PlayStation 4; Sony/Santa Monica Studio
Kratos returns older and wiser, but exhilaratingly brutal in a story that deftly intertwines family drama and mythological epic
As the average age of video-game developers and players has crept upwards, everyone has started to expect more from their characters. In the last decade, formerly two-dimensional avatars from Lara Croft to Wolfenstein’s BJ Blazkowicz have been retrofitted with backstories and motivations – with varying success.
On the face of it, Kratos, the vengeful god who powered the excellent (and gratuitously violent) God of War games of the 00s, is an absurd candidate for such humanisation. Until now, his sole character trait has been angry. He has retired to Scandinavia, is recently widowed and father to a tweenaged son who knows nothing of his god-slaying, blood-soaked past in Greece. He and the boy set out to scatter his wife’s ashes from the top of a distant mountain, getting unwillingly caught up in the affairs of Norse gods along the way.