Kratos

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Bringing the Batman up was an interesting point.

Here we have a man who has gone beyond simple vengeance. I like the '90's animated series. It provided brief insights into Wayne as a character, a man so consumed by what he does that he really has nothing else. With the release of Batman Beyond, Wayne has become a bitter old man still trying to cling to the only life he knows. It could be argued that the sidekicks were his last hold on humanity, and his rejection of them after certain events only led him to a reclusive life.

Kratos is like Batman, they are both men driven to action because of a tragic events. there is one difference between them, batman is insane and Kratos is blind. Batman went nuts from seeing his parents die, and Kratos became blind because in his last moments of life his eternal rest was taken from him so he could sit on a thrown till the end of days. being denied release of his burden twice over Kratos becomes blind with his need to vent his rage to no avail because as long as he is alive his torment will continue, then what does everyone thinks would be a good idea to do to this blind madman use him to their own ends then betray him.

Kratos is completely over the top - and yeah, as much fun as I had with the game, I kept thinking "Why the hell is he doing this again? What's the motivation?"

At least with the Duke, you knew he had motivation to go around kicking ass, both boots up.

SamElliot'sMustache:
I mostly agree with the Batman assessment, though his murdered parents weren't his sole motivation for 70 years worth of stories. There have certainly been additions that gave more nuance and depth to the character since then, including the recent films, where Bruce Wayne attempts to become a symbol of hope for Gotham, or the '80's comics where they threw out the idea that he has a psychological need to be Batman. There's also the fact that he uses his billionaire persona to try and fund rehab programs for addicts, as well as give to other charitable causes, so that he's not just 'punch this dude, send to prison, have him escape, repeat.'

But, those added elements tend to be more the exceptions than the rules, introduced when publishers hire a writer with some actual ideas and ambition to write the character. Then it's back to the usual grind of punch-kick-repeat.

This sums up perfectly what I think about Batman. I don't have to type it now.

Yeah, what Yahtzee says about Batman isn't quite correct in my view. People who don't really know Batman assume that his sole motivation is revenge for his parents death. However there is more to Batman than that. The recent Batman films explain well how his parent's death was just a catalyst to becoming Batman rather than the real motivation of continuing his parents work and ridding Gotham of corruption.

I do agree with Yahtzee though, that in the comics Batman has become a bit of a parody of himself, but what character who's been around as long as Batman isn't.

Actually, I think the problem with Batman is that he's a certain number of essential characteristics printed in big block letters, mostly related to his history, and beyond that he has so little personality that he becomes whatever the writers want him to be.

(I can't speak so much for Kratos, not being a God of War devotee, but Batman I've followed enough of to comment.)

So, Batman.
* His parents were killed by criminals.
* He decided in the process of going to war on crime to take the bat as his symbol for its
potential for inducing fear in his enemies.
* He spent his youth studying criminology, the martial arts, and whatever other fields of athletics, science, history, etc. that happen to be necessary to push the particular story line.
* In the vast majority of storylines/universes, Batman never kills anyone as a matter of dogma.
* His "Bruce Wayne" persona appears foolish, shallow, and incompetent to prevent people from considering the possibility that he's Batman, yet despite this Wayne Enterprises usually is portrayed as a very successful company.
* He has a butler named Alfred who is an older man than he (usually portrayed as having worked for Bruce Wayne's parents) and fills whatever support roles the plot requires: combat medic, researcher, repairman, sounding board, etc.

Annnnnnd that's really about it.

Gruff, strict, and demanding, or playful, vivacious, and joking? Driven to the point of psychologically pathological obsession, or just a hard-working crusader who realizes he's the only one available to fill his niche? Is violence a tool of his work, or something he craves? Is his unwillingness to kill a virtue or a vice? Do his nocturnal habits interfere with his daily life, or is he so remarkable physically and mentally that it never comes up? Identity issues, or not? Sidekick: yes or no? Is his sidekick's presense in dangerous situations irresponsible, or has he worked out the game so far in advance and trained him or her so well that harm isn't even a serious consideration? Is Batman-level physical prowess in ordinary humans rare, or does it turn up in every villain of the week, regardless of their history? Is his relationship with the police (and the commissioner, in particular) one of friendship and trust, or animosity and suspicion?

