God of War is PS4's next big tech showcase

Vyse

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Mar 27, 2006
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#1
A studio with a remarkable heritage for technical excellence, Sony Santa Monica is closing in on completion of its latest God of War and this past week, we've finally had the opportunity to see more of the game in action via PlayStation 4 Pro's pristine 4K video output. Right away, it's clear that what's on display here is extremely promising. God of War should comfortably stand alongside the likes of Uncharted 4 and Horizon: Zero Dawn when it comes to the quality of its technology.

For this latest round of God of War marketing, we managed to get hold of a high quality 4K feed of the new batch of gameplay. Like Horizon, God of War is using a form of checkerboard rendering to reach a 2160p pixel count. It certainly looks clean in motion, and while our pixel counts revealed nothing other than a 2160p output, the PlayStation Blog reveals that dynamic resolution scaling is in effect.

Based on the 16 minutes of footage we had to check out, the image looks sharper than Horizon and the occasional checkerboarding artefacts are visible if you look closely and very selectively. Indeed, we had to spend a few minutes eyeballing various frames before calling it, which suggests that that development team has been very successful in delivering a sharp presentation. Although not native as such, it still looks beautiful on an ultra HD screen and by our reckoning, this is shaping up to be one of the cleanest 4K games available on the platform.

If you look beyond the basic rendering resolution however, there is much more to appreciate, and this should come as no surprise. After all, Sony Santa Monica is well known for its graphical prowess - while the original games were impressive on PlayStation 2, the two sequels released on PS3 are a significant leap in terms of visual quality and remain among the best-looking last generation games. With God of War 2018, that trend continues. This is the first time we've seen the series properly represented on current generation hardware and it shines.


The first element that stands out is the quality of individual assets. Kratos himself is extremely detailed and beautifully shaded, with lots of fine detail across his clothing and accessories. The various characters are similarly detailed and consistent in quality throughout the footage we have. On top of that, the world itself is extremely cohesive with visual elements working together to create something natural yet fantastical. There is clear evidence that we're looking at a full physically-based rendering workflow, as materials do appear highly realistic - but it's also likely that the art has been modified to fit the more stylistic approach embraced by the team. It's reminiscent of the recent Shadow of the Colossus remake in that sense and it works brilliantly.

Another impressive visual feature on display are the particles. Likely to be GPU-driven, God of War features tastefully done pyrotechnics throughout the combat-oriented action we took a look at. Early in the system's life, games like inFAMOUS: Second Son impressed us with their particle effects but most developers show more restraint in using them. It's nice to see Sony Santa Monica leaning into these effects in a big way as it fits the style of action on display. Other physics interactions also impress: cloth flows naturally, and objects break apart realistically. Granted, these objects disappear just as quickly but it's still well-implemented and almost recalls the days of rolling through barrels in Dark Souls.

Then there is the volumetric lighting. God of War leans heavily on volumetric effects to help build atmosphere. Dense fog and piercing shafts of light are seen throughout much of the new footage. We're not yet sure what sort of implementation we're looking at here but it's truly volumetric rather than a simple screen-space solution used for direct light shafts in many other games. The way it interacts with things like ground fog is also notable. Post-processing is also of excellent quality with robust per-object motion blur used throughout. This helps accentuate individual attacks, lending more weight to each motion. High quality motion blur has been a staple of the series since God of War 3 and it's great to see this trend continue.

But this new God of War is definitely breaking new ground for the series and the biggest revamp is in the revised camera system. The idea the team has presented is to never cut - cinematics and action flow seamlessly throughout the game with no loading screens or bespoke angles. It's almost the diametric opposite to prior games in the series. You look back at God of War 3, for instance, and the camera is shifting constantly - it works on a predefined route designed to always provide a cinematic angle of the action. This allows for some truly epic battles as the camera moves in and out in real-time.

The jump to a tighter third person camera with right stick control is interesting as it suggests that the series' larger scale scenes, if they are included at all, will need to play out quite differently. In that sense, it feels like a game of constraints - and perhaps that's exactly what the series has needed. The previous two God of War titles raised the bar so high in terms of huge, large scale battles that it feels impossible to top. Thankfully, the changes made to the core combat loop do seem to have a significant impact on the feel of the game. I always felt that the previous God of War games did a somewhat poor job with connecting player attacks with enemies. It feels as if you're just swinging the Blades of Olympus through your enemies until they die rather than directly hitting them.

