I don't think I'm with you on this dude. I see your point, but don't agree with it. Regardless of whether the dying was by her own hand or by her son's, it was still a choice she made. Kratos intervened because he felt he had the right to do so, whether justified or not, which to me is not reflective of his character at the start or end of the game. He presumed to know better than Baldur, Freya, and that world which to me speaks to his sense of entitlement and privilege that is ill-placed given his apparent turn to the light-side, so to speak. It speaks to old Kratos from the other games. Which, throughout the game, they did a good job of balancing his default instincts from the old game with this goodly turn. But, at the end, he was supposed to have presumably suppressed those instincts, or so I thought. Which makes the decision to kill Baldur bizarre to me. Unless, like I said, they play with that dilemma in the future games.
God of War Ending/Post-Game Discussion (Spoilers)
@deathpooky: About the Atreus mood switch post-God reveal I similarly was really put off by the abruptness of it. That whole section really felt like the writing team took a week off and let the interns wrap things up or something. Even though he is a child the hard 180 was really jarring, especially since they build him up to be such a positive and well meaning individual - which is also why the Loki reveal felt kind of shoehorned in. Why would you make Atreus the Trickster god, one of the more fiendish and ruthless of the norse Gods, when the entire game is about how pure of heart he really is. If the only point of building him up is to strike him down in the sequel then thats kind of lame.
Overall I feel as if the entire game lacks substance in terms of the narrative. For such a long campaign Kratos does a remarkably small amount of growing while Atreus is just all over the place. I was a little shocked that literally until the very end of the game Kratos is grunting away all questions. I understand that it's supposed to be the culmination of a journey, but they stretch it out a little too much. That said, the final fight against Baldur was really satisfying how both father and son work in tandem with one another.
Really good game, although I'm surprised that a lot of people are giving it all this credit for taking a long running franchise and reinventing it for the better, when Tomb Raider did exactly this, and in many ways I think it actually did it better.
Actually Atreus being Loki makes perfect sense IMO. The game really flips the script on everything about Norse myth for starters...The Norse gods were never as fucked up as the Greek Pantheon. Thor was a noble warrior, Odin was wise and peace-loving, and Baldur was the kindest god ever, where as in the GOW mythos, Thor's a berserk bastard, Odin's a paranoid monster, and Baldur is just batshit insane...which is not accurate at all.
The game really pushes the idea that the giants were the good guys and the gods were the villains, which is honestly not the case in actual Norse Myth. With that in mind, it would make sense for Loki, the son of two giants, to become the main hero of the story. Hell, Kratos is even referred to as Fárbauti by Laufey (Faye) in the shrine they discover at the end. In old Norse that translates to "cruel or brutal striker", and it was also the name of Loki's actual father in norse myth father (also a Giant). So, given that they've painted the giants as an enlightened and kind race, I think it's completely natural for Loki to become their champion given his significance in Ragnarok and ties to the giants. Plus, I think it would be fun to be Loki. A charismatic, charming and yet powerful trickster would be an interesting evolution from the molten, stone-cold vibe Kratos has been giving off for the past decade.
Though to be fair I get why you are skeptical. In popular media Loki is pretty much always a villain of some kind.
Also, I disagree about Kratos not growing. I didn't expect him to crack jokes at the end, but there are subtle changes as well as big one's that do a whole lot of growing for the Ghost of Sparta, especially regarding his perception of himself, Atreus and godhood.
I think Kratos deciding to kill Baldur and save Freya is actually tied into him trying to stop the cycle of patricide you see all the time in mythology. The line he says as he kills Baldur, "The cycle ends here," is straight up exactly what Zeus says to Kratos when he first tries to kill him at the beginning of God of War 2. Zeus's motivations at that moment were driven mainly by fear that Kratos would kill him first. It's questionable what Kratos's exact motivations are at this point, but this is probably the first god I've seen him kill where he wasn't doing so out of either revenge, hatred, accident, or self-preservation. I personally thought he was doing it out of some moral obligation, be it because he wants to break the cycle of "son kills parent" or because he wants to protect someone for once, both of which seem to be a step forward for his character.
Everything he fought and killed to this point has been because it's been in his way of him and his son's personal journey. Killing Baldur and saving Freya did nothing to aid his quest at that point (aside from maybe Baldur telling Odin where they were), so I think it means something that he involved himself in Midgard's affairs, especially when considering Alfheim where he cautioned Atreus from getting involved emotionally in the elf's plight. In any case, Kratos killing Baldur is a direct decision of him to get involved than his usual history of deicide, so I don't think it's appropriate to lump it with his previous "instincts" of killing gods. He gave an ultimatum with the intention of leaving everything beforehand on the floor, the accused ignored said ultimatum, he returned and acted on his ultimatum.
