God of War PC Review
Courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment

Reviewed on PC. Review copy provided by PlayStation.


God of War needs no introduction. A series that has spanned almost 17 years and has captivated gamers all across the globe. And a series that I fell in love with as a teen. So when they showcased an older, grizzled Kratos with a son I was skeptical. Would God of War still be fun? Don’t get me wrong, that original reveal followed by every single trailer had me incredibly hyped because I always wanted more God of War but there was still a skeptic in me, holding down my excitement.

But I wasn’t a teenager anymore when God of War (2018) was released. Just like the franchise and Kratos, I had a lot more experience under my belt. So what happened when I played the game? I was in absolute awe. The acting, the personal story, the music, the visuals, the combat, I couldn’t get enough of it.

God of War (2018) is now firmly on my list of favourite games of all time. And probably the most replayed single-player campaign of my life. I’m not someone who likes to replay games because there are so many amazing games out there and also because I get bored easily but something about this game had me coming back again and again. So when I learned that God of War was coming to PC, I was delighted. Partly because so many people would get to experience this absolute masterpiece. And also because I’d have another excuse to replay it yet again.

With that out of the way let’s talk about what this review will focus on. While yes, most people know that this game is great and I will get into that as well, I also want to talk about PC Performance. PC Ports of Sony exclusive titles have been a mixed bag. You’ve got a game like Horizon: Zero Dawn which was atrocious at launch and has since been patched quite well. And then you have Death Stranding and Day’s Gone which have been fantastic. So where does God of War stand between that spectrum? Well, let’s find out.

PC Performance

I played God of War on a system with a Ryzen 3600, an RTX 2070 Super, 3200mhz 16GB DDR4 RAM, and installed the game to m.2 SSD. The game advertises unlocked framerates, DLSS and FSR, Widescreen resolution, and improved visuals. So I put most of that to the test.

First and foremost, the game does not have an in-built benchmark which is a shame. So I tried to keep my benchmarking as similar as possible. Much to my surprise, the game runs quite well.

Resolution and Upscaling Techniques

At 1440p without any DLSS and the above settings, I was at a locked 60FPS. I’m not sure if the game uses DLSS 2.3 but it looks quite good and I wasn’t able to find too rough spots on Performance DLSS. FSR also works decently well and does a good job.

At 4K I had to use DLSS with the same settings. I was mostly locked at 60FPS but locations with a lot of Screen Space Reflections and Particle Effects would see my FPS drop to the low 50s. DLSS Performance looks fantastic here. FSR yet again does a decent enough job for those without RTX GPUs.

An issue is that there is no exclusive fullscreen mode. There’s Windowed mode and Borderless mode. You can use the Internal Resolution Scaler to lower the resolution but that’s about it. If you try to fullscreen the windowed mode window, it just goes back to borderless. So if you want to run a custom resolution, you’re going to have a hard time.

Graphical Settings

However, there are issues that I found which, by the time this review is up, will have been talked about by folks like Digital Foundry. First and most importantly, jumping up in graphical quality seems to have quite the performance penalty.

Most visual settings go from Min>Low>Original>High>Ultra(and Ultra+ for Reflections). There is text that tells you what each setting is i.e. better model quality, better texture quality. And there’s also a little image that is intended to show you how changing the settings affects the scene. But it’s not helpful. I genuinely only found that image useful when comparing the shadow quality settings and maybe a bit for the reflections settings. But otherwise, I was finding it hard to find differences there.

Furthermore, going from Ultra to Ultra+ Reflections seems to have a massive performance penalty. Visually, I couldn’t tell the difference between them at 1440p or 4K. Even when I looked at the exact spot shown in the options menu. Having some sort of details about what was being changed or what technique was being used what be very helpful in seeking out performance.

The second issue I had which most games seem to have is a bad FPS Limiter. The in-game FPS Limiter has frame pacing issues. However, this is easily solvable by using RTSS.

Framerate

The game advertises an unlocked framerate and it doesn’t lie. The game feels buttery smooth at a higher framerate. If you’ve got a G-Sync or Free-sync compatible monitor, playing a higher framerate is the way to go. I mean visually, the game is fantastic even at the “Original” Setting.

