Tuesday, 19 August 2014

POP! Games -- Kratos

Company: Funko
Year: 2014
Series: POP! Games


The first God of War game burst onto the PS2, introducing its antihero Kratos to gamers all over the world. It had loads of violence, an entertaining story that drew from Greek mythology, a hero we could root for (even if he was a jerk), a bit of (black) humour and perhaps most amazingly of all, quick time events that were fun to play!

It’s no wonder it became such a hit, and sequels followed at a reasonable pace with God of War II in 2007 and God of War III in 2010. A number of spin-off games have also been released, and it seems that the series will return at some point on the PS4 – though one might assume it will be in somewhat different form than the original trilogy. If you’ve played the third game, you’ll know what I mean.    
There’s been a little bit of God of War merchandise over the years, but not as much as you might expect for such a large franchise. So it was with great pleasure that I discovered Funko had picked up the license for its POP! series.

This Kratos is presumably based on his appearance at the beginning of God of War III – he’s got the scar running down his stomach, a scar over his right eye and a few other trappings, such as his signature kilt. In each hand, he holds one of the Blades of Chaos, his signature weapon. It would be nice to see some future versions of the character with his other weapons, like those lion gauntlets he steals from Hercules, but only time will tell.

The main criticism I could offer on initial glance is that he’s maybe a little too cutesy. This may sound silly when you consider that we’re talking about vinyl toys, which tend to have an inherently cute aesthetic, but the most of the “edgier” characters that turn up in POP! form tend to retain some of that edge. The horror movie characters Funko has done are great examples, as are characters like the Alien and the Predator.  Even when Kratos was turned into a Sackboy all the way back in 2008, he still looked pretty cranky. Maybe they should have gone for a different paint app on the eyes or eyebrows to create a similar effect. Nonetheless, the sculpt hits all the right notes, and is another great example of why I like the Funko style so much.
Something you’re probably going to hear me complain about a lot during Funko POP! week is paint. Funko’s paint jobs are slowly improving, but they’re still far from great, particularly when multiple paint apps are involved as with this figure. Kratos has continued this trend, being slightly above acceptable but certainly below ideal. His signature tattoo is cleanly tampoed, but there’s slop on the scar over his right eye, his goatee isn’t quite painted to the edges, there’s slop on his hands, and his feet are a bit messy.  

Still, when viewed as a whole, the effect is still impressive. Kratos has arrived on the POP! scene, and he’s ready to kick some vinyl butt.

This is a great representation of Kratos, except for his paint. And even that’s not so bad – so if you can get one which good paint, I can wholeheartedly recommend him as a great addition to the POP! family. Hopefully if this one sells well, we’ll see a few other variations of him released – and maybe even some of the other characters from the game added to the line.  

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