The reality of Baldur's fate is that if he just left Kratos well enough alone everyone would still be alive. Baldur could have just left and returned at Freya's house to kill her and Kratos wouldn't have even known or cared unless he desired to go there. Baldur, Thor's sons, the... gatekeeper of Helheim (there's really not a lot of collateral damage from Kratos's journey here) would all still be alive if not for Baldur's desire for someone to harm him, but then we get into a recursive argument about "Baldur wouldn't need to find somebody to harm him if Freya didn't make him immortal, but Baldur wouldn't even be around if Freya didn't marry Odin" and so on. In any case, I would rather see future installments of God of War with Freya being a vengeful specter than Baldur going "yah I killed my mom right good that I did."
Also, Freya gave up her autonomy in the situation when she gave up her life to Baldur. She put her life in his hands knowing full well what Kratos just threatened Baldur to not do. She essentially signed her own son's death certificate with her act of wanting her son to kill her. She could have easily resolved the situation by telling Baldur to meet her at the top of a mountain somewhere, but instead decided to say "go ahead and kill me in front of the god that said he would kill you if you touched me." She was acting as the penitent parent in the heat of the moment and wasn't even thinking everything through. A guy says he'll kill your son if your son tries to kill you and you just ask your son to kill you? She's not blameless. Even ignoring the horrible history between Baldur and Freya, she wasn't acting in the soundest of minds. I wouldn't be at all surprised if she turned her hatred towards Kratos into hatred towards herself in a sequel.
Kratos didn't need to or want to insert himself into Midgard's affairs, but the gods sure didn't try to keep him out.
@burncoat: Plus, Freya's kind of a monster herself. Despite Baldur begging him to lift the curse, a cure to which she very well knew given that she burned Atreus's mistletoe arrows, she never once tried to break the curse. She would have let Baldur suffer and be driven further into madness despite the fact that she could have at any time salvaged not only his life, but their relationship.
Mimir attests that Freya would have been "better for the realm" as opposed to Baldur, which is true, but the reason Baldur was even such a threat in the first place was because he engaged in reckless behavior in order to "feel something." He was insane at that point, which makes sense given he was unable to feel any kind of sensation, and Freya knew this and did nothing about it. Even when her son is cured by the accidental interaction between him and Atreus, Freya doesn't seem all to thrilled about it. Even then, even after everything that has happened she would have let her son suffer.
Kinda puts the whole "Godhood sucks" idea into perspective, that even the supposed kind gods can do misguided horrible things to people they love.
Granted, we're not sure how much of that is Freya's actual personality. The game confirms after what Odin did to her, she's literally "not all there".
But it also highlights a common vice with the gods: they believe they are above anyone's judgement but their own. Kratos killing Baldur is a retort that no, their actions have consequences. They can't get away with whatever they want just because other gods are fine with it.
Haven't really had time to think about the story yet, but there is one totally unimportant thing that bugged me a lot about the latter half of the game. It seemed like all the collectibles up-and-vanished? You get all the health/rage boosts about halfway through the game, and all the artefacts just disappear whereas every area in the start of the game had its own collection. Also seemed like there was enough of the purple chests for another set of cyphers, so I wonder if they ended up cutting one of the realms?
I thought the introduction of new mechanics/puzzles/areas to explore was pretty well done otherwise, definitely planning to go back and finish off the side content I skipped over to get to the ending.
I think the scene where Freya rapidly destroys the Mistletoe arrows illustrates that even after all that's transpired shes still perfectly content to let Baldur steep in his madness that she's brought about. She is completely ignorant to his suffering and plight and continues to be so even after her life is spared by Kratos.
I think Kratos made the right decision in saving her morally, but looking more into it it probably would have been best just to kill both of them given their instability.
The gods in this mythos really are all varying degrees of awful - look at the state of Midguard? Its left completely in ruins with the only humans left being ravenous murderers.
@junkerman: I think it's more she assumes he will eventually (perhaps in another century or two) see things her way and admit she was right and that all his suffering is worth not dying. It's "mother knows best" taken to a life-destroying extreme. She's not ignorant of his suffering, she just believes it's worth immortality.