It's all been done. Paul Dini's Batman is not Frank Miller's Batman, or Greg Rucka's Batman, or Bob Kane's Batman. Tim Burton's Batman is not Christopher Nolan's Batman (or, god forbid, Leslie Martinson's Batman.) That every different writer has been able to redefine the character depending on what they wanted to explore is part of the reason for the character's longevity, but it's also the reason the character, such as it is, leads to such frustration. (Every time some writer gets it in his head that "Batman is as insane as the villains he hunts", and thinks he's being cool and edgy, I want to slap him senseless...) The cowl and the history have a degree of consistency, but the villainous master plan that leaves one Batman reeling for a six-issue arc is so full of holes that the Batman of a previous writer would have wrapped it up in one.

He does, on occasion, show signs of life. Connections with long-term chracters, flaws and weaknesses that are human rather than merely glaringly obvious plot points. But wait a year, and we'll be on to something entirely different. (Ooh, now he's dead... Yeah, that'll stick.)

While I like Batman, it's pretty perverse that even Superman seems to have a more consistent personality. Kratos at least has the excuse of an action game riding on his back and a relatively short plot arc.

So wait. Why does Yahtzee love Kratos and hate Lara Croft? If they're both just being DBs for the hell of it, with minimal backstory prompting?

I would have to disagree with Yahtzee about his Kratos/Batman comparison. Yeah, his initial motive of vengeance is stale and uninteresting at this day and age, but you know what else drives Batman to do what he does? Helping to prevent the same misery that had been forced onto him.

Batman helps the defenseless and inspires those who feel they should do the same. You know; like what a hero does. He's not out to save the world on any grand scheme; he's just doing his part to turn the tide of evil that plagues his home city. If Batman is as uninteresting as Yahtzee says he is, then why is he still around? I'll tell you why (in the corniest way possible): Batman is as much a symbol of hope as Superman is. And the writers, editors, artists and fans know this, too.*

Kratos, on the other hand, started off as the tragic hero and ended up being the anti-hero, badass, that would sell Michael Bay films. He went from being a somewhat well-rounded character to a cardboard cut-out who would kill kittens if they looked at him funny. You might as well have an explosion go off while he walks slowly away from it. To put it bluntly, Kratos is boring.

/end nerd rage

DeadlyYellow:
Bringing the Batman up was an interesting point.

Here we have a man who has gone beyond simple vengeance. I like the '90's animated series. It provided brief insights into Wayne as a character, a man so consumed by what he does that he really has nothing else. With the release of Batman Beyond, Wayne has become a bitter old man still trying to cling to the only life he knows. It could be argued that the sidekicks were his last hold on humanity, and his rejection of them after certain events only led him to a reclusive life.

Wanted to mention the Animated Series too, in particular the Movie "Mask of the Phantasm", wich had a pretty interesting flashback story.

Around the time where Bruce has learned the skills and has the determination to fight crime, but still lacks experience and a mask with pointy ears, he unexpectedly falls in love.
That does make him enomously indecisive, because on one hand, this is the one chance to leave his past behind and become a kind of happy person, on the other, he is already so consumed by the whole "avenge my parents" thing that it borders on insanity.

While the inevitable conclusion feels a little bit forced, the whole thing offers some actual interesting insights into Bruce Wayne and just how broken it is...and the last scene of the flashback, in wich he first puts on the Batman costume is pretty awesome.

EDIT: That said, Batman is still mostly boring as a character these days. But there are moments, and even without them, Batman still kicks ass and analyses freaky villians, so i don't really mind THAT much...after all, it's still a comic character, and as a bland character he is still a lot better than most of the actual protagonists of Pirates of the Carribean, for example.

Young Ones reference! Awesome!

I see where Yahtzee's going with this article. It'd be nice to have a few more actual characters in games, instead of grim, short brown-haired avatars.

I like to hack and slash things without further adue in the most violent of ways..
Thats why i like God of War, it understands my needs for fun violence and epic ways to die/kill..

What the hell you need a story for in this game anyways? It's just 8 straight hours of continous murder.. And that is awesome!

