Kratos is the iconic protagonist of the God of War series. His ash-pale skin and bright red tattoos are recognizable anywhere, and with several games and a comic book, we’ve learned quite a lot about the eponymous God of War. There are still quite a few things about Kratos that might surprise you, however. With God of War IV now out, we’ve found out quite a bit more about Kratos, and especially about his son Atreus and his second wife Faye.
More interestingly, we get to see how Kratos deals with telling his son that the two of them are descended from gods, and how Atreus deals with that information and develops his godly powers. Because, of course, being a god (or a demi-god) comes with superpowers. Kratos, being a God of War, obviously gets powers such as quasi-invulnerability, enhanced strength, combat skills, etc. But he’s the son of none other than the king of gods, Zeus himself. Aside from Hercules-like qualities, Kratos has a few more tricks up his sleeves.
Over the course of the series, he obtains a variety of godly weapons and artifacts that enable him to use powers you may not have suspected. From animal control to wielding lightning, there seems to be almost no limit to what Kratos can do. He also, however, has his weaknesses, which his enemies frequently—and ruthlessly—use against him. But as Kratos himself would say, what else would you expect of the gods? Here are 10 superpowers you didn’t know Kratos had—and 10 weaknesses.
20 Power: Shapeshifting
You may not initially think of Kratos as a shape-shifter, but he does change his shape at least once in the God of War games. In the opening cinematic of the second instalment of the series, Kratos defends the city of Sparta… and transforms until he’s several times his normal size.
He may not change into an animal or alter his physical appearance, but it’s still technically shape-shifting!
His strength seems to increase proportionally with his size, and he’s an impossibly formidable opponent in his giant form. According to the God of War Wiki, “Kratos was able to destroy a section of a building simply by punching it.”
19 Weakness: Atreus
Atreus becomes increasingly powerful as you progress in God of War 4, but, especially at the beginning of the game, he’s no match for the enemies you face. This means Kratos constantly has to be watching out for his son and needs to protect him if he’s in danger. Sure, Kratos can definitely handle both his and his son’s protection, but Atreus still is a weakness that can be exploited by the duo’s enemies, as Kratos will put himself in danger to protect his son. Moreover, Atreus is still a child, and, while he’s definitely mature for his age, his childishness sometimes puts the two of them in dangerous situations.
18 Power: Resurrection
Kratos is a demi-god, the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, which should, arguably, make him less powerful than other gods. And yet, he somehow managed to accomplish something incredible even by godly standards: resurrection.
He’s almost invulnerable, but he can be defeated—except he keeps coming back.
Using the sheer power of his rage, Kratos has crawled out of the Underworld and escaped Hades’ clutches, not once, but three times. If you know anything about Greek mythology and the stories of Orpheus and other heroes who tried to get out of the Underworld, you know it’s hard to do even once, demi-god or not.
17 Weakness: His Rage
Kratos’ rage, arguably his greatest strength (as we just saw, it allowed him to literally get out of the Underworld), is also his greatest weakness. Sure, in-game, Kratos’ Spartan Rage is incredibly powerful, and if you’ve played the games, it’s probably gotten you out of a few tough spots. It’s really hard to channel and probably has an effect on the body, as we see in God of War 4 when Atreus uses it then passes out. That’s not the reason it’s a weakness, though. The problem with Kratos’ rage is it can be used to manipulate him, which other gods (looking at you, Ares) have absolutely no problem doing. It’s led him to do unspeakable things that he will forever have to live with.
16 Power: Necrokinesis
You’d think this power would be unique to Hades and Thanatos, but, thanks to special weapons, Kratos can also summon the deceased. He uses the Claws of Hades to channel necrokinesis and call the Cerberus Mongrel to his side and also uses his Blades of Exile to summon fallen Spartan warriors to fight alongside him (with the Army of Sparta ability). While Kratos obtains this power through the use of weapons and not through his own godly abilities, it’s worth noting that the Claws of Hades and the Blades of Exile are godly weapons that could not have been used by a simple mortal.
15 Weakness: Illusions
Kratos is a formidable fighter, but when it comes to magic and illusions, in particular, he’s at a disadvantage—something some of his foes know to use against him.
