When the original God of War came out in 2005, it was arguably the most attractive game on the PS2. Thirteen years later, Sony Santa Monica is still capable of blowing us away. This new heartfelt interpretation of God of War on the PS4 stands alongside Uncharted 4 and Horizon as the most visually impressive games on both the vanilla model and the PS4 Pro.
After the massive shrug that was 2013’s God of War: Ascension, a complete redesign was absolutely necessary. As such, every aspect of the series has been rethought for this impressive comeback. We’re dealing with a different pantheon, more methodical combat, a close-up camera that never cuts away, and a palette of emotions that actually extends beyond pure rage.
At our sister site IGN, God of War has earned a perfect score. Jonathan Dornbush wrote up the review, and he praises everything from the single-shot camerawork to the Nordic backdrop to the emotional development of Kratos. And whether he was playing on a standard PS4 or a PS4 Pro, the visuals were delightful throughout:
Similarly, Metacritic has this installment sitting at 95/100 based on 86 scored reviews – the highest metascore in the series. There are plenty of perfect and near perfect scores, but some outlets like The Daily Dot and Twinfinite went as low as 4/5. There are some criticisms of the puzzle design and some repetition in certain battles, but even the lowest-scoring reviews still gush about the game’s high points. It’s clear that this game will be a real contender when we reach GOTY season.
DigitalFoundry has analyzed God of War, and the results are impressive across the board. With silky smooth animations, top-notch dynamic lighting, a very reactive environment, loads of GPU-accelerated particles, and best-in-class checkerboard rendering, this is one of the best looking games of the generation.
On the standard PS4, it’s no surprise to see a 1080p resolution and a 30fps target. The frame rate is mostly stable, and the anti-aliasing being applied here is undeniably attractive. Even if you’re playing on a 4K screen, the original model or the Slim deliver exemplary results – especially if you have an HDR-capable display.
But if you have a PS4 Pro, you get to choose between two modes: Performance and High Resolution. In Performance mode, the resolution stays at the 1080p we see in the base model, but the 30fps cap is removed. At the game’s most peaceful, you can see the frame rate rise to a wondrous 60fps, but you should expect to hover between 40fps and 50fps during most scenes. It’s a nice option to have, but that kind of fluctuation isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Toggle on the High Resolution mode, and we’re given a checkerboarded 2160p image capped at 30fps. While it suffers from occasional dropped frames just like the base version, it’s not anywhere close to ruinous. Given some time, it’s even possible that a patch could smooth out the handful of situations that cause dips to 29 or 28fps. And as for the visual trickery on display, DF’s John Linneman calls it “one of the finest implementations of checkerboard rendering we’ve seen,” so we need not worry about the fidelity here. It’ll definitely give your 4K TV a workout.