The Marked Trees could be considered the prologue to God of War, introducing the combat mechanics, story, and collectibles. This guide will provide a spoiler-free walkthrough for each objective and solution for all puzzles and riddles. Collectibles will be handled in separate guides.
Follow the River Downstream
After picking up the large tree trunk and walking it to the boat, paddle forward a short distance and dock. There won’t be a new objective, so follow the boy along the path until reaching the house. This will kick off a cut scene.
Hunt with Atreus
Follow Atreus through the gate and forward a short distance. Straight down the path from the gate will be tracks that can be interacted with. Do so to send Atreus forward, although he will stop on some stairs. Below those stairs is a chest filled with Hacksilver.
Follow Atreus up the stairs to find they are broken. This is where the jump mechanic (Circle) is shown. A short distance ahead the vault mechanic (Circle and Left Stick) is taught, and then it’s back following Atreus and exploring before the God of War showcases the ability for Kratos to throw his Leviathan axe (L2 + R2 or R1) to smash objects. Smash the wooden barricade at the end of the bridge and then recall (Triangle) the axe.
After another short cinematic the first taste of combat is given. Kratos has many tricks, but the most basic are the Light Attack (R1) and Heavy Attack (R2) when his axe is unsheathed (Right D-Pad). A group of enemies known as Draugrs will provide the test. Practice these attacks, but also work in a few blocks (L1) and evasive maneuvers (Left Stick + X).
Move forward into some ruins to find a Healthstone on the ground. Press Circle when close to these and Kratos will stomp on them, refilling a portion or all his health depending on circumstances. These can be found loose in the world or drop from dead enemies. They are vital to staying alive during intense fights.
From the approach to the Healthstone, head right and up the small steps. This path will lead to a chain that Kratos can climb down. At the bottom of the chain is a casket that can be opened for a nice sum of Hacksilver, as well as a few other goodies strewn about the ground on the path leading to the chain and at the bottom of it. Once everything has been picked up, backtrack to the ruins where the Healthstone was found.
The path directly in front of Kratos when he originally approached the Healthstone is covered by a wooden barricade. Smash it with his axe to reveal a Nornir chest with three seals that must be solved to unlock it. When looking at the chest, one seal can be found to left, one to the right, and one behind Kratos by the stairs. Smash all three to open the chest. Inside will be an Idunn Apple. Pick it up.
There is only one path remaining for Kratos and Atreus to take. It will lead to a large temple. Enter the temple and turn to the left, hopping over the gap and following the boy down the stairs. There will be several more Draugrs to dispatch here, but it should be straightforward.
There are two gates in near where the Draugrs spawned. One is the path forward and one opens a gate leading to a small room with a casket. Pull the chain to raise both gates, then throw the axe at the seal above the main gate. This will lock both gates into place. Head into the room with the casket and loot it for a nice sum of Hacksilver, then backtrack and go through the main gate. The second gate will be down but recalling Krato’s Leviathan axe will cause it to lift. Pass through the main gate.
As Kratos exits the big temple there will be three paths. One to the right, one to the left, and one behind Kratos on his left. Head to the path behind Kratos first, climbing up the chain. At the top of the chain, turn right and throw Kratos’ axe at the mechanism above the blocked gate. It will fall and smash the debris out of the way, allowing Kratos to open the gate. Inside will be a nice bit of Hacksilver.
Leave the room, turn right, and head up the stairs. Smash through the wooden barricade with the axe, then approach the Jotnar shrine. Interacting with it will get Atreus to speak about it, and the game will reveal that there are 11 Jotnar shrines to find in God of War. These can be viewed under the Goals tab in the journal.
Backtrack down the chain and take the second path that should be directly in front of Kratos. It’s tiny, and a lone casket sits at its end. Grab the Hacksilver from it.
The only path remaining is the way forward. Follow Atreus down it until he stops, then help him aim the bow at the deer. Hold L2 and use the Right Stick to aim, then press Square to take the shot. Aim just above and slightly behind the deer’s right front leg for a successful shot.
Defeat Dauoi Kaupmaor
This will act as the first of many boss fights in God of War, and it also marks the introduction of using Atreus as a combat companion. Atreus will fire arrows when Square is pressed, but by using L2 to aim and Square to command him to fire, Kratos can direct Atreus to attack specific enemies. When Atreus attacks an enemy, that foe will be distracted from Kratos. The number of arrows available to Atreus will be shown on the right side at the bottom of the HUD.