He may be the God of War, but there’s not much he can do against something that’s not tangible.
For instance, some of his most powerful enemies, Ares and Zeus, are masters of illusion, and use their powers against Kratos. In God of War: Ascension, the Furies use the powers of illusions against Kratos, specifically by trapping him in one. In the Furies’ illusion, Kratos finds himself back in Sparta, which is, as you can imagine, heart-wrenching for him.
14 Power: Instinctive Knowledge Of Godly Weapons
We’ve seen this with the Claws of Hades and the Blades of Exile, and it’s true with all of the weapons mentioned in this article. While Kratos was a formidable warrior even before he became a god, it’s incredible that he just knows how to use all the weapons he uses in the God of War series. Not only does he know how to fight with them, he displays an incredible degree of mastery, whether he’s wielding blades, an axe, a sword, or something else. Not only are these weapons diverse, most of them were also made either by or for a very specific God, making Kratos’ mastery of them even more impressive.
13 Weakness: Telekinesis (In The Fight Against Hades)
Aside from elemental-type powers, Kratos is not much of a magic user—that’s more Atreus’ domain. So when other gods use it against him, he’s left at a serious disadvantage. An example of this is Hades’ use of telekinesis when Kratos fights him. Whenever the player deals Hades damage, the God of the Underworld is able to use telekinesis to retrieve his wounded flesh and heal himself. This makes the fight long and arduous, showing how the use of abilities such as telekinesis leaves Kratos in a tough spot. Other gods such as Ares also use telekinesis, which highlights that Kratos, no matter how powerful he is, is “only” a demi-god, and not a full god.
12 Power: Shadow Manipulation
Umbrakinesis, or shadow manipulation, is undeniably a cool power. Various characters use it throughout the series, the most notable of which, of course, being Hades and Thanatos (pictured above). But Erinys, Thanatos’ daughter and messenger in God of War: Ghost of Sparta, can also use umbrakinesis.
This means that when Kratos vanquishes her and obtains the Scourge of Erinys, he gains the ability as well, which is, if you ask us, pretty awesome.
Imagine being the God of War, with the ability to manipulate shadows on top of that! With the Scourge, Kratos could summon voids that dealt a good deal of damage to opponents, just like Erinys before him.
11 Weakness: Aphrodite’s Manipulation
Kratos is one of the few people, god or mortal, who resist Aphrodite’s charm…for the most part. While he ultimately rebukes her in God of War III, her attempts to seduce him prove fruitful in the end. The (at this point in the game, former) God of War refuses, because, let’s face it, Kratos has other things on his mind. When her powers of seduction fail to get her what (or rather, who) she wants, Aphrodite results to manipulation, against which Kratos is powerless. By manipulation, I mean that she promises Kratos information only if he goes with her. This interaction also gives the player red orbs and an achievement.
10 Power: Light Manipulation
In God of War: Chains of Olympus, we get to see Kratos manipulate light. Unlike with shadow manipulation, which we talked about earlier, he doesn’t a weapon to do so; in this case, Kratos unlocks the ability after obtaining the Primordial Fire, which powers up his Sun Shield.
The God of War is then able to manipulate light thanks to an ability called Light of Dawn.
More specifically, he could summon light and use it to attack enemies. This ability is, unsurprisingly, particularly useful against the foes Kratos encounters in the Underworld. It’s definitely not the first power that comes to mind when you think of a god of war, though!
9 Weakness: Zeus’ Mind Control
I mentioned earlier that Kratos was vulnerable to intangible things like the Furies’ illusions. If he can’t physically attack something, he’s left at a disadvantage, logically enough. The same is true of mind control. The most notable example of this is Zeus’ use of the power in God of War III. Through the use of fear, he controls Kratos’ mind and traps him “inside his own mind” (God of War Wiki). Interestingly enough, fear is what Zeus gets infected with when Kratos releases the evils trapped in Pandora’s box, so it makes sense, in a way, that Zeus would in turn use it against his son.