Personally in GoW I felt that their need to constantly tell us how big a dick the gods are and how Kratos is just getting back at them for making him kill his family was already parodying the character. I mean fuck, don't we all ways say "take responsibility for your actions"? He spends the whole game blaming his shit on someone else's ass. He needed to fucking man up, say "yep, lapse of judgement, won't make that mistake again" and get the fuck over it. Then he goes the whole game saying "yeah, so if I murder everything in a six mile radius you'll forgive me?" What the hell was he thinking, you can't wash blood off with blood. Honestly if the creators were trying to make a character who is impossible to relate to then they succeeded, Kratos is big, strong and probably retarded, any one who can play the game has more IQ than he does. Maybe now this whole shitty GoW trend can go into the trash along with Halo.

Ahhh, You gotta give it to Yahtzee, Hes gotta point.

I think someone's already mentioned this but I think the reason Kratos doesn't strike me as a novel idea is that as a comicbook fan I've already been beaten over the head with the anti-hero trope. It was all fun and entertaining at first, providing a welcome change to the simple, rather superficial morality of standard superheroism. Then it became too popular and before you knew it every new character was just some grimacing hardass with more guns than God.

So it's hard to find the idea of a flawed, violent, unlikeable protagonist as an appealing alternative or a refreshing one. That being said, I suppose Kratos is amongst the first to occupy that trope in videogame culture.

What I would like to see is a new action series by SCE where Kratos is the final villain. They shouldn't even tell us. They should just give us a new hero, a different title, a completely different style of gameplay, and then half way through the game let the player know they're out to kill a power mad Spartan God of War. Of course, I have no idea how GoW3 ended, so perhaps this doesn't make sense.

Yeah, I have to agree about Kratos being a more interesting character in God of War 1. I don't like hack'n'slash games in general, but I did watch my brother play quite a bit of the God of War Collection, and 1 was much more interesting than 2. Although, I can understand him being mad about not having the nightmares go away as promised and for what happens at the start of God of War 2, it still wasn't as interesting. It was mostly just "Kratos kills stuff because that's what he does."

That's fine for the game itself I suppose, but it makes Kratos not as interesting as he was in his first outing.

Hum... perhaps the next God of War game will see some poor sod who's had his family murdered by Kratos seeking revenge - and thus the series come full circle. It'd be interesting to play as Kratos in that plot.

Hubilub:

......

HOW DARE YOU DENY THE GOD OF TETRIS!?

That was fantastic! You had me laughing so hard some milk i was drinkin just squirted out my nose... thanks! :P

Yahtzee Croshaw:
currently Australian-based writer

I see this often. Is this why you have that famous chip on your shoulder? You don't like being in Australia? Where would you rather be based? If you were there, would you remove the 'currently' from your introduction?

I think I identify more with #2. Kratos violently kills everything he trips over. Why? Because he can. Yeah, that's the kind of reasoning I can get behind.

I remember something about there being a storyline about Kratos' brother/friend who was left an orphan or something somewhere on the first GOW(in the extras?), what happened to that idea? I think that would have been easy enough to write and include the gods being dicks storyline in there somewhere, still would have preferred that story even without the gods at all.

am i the only one that wants to know more about the progress on fun space game : the game!?
i'm genuinely interested in it.

I thought Kratos was an angry dick in the beginning of GoW2 because he'd become, y'know, the GOD OF WAR. He had inherited that bellicose disposition. Plus his family was dead, so kill-crazy rampages prob'ly keep his one-track mind on track. So then when he's put in time out and de-deified he's all "NUH UH FUCK THIS SHIT" and seeks revenge for being disempowered simply because what the fuck else is he gonna do? Get his ass served to him by a guy in a wheelchair?

I love the young ones :D

Kratos is no longer a character. He is an event, like genocide, or an outbreak of the ebola virus...

Just that frame of thought makes me miss Literature.

"It's the eternal love story between a man and the internal organs of various other bigger men."

And this is why I love Yahtzee.

The comparison between Kratos and Batman is also good, but harder to quote succinctly.

Jbird:
I would have to disagree with Yahtzee about his Kratos/Batman comparison. Yeah, his initial motive of vengeance is stale and uninteresting at this day and age, but you know what else drives Batman to do what he does? Helping to prevent the same misery that had been forced onto him.