Dauoi Kaupmaor has two basic attacks at the beginning of the fight. One is to slam his big wooden log into the ground to try and squish Kratos, and the other is to swing it like a battering ram while rotating his body, resulting in a swooping attack. Both attacks can be avoided using evasive rolls and distance. Use the evasive roll to stay close and do damage with Light Attacks and Strong Attacks. Use distance to throw the Leviathan axe at this foe, only to recall it and do it again. This can result in a method to cheese this boss if too much damage is being taken up close. Healthstones can also be used to keep Kratos alive.
On the health bar of Dauoi Kaupmaor is a line at about the halfway mark. This indicates his enrage trigger. Once his health falls below this mark, new attacks are introduced that are more aggressive in nature. One is to smash his wooden log repeatedly, one is to swing it repeatedly, and one is to stomp as an area of effect response to Kratos being underfoot. Continue to use evasive maneuvers to roll in and out of range, dealing damage and exiting the danger zone accordingly. Once Dauoi Kaupmaor’s health is low enough, approach and press R3 to finish the fight.
Return to the House
With the fight over, scour the area and pick up whatever was dropped. There should be a huge sum of Hacksilver where Dauoi Kaupmaor fell, as well as a Healthstone or two to restore Kratos health. With the area looted, push forward with Atreus.
Atreus will stop a short distance up the path when he spots some enemies. This is where the idea of stunning and finishing enemies is introduced. Each enemy has two bars above their head when targeted. The top one is health and the bottom is their stun bar. Arrows from Atreus, as well as bare-hand attacks from Kratos, will fill this bar up. Once full, Kratos can approach an enemy and press R3 to finish them off in spectacular fashion. Because this is an easy fight, it’s an optimal place to practice this technique.
When the fight is over, pick up whatever is strewn about the area, then follow the path to see an intriguing door. This is a Hidden Chamber. There are seven throughout all of God of War, and the game tracks not only how many have been opened, but also how many have been found. Those are handled in another guide, same as collectibles. It cannot be opened the first time it’s encountered.
Leave the Hidden Chamber and climb up the wall near it. There will be several enemies waiting for Kratos and Atreus. Most of them are normal Draugrs, but the final enemy appears to be covered in frost and is immune to the Leviathan axe. Enter bare-handed mode and attack with Kratos’ fists until it is stunned, then finish it with R3.
Smash the mechanism holding the gate in place by throwing the Leviathan axe, then drop down to return to Kratos’ home. Look around the yard if there’s anything left, then head to the front door to initiate a few cut scenes.
Defeat the Stranger
The Stranger is another boss fight, but it plays out much differently than the last. The Stranger’s health bar is split into five sections, but the entire bar must be drained to progress from the first stage to the second stage of the fight, then again to move from the second stage to the final stage of the battle.
The Stranger will come at Kratos with two primary attacks. One is long range and will cause something like an earthquake in its path, kicking up the earth. The attack is in a straight line, so evade it when it’s headed towards Kratos. The other attack is a combination of punches which can be launched from close or far. For this, Kratos should use a well-timed block to parry the attack and inflict damage of his own. There are no surprises to this part of the fight, but patience and timing are necessary to get through it effectively.
Once his health bar is fully drained, the Stranger will heal himself, at which point Spartan Rage (L3 + R3) is introduced. Attack the Stranger with both R1 (Light Attack) and R2 (Heavy Attack) to reduce his health as much as possible. I was able to remove three of the five bars before Spartan Rage ended, at which point the fight moves back to a similar approach as the first stage. Evade and block, then attack the Stranger with quick combinations. When his health is once again reduced to almost nothing, a cut scene will take over momentarily.
When combat resumes, the Stranger will have a full health bar again, and new attacks are introduced that make this leg of the fight tougher. The Stranger will launch himself into the air, crashing to the ground in an attempt to devastate Kratos. Luckily, this attack lacks speed and is rarely a problem to evade. He also likes to add some mobility to his ground-based attacks, using zigs and zags to close the distance on Kratos before delivering punches. A well-timed block is the key to surviving this and will allow Kratos to deal his own damage with the Leviathan axe. However, the Stranger can still attack by smashing the ground and causing an earthquake effect. Fortunately, nothing is too difficult to figure out or overcome, and a steady approach of blocking, evading, and damage will soon see this fight conclude.