God of War fans were introduced to a new side of Kratos when God of War launched on PS4 in 2018. If you haven’t yet experienced the tale of father and son traveling the realms of Norse myth yourself, or if it’s been a while, we’re ready to catch you up to speed.
To prepare for the upcoming release of God of War Ragnarök on November 9, we’ve invited two of the best storytellers we know to recap the journey of Kratos and Atreus from God of War (2018): the amazing Felicia Day and the Smartest Man Alive, Mimir!
The new Myths of Midgard video is an animated storybook recounting the events of God of War (2018), with a goal of catching you up on the previous game.
Before you watch, beware – there are spoilers ahead!
Of course, the best way to experience God of War (2018) is to pick up the Leviathan Axe and leap in yourself (available with PlayStation Extra and Premium membership plans*). You can also pick up the God of War (2018) Digital Deluxe Edition for $9.99 USD during the PlayStation Store Summer Sale through August 17.
Hungry for an even deeper summary of God of War (2018)? Keep reading for a full recap.
God of War (2018) Story Recap
Our story begins with an end, the funeral of Faye – mother to Atreus and wife of Kratos. Her last wish imparted to her family is to scatter her ashes on the highest peak in all the realms. This request begins a journey that forces father and son to work together as they face the dangerous Norse wilds filled with beasts, monsters, and less-than-friendly gods.
Kratos, despite trying to leave his bloody past as the Ghost of Sparta behind, is still haunted by the man – the god – he was. His relationship with Atreus has been distant, stern, and disciplined. Now coping with the death of his wife, Kratos must learn to be the father that his son needs so they can both survive their journey across distant realms to lay Faye to rest.
Atreus is a young boy dealing with the sudden loss of his mother and a cold, distant father. Despite being sickly as a child and only very recently recovering enough to travel, Atreus wants nothing more than to fulfill his mother’s final wish and prove to his father that he is strong.
Having been taught by Faye how to use a bow and hunt, Atreus hopes that he can show Kratos he will be an asset on their journey and that he is no longer the frail boy he used to be.
Arrival of the Stranger
After the funeral of Faye, Kratos and Atreus are visited by a mysterious stranger – one who seems intent on picking a fight with the legendary God of War from a distant land. Baldur says he is sent by Odin to investigate the home and its residents, indicating that perhaps he, and the rest of the Norse Gods, are much more aware of Kratos’ past than even his own son.
They clash, tearing through the earth and rock surrounding the home in a bloody brawl that reveals Baldur has lost the ability to feel anything – impervious to pain and pleasure alike. Though the battle is close, Kratos is able to harness his rage and finally beats Baldur into submission. While he has rid them of the immediate threat, Kratos realizes that his home, and his son, are no longer safe. They must make the journey now – whether Atreus is ready for it or not.
Unexpected friends in unexpected places
Thinking that they are looking for the highest peak in Midgard, Kratos and Atreus journey towards the tallest mountain in their realm.
Along the way they meet the Huldra Brothers, Brok and Sindri, who are renowned dwarven smiths. While the brothers are dealing with some familial tension, both Brok and Sindri provide their assistance and services after seeing that Kratos wields the Leviathan Axe, a weapon they had personally forged for their friend and Kratos’ late wife, Faye.
They also encounter the mysterious Witch of the Woods, who offers them her aid including knowledge of how to use the Bifröst, a magical tool that allows father and son to traverse between the Nine Realms. The Witch is later revealed to be the Vanir goddess Freya, mother of Baldur and exiled wife of Odin.
Mission accomplished! Or is it? (It’s not)
As Kratos and Atreus are finally able to reach the peak with Freya’s guidance, they arrive to see Baldur already there, flanked by two hulking accomplices, Magni and Modi – the sons of Thor. They spy the Aesir gods interrogating a man who has been fused to a tree, though they quickly leave after receiving little from the evasive prisoner.
Mimir, once an ambassador and advisor to Odin, is the self-described Smarted Man Alive and currently being punished on suspicion of betraying the All-Father.
