I’ve had the idea for this article since March 2018. I probably cooked it up as a pitch for when I wrote at DualShockers. Very much a Buzzfeed-style article with a comedic spin. One glance at the box art lineup for the God of War series and you’ll notice that Kratos has a bit of a posture problem.
With God of War: Ragnarök out today, I figured now is as good a time as any to execute this four-year-old pitch.
God of War (PS2)
My goodness! Look at the arch in Kratos’ back! Totally slumped over, neck craned up, arms a dangling down. This is painful to stare at too long. No wonder he walked off a cliff at the very beginning.
God of War II (PS2)
A significant improvement! Kratos is now upright and tall. It appears as if his arms are being held slightly back past his hips. His shoulders are haunched upward and his neck is nonexistent. Still a ton of work to do in improving his neck work.
God of War: Betrayal (Mobile)
Who could forget Kratos’ mobile debut? This is an odd pose. Is the Spartan General running toward us or tripping over something? His right arm appears to be straight up from his shoulder above his head. The right foot can be seen stretched out toward the back. I would not dub this proper running form.
God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
Kratos’ neck appears! The anti-hero is standing tall with his head square, slightly looking toward the heavens. It helps that the game is about Helios falling from the sky, but at least Kratos is on the path to correcting his egregious posture of the past.
God of War III (PS3)
Zeus only knows how Kratos is standing in this one.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP)
Kratos’ Ghost of Sparta stance is the mirror image of his Chains of Olympus pose. Upright, but facing forward and head tilted down. It’s still in the realm of improvement.
Mortal Kombat 9 (PS3)
What is up with the arm curl? And slightly leaning to one side? If Kratos keeps this up, the back pain will surely finish him.
God of War: Ascension (PS3)
His poor knees and arms. This is the only vulnerable image we ever get of the Spartan. His head drooping down is a sad sight. Why is one knee off the ground though? That has to be even more painful! Perhaps all the stretching is correcting those early year hunches.
Shovel Knight (PS3, PS Vita, PS4)
As soon as the art style goes retro, Kratos’ posture reverts! Major God of War vibes with an aggressive forward lean, haunched neck and shoulders. I don’t know how he’ll ever recover from this…
God of War (PS4)
…And yet he does. Perhaps it is because he is a father once more and he does not want to pass on his terrible habits to his son. We see Kratos tall, level-headed, arms by his side. He is confident, determined. Atreus, on the other hand, is showing some negative behavior. I understand he is eager for the adventure and is on the bow of a boat, but the elevation of his right leg and slight lean worries me. Hopefully, he can break the familial curse and have healthy posture.
God of War: Ragnarök (PS4/PS5)
Praise be to Odin. They did it. Bravo.
Kratos is holding the Leviathan Axe a bit further down. Maybe all the upgrades from the PS4 title redistributed the axe’s balance.
If there are any more God of War games on the horizon, I hope Kratos remembers what he has seemed to learn during his time in Midgard.