God of War | How Many Games, Order, and Where to Start

God of War

The reboot of God of War is about to get its own sequel: God of War: Ragnarok. With this stellar sign for one of PlayStation’s most popular franchises, it’s important to remember it’s roots. Before God of War was a slow, reaction-based action game… Kratos was one angry guy! The original god-slaying journey was significantly more gory, fast, and mature. But, the story of Kratos started there, and the games are still immensely fun! This is the God of War games retrospective, and it’s time to learn our mythology!

How many God of War games are there in the series?

God of War game

Including the soon-to-release Ragnarok, there are 15 games in the God of War series total. Of those games, only six of them are considered to be part of the main series: the numbered entries, Ascension, the new GoW, and Ragnarok.

That being said, you can argue that the two portable games have earned their keep in the universe. Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta were for the PlayStation Portable consoles. They offer a small amount of context for events in the GoW universe. However, they are not required for the true experience.

There is one spinoff games for the series. Betrayal is a mobile game in the GoW universe.

Otherwise, there are three combination packs that were released. GoW Collection includes the first and second games in the series, and was available for PS3 and PS Vita. The Origins Collection includes the two PlayStation Portable installments, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta. Finally, Saga includes all three original GoW games, Chains of Olympus, and Ghost of Sparta. This was also available for the PlayStation 3.

There is one remaster which is not part of a collection: III Remastered for the PS4.

Finally, there were two promotional games designed for the God of War Norse mythology chapter. A Call from the Wilds is a short, text-based adventure game that was officially created and sponsored by the devs, and so is recognized. Mimir’s Vision is an AR game, and so is more or less ignored by most.

Which God of War game should I play first?

God of War

The following sections will assume you are playing the main series. While the side series are great (especially Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta), the console versions are easier to get.

You have two main options to introduce you to this mythologically-charged adventure: God of War (2005) or God of War (2018).

The original game suffers a bit from aging, and is still only available on the PS3. These are pretty major obstacles to enjoying the original title… But the game is so nice, that it might be worth the investment to you personally.

The new Norse-inspired game is also a fine place to start. While you will be missing some character development, Kratos is essentially a brand new man in a new environment. You won’t suffer too much from starting in the new continuity.

In general, God of War (2018) is probably the less painful game to start with, just because it’s easier to get on modern consoles.

Is there a correct order to play God of War games?

God of War game

Very Minor Spoiler Alert!

If you have access to the PS2, PS3, or ways to play those consoles, then yes! There are actually a few different ways to play the entire God of War series, depending on your preference.

Order of Release

If you want to play them in order of the games’ release, play them in the following order.

  1. God of War (2005)
  2. God of War II
  3. GoW: Chains of Olympus
  4. God of War III
  5. GoW: Ghost of Sparta
  6. GoW: Ascension
  7. God of War (2018)
  8. GoW: Ragnarok

All of the games before the sixth entry are available on PS3; GoW to Ghost of Sparta are in the God of War Saga game collection, and Ascension is a PS3 game normally. The 2018 GoW is on PS4 and PS5, while Ragnarok will be available exclusively on the PS5.

This order will give you the progression of the series, and is the recommended order of play. You may safely ignore Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta if wanted.

However, there is another way to play them.

God of War: Story Mode

This order of playing the games will give you the chronological story of Kratos himself, from the beginning of his playable life to the end of his current adventures. This order does require you to play Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta if needed.

  1. Ascension
  2. Chains of Olympus
  3. God of War (2005)
  4. Ghost of Sparta
  5. God of War II
  6. God of War III
  7. God of War (2018)
  8. Ragnarok

This order will bring you through Kratos’ life following the unfortunate ordeal with his family. For this chain to work, both of the portable games should be played. Thankfully, they’re full of the same fun and excitement as the console games.

Which God of War game is considered the best?

God of War

The God of War games are all stellar titles, but which one reigns supreme on the battlefield? In order to give you the best idea about what the majority considers to be the best, we’ll be using metrics provided by Metacritic.

And… It’s a tie! As it turns out, both God of War (2005) and God of War (2018) are considered the best game in the series. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising, since both are considered new beginnings for our blood-soaked hero. The remake does have a slightly higher user review score, though that may be due to timing, since user reviews and critiques from 2005 aren’t well-defined or organized.

Interestingly, the other God of War games are all exceptionally well-rated, with Ascension being the only game with a below 90 score. That being said, some remakes took a bit of a beating from fans; III Remastered and the God of War Collection for PS Vita are generally described as worse than the original.

Which original God of War would be the best game for me?

Considering how well-loved these two games are, your perfect GoW might come down to preference. The original series valued extremely fast action with wide, sweeping swings, a ton of monsters, and more mature themes. Kratos was in a mid-life crisis, and his solution was to end as many lives as possible.

Meanwhile, the 2018 title has a more mellow main character, and it shows. Kratos is slower, takes more time to kill single enemies, and now is more reliant on leveling up stats and earning gear. For a more methodical game, the 2018 title might be a touch better… And holy crap, did the story and dialogue improve where the gameplay slowed down!

Excited for the new God of War title? We’ll have all of the news you’re looking for!

Written by Andrew Smith