I've been trying very hard to restrict my Play Arts Kai purchases to Batman and Street Fighter characters, simply because of their cost. So I initially passed on their God of War Kratos figure. But after stumbling across one in a local toy store, I found I just couldn't pass him by...
Kratos comes in a sturdy window-box with a velcro cover flap. The packing is exceptional in every way: the box art, both on the front and back, is terrific. The box itself is sturdy and offers very little wasted space. The inside flap includes a ton of text outlining Kratos' back story in detail.
The figure and accessories are held securely in place by a clear inner cover tray. No twist-ties at all. And everything is shown off perfectly through the window. The package does just about everything you could want it to, and does it well. The only down-side here is for MIB collectors who want to be able to see the figure through the window on the shelf- since a flap has been added, that can't be done. I like the "window only" look for the Street Fighter figures, but I think I prefer the "flap" for Kratos.
Kratos comes with a nice set of accessories. Included are: 2 open hands, 2 gripping hands, 2 Blades of Chaos (or Exile?), 2 sets of metal chains to hook into the Blades, and 2 Claws of Hades, along with a small gray post which can be used to attach the weapons to a hole in the figure's back. The Blades are beautifully sculpted and painted with an awesome level of detail from pommel to tip. The chains add a lot to the look, and plug in relatively easily. It took some work getting them into the gripping hands, but once there, they are thoroughly snug and secure.
The Claws look great, as well. They are full of fairly sharp spikes. No rubbery plastic here - these were clearly not made by Bandai. The gunmetal color is highlighted with purple airbrushing. They are nicely done, but probably won't be getting much display time other than being plugged into Kratos' back.
Like many of the Play Arts figures, Kratos looks awkward to me in a "vanilla pose". The Play Arts sculpts try to work most effectively with the articulation. This serves the figures VERY well in dynamic action poses, but standing straight with arms down at the sides aren't as aesthetically pleasing. For instance, the neck is thick and overly long with an over-abundance of detail. The shoulder and elbow joints are ugly. The hips don't usually want to sit symmetrically, and the abdominal muscles are overdone.
Once he's posed, however, almost all of the awkwardness disappears: Play Arts Kai figures are definitely meant to be displayed out-of-package! And the Play Arts articulation model suits Kratos well. The double-jointed knees allow for some great bend, though I still can't get the crouch low enough for my tastes. But once you figure out how to get the joints to work together, he's a blast to play around with.
Kratos has: ball-jointed head (tilt down is better than up), neck, ball shoulders with a forward/backwards slide, bicep swivel on the left arm (can't get the right one to rotate due to the Golden Fleece armor), ball elbows, ball wrists, chest crunch and swivel, waist crunch and swivel, ball hips, double knees and ball ankles. The sculpt of the skirt allows the thighs some room to move, while still looking natural.
Once he's got his weapons in-hand, Kratos looks great! The sculpt is full of fine details: plenty of creases, wrinkles, scars or whatever. The belt and skirt in particular are awesome. The Golden Fleece Armor is a little softer on detail, though it's a nifty golden color with airbrushed highlights. The shin and forearm armor and knicked and dinged, and he's even got bandage wrappings around his upper thighs.
Play Arts Kai has created a terrific, highly poseable Kratos figure. He's a lot of fun to play around with and pose. The sculpt isn't as strong as NECA's, but he's way more likely to strike a game-familiar pose. NECA's Kratos does an exceptional job as a statue, but Play Arts has created an awesome action figure...
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