It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly four years since the release of God of War. Santa Monica Studio’s reinvention of the staple PlayStation series became an instant classic when it hit PlayStation 4 in 2018, bringing the once-dominant action franchise back into the spotlight in a big way. Now, with a highly-anticipated sequel on the way, God of War is reaching an all-new audience for the first time.
Continuing the trend for Sony, God of War is the latest PlayStation game to hit PC, following in the footsteps of Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone. It won’t be the last either, with upcoming games like Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection and likely many more following suit in the future under Sony’s new PlayStation PC publishing label.
So, how does God of War hold up on PC? Is it a messy port akin to Horizon Zero Dawn at launch, or is it a smooth experience closer to Death Stranding’s initial PC launch? Thankfully, the God of War PC port is one of Sony’s best to date, giving PC players the opportunity to experience this journey without many compromises.
It’s no secret that God of War is an excellent video game. Sitting at an incredibly impressive 94 on Metacritic, it’s widely hailed as one of the defining achievements of the last console generation. We praised just about every aspect of the game in our original review of the PS4 version, awarding it a score of 4.5/5 stars. Everything that people loved about the game on PlayStation 4 is still present in the PC version, but the power and flexibility of the PC platform elevate the experience to new heights.
The original PlayStation 4 version of God of War ran at 1080p and was locked at 30 FPS. The resolution was increased to a checkerboard 4K resolution on PlayStation 4 Pro, and now PlayStation 5 users can enjoy the game at a locked 60 FPS thanks to a free update. With a 4K/60 FPS patch available on PlayStation 5, can the PC version really be that much better? The answer is yes, thanks to a few PC-exclusive features present in the port.
While the original game looks beautiful on its own, the PC version features enhanced graphics settings that give the game a much cleaner look. It’s not going to look anywhere near as nice as its upcoming sequel, but setting things to High or Ultra results in a noticeable improvement. The largest quality increases come in the form of sharper textures and shadows. It’s not a radical difference, but it can make the original graphics settings look a bit muddy in comparison.
Performance is also great on the PC version, which is super important for a game like God of War. The game uses the original PS4 settings as a baseline, much like previous PlayStation PC ports, and the game runs very smooth on that preset without sacrificing any graphical fidelity. Of course, performance takes a hit if you bump things up to High or Ultra, but God of War features NVIDIA’s DLSS technology to help you boost your framerate. With DLSS set to Balanced, I was able to hover around 90 FPS on maximum settings at 3440×1440. Granted, I was playing on an RTX 3070, but you should be able to hit a decent framerate as long as you meet the recommended settings.
As far as actually playing on PC goes, the keyboard and mouse controls work surprisingly well. Most people will want to plug in a controller (DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers are supported natively), but the game is fairly playable with a keyboard and mouse. Playing an action game like this without a gamepad might seem strange to some, but its slower speed compared to other games makes it easy to control. It helps that the default keybinds are good as well. There’s also NVIDIA Reflex Low Latency support, but the game already feels quite responsive without it enabled, so your mileage may vary with that setting.
All of these PC benefits go a long way to enhance the overall experience. God of War places heavy emphasis on its narrative, so the game feels right at home on a 21:9 ultrawide display. Close-ups of characters’ faces look better than ever before if you crank the settings up, and environmental textures are very sharp. The game looks great, which is to be expected from a title that already looked so good on PlayStation 4.
Since the game came out so long ago at this point, it’s easy to forget just how stellar it really is. Playing through the opening segment is an immediate reminder of how well-written God of War is, and picking up the Leviathan Axe again after all these years felt like coming home. Again, our original review of God of War goes into much more detail about how excellent the game is, but its quality really cannot be overstated.
God of War isn’t the first PlayStation game to come to PC, nor should it be the last. It’s a trend that should continue, and there are still plenty of other previously exclusive games that could someday make the jump to PC. Just like Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone, God of War proves that PlayStation games have a home on PC. The PlayStation PC lineup seems to grow larger and larger as the months go by, so it may be only a matter of time before we see other Sony icons on the Steam store alongside Kratos, Aloy, and Nathan Drake.
If you never got the chance to play God of War, whether that be from not owning a PlayStation or simply skipping the title back in 2018, you owe it to yourself to jump into the PC version. This game has one of the best stories of the last generation with thrilling action combat to match, and it’s a game that PC players should not skip. Even if you’ve already platinumed the game on PlayStation 4, the PC version is good enough to warrant another playthrough to prepare for God of War Ragnarok. Whether you’re revisiting the frozen Norse realm or diving into Kratos and Atreus’ journey for the first time, there’s never been a better way to experience this epic tale.
This game was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the game's publisher,public relations company, developer or other for the express purpose of a review.
- This article was updated on January 12th, 2022