God of War has been a staple Sony franchise since it debuted on PS2 in 2005. The series was and is a favorite of many PlayStation fans, always pushing the hardware as far as possible. For example, God of War 3 was known for taking the PS3 to its performance limits. Now, the scale and intensity of the God of War experience has the power of the PS4 Pro, and visual “wow” of 4K HDR behind it. Plus there’s a brand-new storyline set in Norse mythology.
Platforms: PS4, PS4 Pro
Developers: SIE Santa Monica Studio
Genre: Action Adventure
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Resolution: 4k UHD with HDR10
Audio Format: 7.1 Surround Sound
Release Date: April 20th, 2018
Synopsis (Taken from Sony’s Playstation website):
From Santa Monica Studio and creative director Cory Barlog comes a new beginning for God of War. Living as a man outside the shadow of the gods, Kratos must adapt to unfamiliar lands, unexpected threats, and a second chance at being a father. Together with his son Atreus, the pair will venture into the brutal Norse wilds and fight to fulfill a deeply personal quest.
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
Low Frequency Extension: 99
Positional/Environmental Cues: 99
Dialogue/Mix Quality: 99
Every single sound in God of War is nearly perfect. For example, the ax given to Kratos had a different sound depending on what it was hitting. The environments all had their unique and identifiable audio characteristics to them.
God of War is known for its large-scale set pieces, and this version is no exception. What I appreciate is nothing in the mix sounded or felt compressed; as the scale grew visually, the audio followed.
Usually, in games there is a lot of compression on those types of scenes, but not here. The low-end weight in this game was great as well, with bass that added feel to the experience. Enemies and weapons all had tactile bass sounds that felt great through my subs. I love when a game has different weight for light attacks vs. heavy attacks, and you could feel that in the game… in very satisfying ways.
The other thing I’d like to highlight is the musical score. Done by Bear McCreary (who I am very big fan of) it doesn’t disappoint; it’s perfectly blended into the action and fits this game perfectly.
Black Levels: 99
Color Reproduction: 99
The 4k HDR in God of War is the best I’ve seen come out of the PS4 Pro. Lighting, faces, and environments were all beautifully rendered. Dark areas felt very dark, and the shadows were pure and uncompressed.
HDR’s wide gamut color popped on screen when they needed to, and the world came across as “real” due to the fidelity. The there didn’t seem to be any visible compression on any texture within the game. This is a huge accomplishment because usually less important items tend to be compressed, but everything here looked like it was made with care.
Kratos’s ax, clothing, and accessories looked great. As you change your gear, it’s reflected by what you see on screen. This was also true for Kratos’ son, Atreus, whose bow, arrows, and gear also reflected the changes made, down to minute detail.
Mountain peaks and other scenery in the far distance looked picture-perfect, and not at all compressed. This added a lived-in feeling to the world. Honestly, I could go on and on about how beautiful this game looks, but the best compliment I can give is this: If you don’t have a 4k HDR TV, this is first game I truly believe you should go buy one for… it’s that good.
God of War 4 is pretty much a perfect game. The cinematic feeling and the way everything stays consistent in terms of visual and audio presentation is first-class.
The seamless transition from cutscene to gameplay was jaw-dropping. The sound design was satisfying to say the least, putting me right in the action. My only wish was the game was available in Atmos sound as well. Regardless, the overall experience of playing God of War can be summed up into one phrase: ‘No Compression.’ And I loved it.
This review was written by our “ghost reviewer” Datsm using a reference system that includes an Xbox One X provided by Microsoft, as well as a 65″ Samsung Q9F TV, and a Dolby Atmos sound system with KEF R-series speakers and a Marantz AV7704 pre/pro.