Review: God of War
God of War barreled onto the PlayStation 4 in 2018 to near-unanimous critical acclaim. For years, it remained a PlayStation exclusive, so if you wanted to jump into the newly-rebooted God of War series, you'd need to pick up a PlayStation 4. That's all changed with the debut of God of War on PC. Now, PC gamers have a chance to experience the fantastic combat, gorgeous visuals, and occasionally emotional story that made the original game such an unforgettable journey. But does the PC version mean a better way to get to know the new version of Kratos and his son Atreus? In a nutshell, absolutely.
God of War on PC is an absolute triumph. While the game already rebooted the entirety of the franchise back in 2018, it didn't live up to its true audio and visual potential until it reached the PC. While there are no new content additions here, there are plenty of options and tweaks to ensure that anyone jumping into the game, whether for the first time or the third time, has something they can appreciate. And even if you’re a longtime God of War fan who wasn’t sure about the new direction the series has taken, rest assured that there’s no reason for concern here. It’s just as great as you remember, and even better.
The story has shifted significantly, taking Kratos out of the role of cold-blooded killing machine to a father who's obviously concerned for his son Atreus's well-being after his wife has passed away. He and Atreus make a journey to scatter her ashes at a certain location, all the while getting to know each other a little better. There are problems swirling around in Atreus that Kratos must work to quell, a growing appetite for destruction and for mayhem, and the wizened former god of war must work to teach Atreus the best he can as their personalities clash and a simple journey gives way to something much, much bigger.
Because of this new narrative-driven story, we get a chance to see a more human side of Kratos, as well as a wealth of cinematic-driven experiences. There's more than walking from point A to point B as Kratos flying solo. As Kratos and Atreus explore the world of Midgard, the home of Norse mythology, the pair look to reach Jotunheim in an effort to spread Kratos's deceased wife's ashes. But there are evildoers along the way that force the pair to stop and evaluate their path, and that's where you come in.
This is a very open-ended adventure in which you need to decide where to travel with Kratos and Atreus and what to do once there. There are a variety of branching paths and smaller detours to take while exploring Midgard, and what connects all of these paths together are the existence of major and minor battles here and there. Combat is satisfying and flows well, with Kratos's signature Blades of Chaos removed and replaced with an axe that Kratos can throw with ease, then retrieve.
The third-person action makes fighting enemies a breeze, though you can't just cleave through everyone the way you could in the earlier God of War games. You have light and heavy attacks to dish out the pain, but Kratos can also use up close and personal attacks with a variety of supplemental assistance from Atreus. Atreus can use his bow to shoot quite well to eliminate threats, meaning the pair work together well in a ballet of violence directed toward all comers who wish to do the pair harm.
You can use awe-inspiring finishing moves to kill off enemies, and rack up major damage thanks to a series of combos. Outside of active combat, there's a unique leveling and upgrade system that lets you kit out both Kratos and Atreus with new moves and abilities with the experience they earn through combat, akin to the type of customization you see in RPGs. You’ll be spending a lot of your time fighting, so this is good – you’ll want to make sure Kratos and Atreus are as strong as they possibly can be to make sure progress comes swiftly.
God of War on PC is absolutely gorgeous and jaw-dropping, too. Every bit of the action comes with eye-popping color thanks to HDR and a high frame rate, and it may very well be one of the best-looking PC games we’ve seen already in 2022. On PC, it absolutely shines, and even if you finished the game on console, the dazzling colors, gorgeous animation, and realism (even the sweat all over Kratos) is worth jumping in again for.
This is, by far, the best God of War yet, and it has to be seen to be believed. If you’re interested in jumping in and seeing what the world of God of War has to offer with its 2018 makeover before the sequel, God of War: Ragnarok, hits the scene later this year, we can’t urge you enough to play this version first, even if you have a PlayStation 4. It’s just that good, and we can promise you that you won’t soon forget it.