Ranking all God of War games from worst to best

Ranking all God of War games from worst to best

The God of War series has come a long way since its inception in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. Although it started out as a hack-and-slash action series, recent entries have taken an action-adventure approach, like most modern PlayStation exclusives .

Despite being a fairly new IP compared to other PlayStation exclusives, the God of War franchise (and its protagonist, Kratos) has become the most recognizable face of the PS brand.

Kratos’ evolution through all the mainline titles is a monumental achievement for Santa Monica Studio, from a rage-driven demigod with one-dimensional character motivations to a controlling, calm and ultimately peaceful god.

Over the years, the series has seen many installments of incredible quality, each pushing the boundaries of graphical fidelity and gameplay mechanics. Naturally, the franchise has also had its fair share of mediocrity.

Now that Santa Monica Studio has delivered its latest entry, God of War Ragnarok, here’s a look back at history as we rank all the main games in the iconic series.

Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the opinions of the author.

Ghost of Sparta, Ragnarok and other God of War games, ranked from worst to best

8) God of War: Chains of Olympus

Built for Sony’s handheld iteration of the PlayStation console, the PlayStation Portable (PSP), GOW: Chains of Olympus was developed as a gap between the first two numbered entries in the series.

The game showcases the series’ flexibility on a handheld platform. However, the developers have had to sacrifice the visual and gameplay design to make it playable on the PSP’s small form factor.

While the premise of the game was pretty strong, it didn’t bring anything new to the series’ gameplay or narrative formula. This makes it one of the most forgettable experiences in the franchise.

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7) God of War: Ghost of Sparta

Like GOW: Chains of Olympus, GOW: Ghost of Sparta was developed exclusively for the PlayStation Portable. However, the game saw some significant changes to the formulaic gameplay of the series, making it a much more enjoyable title.

One of the biggest improvements was made to the story, which shifted the focus from the godly conspiracies to Kratos’ past, his family and his long-lost brother, Deimos.

While the title offers an intriguing narrative and engaging hack-and-slash action, it falls short compared to other main titles in the series. This is partly due to the restrictions imposed by the PSP.

6) God of War: Ascension

GOW: Ascension is not a bad game, far from it. However, it is still considered one of the worst entries in the franchise.

GOW: Ascension came right after God of War 3, which basically wrapped up Kratos’ Greek story with a satisfying finale. While the title had good gameplay, it never felt innovative enough to justify its existence as a main entry in the series.

From story to gameplay systems, GOW: Ascension feels like an unnecessary rehashing of the previous five installments of the series. The game has some spectacular set-pieces and stunning graphics that pushed the PlayStation 3’s hardware to its absolute limits. However, it failed to deliver a unique experience to set it apart from the rest of the titles in the series.

5) God of War (2005)

The original God of War, the game that started the phenomenal hack-and-slash action series, is easily one of the most revered titles among fans. This is all thanks to its inner struggle, satisfying puzzles and unique premise.

Although the game is showing its age, even with the PlayStation 3 remaster, it still holds its own among some of the most iconic hack-and-slash titles of all time.

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4) God of War 2

God of War 2 is easily one of the best examples of sequels done right. It improves upon almost every gameplay aspect of the original title while delivering a fantastic narrative.

The second title in the series is one of the best and most loved games on the PlayStation 2. It features the inner and satisfying combat of the original game, supported by some truly spectacular set pieces. The sequel also made some significant changes to the gameplay and level design of the original, making it a much more enjoyable experience.

From much more streamlined puzzles to a better and more fluid combat system, God of War 2 is basically everything fans wanted from a sequel to the 2005 original.

3) God of War 3

The third main part is the penultimate episode in Kratos’ Greek saga. What started with the demigod being enslaved and blinded by Ares ended with the decimation of Olympus.

Kratos’ revenge-driven narrative saw him become embroiled in many god-fearing conspiracies. However, the titular demigod bested everything and everyone in his path, returning from the dead to exact his revenge on the almighty Zeus.

The game picks up right where God of War 2 leaves off, with Kratos approaching Mount Olympus with the help of the Titans while challenging Zeus himself. Kratos defeats god after god, starting with Poseidon and Hades and ending with Zeus, in what could be considered the most brutal executions in gaming.

2) The god of war Ragnarok

The conclusion of Kratos’ Norse saga and the sequel to the phenomenal 2018 soft reboot of the series, GOW Ragnarok is the perfect example of how to deliver an amazing sequel to a great game.

GOW Ragnarok improves on almost every aspect of the previous title, including combat, exploration and side quests, and is a fantastic action-adventure title in every way.

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The narrative may not have reached the heights of the previous title. However, the game fully lives up to players’ expectations from the sequel to one of the best action-adventure titles of the eighth console generation.

1) God of War (2018)

No one would have thought that Kratos, a one-dimensional character known only for his uncontrolled rage, could be transformed into a relatable and human character. But with the soft reboot of the franchise in 2018, Santa Monica Studio did just that. Not only did the game humanize the raging monster that is Kratos, but it also gave him a newfound purpose: raising his son.

Kratos, who lost everything he cared about after being blinded and tricked by a god, was once again given a chance to raise a family of his own, albeit in the Norse lands.

Directed by Cory Barlog, the creative mind behind some of the best titles in the series, the 2018 soft reboot was essentially a personal story told through Kratos. As the narrative became much more nuanced and intimate, so did the gameplay.

Gone was the top-down hack-and-slash design; the new title was structured like most modern action-adventure games with an over-the-shoulder camera, giving players an up-close and personal combat experience.

While the changes in gameplay and progression were a significant departure from the classic titles, the core identity of the series remained intact with the 2018 title.

The combat is visceral and satisfying, with a large variety of chainable combos and a few magical abilities. Along with amazing camera work, spectacular scenery and some amazing boss fights, the game is easily the best the series has ever seen.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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