God of War shines in PC debut, finally free from its console shackles

Kratos has been unleashed on PC hardware, showing that God of War can actually be better than it was in 2018.


God of War was one of the best games to release in 2018 but was only available on the PlayStation 4. PC players and Xbox gamers couldn’t get Kratos and Atreus to make an appearance on their platform. Half of that problem will be fixed on January 14 as God of War is the latest former PlayStation exclusive to get a release on the PC platform. After enjoying my time exploring Midgard on the PS4 a few years ago, I was given the chance to test things out with more powerful hardware. The result is a port that lacks the amount of graphics settings you’d expect from a game designed specifically for PC, but one that absolutely shines nevertheless.

Configuring Kratos

It should be stated that this isn’t a full review of the plot and gameplay mechanics, as Shacknews’ own Ozzie Mejia wrote a great God of War review when it was released on PS4. Instead, my focus today will be on the PC experience, discussing how God of War runs on PC, as well as what’s been changed or enhanced for more powerful hardware.

The first thing I did, as is the case with most PC gamers, is dive into the settings and see what I could play with and how I could customize my experience. God of War does come with new options to configure graphics settings, but these fall short of what you’d expect from a PC game. The graphics menu has eight options to tweak, including texture quality, model quality, shadows, and reflections. There are a few more options to play with on the visual side under the display menu, such as display mode, aspect ratio, vsync, and an FPS limiter. PC options also include NVIDIA DLSS and AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution support, and players with ultra-wide monitors are in luck too.

God of War on PC includes support for controllers and customizable mouse and keyboard bindings. You can use your DualShock4, DualSense, or Xbox Wireless Controller. I even managed to fumble through some menus with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, although that didn’t work quite right and probably requires configuration through Steam. Unfortunately, you can’t map buttons in the game’s menus while using a controller, but you can fully customize the keybindings if you’re using a mouse and keyboard.

Welcome to Midgard

Once you get rolling with Kratos and Atreus, God of War is as wonderful as you remember if you played it on the PS4, except that everything looks even better and runs smoother. God of War on PS4 ran better than it had any right to on that aging hardware, and my experience on PC has been like butter. I’m running an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, Intel Core i7-9700K CPU @ 3.60GHz, 12 GB of RAM, and playing in 2560 x 1440 resolution. My settings are cranked to ultra across the board, and I’ve yet to encounter any hiccups or performance issues of any sort. The graphics are crisp and anyone with high-end hardware and a 4K display is in for an even bigger treat.

If you did play God of War on PS4, your reasons for trying it on PC are restricted to performance enhancements and better graphics. The game hasn’t changed the content on offer. PC features being advertised are restricted to graphics, controls, and ultra-wide support. Having said that, God of War was an incredible experience in 2018, and just being able to crank things up on PC is enough to entice me into another playthrough.

For those that didn’t try God of War on PS4, be aware that the graphics options you would expect from a game designed with PC in mind are somewhat lacking. Graphics setting adjustability pales in comparison to something like Far Cry 6 or even the Red Dead Redemption 2 PC release from 2019. That’s not to say they are bad, I just don’t want you to leave here thinking you’ll find 40 graphics settings to play with when the number is closer to 10-15, and that includes display settings.

Low-key brilliance

If you’ve never played God of War and have a PC capable of doing so, you absolutely should. This is especially true if you tend to enjoy PlayStation exclusive games, as there are gameplay mechanics that you’ll recognize. Kratos will boost Atreus up onto ledges, not unlike Joel would Ellie, and there are oodles of mini-puzzles that are scattered throughout your journey. The PlayStation vibe that is present in so many of the publisher’s titles is alive and well in God of War. Potential first-time players can use that as a guide to whether they will enjoy the experience as much as how it performs on PC.

God of War doesn’t boast the same graphics settings you might expect from a game designed with PC in mind, but it didn’t need them. After playing God of War on PS4, all PC players really wanted was to just crank things up a few notches. We wanted ultra-everything and triple the frames. We wanted to customize our keybindings and make use of our expensive GPUs. God of War already played well and looked great on the PS4, and as expected it’s even better when unleashed on PC.

These impressions are based on a PC review code. The game key was provided by Sony for coverage consideration. God of War will be available on PC starting January 14, 2022, for $49.99 USD and $59.99 CAD.

Managing Editor

Bill, who is also known as Rumpo, is a lifelong gamer and Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He made his mark early in his career through guide writing and a deep understanding of editorial SEO. He enjoys putting in the work to create a great content, be it a wild feature or grinding out an in-depth collectible guide. Tweet him @RumpoPlays if you have a question or comment about one of his articles.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 12, 2022 8:00 AM

    Bill Lavoy posted a new article, God of War shines in PC debut, finally free from its console shackles

    • reply
      January 12, 2022 8:55 AM

      PC > consoles y0!

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        January 12, 2022 8:57 AM

        They'd better be when a single GPU costs as much as a console, 55" TV, and soundbar combined

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      January 12, 2022 8:59 AM


      I'm envious of everyone who will play this for the first time.