@daemonbloodrose: I'd be willing to bet most people here have. They have just been digging into the larger nuances of the story and less the teasers which is what that scene was. Nothing about that scene, interesting and fun though it was, tells us anything about the future games or Thor for that matter.
Ok, I know I'm a little late to the party on this, but now that finals are over, I FINALLY beat the game last night. Completely on accident. I'm going to echo the sentiments of everyone who ended up wholly disappointed in God of War's story. Talk about underwhelming. The game just ends so abruptly and it feels like there's an entire act that's missing. The game focused entirely too much on the father-son relationship (which was only well-done some of the time) and not enough on building up what would be the actual over-arcing plot. For one, the game's cast is small and when it wastes all its time just talking about the other gods rather than getting them involved, it makes the world feel empty and the story, very impersonal and low-stakes.
There's so much down time between major story beats that it was easy to forget what or who the hell the antagonists are supposed to be. Baldur and Thor's sons show up a handful of times in so many hours, with the rest of the time just talking about Thor and Odin and Tyr. I will say this, I thought the "Atreus is Loki" reveal was pretty neat, and I was enjoying the story because it felt like it was building up to something grand, right up until the credits started to run out of fucking nowhere. At that point, it caused me to retroactively dislike everything that had happened because it turned out to be an anti-climactic waste of time that almost completely squandered the entire premise of the game. Yes, Kratos and Atreus completing their personal journey is sweet and everything, but the game barely scratched the surface of creating a larger conflict, and thinking back on it, there really weren't any big, memorable moments or revelations. I get that they have to set it up for sequels and can't play their entire hand at once, but this was a little extreme, no?
And ANOTHER THING... pretty weak selection of boss fights and set-pieces. The first Baldur fight was epic as hell and really set a standard that the game failed to match for the rest of its duration. The dragon fight in the mountain was amazing, too; the only fight in the entire game that really lived up to the God of War name. The fight against Thor's sons was okay but felt like a filler boss. Then everything else is just recycled. How many times did we really need to fight some variation of the big troll with a stone pillar as a weapon? And the last boss just being Baldur again, but not as cool as the first encounter? That shit was whack. There is some decent spectacle in the game, just not nearly enough for how long it is.
Luckily the gameplay held up its end of the bargain. I really loved playing the game and I do intend to mop up all the side quests, collectibles, etc. The combat is weighty and has surprising depth. The focus on exploration offers a welcome change of pace in a lot of spots and is very rewarding. It'd be nice if they went deeper on the RPG mechanics and loot rather than making it simple, surface level stuff, but I won't complain too much about that. I did love most of my time with the game, but holy shit did it drop the ball in some key areas that makes its near universal praise really baffling.
“It ends here” could also refer to Kratos’ attitude of indifference. Much of the story he advised a very hands-off approach- “harden your heart” and “it is of no concern to us”, etc.
In that moment he chooses to become proactive instead of reactive towards the Norse gods.
Just finished the game , I like many of you was expecting Thor or Odin to pop up and really start shit, which added a tension that I think was deliberate. I also feel like they have really foreshadowed traveling to other lands and seeing other pantheons, which would be cool as I am just a fan of mythology in general.
On that note the Norse interpretations were a lot of fun, and the writing of both Atreus and Kratos and their interactions with each other and the interactions with other characters they meet was very well done. Atreus's story from being innocent and weak, to finding out about god-hood and becoming over-confidant and arrogant, to learning the lessons and becoming well-tempered was well-realized.
The God of War callbacks, such as Kratos quoting Zeus at the end was cool, also the Blades being a weapon was an awesome surprise and when I walked outside to use them, and Kratos just goes through the combo animations from the old games gave me a huge smile.
I was a little bummed to see their journey end...I think I'll chip away at the post game stuff. I'm not sure if I would have liked a more climatic ending, which I suppose I was expecting...but that is how Kratos's story would have ended, and its his son's story? As of right now they have a sequel set up with Ragnarok happening, Freya has revenge declared on Kratos, Thor and Odin have revenge for their kin as well, and Kratos is suppose to die in his sons arms?(the wall painting Kratos sees)
either way I really like the game, its a rad way to reboot a series like God of War.
I appreciated the contrast between the epic myth setting and action combined with the small, intimate nature of the story. Remember during GOTY talks a couple years ago when the complaint du jour was "every game story is about saving the world"? Well they listened, and it seems like people actually prefer the safe, predictable "save the world" story.
Please Log In to post.
This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.
Comment and Save
Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.