series, we recommend playing God of War 2018 at least.

That’s because God of War 2018 somewhat cleans the slate for the series, having some moments draw from the earlier games but you don’t need to know to enjoy the game.

Kratos using Blades of Chaos in God of War Ragnarok

However, Ragnarok is a direct sequel to the previous God of War, meaning you’ll have a better experience if you’re caught up with the Norse mythology era of the franchise.

Is God of War 2018 a Sequel or Reboot?

Technically, God of War (2018) is both a sequel and a reboot, or a soft reboot as it could be known.

While the story does follow the events of the rest of the series, it isn’t directly tied to them. God of War 2018 also changes the series from a hack-and-slash title to an action adventure.

Both fans and newcomers alike can enjoy God of War 2018, and it’s certainly one of the must-plays from the PlayStation 4.

Which God of War Game is The Longest?

God of War 2018 is the longest game to complete in the series, taking roughly 20 hours to complete the story.

In second place is God of War 2, which will require around 12 hours of your time to finish the main story. Followed by God of War 3, which offers 10 hours of story.

Kratos and Atreus in God of War 2018

Next is God of War (2005), which will take you nine hours to finish, then Ascension, which is just below eight and a half hours. Finally, both Ghost of Sparta and Chains of Olympus take six and a half and five and a half hours respectively.

How Long Does The God of War Series Take to Beat?

The God of War series will take you roughly 71 hours to beat from God of War (2005) to God of War (2018).

This is based on story length alone, with the time increasing by another 17 hours for completion runs. That means you’d need to spend 88 hours if you’re a completionist.

We got these figures from HowLongToBeat, which aggregates user times to complete games. While the figures are average, and may not be exact, you can expect to take roughly the same amount of time playing as others.

That’s everything you need to know before God of War Ragnarok’s release date is upon us!

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