He reveals that while our heroes have made it to the highest peak in Midgard, they have not yet reached the highest peak in all the realms. Their true destination resides in Jötunheim and will, by all accounts, be rather hard to get to considering all entry has been blocked.
Mimir knows of another way, but first gives Kratos the pleasure of decapitating him and pleading his case to the Witch of the Woods to magically revive his severed head so he can be free of Odin’s prison.
Finally learning of Freya’s godhood, Kratos distrusts her as he distrusts all of their kind. After reviving Mimir, she advises Kratos to tell Atreus that he is part god, just like his father. Freya warns that denying his son’s true nature will only bring the boy pain.
Ignoring her advice – Kratos, Atreus, and the freshly revived Mimir set off to find the tools needed to open a passage to Jötunheim.
Sons of Thor
Along their journey, the trio are ambushed by the two men they saw accompanying Baldur, Magni and Modi. They battle Kratos and Atreus fiercely, though Kratos is able to strike a killing blow on Magni.
Modi flees, but later finds the pair again. By killing Kratos, he hopes to regain his honor and prove that he is worthy of Thor’s legacy. Modi subdues Kratos, but seeing his father in peril, Atreus instinctively triggers what appears to be his own Spartan Rage ability.
Not knowing his own godhood, Atreus is overwhelmed by the sudden surge and falls unconscious, his childhood illness seemingly returned and worse than ever. Kratos fends off Modi, who quickly departs knowing his life is in danger. Seeing that Atreus is barely alive, Kratos takes his son to Freya in the hopes her magic can help save his son.
The price of secrets
Freya reveals that Atreus’ sickness is caused due to the conflict between his nature as a god and his ignorance of that fact. She believes she has a treatment that can wake him but requires the heart of a creature in Helheim, the realm of the dead.
Knowing the frost-attuned Leviathan Axe will be of little help to him in the frozen wastelands of Hel, Kratos returns to his home and retrieves a part of his past he had hoped to leave behind – the Blades of Chaos.
The Blades were once a tool of fiery bloodshed and a symbol of Kratos’ servitude to the Greek gods, many of which he killed in his life as the God of War. Knowing they are the key to saving his son, Kratos chooses to acknowledge his past for the sake of saving Atreus and equips the Blades of Chaos once again.
Kratos successfully retrieves the heart for Freya, allowing her to save his son. After he regains consciousness, Kratos reveals to Atreus their true nature as gods.
Despite Atreus’ illness fading with this secret now in the open, the boy grows increasingly arrogant. Modi finds the pair again, desperate to try and finish them off to regain a scrap of respect from Thor. Badly beaten by his father for failing to kill Kratos and letting his brother Magnai die, Modi proves to be little threat. Atreus stabs the weakened Modi in direct defiance of Kratos’ order, killing the god once and for all.
Seeing that Atreus’ newly revealed godhood has caused his son to become increasingly cruel and arrogant, Kratos knows he must teach his son to be better before it’s too late.
Sins of the Mother
Having gathered the tools to make a portal to Jötunheim, Kratos, Atreus, and Mimir return once again to the peak of Midgard to travel to the realm of the Giants.
As they arrive, they are ambushed by Baldur. Instead of following his father’s directions and jumping through the just-opened portal, Atreus, in his arrogance, tries to fight Baldur alone.
Kratos intervenes, but during his clash with Baldur, the portal to Jötunheim is destroyed. Baldur incapacitates and captures Atreus when the boy tries to attack him single-handedly again and takes off towards the Lake of Nine. Kratos follows, their battle eventually leads to the Realm Travel Room, where Baldur attempts to take them to Asgard. At the last moment, Kratos diverts the Bifröst to another realm instead, Helheim.
In the realm of the dead, they are faced with specters of not just Kratos’ past, but Baldur’s as well. While father and son overcome the trials of this frozen realm, they discover the source of Baldur’s invulnerability was a spell cast by his mother.
