Review: Kratos Declares Vengeance Upon Our Action Figure Shelf!

If all those on Olympus would deny me my vengeance, then all of Olympus will die.

That is the type of sweet nothings Kratos spews through gritted teeth in Playstation's God of War series of games. In fact, Kratos is quite possibly the angriest video game hero in existence. His never-ending grimace and hate-choked voice signify his desire for vengeance and/or an incredibly heinous case of hemorrhoids. C'mon, there's no way he's that tensed up all the time and still manages to keep regular bowel movements! But enough about Kratos' poop schedule and onto the subject at hand-- his new action figure from Square Enix' Play Arts Kai line! Long time readers of Geek will know that we're big fans of these figures with many a Metal Gear review under our belt. However, Kratos is a whole different monster demigod when compared to the sleek lines of a figure like Sneaking Suit Naked Snake.

Read on as we see if Kratos is worthy of the Toy Gods us, alone in a room full of plastic.

Kratos comes in a window-box packaging that has an entire page of the character's history printed on the inside cover flap. Being far too lazy to type it all out, here's a sampling of it:

As Kratos stumbled from the flaming ruins of the temple, the gods punished his horrible crime with a curse. The mark of his terrible deed would become forever visible to all; the ashes from his wife and child fastened to his skin never to be removed. Kratos, the once great Spartan warrior, was reborn anew as the Ghost of Sparta.

Yadda, yadda...vengeance on those that betrayed him...yadda, yadda... kill Ares to become the new God of War... stabbity-stab-stab... etc.

Kratos' sculpt is instantly recognizable as the God of War. From his decidedly pointy facial hair, to his stitched-up abdomen, and onto his sparse armor, this is Sparta!!!! Kratos! Height-wise he is comparable to S.E.'s Batman: Arkham Asylum figures which clock in at around 9.25" tall-- a full inch below the figures in the Metal Gear series. The overall sculpt for Kratos is pretty solid and mixes his actual in-game look with the sort of lankiness that Play Arts Kai figures all seem to have. We're not sure if this is a Japanese art influence or just a byproduct of the joints in relation to the rest of the body. It was far more noticeable with Batman than it is with Kratos and he does seem to score a wider frame. The only negatives with Kratos would be his elbow joints. It's a little thing, but their perfectly round shape and glossy finish throw off the flow of his arm. still, we'd rather have these than the hinge we'd find on most figures.

Kratos has a number of solid paint apps, including the red blood tattoo that wraps from his face, across his chest, and over his left shoulder. All of his paint has been applied very cleanly, minus a couple of thick spots on the gray wash that covers his ashen skin. Still, this isn't very noticeable overall. Some pluses that stand out to us as being exceptional are his eyes, and the gold accents on his loincloth. Square has done a tremendous job of using the perfect shade of plastic for his skin which allows for only the simple airbrushing and wash to really bring out the sculpt and make the paint work seem far more intricate than it is.

The articulation for Kratos is plentiful and allows for his rage-fueled slaughter to have a fully blood-soaked range of motion. The Destroyer of Olympus has a ball-joint upper neck, ball-joint lower neck (that acts as a hinge joint), hinged pectorals, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, ball-joint torso, ball-joint waist, ball-joint hips, swivel thighs, dual-hinged knees, and dual-swivel/hinged ankles (allowing for the figure to stand flat footed). Most of the major weight-bearing joints like the knees and elbows are ratcheting joints which help the figure hold his positions well. No problems from this figure when it comes to articulation and posing Kratos managed to steal away a lot more of our time than we planned.

Kratos was packaged with a number of accessories that help to make this character the born-and-bred badass he's known to be. In the tray next to him was a plastic dowel rod (it inserts into a hole on his back in order to hold the weapons he's not currently using), a set of gripping hands (for gripping, naturally), two lengths of metal chain (one end pushes into his gauntlets and the other into the weapons), the Blades of Exile (his orange glow-y knives that love to kill), and the Claws of Hades (which he takes after violently murdering the God of the Underworld). Lots of things are right with the accessories: the chains are the right size to match the sculpted ones on his gauntlets, both sets of weapons store on his back well, the paint is nice, and the hands grip them well. The bad? The hands tend to pop off the wrist peg randomly and without much provocation. Sometimes we'd be wrapping the chains around them for these photos and there'd be no problems, and other times his hand would fall off when it wasn't even being touched. This COULD only be a problem with our copy, so if you get one yourself, leave us a comment and let us know.

We blew through $59.99 for this guy and even with his hand's tendency to pop off on a whim, we aren't disappointed. Sure, we'd have loved for him to be cheaper but, for his size, paint applications, abundant articulation, and badass weaponry we really can't complain. Kratos is another strong entry in Square Enix' line of game-related characters and he looks pretty damn intimidating standing next to our PS3.

For more on this figure, be sure to check your local comic or specialty shop, or order online from sites like Big Bad Toy Store or Entertainment Earth.

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