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        January 12, 2022 10:17 AM

        Ultrawide looks good! So many console ports on PC do an okay job with ultrawide gameplay, maybe the hud and menu stuff isn't always perfect, but they often put no effort into the cutscenes and just slap black bars to fill the rest of the frame past the 16x9 space. I suppose this game naturally benefits from being 'seamless' between gameplay and story scenes already. Requires consistency by default.

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      January 12, 2022 9:37 AM

      It was fantastic on PS5. I dunno if I need to play it again on PC.

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        January 12, 2022 10:04 AM

        Yah i never played it on my PS4 Pro, but I am playing it now on my PS5 @ 4k 60fps

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        January 12, 2022 3:03 PM

        I've had it installed on mine for a while, I suppose I should finally give it a shot so I can chat about the game with all the other first-timers in the coming weeks. Now to do side if I want to play through 2 & 3 first even though I know the general details of the story.

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          January 12, 2022 5:22 PM

          It's pretty much a brand new story. Helps to know Kratos's background but you don't need a lot of specifics.

    • reply
      January 12, 2022 10:06 AM

      Preloading is available on Steam if anyone is interested

    • reply
      January 12, 2022 10:29 AM

      I beat the game in 2018... will probably pick this up on sale to play through again because it was so fucking good.

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        January 12, 2022 10:50 AM

        This was my thought as I was playing on PC. I'm not sure it's worth the $50 to just have better graphics. If you haven't ever played, sure.

        Like you, I beat it in 2018, so when I was playing on PC for this article I was more drawn in by the idea of "Oh yeah, this is a great game that I should just play again" rather than feeling I MUST play it for the enhanced graphics options. It looks wonderful on PC and I love the extra frames, but I wouldn't pay $50 (or $60 here in Canada) for a second playthrough.

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          January 12, 2022 12:11 PM

          Yeah I'm in Canada too and I think the threshold for me would be like $30. One thing though is that I played on PS4 in 1080p and now I have a 4k OLED so it would probably look really good

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      January 12, 2022 10:38 AM

      Did they remove those "playable" loading screens between areas where you are basically just walking one way or the other until it loads?

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      January 12, 2022 12:03 PM

      Might pick it someday, but hellf if I replay musspleheim or other optional areas again

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        January 12, 2022 12:54 PM

        I am actually excited to do the Niflheim or whatever that cursed area was called again, there are some fun fights in there

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      January 12, 2022 1:17 PM

      its a gpu crusher... 1080Ti + 3440x1440 monitor... i got a feeling its gonna be a bad time...

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        January 12, 2022 1:20 PM

        1080 is old stuff man

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        January 12, 2022 1:58 PM

        you might be able to get away with some upscaling or something, depending on if you have an Nvidia card

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          January 12, 2022 2:01 PM

          1080 is pre tensor core, so no DLSS support.

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        January 12, 2022 3:10 PM

        1080 ti is approaching 5 year old mark. Plus you're playing on an UW monitor. Can't expect too much.

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        January 12, 2022 5:00 PM

        1080ti is ....multiple generations old hardware, I don't know if we should be ready to be calling this a CPU crusher LOL; the game has pretty nice graphics and requires a PS5 to run well

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      January 12, 2022 1:43 PM

      I wasn't expecting DLSS support, but that's great to hear. Should give my 2060 a better chance of hitting 60fps with a good amount of detail active. I guess I should get a dongle for my pc so I can use my dualshock controller.

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      January 12, 2022 1:43 PM

      4 years later…

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        January 12, 2022 1:59 PM

        Have you played this game CrustaR? If not, it's worth getting for sure no matter how old the game is!

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          January 12, 2022 2:19 PM

          I played it on the ps4. It was go0d.

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      January 12, 2022 2:47 PM

      Why is this not getting the same treatment about the lack of video options like FF7 Remake? (I am not a fan of FF7 Remake) It looks to have the same limited options.

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      January 12, 2022 4:41 PM

      Honestly, the difference can barely be called marginal in motion: https://youtu.be/8zZ0C91rsn4

      Native 4k vs checkerboard 4k has a slight difference in sharpness, but when things are moving its pretty tough to tell. There's probably a bigger difference on actual hardware instead of on a 4k stream but even then I suspect you'd have to be running them side-by-side on 4k displays to really tell. The biggest difference is the shadow casting and how it can affect the lighting, but that isn't necessarily a bump in quality and more of a subtle increase in accuracy.

      Looks good either way. This really shows how amazing art direction carried how good it looked even on the OG PS4, let alone the PS4 Pro and much more capable PS5

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        January 12, 2022 4:54 PM

        Shadows in some cutscenes was the only diff I could see. The rest is undetectable, at least by my untrained eye.

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          January 12, 2022 5:03 PM

          It was made to run on a PS4. The technical floor for this game is hardware that was slow by 2013 standards, not much difference we can expect here outside of native resolution

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          January 12, 2022 5:03 PM

          yeah, even side by side its barely noticeable; in some areas the PS5 even looked better to my eye. Nobody would ever be able to tell what version they were playing if they were blinded to the system it was on. Either way looks great.

    • reply
      January 12, 2022 5:27 PM


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