Add to that the fact that you can use Nvidia Reflex to lower your input lag, you’ll be enjoying the combat even more.

Keyboard and Mouse Experience

Keyboard and Mouse support is good. You can rebind pretty much everything. And I do recommend remapping the aim and heavy attack button. I spent the first couple of hours pressing right-click to aim when it was bound to Ctrl. Changed it to right-click and moved heavy attack to my thumb mouse button and it was so much better. I had a problem with activating Spartan Rage at times since I had to press L.Shift+Middle Mouse. I’m not sure why but sometimes it just wouldn’t register that I pressed it. This even happened to me in multiple cutscenes, one of which led to my death.

Another setting I recommend changing is the Combat Camera stuff. Turn them both off alongside turning aim assist off will most likely lead to a much more enjoyable experience. There doesn’t seem to be any issues with the mouse aim so that’s a positive. However, one annoyance that I found was that while sprinting, vertical camera movement is extremely stiff.

Accessibility

In terms of accessibility, there’s a few options here but nothing robust like in Ubisoft games like Far Cry or in Naughty Dog games. It’s a bit disappointing to see honestly and I hope they can improve on this with Ragnarok.

Story

Alright, now that the main meat of the matter is out of the way let’s talk about what makes God of War 2018 so freaking good. And that’s the story. We all know and love angry Kratos who will yell out “ARREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!” or “ZEEEEEEEEEEEUS!!” and go on a rampage but that is not the Kratos we get here. Kratos lost his family and thought himself irredeemable. So what does God of War 2018 do? It gives Kratos a chance to grow past that and evolve.

The story is fantastic. Just absolutely amazing. If you’ve managed to stay spoiler-free for 3 whole years then great job, go in and enjoy what you’re about to experience. If not, don’t worry, you’ll still have a great time. The writing and character interactions are absolutely top drawer. The acting is sublime. And the visuals, camera work, animation, and music make the whole experience unforgettable.

There are so many incredible moments throughout the game that even after my 7th playthrough have me get extremely hyped or get my eyes teary. I cannot, cannot wait for people, especially my friends to experience this game.

Gameplay and Combat

God of War 2018 is a soft reboot in terms of both story and gameplay. For starters, the game is no longer an isometric feeling fixed camera game. You’re always in 3rd person, behind Kratos when playing. And when it comes to cutscenes, the game is a “1 take” game. Meaning, there’s no camera cuts ever, unless, of course, you die. Or at the end credits

Furthermore, Kratos has a new weapon, the Leviathan Axe. Combat is a bit more similar to the Souls game I’d say with a light attack, heavy attack, blocking, and parrying mechanic. Then you have special moves and of course, BOY. Oh, Spartan Rage is also in the game because Kratos might be old but he can still rage it up.

Speaking of BOY, Atreus is such a fun and overpowered combat partner who can absolutely tear through enemies when he’s fully upgraded. And no, you won’t have to worry about his health or about escorting him.

The game features an RPG-esque system of leveling up your gear by either upgrading or crafting new ones. You need to keep using better gear because enemies have power levels and if you’re too low of a power level, you’ll have a hard time. Thankfully if that isn’t your cup of tea, the game does provide you with good gear through the main story so you can continue enjoying the story.

Besides that, there are plenty of side-missions to be done. These reward you with cool gear or items but also with some fun story-telling. I do think the side-missions are quite fun and have some good moments in them. Plus, more Dad Kratos is always fun.

TL;DR

Do I recommend God of War? Absolutely. Do I recommend the PC Port? Yes. God of War was already so polished and the PC Port does a good job of holding up to that standard. While there are a few caveats that I’ve mentioned, these are all easily fixable with a patch.

Personally, my biggest issue with the game is the lack of boss fights. But this was more of a budget problem from what I’ve read. A lot of people don’t seem to enjoy the new combat system but I thoroughly enjoy it and have a lot of fun with it.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Godly
9
god-of-war-pc-review-unchained-and-unstoppableDo I recommend God of War? Absolutely. Do I recommend the PC Port? Yes. God of War was already so polished and the PC Port does a good job of holding up to that standard. While there are a few caveats that I've mentioned, these are all easily fixable with a patch.