God of War PC Port Is a Nearly Flawless Version of the Definitive PS4 Game
The arrival of God of War on PC is a significant moment of change in Sony’s strategy with its PlayStation brand. Taking a page from Microsoft’s book, making its first-party games cross-platform is something I didn’t see coming, especially for a game that many heralded as the definitive game of a console generation. While Sony’s PC strategy is nothing new, having started a year back with Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone, bringing its premier franchise in God of War to PC states that nothing is impossible.
What Is Old Is New Again
God of War originally launched on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro consoles back in 2018 to critical acclaim, instantly updating the legacy franchise to modern standards. The game in its original form was rendered at 1080p (checkerboarded 4K on PS4 Pro) with a frame rate target of 30 FPS. The game was later updated to run at 60 FPS when played on the PlayStation 5. I played God of War’s originally on a base PS4, and while I’m more of a PC gamer, I didn’t find any problems with the game’s 30 FPS limit. It’s nicely implemented with occasional hitches during intense sections, but I’ve never seen anybody complain about its visuals.
On top of its beautiful visuals, God of War shines with its story and characters, so much so that I even rambled for 20 minutes on video about it.
The game’s PC port removes all those visual and performance shackles, bringing unlocked frame rates and a myriad of arbitrary resolutions for PC gamers to choose from. This is Sony’s best PC port yet, bringing almost every option PC gamers wanted to see right from the get-go. However, there are a couple of small problems I hope to see fixed in patches — the lack of a proper ‘full-screen mode’ and inverse mouse acceleration.
Another aspect of the game coming to PC includes mods, which in just under a week from launch include light customization as well as significant graphical updates. You can check out a list of all available God of War PC mods here, and I can’t wait to see what the PC modding community comes up with in the near future for the game.
God of War PC Performance
God of War can be played in various configurations on PC, from its original PS4 settings at 1080p to all the way above 4K on ‘Ultra’ settings. Developer Santa Monica Studios recently published the official system requirements for the game and I’ll say this — you can get away with lower end hardware if you’re fine with some compromises.
I played the game on my PC rigged with an Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 Super, an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU paired with 32 GB of RAM. Even without using Nvidia’s DLSS or AMD’s FSR, I could easily reach above 60 FPS with moderately high settings at 1080p. Using DLSS would leave some GPU headroom, so I bumped my resolution up to 1440p (using Nvidia DLDSR) and enjoyed crisp image quality along with great performance.
Performance, in general, is rock solid on my 2060 Super, even without using DLSS. When set to the ‘Original’ preset, the framerate soars above 100 FPS even in intense scenes at 1080p, which is a given considering the game was built for a console released in 2013. CPU usage sits around 40% for me in that setting, freeing up the GPU to render as many frames as possible. The game has an internal cap of 160 FPS as found by Digital Foundry, so I’ll take this as a positive.
Bumping up to the ‘Ultra’ preset sees framerate drop to the mid-50s, so there’s a pretty big hit in performance. However, if you are in possession of an RTX graphics card from Nvidia, turning on DLSS to its highest at ‘Quality’ will get you back up above 60 FPS without any hitches. Keeping DLSS at ‘Quality’, and turning down graphics preset back to ‘Original’ I saw the game running around 110–120 FPS during early boss battles.
While the game’s PC port doesn’t include ray tracing features, the inclusion of image reconstruction/upscalers and support for different aspect ratios is well implemented. Playing the game on a cinematic 21:9 ratio or 16:10 for its epic boss battles changes the experience considerably, especially when paired with a good display.
Despite the PC port itself being really good, the real magic of being a PC game comes from external modifications, and I’m not even talking about actual mods. By simply firing up Nvidia Freestyle (Alt+F3 by default), you can change the way God of War looks in real-time without any hassle. Want to see Kratos and Atreus bond in black-and-white? Go for it. Want to change the colour values or add other filters? Sure.
At launch, God of War’s PC port doesn’t include support for SSRTGI, although if that ever becomes possible in the future it will make quite a drastic impact on the visual quality of the game.
In conclusion, God of War on PC is a phenomenal version of the definitive PS4 game. It elevates the already heartfelt and epic adventure of Kratos and Atreus against the rest of the Norse realm, with visuals and performance scaling above what the original game offered on PS4/PS4 Pro four years ago, and is even better than the PS5 experience as it stands today.
Review copy provided by Nvidia.
God of War is out now on PlayStation 4 and PC (Steam/Epic Games Store), and is playable on PS5 under backwards compatibility.
Originally published at https://thescreenzone.com on January 19, 2022. You can also support The Screen Zone by subscribing to our YouTube channel, where we publish video game and movie reviews in video format. You can also support The Screen Zone by subscribing to Save State, the publication’s free newsletter.