We got Days Gone last year and now God of War to start off this year. I’m liking this new PC direction that PlayStation is going and since I never got to play this one on PS4, it’s about time I give it a look.
Okay, I’m gonna start by talking about the port – as that is likely why a lot of you are even clicking onto this review. Put simply: it works. No random fps drops, no crashes, no freezing, no stuttering, not even any bugs. It’s the exact same quality we got with the Days Gone PC port and that one was already some good stuff, so I’m super glad to see that replicated here with God of War given that the studio doing the porting is different this time.
Of course, I should note that this was with me running at max settings, 1440p, and a 155 fps cap on an RTX 3080 Ti. Compared to Days Gone, the minimum specs are slightly higher, but the recommended are mostly the same. Still, I noticed that God of War was a bit more intensive on the GPU, but that is likely due to the fact that the game looks much better.
Options-wise, there are the usuals like resolution, scaling, fps limit, and such, but some nice extras too like DLSS and FidelityFX Super Resolution. One setting that is missing is FOV though and this is one the game desperately needs given just how close the camera is and how hard it is to track enemies directly to your sides. This is one of the most-requested features according to the devs, so hopefully it is one we can get in a patch at some point.
I tested the rebindable keyboard and mouse controls and they were also fine, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the mouse smoothing that appears to be present. Yeah it kinda goes with the more cinematic style of the game, but I prefer my mouse movements to be snappy and “as-is”.
Otherwise, controls on my Xbox Series X controller were flawless. The default layout is intuitive and the only thing I ended up changing was an accessibility option to keep sprint enabled at all times. So overall, I’m impressed. It’s yet another solid port to PC from a major PlayStation studio and this gives me hope for more ports in the future.
Now as for the game itself – also solid, but not completely without issue. Take the combat for example. It is MUCH different from the old God of War formula, but I quite like the new direction. It’s more focused, more weighty, and has more depth to it. You’ve got dodging, parrying, shield bashing, different weapon types with all sorts of combos, and an entire skill tree to unlock to enhance all of these. And that’s before you consider the boy that has his own skill tree and combat assists to unlock too.
But ultimately, the combat makes Kratos feel like an actual god. The previous games had their moments yeah, but in this one, each and every hit (both sent and received) have that impact, that meatiness behind them. It kinda reminded me of the Souls series in this regard – the enemies aren’t just these twigs to be knocked down. That’s the main problem with a lot of these more immersive story-driven games, so I’m glad that they had that on lock here.
And speaking of story – that’s pretty much the main thing here and again, an area where God of War excels. It’s surprising really. I went in expecting this big web of a plot, but got something a lot more grounded, more straightforward, and, yes, more focused in a way. As a whole, it’s a story about fatherhood, or really just growth in general. That’s because it’s two-sided, following Kratos’ growth as a father and attempts to live as a human and the coming of age of his son, who is struggling to find his place and take in the lessons being taught by his father.
Their goal is simply to reach the top of the mountain to scatter ashes, but the characters they meet along the way make it much more than just that. The story never loses that central focus, yet at the same time does a great job introducing characters every now and then that push it forward and expand on the lore behind it all. Mythology is a central theme here (as always with this series), but it’s handled in such a way that you don’t need to be familiar with it – or even the previous games – to get involved.
It’s engaging all the way through though. The little bits of dialogue shared when traveling, Kratos’ occasional moments of wordless self-reflection, and the studio did a really good job seamlessly weaving all of this stuff into the gameplay. You’ll be in gameplay and then an outright cutscene and then back with some of the smoothest transitions I’ve seen in this genre. It makes the entire experience feel cinematic, which I know some people are not a fan of, but for a story-driven game like this, it’s pretty good and reminded me a lot of A Plague Tale: Innocence.
It’s not a perfect story by any means – the main antagonist could have used some more development for example – but I had a good time with it and it’s already got me excited to see where the sequel goes.
My complaints are more on the gameplay side. Not the combat, but the content surrounding it. Most of the RPG mechanics, for example, feel entirely wasted in a game like this. Armor upgrades, talismans, enhancements, stats – they are very barebones and it’s often a waste of time to even upgrade them given you find new pieces every couple hours or so. Even then though, I never finished a fight and went “wow, I’m sure glad I had that enhancement equipped!”. Maybe on harder difficulties it might be worthwhile, but this is very obviously a game designed to tell a linear, cinematic story, so all this extra stuff unfortunately comes off as filler.
The puzzles and overall exploration are also a bit weak. The puzzles, for example, are very basic and a lot of them task you with simply finding the correct spot to land an attack or destroy a set amount of runes to open a chest. There are a couple good ones in there, but the vast majority feel like tedium just for the sake of extending an area, even if you outright skip the optional ones. If you do engage with the optional ones, you’ll find that a lot of the time the reward is simply a new enhancement or other upgrade that hardly makes it feel like it was worth the time.
It was like the studio was divided into two when making the game: the A-team for the main story and combat and the B-team for the RPG mechanics, the exploration, and the side content. Some of it is fine (the Valkyrie fights are pretty cool for example), but I couldn’t help but notice a massive disconnect there and I can’t say I’m looking forward to doing much more of that side stuff now that I’ve completed the game.
I have some more minor complaints – such as the reskinned boss fights, weak enemy variation, and the backtracking – but those at least don’t weigh down the core of the game as much. It’s still an immersive and fun experience all the way through and I’m glad that I got to experience it on PC with the upgraded visuals and all.
Another year, another solid PC port of a classic PlayStation title. God of War is not only a fun game itself, but runs flawlessly on PC and with some really nice visual and performance upgrades that make it now the definitive way to play. Higher framerate, higher resolutions, a mountain of customization options – it’s an all-around great port of an already great game. It may have some gameplay problems – the RPG mechanics, the puzzles, etc. – but I had a good time with it and would recommend it to those that like more story-driven experiences. Now please just give us Bloodborne.
Quote: God of War is not only a fun game itself, but runs flawlessly on PC and with some really nice visual and performance upgrades that make it now the definitive way to play.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.