Porting the 2016 God of War reboot to PC has always been a bit of an odd choice. Without a legal way to play the originals, you get left in the dark in regards to Kratos’ past but, playing the game again in fresh eyes, really solidifies how wonderfully it works on its own. Though the experience is heightened with that knowledge, this gives an accessible entry into the franchise while making you care about every character from scratch. Starting here isn’t a worse place to start, merely a different one.
Game Name: God of War
Platforms(s): (PC) Reviewed, PS4
Developer(s): Santa Monica Studio
Release Date: January 14th, 2022
Starting with that story, God of War takes a much more personal lens to analyse Kratos through. You are now a little older and much hairier. This comes with a shift of perspective in a handful of ways. Not only has the camera changed but the introduction of your son Atreus leaves you in a more paternal position, teaching “The Boy” as he grieves the death of his mother and gets tougher to the outside world.
It is perfectly paced, interspersed with huge boss fights and introspective internal battles. It is the journey of Kratos and his ability to let the world move on around him. Although you take the role of Kratos, it is everything else in this story that you are really supposed to pay attention to.
This is much easier to do with how great it looks. For those with Nvidia hardware, you can avail of their built-in DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling). If you have access to an Nvidia RTX GPU, this AI-drive technology can greatly improve your framerate without any visual downgrade. It also comes with its own upscaling method, as well as for AMD’s FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution). From the second you boot the game up, it is obvious how wonderful it can look. On my Ryzen 7, RTX 3070 set up, playing on Ultra settings, it is one of the nicest games I’ve played to date.
The thing about God of War isn’t how shiny its puddles are or how impressive it looks when the rain falls on the screen. It is how well it all comes together that truly impresses me. When you zoom in to a small texture on Kratos’ hand, it may not look as impressive but when you zoom out, it becomes a tapestry to weave Kratos and Atreus’ story. Despite its occasionally murky look, colours flash on the screen and draw the eye in a fantastic way. It is a great-looking game that is almost entirely enthralling.
This only heightened with an anthemic and orchestral soundtrack charting most of Kratos’ movements with a responsive crash or apt silence. It desperately tries to suck you in and, outside of a particularly loud computer fan at its most impressive moments, it does this incredibly well. Though not particularly hard, God of War offers a level of challenge that is fitting for the game. You feel like a powerful god without feeling entirely invincible and Atreus slowly becomes a genuinely capable companion, actively adding to the experience.
Unfortunately, it feels a slight bit clunky on a mouse and keyboard. The way Kratos’ attacks are designed and the way that the camera system is set up often leaves you wondering if it couldn’t work just a little better. This is solved fairly quickly with robust controller support but it’s still a shame you need a controller to get the most out of it.
It’s a shame that the keyboard feels a little clunky because God of War is a real treat to play. Combat is weighty and synergetic but you can take it at your own pace. Being able to throw your axe, use your bare fists, and everything in between, you can combo your moves together to really feel cool at the end of it. It has a slow build-up as you learn what works but you never feel bored of learning new ways to manoeuvre around the same fights
God of War is a game that does a surprising job at holding you throughout the entire experience. The opening scenes are intriguing and immersive, really getting you invested in the grander narrative where the later scenes throw enough puzzles and enemies at you to keep you fighting just a little longer. It does an excellent job at only throwing necessary information at you and allowing you to explore the wider world if you choose to do so.
While you are encouraged to investigate further into the world, you are rarely forced to do so. That world is only made more enchanting by the great look of the game. Occasionally, after long sessions and at more intense moments, it stutters a very small amount but this appears to be more of a problem with my own rig than the game itself. Even at its worst moments, it’s an incredibly enchanting experience.
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God of War manages to solidify itself as a wonderful standalone game that rises to the challenge set by its previous games and moves it into a more grounded and, ultimately, fulfilling area. While some may miss the over-the-top action and more distanced camera angle, it makes up for it with one of the very best narrative experiences of the last decade.
- Looks great
- The story is still phenomenal
- Robust PC support
- Could benefit from better keyboard controls