The new game seems to do a much better job with this. By restricting Kratos to more realistic weapons that have a clear and obvious impact on the enemies, the animators and combat designers have managed to create something that looks more visceral, more personal. In previous games, it feels like Kratos is always fighting large crowds but this time, it feels like each enemy is more dangerous. Whether this remains as the basis for the entire game or whether we're just seeing a tiny sampling of the overall combat system remains to be seen - but regardless, it's all looking very impressive and we're looking forward to really putting the game through its paces closer to its April release date.
 
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Jun 4, 2007
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#2
Everyone seems to love it based off the previews I've seen. They're ready to continue the story because it all forms together. From the combat to the story and emotions they wanted to pass along to the player.

This difficulty is going to add to the replay value for me. I'm so hyped for this game now.


 
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Vyse

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#3
Honestly, I was expecting some drawbacks somewhere for their successfully leaving out any camera cuts, like maybe the game would freeze at certain points because of too much memory piling up or something. They must have worked it out early on. That said, it will be very interesting to see what any larger-scale battles are like in this new entry.
 
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#4
The way they're streaming their loading is going to cause a lot of people to not want to put the controller down if the rest of the game lives up to the hype of the first 2 hours these journalist got to play.

I do want to see a big boss fight and I don't at the same time. I would know what to expect if this was like the old GOW titles but now we're completely in the dark due to the over the shoulder cam and new combat engine.
 
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#6
Of course, there are plenty of series staples that reappear in the new God of War. There are still hidden chests to loot, graphic kills to unleash, and gigantic boss battles to take on. A lot has changed, but Santa Monica Studio has done a great job in staying true to how the series has always felt. Even in the heat of combat, there’s a sense of controlled chaos that harkens back to Kratos’ PS2 origins. It’s certainly different, but it still feels like God of War on a base level.

Perhaps my favorite moment of the opening hours I got to see was the first major boss encounter. I found myself battling a mysterious Norse God that somehow knew my concealed past, and the nearly 20-minute fight saw the surrounding environment get utterly trashed. It also served to point out that Kratos has gotten slightly weaker (or at least a bit rusty) in his age, even if he’s still largely a one man killing machine. The battle served to highlight a lot of what was great about this new iteration: the gameplay and storytelling all goes hand-in-hand.

God of War isn’t just Santa Monica Studio doing something different for the sake of variety (although the series did clearly need a shake up after how dull Ascension seemed). Everything from its gameplay to storytelling has been changed for the better. By doing so, Sony has given one of its biggest franchises new life.

Read more at http://www.playstationlifestyle.net...iew-better-than-ever-ps4/#Q97kgwLzJ9qHTvzq.99
I'm going on media blackout. I don't need to see or hear anything else about this game:cool:
 

Aquanox

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May 26, 2005
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#10
This game made me buy a PS4 Pro. I enjoyed GOW3 a lot and couldn't miss this one. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the exclusives I've missed.
 
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#13
94-95 average. I'm glad to see they've knocked it out the park and lived up to the hype they built with the preview. Pre-orders are probably through the roof right now.
 

Vyse

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Mar 27, 2006
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#14
The average score among critics is higher than God of War III for PS3, but I would be interested to see how many fans genuinely enjoy this new entry on PS4, given its many changes.
 

DarkNemesis

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#15
The average score among critics is higher than God of War III for PS3, but I would be interested to see how many fans genuinely enjoy this new entry on PS4, given its many changes.
Why would we not enjoy it? Its a bigger, better and longer GOW game. The core mechanics are still there as the combat is great and brutal. All reviewers have said this is GOW regardless of changes. This is what I always wanted from GOW and the third person camera was long over do. Never like the fixed camera since the original game and I had to sit through 6 games with that major flaw in the franchise. From the footage I have seen it has just what makes GOW so engaging.
 
Jun 4, 2007
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#16
God of War wouldn't exist if these changes weren't made. The combat and cam is different but it works perfectly for the soft-reboot. We already know most will love the new direction and a few others will bitch. It happens with every big exclusive that Sony releases(tho not all are reboots).