8 Power: Electrokinesis
On the subject of being the son of Zeus, you’d think Kratos would have inherited the power of electrokinesis, or the manipulation of electricity, from the God of Thunder and Lightning. In fact, he only gets that power in God of War: Ascension. In God of War III, he can only use it through an artifact, the Nemesis Whip, which could unleash powerful electrical attacks. In Chains of Olympus, electrokinesis was one of the many powers that Kratos obtained thanks to the Gauntlet of Zeus. It’s rather interesting that he doesn’t directly possess the power in most of the games, however.
7 Weakness: The Blade Of Olympus Can Destroy Him
The Blade of Olympus is possibly one of the most powerful weapons in the God of War series. After one of Zeus’ tricks, Kratos puts all his powers in the blade, which makes him mortal and vulnerable to his father’s attack. That’s one of the times he loses his life. The Blade of Olympus is also responsible for another of Kratos’ trips to the Underworld, as he uses it to put an end to his own life in an act of desperation. Seeing of other similar attempts went, it’s safe to say the Blade of Olympus is one of the only weapons that could do that, and as such, one of his greatest weaknesses.
6 Power: Duplication
While I’ve mentioned that Kratos didn’t really use magic aside from elemental powers, he is seen using the power of duplication in the series. Once again, he needs an artifact to use the power; in this case, it’s the Oath Stone of Orkos.
He uses the stone in God of War: Ascension, and it allows him to create a replica of himself that help him in battle.
The Oath Stone’s powers also come in useful when the player needs to solve puzzles, such as pressing down buttons, etc. It’s a fairly interesting power and one that people might not always think of when thinking of Kratos.
5 Weakness: Ares’ Heightened Senses
During the fight with Ares, Kratos is defeated through something he couldn’t have reasonably predicted: Ares’ heightened senses. Before that battle, Kratos has acquired Pandora’s box, which gives him the power to defeat the gods and an unspeakable advantage against Ares. Ares takes the advantage back, however, thanks to his godly senses. He senses that Kratos has the box and throws a literal pillar at him. Turns out, that’s enough to defeat anyone, even a superpowered demi-god. Kratos doesn’t seem to possess the same kind of senses, which is a definite weakness when faced with other gods. Ares knew to use that against him.
4 Power: Animal Manipulation
Animal manipulation sounds like the kind of power that Kratos’ son Atreus might have, rather than the God of War himself. While we don’t see him use the power of animal manipulation in the games themselves, Kratos does obtain the power in the comics. Indeed, the God of War comics, Kratos fights Alrick, who attacked the swordsman Danaus and obtained an artefact from him. That artefact allows the one who possesses it to summon and command animals, and once Kratos gets his hands on it, he uses it to command Rocs to defeat Alrick.
3 Weakness: The River Styx
I’ve mentioned that Kratos has been to the Underworld (and crawled back out of it) three times. Once was because of Zeus, another time was when he used the Sword of Olympus against himself. The third time was in God of War III, when he fell in the River Styx, one of the rivers of the Underworld.
The Styx is the river across which the boatman Charon ferries souls, and, for any living being, its waters are lethal.
Kratos, being a demi-god, isn’t destroyed by the river, but the souls attack him and leave him badly weakened. They also destroy the weapon he had with him at the time, the Blades of Athena.
2 Power: Flight
Talking about the River Styx, the fall I mentioned above isn’t Kratos’ first (nor his last) encounter with the mythological river. He fights Icarus in God of War II, and they both fall towards the Styx, spelling out a certain end for the two of them.
Kratos survives by taking off Icarus’ wings and using them to fly away.
While many enemies in the game fly, and some gods, such as Zeus or Ares, possess that power, it’s an unusual one for Kratos to have. He keeps the Icarus Wings though, and uses them both in God of War II and God of War III.
1 Weakness: His Nightmares
Man, god, demi-god…Whichever part of the series you’re looking at, Kratos is a haunted being. Because of Ares, he is responsible for his first wife and his daughter’s end, and the gods of Olympus won’t let him forget about it. Up until God of War III, Kratos is plagued by nightmares, which partially explains why he’s so vulnerable to illusions and mind tricks. It also, of course, explains his unquenchable rage. At the end of the day, Kratos’ nightmares are one of his greatest weaknesses. To make it worse, despite his continuing pleas, the gods refuse to relieve Kratos of his bad dreams.