These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Kratos is not a nice person, that's undeniable. But people seem to be split as to whether he's a tragic Sociopathic Hero or an outright Monster. There's a good amount of support for each (with another argument to be made that he drifts between the two from game to game).
The developers have implied that Kratos' position between sociopathy and monsterism depends on just how blinded by rage he is at the moment.
In an interview hyping the prequel in Game Informer, one of the developers was quoted as saying Kratos was "an asshole" and "unlikeable" by the third game, and the prequel would try and humanize him.
Zeus' vindictiveness toward Kratos is because Kratos released fear from Pandora's Box, which infected Zeus. From a certain point of view, Zeus' actions are not his own and can't be blamed for wanting to kill Kratos.
By this interpretation, Kratos' death at the beginning of God of War II is a form of Hoist by His Own Petard in hindsight since he caused the fear which made Zeus stab him. It also creates an infinite regress of circular motivations because Zeus wants to kill Kratos because of the fear he unleashed and Kratos wants to kill Zeus because he killed him once.
Zeus might have been trying to connect with his estranged son Kratos through the Grave Digger disguise
Interpretation of Zeus often depends on how one interprets Kratos. Some view Zeus as betraying Kratos, breaking his own rules, and deserves everything Kratos did to him. Others view Zeus as completely justified in attempting to stop a mad god and a more heroic than Kratos.
For that matter, does Zeus really want to stop the destruction that Kratos causes, or is he just terrified that he'll be killed and putting on a tough face? What was Zeus doing while Kratos was killing his entire family and destroying the world by proxy? It's pretty clear that he had a decent view of Poseidon being murdered, if no one else, and he did nothing to stop it. The King of the Gods only comes out to fight when Kratos either shows up on his doorstep or threatens the source of his power - situations where nonaction would lead to his own death.
As king, Zeus has to maintain the image of aloofness and impartiality. His primary purpose is to maintain the cosmic balance of the world. As long as Kratos was not a threat to it Zeus had no reason to directly step in. Kratos was still mortal and could have been stopped by Zeus easily if Zeus ever decided he went to far. All of his actions were small scale and repairable from Zeus' long (as in centuries) point of view. It was only when Kratos became a god and really started messing up the order of things that it required Zeus's intervention.
Hermes in III. After bragging about his super speed and leading you on a chase through collapsing architecture to his fight, he's... not very fast, and his attacks are girlish slaps that do almost no damage. This fits his spoiled brat/schoolyard bully character, though.
Zeus in III. After the game threw some very well-liked bosses at the player throughout the game, minus Hermes, the boss battle with him the games tries setting up, turns out be little than a rehash of the fight with him II, minus the phases where he had the Blade of Olympus and when he was a giant, with some rather cheap gimmicks added.
Badass Decay: The gods and titans suffer from this heavily as the series goes on. In the original game, Ares as a giant is presented as suicide for Kratos to take on without Pandora's Box, which by extension brings up how monumental a task fighting a god or titan is. By the second, Kratos is fighting Zeus human sized and starts hurting his giant form, but more and more, gods show up as bosses, and not even as a Final Boss in III and Ghost of Sparta, with Kratos killing them while human sized even if they're giants, along with the titans, causing the majority of them outside of Zeus to come off as Paper Tigers.
Best Boss Ever: Okay, some of the boss fights are pretty god-damned awesome so take your pick. Just one example: Hades in III. He's got a great intro (just him chuckling at you in the darkness before emerging), his attacks are powerful yet nicely telegraphed so you don't necessarily die to his "infinite number of chains spiking the ground" move, you get into a tug of war with him when his chains and Kratos' chains get entangled, and you finish off the fight by ripping out his own soul!
Broken Base: Kratos sure has some due to his Jerkass attitude but even fans who liked his behavior don't like his silent portrayal in Ascension.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Kratos' villainous behavior can sometimes really make it hard to really care if he wins or loses. The prequels and interquels, most especially Ascension and Ghost of Sparta, attempt to rectify this by humanizing Kratos more. YMMV on how well that works since in the latter his actions are still worse than the game's supposed Big Bad.
The puppy Cerberoi in the second game. Very maneuverable and hard to hit. Take too long to kill them, and they evolve into full-grown Cerberus mini-bosses, who will start spitting out more pups. (The Fuck-You Button is the most effective way to deal with them - not to mention the only way, at higher difficulties.)
Likewise the Satyrs, who don't evolve but are practically impossible to stagger, meaning you spend more time dodging their attacks than countering. If you grab them, it initiates a button-mashing grapple for the satyr's staff, which would be well and good except there's usually two of them per fight, and they show blatant disregard for the rules of Mook Chivalry.
There are several of these in the PSP version - or perhaps they just get introduced into gameplay more quickly. The worst ones are guys who are Dual Wielding: you can't block their attacks, they have five-second-long combos, and they always come in packs. So: Dodge, dodge, dodge, dodge, dodge, dodge, land one hit, Lather Rinse Repeat. (Actually, if you're quick, you can stagger them out of their attack patterns, but if you miss that first dodge, it's them juggling you.)
The Goddamn Satyrs and Wraiths in III.
The Keres Wraiths in "Ghost of Sparta" are perhaps the worst of them all. Like the wraiths in II and III, they sink into the ground when they land after a knockback, only when they leap out of the ground, only if one's attack successfully connects, instead of merely hitting you, it forces you into an action sequence where you take continual damage until you manage to get it off. This wouldn't be too annoying on its own, except the lunge is ridiculously fast, tracks you, and is one of two attacks in the game (the other belonging to armored cyclops) that can knock you out of your block + attack invincibility frames, did I mention there's a part where you have to fight three of them and an armored cyclops at once? Good luck getting an attack in before you have to mash L and R.
The lightning Sirens from God of War Ascension, who wield a wide variety of various electrical attacks and tend to attack with other monsters, staying back to snipe you as their more close-combat oriented partners keep you busy. Combining with gorgons, they single-handedly made the Trials of Archimedes much more difficult that the other sections
And again, this is probably how Greek mythologies want us to react to the story. They have an entirely different concept for heroism from ours in modern days.
Ear Worm: God of War II's theme. "Hold Devil's Pot of Tea, Hold Devil's Pot of Tea, Hold Devil's Pot of Tea Mulan!"
Epileptic Trees: As pointed out on the WMG page, there are 3 murals showing different parts of history in the Halls of Time. The first one is the events of God of War I & II. The second is Kratos and the titans triumphing over the gods. The third one? Three kings men following a star in the desert...
Harpies. Fairly easy to kill on their own, but they tend to show up while you're fighting tougher enemies or bosses, and often disrupt your combos or distract you enough to get clobbered. They also like to knock you off narrow beams.
The Feral Hounds in III may just have the harpies one-upped in terms of sheer goddamn-ness in that they render you a total sitting duck for other stronger enemies if even just one latches onto you.
Due to the way the game is designed, some Game Breaker bugs exist that allow you to have - among other things - infinitely regenerating magic and maxed out weapons early in the game. Also, holdover features remain from when the game was in "test" phase, including invisible ledges, which can lead Sequence Breaking. There are a whole bunch of gamers dedicated to finding and refining them in order to perform better speed runs.
Idiot Plot: The massive amount of mistakes Kratos makes seem necessary just to have a longer franchise. The God of War Ares forces Kratos to kill his family and Kratos finds it okay to trust other Gods if it means he will lose his angst of killing his family. He doesn't lose anything. Futhermore, Kratos accepts Athena's proposition to replace Ares even though he will cause the loss of even more families. It gets dumber in the sequels when Kratos starts trusting every God he sees only to be betrayed five minutes later with Kratos not being able to believe it. As Game Spy puts it "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times and I must be a complete god damn buffoon"
It Was His Sled: Kratos having accidently killed his family was a big revelation halfway the first game. It's has become common knowledge and other games, even prequels, outright spoil that incident in the opening.
Moral Event Horizon: The game makes it clear that you're put in control of a character who starts as a Sociopathic Hero only to evolve right into class-A douchebag. For almost all players, Kratos will eventually cross the MEH; the only question is when.
The concept lives on in the Cerberus monster. Little Cerberus pups quickly grow into mature Cerberus, and the easiest way to deal with them is to grab the puppies before they mature and grind their skulls into the ground.
Zeus crosses this when he destroys Sparta. Whereas before he was simply concentrating on Kratos, he decides to rope an entire city into his wrath
Most Annoying Sound: In the first game. "What are you doing? Athens crumbles as you waste time!"
The Chronos Boss fightin III. Tearing off his blistered fingernail, cutting open a scab, getting swallowed and then graphically cutting your way out of his stomach with the Blade of Olympus? Disgusting.
The Hades boss fight has pieces of his flesh break off and you have to chase them around. yuck.
The first-person beatdown of Poseidon, from HIS perspective, ends with HIS EYES GETTING GOUGED OUT.
Player Punch : Brutal, and possibly the most poignant and well-written part of the game it appears in. Toward the end of God of War 3, Kratos retrieves Pandora from the Labyrinth. Kratos needs Pandora because she is literally the key that will get him past the Fires of Olympus and open the box that bears her name. To serve her function as the key, though, Pandora has to die in the Fires of Olympus. She willingly goes with him, and as they journey together, for whatever reason, Pandora speaks with Kratos as though he is someone she trusts. She bares her heart (figuratively) to the guy who has been going around butchering the world by proxy. And you start to see just a hint of decent human being re-emerge in Kratos: she clearly reminds him of his own lost daughter. Enough that when they finally reach the Flame of Olympus, as Pandora is walking toward it, Kratos grabs her arm and refuses to let her continue. Pandora struggles with him, pointing out this is what he brought her there for. Which means all the soul-baring she did, all the things she said to him were words said to the man she knew was functionally her executioner. She then yells "Let go, you're hurting me!" at the guy who has spent the whole game murdering helpless opponents, slaughtering friend and foe alike, and killing the world by proxy. And his hand snaps off her like he's been burned. And then Zeus shows up, and it just getsworse...
Rated M for Money: Everything bleeds. A lot. Also, the nudity is mostly irrelevant and mostly seemed as a ploy to boost the rating. However, give Greek mythology a read sometime and you might be surprised at how accurate (or even tamer) God of War can be.
Rooting for the Empire: By GOWIII Kratos is such a douche bag by blaming his problems on everyone else, killing innocents and destroying the world all due to his selfish desire for revenge that some people start rooting for Zeus who is defending the world from Kratos.
So Okay, It's Average: God of War: Ascension, compared to its predecessors, is get mixed to mostly positive reviews.
Shocking Swerve: Chains Of Olympus builds up Morpheus as the villain for most of the game, then you meet Persephone, and five minutes later, out of nowhere it's revealed that she's behind everything.
Stop Helping Me!: The tutorials pop-ups in the first game are very...thorough in their controls assistance. Made worse by their tendency to appear a significant period of time after the player already figured out whatever they're mentioning and the inability to skip past them for several seconds.
The fight with Kronos in the third game has Kratos slashing open blisters and ripping out fingernails. Not to mention slicing open his stomach - allowing the guts to start falling out - and driving a crystal shaft through his chin.
That One Boss: The Kratos Doppelgangers from the first game. Even on normal difficulty its easy to lose this fight if you're not paying attention to Kratos' family's health bar. On God mode it's nearly impossible. At any given time there are 7 Kratos-clones onscreen, and they respawn a LOT. Get hit by any one of them, and it breaks your combo. Get knocked on your ass or get grappled even once, it wastes precious seconds during which the clones will slaughter your family
The Underworld in the original game. This level wasn't actually tested before the game was shipped.
That translator in GOWII, especially on Titan mode. You have to carry his lazy ass across a narrow bridge while enemies attack you. You can't attack back while you're carrying him, so you have to drop him to deal with the enemies, whereupon the enemies will target him. He just kneels there and prays instead of, you know, running for cover or getting out of the way. When you finally get him to the book he's supposed to translate, you have to protect him from multiple waves of powerful enemies before he can read it. Your most effective attack (the grab-and-throw) is neutered as well, because if you accidentally hit the translator with a thrown enemy, you take off half his life bar. At no point does the stupid bastard make any attempt to preserve his own life, even though he keeps whining that he doesn't want to die. All this makes it very satisfying at the end of the mission when you smash his face into the book for a blood sacrifice.
Honorable mention also goes to the path to Clotho. A tough slog through wave after wave of enemies as you make your way down the corridor, with only one pair of refilling chests halfway through, and finishing up with a pair of Cyclopes in tight quarters. Oh, and no checkpoints. So if you die, you have to do the whole thing again.
The new champion may be the Trial of Archimedes is Ascension. Three waves of brutal enemies, no checkpoints, no health power-ups. It has become so bad that a patch is later released that make players gain health and magic for each wave cleared
Values Dissonance: Even before going off the deep end in the sequels, Kratos is very morally reprobable by our standards. But to Ancient Greeks, he would've been hailed as a mighty warrior, to Spartans a legendary hero. The first game in the series could very well have been an actual Greek mythical tale, and nobody of that time would have batted an eye.
In Chains of Olympus, you have to find Helios, the sun god, and restore him to the sky to fend off the assault of Morpheus. Not only do you not fight Morpheus in the game, but it turns out the real Big Bad is Persephone, and Morpheus just took advantage of Helios' disappearance without ever knowing why the sun vanished.
Typhon In II could have made for some much more of an epic boss fight, an instead he's just a lame giant that barely attacks you.
II spends far more time setting up for the encounter with the Sisters of Fate than it does building up to Kratos fighting Zeus, yet the game itself largely treats them as stepping stones when they could have easily worked as the main villains considering they are effectively responsible for everything that's happened to him in his life.
Helios has Kratos legitimately interested in the prospect of sparing him, only to totally blow it by saying that he cannot defeat Zeus. He then uses the LIGHT OF THE SUN to blind him. In a remarkable (and extremely funny) display of practicality, the Spartan just sticks his hand in front of his eyes, walks over and unceremoniously tears off Helios' head.
Hephaestus. He knows all too well of what Kratos is capable of, especially considering that Kratos had just returned from killing Cronos, with only anger towards Hephaestus ailing him. Upon making the weapon he had promised for Kratos, he tries to kill Kratos right then and there with lightning, only to be killed in possibly one of the shortest QTE's ever. He becomes The Woobie again by asking for forgiveness reaffirms his status as The Woobie by begging Kratos to spare Pandora as he draws his last breath.
Gaia refuses to save Kratos when they start falling down Olympus, saying that he was just a pawn in the Titans' revenge plans, and allows him to fall into the River Styx. When Kratos escapes Hades (yet again), he almost immediately runs into an injured Gaia, who begs for help. No points for guessing Kratos' response.
Kronos sort of counts for this too. After trying to smash Kratos and even getting to the point of eating him, after Kratos slices his way out of Kronos' gut and gets the stone he came for, Kronos replies with this little gem: "You have found what you came for, so leave me alone!" Yeah, Kronos, I'll get on that ASAP.
Perhaps the biggest of all is Kratos in the third game. A large chunk of the game revolves around his quest to find and open Pandora's Box, having been told that it contains the power to kill a god and would thus grant him the power to take down Zeus. For whatever reason, he doesn't stop to consider that 1) he already opened the box in the first game, 2) he had already killed numerous gods at that point, and 3) he had Zeus beaten once before, and would have killed him were it not for Athena's intervention. The game does a very good job of undermining that last one in the actual final battle, but still, Kratos has no reason to suspect what occurs there before it happens.
To be fair, he was doing this on the advice of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, after she had regained his trust.
He did consider the first of those. When Athena first tells Kratos in III that he needs to get the power inside the box, he mentions he already used it to kill Ares. She insists there's another power inside it, thinking Kratos drew on the evils of the box when he killed Ares.
Athena said that he needed to destroy the Flame of Olympus around Pandora's Box to weaken Zeus, so getting the contents of the box was secondary.
Hermes. He knows full well how powerful Kratos is, having seen him kill multiple gods. Any rational person would expect him to put as much distance between himself and Kratos as possible, especially considering how he taunted him. Instead, he barely keeps ahead of Kratos, all the while taunting him for being slow. Three guesses as to what happens to him, and the first two don't count.