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‘God Of War’ From A Fresh Perspective: Playing Through Faye’s Eyes

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 ‘God Of War’ From A Fresh Perspective: Playing Through Faye’s Eyes

Words: Ruth Cassidy

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Released back in 2018 and set to receive a sequel in 2022, God Of War touched players' hearts for its portrayal of the struggle of series protagonist Kratos and his son Atreus to grow together, establishing the pair as part of an emotional canon of 'dad games', alongside the likes of The Last of Us and Telltale's The Walking Dead. For YouTuber and author Jen Hilton, however, Kratos' journey expressed something entirely different.

"I always hear players - usually men - talking about how the game reminded them of their relationships with their fathers/sons," she explains to me. "But I related to it as a spouse whose partner struggles with depression, communication and emotions."

God of War / Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment
God of War / Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment
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For Hilton, God of War is less a story about a father and son, and more a story about a man and his wife - a wife who is notably already dead at the beginning of the story. More than just a thematic lens, it affected the way Hilton approached the entire game: "Instead of feeling like Kratos, I felt like I was his wife Faye, in spirit, hovering just over his shoulder."

While God of War has some cosmetic variation in the choice of armour Kratos and Atreus can wear, Jen found more ways to express this view with the flexibility baked into different combat builds. "From what I've seen in videos and what I've heard from male players, they tend to go big on Kratos' up-close fighting and rage, and not use Atreus much except when required - to get past certain magical areas, for example."

God of War Ragnarök is due for release in 2022 - watch its debut gameplay trailer, below...

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Instead, Hilton found herself using Kratos' axe more like a projectile weapon and leaned more heavily on Atreus' archery and magical abilities - contrasting her approach with the "berserker punch beast" that Kratos is for many players.

"At the beginning of the game, I got the impression that Kratos didn't give a damn about anything or anyone. He was wrapped up in himself, his anger, his depression, his 'manly' hunting skills, and so on," Hilton continues. "The game journey not only helps him open up and connect with his son, but admit how much he loves Faye, and gets him to give a shit about what's going on in the world outside of their little protected grove."

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Atreus beside the body of his mother in God of War / Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Atreus beside the body of his mother in God of War / Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Faye's death at the beginning of the game is the catalyst for Kratos and Atreus' journey in a literal sense, but her influence is constantly felt besides. It was Faye who gave Kratos his Leviathan Axe, and who taught Atreus the numerous languages needed on their travels. As the game continues, it becomes progressively clear that there's more to Faye - and the reason Kratos has to carry her ashes to the highest peak in the nine realms - than it initially appeared.

"I didn't know all of that when the game started, but like I said, I never really felt like I was Kratos or Atreus (who the player can also control). I always felt like I was her... [T]hat's why I use her handprint as my Twitter icon. I think she's the coolest character in God of War, but we never even get to see her."

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This piece is the first in a series exploring how people choose to play games their own way, via customisation, character choices, or other forms of inspiration. How they present their 'other me'. Look for more pieces on GAMINGbible soon, and follow the author on Twitter at @velcrocyborg.

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This editorial content is supported by Philips OneBlade. Philips is committed to providing products that fit into every individual's life, to suit every personality's idea of style. Every one of us is unique, and every one of us feels comfortable and confident in different ways - and the flexibility of Philips OneBlade ensures that anyone can express themselves in a way that's all about them. Find more information here.

Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Topics: Philips, Interview, God Of War

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