Ragnarok’ completely redefines the relationship between Kratos and Atreus

Ragnarok’ completely redefines the relationship between Kratos and Atreus

Kratos always has been the star of the God of War series. Whether in his hack-n-slash-sex minigame days or his more reserved time as a father, the franchise has been a one-man story. The introduction of Kratos’ son Atreus i God of War (2018) gave him something more to care about and gave it the title of the ultimate dad game. But the early hours of God of War: Ragnarök completely flip the script, putting Kratos in a supporting role, by letting Atreus take charge.

Atreus stands in the center God of War: RagnarökSony

Take your son to work – While Atreus is your constant companion throughout god of war (2018), acting as an emotional foil for Kratos, mechanically he is anything but a tool. Atreus’ purpose is to fulfill the player’s commands. As Kratos, you tell Atreus what to aim for and when to shoot – he doesn’t adopt his own will. This also reflects the story, which is centered around Kratos.

The 2018 game is a dark look at Kratos’ identity, where the player and the god of war himself reevaluates who he is and what he stands for. Can the one time god of war and god slayer take care of another? Can he be a good father?

The 2018 reboot/sequel followed in the footsteps of many AAA linear narrative adventure games that feature a prominent companion. While these titles add emotional depth to the story, they often fail to deliver mechanically in the same way that games like Icowhich is the direct inspiration for games like God of War (2018) or The last of us.

However, Atreus was raised in Ragnarökand ready to make their own choices.

For the first hours of ragnarok, Kratos must follow Atreus’ lead and help clear a path forward.Santa Monica Studio

Kids these days – With Fimbulwinter in full swing, and the approach of Ragnarök (the Norse apocalypse), Kratos settles for protecting himself and Atreus from the rest of the world. He is no longer a man who wants to go against the gods, even though he knows that the Norse gods will come and seek revenge for his actions in God of War (2018). Atreus is another story.

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Now older, Atreus is restless. Like all teenagers, he is in a rebellious phase. He sees the impending Ragnarök and wants to take action, even taking the fight to Asgard itself. Atreus becomes the driving force of the story, pushing his father to follow him. In the early hours of RagnarökAtreus tells Kratos to trust him to lead the way for both of them, and as the player we do.

Santa Monica Studio

There are no longer moments where Kratos mutters “boy” in a gruff tone, but he refers to Atreus by name, seeing him as a person deserving of mutual respect. Atreus will run ahead of us, take the initiative to find the way, point out obstacles and ask us to break them down. The first journey the two take to the realm of Svartalfheim relies on Atreus’ guidance and suggestions on how to complete environmental tasks. It’s your job as Kratos to support him and clear the way forward.

Where the story of God of War (2018) was Kratos’s, Ragnarök is a story about Atreus. No longer a parent struggling to accept the responsibilities of parenthood, Kratos is now a parent who needs to learn to let their child take charge for once and be their own person. Mechanically, although Kratos is still the player character, he fulfills much of the companion role.

The opening hours of God of War: Ragnarök presents a stunning sequel to its 2018 predecessor. It meaningfully builds on the story of Kratos as a father and what it means for a parent to shepherd a child into adulthood, including the inevitable need to let them grow beyond you.

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God of War: Ragnarök launching on November 9, 2022 for PS4 and PS5.

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