Batman helps the defenseless and inspires those who feel they should do the same. You know; like what a hero does. He's not out to save the world on any grand scheme; he's just doing his part to turn the tide of evil that plagues his home city. If Batman is as uninteresting as Yahtzee says he is, then why is he still around? I'll tell you why (in the corniest way possible): Batman is as much a symbol of hope as Superman is. And the writers, editors, artists and fans know this, too.*

Kratos, on the other hand, started off as the tragic hero and ended up being the anti-hero, badass, that would sell Michael Bay films. He went from being a somewhat well-rounded character to a cardboard cut-out who would kill kittens if they looked at him funny. You might as well have an explosion go off while he walks slowly away from it. To put it bluntly, Kratos is boring.

/end nerd rage

I don't have to post now, you said everything I wanted to.

Yhea vengeance isn't a huge part of who batman is, if it was then why does he just turn bag guys into the authorities and never kill anyone? Because he is more about stopping others from suffering like he did, yhea what you said. :)

He still killed Laser cat :[

I must agree with this article (probably the first time I fully agree with Yahtzee).

Not that I've played GoW, but I've recently watched the whole Star Trek: Enterprise (4 series). It's been an incredibly long time I've seen such a development in characters, especially the captain. He's not the universal all-goodie never-fail solves-everything Picard/Janeway/eveyrone-else-in-starfleet stereotype, but actually develops from a naive, almost teenagerish officer to... Well, no spoilers.

I wouldn't really expect a Star Treks show to smack me up with "oh shit, we need to see more of THAT and I'm not talking about space ships".

In comparison, it seems like every other character in every other show, movie and especially video games just exists to fall in love, win wars, take revenge or die.

I love how cleanly every week he explains his ideas (be they radical or not).
It kind of made me want to play these three.

What Yahtzee appears to not understand is that there are two major kinds of storytelling: arched and situational

Arched stories are where the character grows and changes as a result of the consequences of their actions as the story unfolds. Acrched stories are kind of in vogue right now. They always have been, but it's to the point that many think it is the only way that a story should be written.

Situational stories do not develop the characters. Rather, they are established with a handful of traits, usually with a similarly established supporting cast, that gets thrown into a situation that takes the duration of the story to resolve. This sort of story has fallen out of favor because it is lighter and not as deep as arched stories. However, I think this does this sort of story a grave disservice.

Where situational stories shine is in long running series. Comic books were rife with them in the 50's and 60's. Television sitcoms are still a penultimate situational storytelling medium. The lighter feel may work better with comedy. But the beauty of it is that once you establish the characters and lock their status quo into place, then the show can, theoretically run forever. This is why they are desirable for television shows, comic books, and video games.

They could have done something deeper with God of War 3, but then what do they do for God of War 4? And why bother coming up with anything nifty when most of the fanbase just wants to kill stuff in a red skirt? This is why Zelda and Mario games are still popular after all these years despite not changing a whole lot. It works.

Eh, I have to disagree slightly.
God of War 1: He's promised an end to his suffering, to the very nightmares he's been forced to live with (especially after the events of Chains of Olympus). He goes through Hell (or in this case, Hades) and back, to eventually obtain the power needed to defeat Ares. Having done so, the Gods turn their back upon him, telling him he will have to live with them and there is nothing they can do. When he throws himself over a cliff, the Gods, once again, refuse to let him rest, and in turn make him the newest god of war.

God of War 2 starts off then. He's found kin in the spartan army, which he uses to keep his mind off the fact he is unable to die, and that the death's of his family will never be cleared of his mind. When the Spartans are about to claim another victory in his name, he descends from his throne to help in the final moments, before the Gods, again, go against him and his wishes, bringing to life the Colossus of Rhodes and restricting Kratos as best they can (by shrinking him). Zeus offers Kratos the power to win, but it turns out to be a trap set by the king of Gods to make Kratos vulnerable, allowing Zeus to kill his son. Kratos, as he is dragged back into Hades for the 3rd time in the series, is given new resolve by the Earthmother Gaea, and thus he escapes for a 3rd time. He tells the surviving soldier to collect the survivors and that he'll return.
Don't feel like typing much of what happens next, but Kratos ends up killing that very soldier on his way to the sisters of fate, and he does show some remorse for it. Despite what people might be saying, Kratos had a connection with the Spartans, and seeing them slain was almost the same as seeing his family die.
Long story short, Kratos get's a delorean and goes back to the future on Zeus's ass, only for athena to object to his death and get killed in the process.

