2018s god of war is one of the best games ever made. And with the switch to Windows PC almost four years after launch, it has managed to get even better.
god of war surprised players with the ways in which the matured series – like making Kratos a character people like instead of an unwavering bastard, and doing away with the extreme objectification of female characters. But as much as developer Sony Santa Monica focused on building a new legacy, it did not quite make up for the past.
god of war resumes years after Kratos’ adventure through Greece, where he killed the entire pantheon of Olympic gods. Now he’s a father again, and he’s trying to pull his son, Atreus, in a different direction to help Atreus avoid some of the horrible mistakes Kratos made in his previous lives on PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.
It’s still a series about rage, but instead of focusing on the youthful frustrations of the past, it gives a more mature look. Fear is the new heart at the center of Kratos ‘rage – fear that Kratos’ past will never leave him alone, that his son will discover who he really is, and that he is too shattered to ever be that father , he must be. . And of course, fear feeds a new scam gallery of enemies – the Nordic gods – who are all fighting to avert the end of the world.
god of war wraps a beautiful story into a tight third-person action and puzzle game. It demonstrates a deep appreciation for Nordic myths in the way it makes these gods convincing characters. It takes RPG systems, narrative-based exploration, unique weapons and storytelling tricks from different kinds of games and melts them all perfectly. It’s a marvel of modern game design, but it’s been chained to PlayStation for years, limiting both its technical potential and the number of people who can experience it.
With this PC release, Sony has not only brought an excellent game to lots of PC gamers; it has also given god of war another life as a visual feast. The original release looked great in 2018 on PlayStation 4 and in 2021 on PlayStation 5. But in 2022, god of war looks absolutely amazing on PC.
On ultra settings, god of war runs smoothly at 120 frames per second in 1080p resolution on my PC. (I shake an Nvidia RTX 3080 with a 3.80 GHz Core i7-10700K processor and 32GB of RAM.) Draugr’s melted inner splinters apart with a crack as Kratos tears up the creatures and spews orange guts out everywhere. In emotional moments, the subtle twitches in Kratos’ face betray his thoughts beautifully. And under close-ups, I can count the individual gray hairs in his beautifully detailed beard.
Nothing compares to playing a game like god of war for the first time to see the way the water flows out of Nien’s lake while Jörmungandr, the world worm, rises from under the waves. But when the giant snake opened its mouth and his voice roared through my headphones, I was even more amazed at his design – his 4-year-old model and textures look great, even with my face just inches away from the screen. The water dripping from his mossy beard, the shadows in his nostrils and his throat swaying as he speaks – it all looks better than ever. It’s the same game, but with its already impressive set and visuals screwing up, creating an even more immersive experience.
But my beautiful PC playthrough was not without some hiccups. In rare cases, I experienced minor screen tearing during quick turns. Kratos’ armor also occasionally cuts through his body or objects. The enhanced visuals make the 2018 level of detail on certain textures – like a rare kind of chest made of light gold – more noticeable, as the game’s enhanced shadows apparently do not draw the same emphasis on lighter textures. But these flaws were the exception to the rule, thrown in contrast to the beauty seen everywhere else in the game.
The excellent visual and smooth performance of the PC version is something I had hoped for – a way to see this excellent game in a new light, not limited by my PS4, which was just a few years away from being benched for a PS5 . god of war is an exciting addition to anyone’s Steam or Epic Games Store library because it looks beautiful and runs almost perfectly, but there’s another reason to rejoice at its leap to PC: A legion of new players will be coming experience Sony Santa Monica’s magnum opus for the first time.
With Sony’s latest move to get some of its exclusive titles (Horizon Zero Dawn, The ghost of Tsushima, Days past) in the hands of PC players, it opens up an even wider fan base. Of course, some of these players may purchase a console to check out God of War Ragnarok later this year, but that’s not the intention. god of war is my favorite example of how mechanics and storytelling can be combined to create something different from other media, a game I recommend to friends and family who do not play, all the time (with a high degree of success). It was always a skirt that it took to buy into a single console ecosystem to experience this game, and now it does not.
god of war on PC is more than just a great visual upgrade to an already great game. It’s the best version of one of the best games ever made, perfect for both repetitions and first passes.
God of War will be released January 14 on Windows PC. The game was reviewed using a Steam key provided by PlayStation. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find further information on Polygon’s ethical policy here.
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