God of War on PC delivers almost everything we hoped for

Enlarge / “Boy.” “Yes?” “You are ready … for the PC port.” (This image was captured directly by Ars from the PC version of the game, like most other images in this article, unless noted otherwise.)

Sony santa monica

While headlines suggest Sony’s PlayStation division is more invested in the PC gaming space than ever before, its record of releases so far has been a bit shaky, although the future looks bright. Sony’s combined PC porting studios stumbled in mid-2020 with Horizon: Zero Dawn, although the company did finally give this game a decent shape months later. During this time, Days Gone arrived in 2021 with a solid number of PC-specific bells and whistles. So far, these are just two genuine PlayStation “hits” on PC, leaving many popular series missing.

Sony continues its sequence of PC ports in 2022 by announcing two more titles. The first, that of 2018 God of the war reboot, is emblematic of the aspirations of the company in terms of porting PS4 games. (Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, coming later this year, is the second.) Sony Santa Monica has provided the preview code for God of the warthe PC port for a full four weeks before the game launches at $ 49.99 this Friday To smoke, the Epic game store, Humble, and other PC game showcases. Based on what I have tested so far, this level of confidence is warranted.

Sort PC players before non-PCs Ragnarok

God of the war PC port official trailer.

Before digging God of the warPC specifics (and my recommendations for settings and toggles), let’s recap why I care about porting a four year old PS4 game. When the God of the war the reboot came in 2018, the original series in the series had racked up a mixture of baggage and fatigue that cooled my initial expectations. It didn’t take long for the gorgeous, massive, and emotional Sony Santa Monica adventure to change my tune, and the game finished third on Ars’ 2018 best list.

Reboot is still a hell of a good game. It incorporates lessons from the modern 3D adventure era while retaining its own identity (and, most importantly, avoiding Ubisoft-like issues with bloating open world). Its sequel, God of War Ragnarök, is expected to arrive sometime this year, so you can consider porting this 2018 game as an advertisement for Ragnarok (currently exclusive to PS4 and PS5 consoles). But whatever Sony’s motives, it is doing the gaming world a service by finally breaking this fantastic reboot of its console-only channels.

Even with higher resolution on the PS4 Pro and higher frame rates on the PS5, God of the war 2018 left some graphical improvements still on the table, especially since its PS5 port didn’t add a single visual touch to the admittedly beautiful PS4 base. Can this game be prettier and run more efficiently on PC? Does he have any cool stuff in his bag?

Mostly good news

Record scratch.  Pause.  Another day in the life of murderer Kratos.
Enlarge / Record scratch. Pause. Another day in the life of murderer Kratos.

In short: yes and yes.

I am using a mid-high performance laptop as a benchmark in PC gaming testing. This machine, equipped with an Intel i7-9750H, RTX 2070 Max-Q processor and 16 GB of RAM, averages 68.5 fps in a reference 1080p footage with the game’s default “high” graphics settings. This test included a generally stable frame-time graph, albeit with a “1% low” measurement of 46 fps, admittedly below the nearly locked 60 fps refresh of the same footage on the PS5. (This metric shows how the worst 1% performance will perform in a way that a flat average couldn’t.)

If you want to ensure that the same machine stays closer to 60fps all the time, GoWThe PC port offers two nifty performance-enhancing options: Nvidia’s Super Deep Learning (DLSS) technology, which is exclusive to “RTX” branded GPUs, and FidelityFX (FSR) super-resolution technology. ‘AMD, which works on many other GPUs. Both switch the processing and enhancement of low-res images, and they boost my laptop’s performance to at least an average of 80 fps (84 fps for DLSS) for this benchmark footage. Meanwhile, the 1% low metering climbs to 49.9 fps.

Outside of my choice of benchmark footage (the first cinematic showdown between Kratos and a mysterious stranger in the game’s first half hour), spot checks of combat performance on this laptop have generally shown even better numbers. The 3D engine handled some particle-filled effects with only occasional stuttering. I wonder if GoW could possibly be updated with pre-boot shader compilation, a process that slows down the first load of a game in order to process its selection of shaders, to reduce GoWThe current mid-game stutters on PC. Such a process does not exist in God of the warthe draft version of.

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