At the time of his birth, Freya had learned that her son was fated to be killed. To prevent any harm coming to Baldur, she casts a spell to protect him from all magical and physical threats. Despite Freya’s mastery of the art, Vanir magic is notoriously slippery and hard to control. The spell had a single weakness she could not prevent, Baldur would not be impervious to mistletoe.
As Baldur grew, the effects of the spell became clear. While the god was invulnerable to everything, it also rendered him completely numb – unable to feel pain, and all of life’s pleasures too. Even though he begged Freya to undo the spell, she would not for fear of the prophecy coming true and her son dying. Baldur grew to hate and resent his mother for denying him the ability to feel.
After Baldur’s relationship with Freya and the truth of his condition is revealed, Kratos and Atreus escape back to Midgard having reconciled and made amends to each other following the events of Modi’s death and Baldur’s attack.
Death of a god
After the destruction of the portal to Jötunheim, Mimir shares one last solution: they can try to get to the realm of the Giants. Before they can attempt it, Kratos and Atreus are attacked again by Baldur who also escaped Helheim, but this time Freya intervenes.
Incensed by his mother’s arrival, Baldur seeks to kill not only Kratos and Atreus, but finally exact revenge on his mother for the spell placed on him at birth.
Having worked together over the entire journey across the realms, father and son now fight in unison. Together they push back Baldur, only to see Freya once again try to stop the fighting by subduing Kratos. As Baldur moves to strike a finishing blow, Atreus protects his father, placing himself between them which causes the Aesir god to punch the mistletoe arrowhead Atreus kept as a binding for his quiver.
With the arrowhead impaled through his hand, the spell finally breaks and Baldur, for the first time in his life, is finally able to feel everything – the pain of an injury, the cold snow below his feet, the sun on his face.
Reveling in the new sensations, Baldur recommences his attack with a mad vigor – relishing in all the feelings he had never been able to experience before.
They fight again, but through their shared strength, Kratos and Atreus are finally able to beat the newly vulnerable Baldur, who demands they kill him and end his life while he is still able to feel. Freya pleads with them to spare her only son, and Kratos relents – knowing all too well the pain a parent feels at losing a child.
As they turn to leave, Baldur uses his remaining strength to try and strangle Freya as payment for his years of numb torment. Freya accepts her death, hoping it will give her son some semblance of peace in his life to know she’s gone.
Kratos, seeing his own bloody mistakes about to be repeated by Baldur, steps in to save Freya’s life by killing her son. Unable to accept his death, Freya cradles the dead body of Baldur while swearing vengeance upon Kratos for taking away her only child, even if it meant that she would live.
The highest peak in all the realms
Finally able to make the journey to Jötunheim with the help of Mimir’s Bifröst eyes, Kratos and Atreus reach a Giant temple – one that has their entire journey carved into the walls. The Giants had seen what would come to pass, as well as what had come before.
They discover that this was all left for them by Faye, who was a Giant herself – a secret she had kept from her husband and son. Atreus finally uncovers the full truth of his heritage, that he is not only part god and part mortal, he is part Giant as well.
Atreus had two names, one was given to him by his father and the other, his mother. The name Faye had bestowed upon him was Loki.
Together Kratos and Atreus scatter the ashes on the peak of Jötunheim, finally fulfilling their quest.
Fimbulwinter has fallen
As they return home to Midgard, Mimir warns them that the death of Baldur means that the first event said to mark the arrival of Ragnarök has come to pass.
Kratos and Atreus now find themselves at the center of a prophecy that has foretold the complete upheaval of the Nine Realms and a battle so great it results in the deaths of many Aesir gods including Odin and Thor.
Father and son will have to choose their path as the freezing winds and snows of Fimbulwinter envelop their home in Midgard.
Discover the rest of the story yourself when God of War Ragnarök launches on PS5 and PS4 November 9, 2022.
For the latest updates around God of War Ragnarök, make sure you follow Santa Monica Studio on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
*Game library varies over time, region/country and plan. PS Plus is subject to a recurring subscription fee taken automatically until cancellation. Terms apply: play.st/psplus-usageterms
By PlayStation Official blog (blog.playstation.com)