God of war 3 picks up right at this point. Major spoilers here, so click only if you beaten GoW3 or don't care.

I'll admit his character does change drastically between 1 and 2, and that a major part of it was just so it would be a vehicle for the slaughter Kratos commits in it, but that doesn't necessarily mean there's no reason why they happened in the first place.

So basically, Yahtzee likes Kratos because he's like Johhny Knoxville, except Kratos is an ass to other people instead of himself.

cursedseishi:
Eh, I have to disagree slightly.
God of War 1: He's promised an end to his suffering, to the very nightmares he's been forced to live with (especially after the events of Chains of Olympus). He goes through Hell (or in this case, Hades) and back, to eventually obtain the power needed to defeat Ares. Having done so, the Gods turn their back upon him, telling him he will have to live with them and there is nothing they can do. When he throws himself over a cliff, the Gods, once again, refuse to let him rest, and in turn make him the newest god of war.

God of War 2 starts off then. He's found kin in the spartan army, which he uses to keep his mind off the fact he is unable to die, and that the death's of his family will never be cleared of his mind. When the Spartans are about to claim another victory in his name, he descends from his throne to help in the final moments, before the Gods, again, go against him and his wishes, bringing to life the Colossus of Rhodes and restricting Kratos as best they can (by shrinking him). Zeus offers Kratos the power to win, but it turns out to be a trap set by the king of Gods to make Kratos vulnerable, allowing Zeus to kill his son. Kratos, as he is dragged back into Hades for the 3rd time in the series, is given new resolve by the Earthmother Gaea, and thus he escapes for a 3rd time. He tells the surviving soldier to collect the survivors and that he'll return.
Don't feel like typing much of what happens next, but Kratos ends up killing that very soldier on his way to the sisters of fate, and he does show some remorse for it. Despite what people might be saying, Kratos had a connection with the Spartans, and seeing them slain was almost the same as seeing his family die.
Long story short, Kratos get's a delorean and goes back to the future on Zeus's ass, only for athena to object to his death and get killed in the process.

God of war 3 picks up right at this point. Major spoilers here, so click only if you beaten GoW3 or don't care.

I'll admit his character does change drastically between 1 and 2, and that a major part of it was just so it would be a vehicle for the slaughter Kratos commits in it, but that doesn't necessarily mean there's no reason why they happened in the first place.

Just typing mainly to let you know that someone read that amazing block of text of yours. I will give you points that you seem to give Kratos some motivation, but it is largely as you put it 'a vehicle used to be driven to the slaughter house,'

I agree with Yahtzee's opinion of what a character in fiction should act like. Rorschach's one of my favorite characters ever to be published in written form, but it's certainly not because he thinks killing people is more important than preventing Armageddon. As his therapist put it, he's fascinatingly ugly, and that's all their is to his appeal.

Batman/Kratos Grate comparison there.

Hubilub:

HollywoodH17:
Oh, and this may be better fodder for a new thread, but I feel it has a basic connection to the subject matter at hand.

Isn't God of War, as a trilogy, supposed to explain the connection between the end of Greek mythology, and the beginning of Western religion? When Kratos kills literally everyone, and then releases hope to the people, isn't he slaying the Greek idea of polytheism and allowing people to form their own religious system, outside of the reach of the now-dead asshole Gods?

I've always gotten that gist since the first game, when viewing the tapestries in the Temple of Pandora.

There is a theory about that.

Namely that Kratos becomes ruler of the earth.

Then Jesus kicks his ass.

World saved.

You make it sound like Kratos is the anti-christ. INteresting idea.

You obviously know very little about Batman Yahtzee. Batman & Bruce Wayne as comic book characters go are incredible complex & multi-layered & this is the reason why Batman is possible the great comic book hero ever. I'm not gonna rant on here too much as you'll never read this & it will be a waste of time, But do your research first please.

Cheers,
Scott.

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