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What’s Next for God of War?

This year has been truly fantastic for PS3 exclusives so far, and when you start to think of the biggest exclusives Sony has, God of War is probably pretty high on the list. The first entry in the series was one of the most successful games for the PlayStation 2 and was an impressive display of the console's technical capability and the ability of the development team behind it. God of War 2 was a fitting end to that era of gaming and created extremely high expectations for the final chapter that would arrive on the PlayStation 3.

God of War 3 arrived in March of 2010 and delivered a definitive conclusion to that story. However, it didn’t deliver on all the aspects that many were expecting from a next generation title in that series. God of War 3 still remains perhaps the best looking console game ever made and it gave the experience a real sense of greatness that just wasn’t possible when they were constrained by the technical capabilities of the PlayStation 2. The visuals made it impossible to ignore the aspects in which the game was lacking, in particular the story, which is one of the main reasons God of War stands out among other action titles, which really didn’t pick up until the final hours of the game.

Kratos "Phenomenal badass" doesn't even come close.

The returning gameplay is also something that the series is known for, with the addition of real-time weapon switching being a welcomed one, but God of War has never been a combo-focused action game. The new weapons didn’t differ all that much from the Blades of Chaos either. That being said, the game’s combat didn’t become any less accessible, which is one the best aspects of the game. No matter which God of War game you’re playing, you immediately feel right at home with the Blades of Chaos. Overall, God of War 3 felt like a safe upgrade from God of War 2. It worked on every level that a God of War game needed to, which was just enough for the first entry on the PlayStation 3.

However, that will certainly not be enough for the next entry in the series. I really don’t want to see the series rebooted; the story surrounding Kratos is one of my favorite things about it and part of the reason why the games work so well. So with that in mind, what is next for God of War? Will we see Kratos return with his trusty Blades of Chaos? I for one certainly hope not. This is where I can’t really avoid getting into spoiler territory to continue, so if you haven’t finished all the God of War games, go do that and come back.

It’s revealed in the first God of War that Kratos’ servitude to Ares is the reason he has the Blades of Chaos, so any prequel cannot go back further than the barbarian war that led to Kratos serving Ares if the returning gameplay is to make any sense. The PSP titles have more than adequately covered the time in between the three main games so I doubt they could deliver another experience that would do them justice. There is one main aspect of Kratos’ history that we know very little about, and that is his time as a Spartan captain and that is where the best future for God of War is at this point.

Not only does this give the series a chance to create a new combat system, it gives the developers a perfect opportunity to further develop Kratos’ character. We have never really seen him as anything other than a merciless killing machine that is fuelled by rage and it is more than alluded to throughout Ghost of Sparta that he wasn’t always like that. The possibilities in the combat are what are most important at this point, after six years and five games, I am finished with the Blades of Chaos.

The Blades aren't just a weapon in God of War; they are symbolic to the entire story and Kratos.

Controlling Kratos as a Spartan was touched on with Ghost of Sparta, in that it gives you a little taste of what the combat would be like if they were the focus. God of War’s brutal combat is part of what makes it so much fun to play and the developers wouldn’t exactly be stuck for ideas if they chose Kratos’ days as a Spartan for the next title. It’s also the only space left in Kratos’ life that they could generate more than one game without sacrificing on the quality. When a game sells like God of War, you know they’re not going to just make one more of them. It wouldn’t be ludicrous to suggest that they’re thinking of another trilogy.

I want to see the God of War franchise evolve with the next installment, and more importantly I think that is what it needs in order for it remain relevant among action games. There is still plenty of scope left in Kratos’ character and you can’t really have a God of War game without him in it. Kratos’ days in the Spartan army could really give the franchise a fresh start without tainting the currently existing games and what they are about.


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