Amazon are going to have to up their stock for this game. Pre-orders are unavailable at the moment.
 
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Hedon

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#18
I just checked and you're right! It must be flying off the shelves. I preordered on PSN Store, so no issues for me! Downloads on the 18th
Yup same here. I always get my games and preorder on PSN and XBL. Always there ready and waiting at midnight of release.

This should download Wednesday night I assume?
 

Lethal

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Nov 14, 2007
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#20
The average score among critics is higher than God of War III for PS3, but I would be interested to see how many fans genuinely enjoy this new entry on PS4, given its many changes.
The changes are why I am so excited. I am tired of the old God of War forumula.
 
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Vyse

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Mar 27, 2006
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#22
Why would we not enjoy it? Its a bigger, better and longer GOW game. The core mechanics are still there as the combat is great and brutal. All reviewers have said this is GOW regardless of changes. This is what I always wanted from GOW and the third person camera was long over do. Never like the fixed camera since the original game and I had to sit through 6 games with that major flaw in the franchise. From the footage I have seen it has just what makes GOW so engaging.
I like how you've gone from not trusting game reviewers to actually taking their word that you won't be in any way disappointed. Seriously, when God of War was first revealed, people were complaining that it looked more like The Last of Us and that the camera was closer to Kratos, but now they're considered positives even though the game hasn't released for you to be able to judge for yourself. And if I'm not mistaken it was you who said sometime ago, in a different thread for a different PS4 exclusive, that only you can safely say whether or not you enjoy something, which is why I said it would be interesting to see what people think of this new entry.
 
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Vyse

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Mar 27, 2006
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#24
Remember when everyone was excited for Knack II before it released based on the promising previews, saying it was the sequel they expected from the original? Yet the critic average for the sequel barely hit 70 and I don't recall anyone talking about it post-release. The response was something like, "These reviewers just don't understand or appreciate platformers".

"I don't like change" has been a constant narrative on the internet for a very long time. But it's understandably selective and it almost always fits some underlying narrative. For example, "God of War for PS4 is one of the few exclusive franchises that is still considered good". The irony being that it is good, great even, because of the changes we once voiced our criticism towards.

So like I said before, it will be interesting to see how many people genuinely like the game when it releases in three days, given its changes. And that includes diehard fans of the previous games which I know we have a couple on this very site.
 

TidalPhoenix

The Last of Us
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Dec 16, 2006
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#25
I'll like it because I've only played one other God of War and I don't think I completed it. As I was mostly Xbox in the other gens it was just one of the franchises that slipped through the net for me. The good news is that I can take the game at face value and not bemoan the fact they've changed it some way.

Oh and it's downloaded and sitting taunting me on my PS4, along with the Theme, and digital Art Book (why can't they make those available earlier!)
 

Lethal

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#26
Remember when everyone was excited for Knack II before it released based on the promising previews, saying it was the sequel they expected from the original?
lol I absolutely do not remember anyone saying this. The game looked exactly like the first game.
 

DarkNemesis

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Dec 15, 2008
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#29
I like how you've gone from not trusting game reviewers to actually taking their word that you won't be in any way disappointed. Seriously, when God of War was first revealed, people were complaining that it looked more like The Last of Us and that the camera was closer to Kratos, but now they're considered positives even though the game hasn't released for you to be able to judge for yourself. And if I'm not mistaken it was you who said sometime ago, in a different thread for a different PS4 exclusive, that only you can safely say whether or not you enjoy something, which is why I said it would be interesting to see what people think of this new entry.
Reviews have nothing to do with my own eyes. I said the reviewers said it was GOW, I never mentioned trusting them and it is not that serious lol. They have played it and have confirmed that what makes GOW what it is is still there. What I have seen is incredible as there are tons of footage released and I said since they first shown the game that it would be great. What other people complained about has nothing to do with me. I was the one saying there was nothing to be concerned about. I was speaking as a GOW fan because you were questioning how GOW fans would feel. I have not played it, but I trust my gut which has never failed me as I trusted it with the original GOW. All that other stuff I have no idea what you are talking about. The game looks great and that's enough for me. Also bringing up Knack to compare to GOW is just ridiculous and irrelevant lol. Apples to oranges.
 
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