10 Ways God Of War Is The Best Hack & Slash Game Series

From the shores of ancient Greece to the icy mountains of the Viking territories, Kratos has had a long and impressive career since first ripping his way onto consoles. Since 2005, the God of War franchise has become one of the pillars of the hack-and-slash genre. While that might certainly be true, some argue that the Ghost of Sparta represents the field as a whole.

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It can't be denied that the name, God of Waris what many players think of when they hear the words "hack-and-slash," and perhaps there's a solid reason Kratos continues to hold the crown. There might just be logic behind the legend.

10 Lore and Mythology

A big part of any hack-and-slash game is the reliance on the fantasy genre. Granted, there have been many titles that have ventured out into sci-fi, steam-punk, and even a more modern approach, but the roots of the genre lie in the realms of swords and sorcery. Of course, Kratos is no exception.

The series relies heavily on classic mythology, both Greek and Norse, and the lore of gorgons, gods, and other monsters help shape the games' identity. The monsters are excellent targets for the player's violent impulses.

9 Weapons Of Choice

Kratos will always be recognized for two main weapons, the Blades of Chaos and the Leviathan Axe, but those are far from the only tools of his trade. Along with magic spells and powerups, the Ghost of Sparta comes equipped with a variety of swords, armor, and other weapons to rip and tear his way to the top.

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Anything that can take down gods, monsters, and everything in between has to pack some serious punch. From dual blades to enchanted battle-axes, Kratos is more than a little over-qualified for the tasks at hand.

8 Combo System

While God of War isn't the first to implement a combo-based fighting system, that honor might go to something like Devil May Cry, it was one of the first to make the combat feel so addicting and powerful. There's always been a sort of a thrill to watching the kill-counter scroll up and up as a player tears their way through a host of enemies.

Giving a character like Kratos a body count, and by some extension one for the player too, is what helps establish him as a powerful entity. He's not just some over-powered hero on the road to vengeance, but he's a force of mythological nature no one should mess with.

7 Enemy Variety

If variety is the spice of life, Kratos is certainly a seasoned veteran in the monster-slaying business. From hydras to jotuns, Kratos has certainly made life difficult for a splendid selection of beasts and behemoths throughout his career.

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They might be demonic soldiers, undead minions, or full-on gigantic titans that can squash their victims with a single finger, Kratos shows neither fear nor mercy if they get in his way. And with his hand in so many mythological territories, there's no way a player can run out of monsters to mash, no matter what their tastes might be.

6 Brutal Bosses

Run-of-the-mill monsters and minions are one thing, but it's the boss fights that truly help the God of War games stand out from the crowd. Not many games before them gave players the ability to literally rip the head off a god, and Kratos made it transparently clear that he was no ordinary gaming hero.

A player character with a dark reputation like Kratos's needs bosses and minibosses with reputations to match, enter the gods of classic mythology to try and keep him from achieving his goal and finding his peace. Zeus, Apollo, Posideon, and the rest are mighty mountains ready to crumble, but they won't go down without a fight by any means.

5 Replayability

A good sign for any video game, regardless of genre, is the desire to pick it up and do it all again, and that can certainly ring true for this series. The early games and the original core trilogy did this exceptionally well by offering different unlockables and levels for players to test their strengths, but there's more to it than just upping the ante for this series.

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The loop of hacking, slashing, and otherwise mass-mutilating the monsters that cross their paths is definitely something that triggers a sweet spot for many gamers. The fact that the God of War games know how to perfectly strike it is only one of its most beneficial factors.

4 Variety

It might seem counterproductive to go from repetitiveness to variety, but there's a method to the madness. The series doesn't just put a square peg in a square hole over and over again, because Kratos has certainly branched out during his 15+ year career.

Along with various mythologies, his games have thrown in puzzle elements, a focus on adventure and environment, and the reboot series has even mastered the art of narrative-driven gameplay. Needless to say, the guy is far from a one-trick pony.

3 An Epic Story

The tale of Kratos is a mythological epic worthy of a Homeric text. A mighty hero with a tragic past has to overcome gods and monsters before finally achieving his peace and finding rest, that's practically mythology 101 for anyone who's read The Illiad or Odyssey. 

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Not only that, but the size, scale, and settings for Kratos and his adventures are enormous and powerful. This is a factor that only increases with each new entry in the series, bringing in bigger and more complex creatures, worlds, and levels to keep players coming back for more.

2 Character Development

Along with a deeply engrossing and evolving story, Kratos himself has come a long way as well. A character who started out as a rage-fueled demigod bent on tearing Olympus asunder has now become one of the most complex characters in the Playstation's lineup.

Kratos is not the same man who tore through pantheons and hordes on the PS2 all those years ago. With each new installment in the God of War saga, a new layer of the character reveals itself, and Kratos has progressively become more sympathetic. He might be known for his firey rage and god-like strength, but he's far from a simple one-dimensional character.

1 A Feeling Of Power

With a name like God of War, a reputation for power practically comes with the title. There are many games that grant their players an immersive experience, but the franchise in question has practically perfected the sensation of raw power that comes with picking up the controller as Kratos.

The games establish the defining feature that every hack-and-slash title demands. Once the Chaos Blades or Leviathan Axe touch his hands, the infectious feeling of absolute power bleeds from the game to the controller to the mitts of the player. And games like Bayonetta, Blasphemousand even titans of the genre like Devil May Cry have all taken a few notes.

NEXT: 8 Most Profound Quotes In God Of War

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