God of War Ragnarok has finally been given an official release date, and that means fans of Kratos will surely want to dive back into the story of the Spartan turned God. His journey has been going on for years, and though the 2018 release was a success, it can be hard to follow the previous installments.
Even if you have never played the previous God of War games, now is the perfect time to jump in before the next release in early November of 2022. There have been a handful of releases, so it's important to stick to the main order of God of War games to appreciate the full story.
How to play the God of War games in order
The God of War franchise started in 2005 with the first release on the PlayStation 2. This is the beginning of the Kratos that everyone knows, but it's no longer the first game chronologically. After the main series began, some prequels and spin-offs were also released.
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Two were set before the timeline of the original God of War. Of course, there are additional games that go all the way up to God of War Ragnarok. There are a total of eight main titles that this guide will focus on, and they will start from the earliest timeline, rather than the earliest release date.
God of War: Ascension - 2013 PlayStation 3
Chronologically, this is where the story of Kratos begins. Six months after he kills his own family, he begins servitude to Ares. The Spartan warrior is placed against many of the enemies we see in the main series, especially as a release that followed God of War III.
If you value the progression of gameplay over the story, this would be the fourth main game after the original trilogy. It was also the last main series game on consoles for a long time until the latest Norse iteration.
God of War: Chains of Olympus - 2008 PSP
Unlike Ascension, Chains of Olympus was a PSP game alone, and can sometimes be found on streaming platforms. But what they share in common is the use of the pre-God of War timeline. Five years after becoming a servant to Ares, this story shows Kratos at his height as a warrior before taking on Ares in the next game.
God of War I - 2005 PlayStation 2
This is where it all began, and Kratos has his first true adventure in this game. All of the revelations about his family are shown and the game finishes with the Spartan as the new God of War. Anyone looking to play this can absolutely find it on streaming services like PlayStation Plus.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta - 2010 PSP/PlayStation 3
Another entry into the portable main games, the Ghost of Sparta brings more back story to Kratos as a character. He visits Atlantis in a timeline set between the first GoW and the second installment in the main series. It's in this game that we get far more backstory about his family.
God of War: Betrayal - 2007 Mobile
There are a ton of aspects to this game that make it unique. Not only is it a 2D sidescrolling game, but it was also not released on Sony platforms alone. For some reason, it's considered a mainline series game, and it takes place shortly after the Ghost of Sparta. But after this installment, the timeline becomes far easier to play and follow.
God of War II - 2007 PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3
With the second main game, we are finally on track to follow the story of the tragic Greek God. The normal Gods begin to lose trust in him and Zeus betrays him. Kratos must find his way out of the underworld and take his revenge.
God of War III - 2010 PlayStation 3
This is the game that really put Kratos on the map, and everyone remembers the brutality that was unmatched in this game. Rather than surviving, Kratos spends the entire game getting vengeance on every God rather than just Ares and Zeus. You can play this game today as a remaster on through PlayStation Plus. It leads directly into the main series.
God of War (Norse) - 2018 PlayStation 4 and PC
Now we arrive at the revamped version of Kratos and his story. He ravaged Greece and now he is starting fresh in Scandinavia, or at least trying to. This is a completely new take on the main gameplay loop and it seems to be for the better. Fans finally got a new story installment after eight years, and it can be played on PC as well.
God of War Ragnarok - 2022 PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
After all the previous games, you will finally be caught up to the next installment in 2022. From what we know, Ragnarok is the end of the Norse Saga, and it's sure to have some huge implications. Whether you play each game, just the main series, or watch some videos, make sure to catch up on all the lore.
For more on the game, check our section dedicated to God of War Ragnarök news, guides, and features.
Featured image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio.