Sometime in late 2004, I was living with my wife, then girlfriend, with my parents in Montgomery County, PA for a few months after college graduation before we briefly moved to Florida. I bought a PlayStation 2 console and a warranty after graduation. Only a few months later, it stopped reading discs completely and I returned it to GameStop to exchange it. The store employees were overly apologetic and very kind in the way they handled it. They even threw in a bag of free game demo discs and a tee shirt. One of those demos was for an unknown game at the time called, “God of War.”
It was the story of Kratos, a soldier of ancient Sparta who made a deal with the god of war, Ares, as he lay dying on a battlefield. In exchange for saving his life and giving him the power to destroy his enemies, Kratos would pledge his life to Ares. The god of War agreed and with a simple gesture, the battlefield burst into flames, engulfing all who stood against Kratos. And from the sky descended Ares himself, with a gift for Kratos, a permanent reminder of the deal he had made. The Blades of Chaos, a pair of mighty blades seared to Kratos’s arms by two chains. He became a tool of Ares, a puppet. Eventually, he was so blinded by rage when entering a village devoted to Athena, that he unknowingly killed his wife and daughter. As a curse and punishment for his crimes, the village oracle cursed Kratos by having the ashes of his wife and child permanently fastened to his skin. Permanently white, he became the Ghost of Sparta.
The demo was of the first level of the final game release. And it made my jaw drop. It was one of the few times in my life where I played a game demo and the moment it was over, I instantly wanted to buy the game. Well, flash forward twelve years and “God of War” has become an amazing franchise of six games and a seventh in development.
A franchise that caught the eye of NECA Toys who produced a great line of Kratos figures from the second entry in the franchise, “God of War II,” about nine years ago for their “Player Select” line devoted to video games.
Now, Kratos has been chosen to join NECA’s Ultimate line and he is a very welcome entry!
The first NECA figure from “God of War III,” Ultimate Kratos comes in the now-standard Ultimate window box, however it is wider than the usual Ultimate box. This one is based off of a PlayStation game box on the front, back and inside. It even features the ancient Greek style font that is used in the game.
The inside flap features a very cool interpretation of Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing the Vitruvian Man done with Kratos.
Here you can see the box of this new figure next to the box of the actual “God of War III” game and see how accurate it is. That’s one of the things I love about NECA, when they commit to making something as dead-on as possible, that effort extends all the way to the packaging.
The back of the figure’s box recreates the images of Kratos from the back of the game’s box.
The figure is bordered by a stone type of ancient design and a scroll with Kratos’s name and his alias.
The background insert is a great painting of Mount Olympus in the distance with Hades burning at the bottom, showing the span of places Kratos visits in the game.
This image was originally on the back of insert of the “God of War III” cover that came in the game box.
Kratos comes with an alternate head, a piece of the Golden Fleece (packaged separately from the figure for safety), his signature weapons from the game, the Blades of Athena and the Nemean Cestus, a back holder for the Blades and two flesh pegs to replace the holes when the Blade holder is removed.
The two head sculpts are amazing, excellent likenesses of Kratos in his classic stern and angry expressions.
The detailing in the skin and muscles is immense and of a darker tone than previous Kratos figures as you can see in the red of the tattoo.
The Blades of Athena are made of a more translucent plastic than the previously released versions.
I only own one previous release of Kratos, the Ares Armor version, and his Blades required the bottom to be removed in order to place the Blade in his hand.
These new Blades do not do that.
NECA has done Kratos’s signature weapon great justice!
The Nemean Cestus are what grab your eye pretty quickly when looking at this figure. Huge, iron mitts adorned with the face of a lion.
Excellent texture details show a realistic metal base with scratches and scuffs.
These Cestus are surprisingly heavy when you hold them. They actually can make standing Kratos difficult with them on due to their weight. I used a NECA stand for him when these were on.
Kratos’s arms slide completely into the mitts up to his elbows. They stay in place by being snug; no clips or pegs are used.
The Blade holder on Kratos’s back is a unique piece to this figure.
In the games, Kratos secures his Blades on his back when running or not wielding them through the magic of video game logic. Meaning, they just kind of float there. This Blade holder allows the owner to pose Kratos in screen accurate ways that were not possible with earlier versions.
I think this is a very clever and creative touch to Kratos that I wasn’t aware of when I received the figure but pleasantly surprised to find. When removed, two flesh colored plugs are used to seal the holes and maintain game accuracy.
The Golden Fleece slides into Kratos’s right forearm to go along with the piece connected to the shoulder already. This is what allows Kratos to deflect attacks in the games after “God of War II.” It comes with a typical, bloody “God of War” splash across the Fleece.
It even includes, molded to the shin armor, the Boots of Hermes, a device of speed used in the game.
The creases in the leather and muted, gold paint of his piece of robe.
The chest crunch is a different type of chest articulation seen in most NECA figures and allows Kratos to hunch over in his ready position seen in the games and right on the cover of the first “God of War.”
I love this figure and cannot recommend it enough. I’ve seen people on Facebook say that they have never played the games but bought the figure just because of how impressive it is. I believe it. If you’ve never played any game from the “God of War” series, I highly recommend it. They are hack-and-slash games of massive scale, epic music, fearsome monsters and brutal combat. NECA did the series a real justice with this one!
Ultimate Kratos is available on store shelves and online almost everywhere now. You can order one here from BigBadToyStore. You can follow NECA Toys on Twitter @NECA_TOYS or on their official site.
Thanks so much for reading, I’m Ash and you can follow me on Twitter @Ode2Ash.