God of War (2018)

Posted:  August 06, 2022
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
SDHQ Settings
Review
Game Info

SDHQ Recommended Settings

SteamOS
30 FPS
Limit
60
Refresh Rate
HRS
No
TDP Limit
9
Scaling Filter
FSR Sharpness 1
GPU Clock
1100
Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Output Resolution: 1152x720

AMD FSR: Quality

FSR Sharpening 0.3

Texture Quality: Low

Model Quality: High

Anisotropic Filter: Min

Shadows: Original

Reflections: Original

Atmospherics: Low

Ambient Occlusion: Original

Projected Battery Usage and Temp
~14W - 15W
~65c - 70c
2.5 - 3 hours

Review

God of War (2018) is the first game in the rebooted-ish God of War series. You play as angry man Kratos who, with his son Atreus, must honor his partner’s dying wish. Along the way, you will travel across the land, encountering the gods of the norse mythology, all while training his son to be an angry boy. This game detracts from its predecessors heavily, focusing on telling a compelling story in a third person view over a beat-em-up style game. The game is phenomenal all around and is easily one of the greatest games to have ever been made. Saying this was a worthwhile experience is an understatement, so I was praying this would run well on the Steam Deck.

God of War's Max Settings

Knowing how this would turn out, I started my benchmarking with everything set to max. Lo and behold, it was horrible. Everything set to max with native resolution and no caps resulted in a 20 FPS average with a 24W+ battery drain and temps that were rising up to the high 80s. And this was in one of the less heavy areas of the game. I had no intention of using max settings though and here is where the review gets a bit tricky.

God of War Max Settings

While God of War looks beautiful, battery drain and temps are high, as well as the framerate hanging around 20 FPS or lower.

The Perilous Journey to Optimization

God of War is a super intensive game and I feel there are two ways to play this: 30 FPS with a battery/quality focus and 40 FPS with a performance focus. In my testing, having a specific quality-focus build results in battery drain that hits a bit too hard, though it is possible to play.

Seeing as how draining God of War is, I wanted to see how far I could get the drain and temps down while keeping a stable 30. Thankfully, God of War does have FSR 2.0 integration, so I didn’t have to turn the resolution down as much to save battery. I set the TDP to 9 and started reducing some quality settings to make sure the stable framerate was hit. I ended up with a nice mix of original and high settings, with 3 of them being low. With those settings and a 1152x720 resolution with FSR 2.0 set to quality, we get a fairly nice picture with a mostly stable 30 FPS. There are some framerate spikes, but I don’t feel they are noticeable in general play without the graph there. I have seen some minor slowdowns too, but these tend to happen in cutscenes or entering new areas, which don’t impact gameplay as much. Turning up TDP could mitigate some of these, but will also drain everything much faster. Even when all the settings are set to low, I still experienced some form of spike, so while these settings may cause a little more, they still don’t feel noticeable and give more to the game while saving a significant amount of battery drain.

When it comes to 40 FPS, it is possible to achieve it while still looking quite good, though at a cost to stability. I would say overall, the game is 80% stable at 40 with these settings, though there are still mini spikes which are much more noticeable due to the increased framerate. On top of that, battery drains significantly more and temps get up to 80c, which in itself is still not that bad. It is also slightly blurrier as the resolution is changed down to 960x600, and FSR 2.0 set to balanced, but the smooth framerate does make up for this. It is still decent looking, though personally, the upgrades to quality and less noticeable spikes win out for me.

Left ImageRight Image

The difference in quality is clear and while 40 FPS can be hit, the temps and battery drain are massive.

There were no clear differences when using a different Proton version for God of War, so you can pick and choose which one you would like to use. I prefer using Proton GE when I can. If you don't know about it or want to install, you can follow our guide for it!

I did also encounter a couple bugs with the Deck. I noticed that after some cutscenes in God of War, my controls would stop working. This was easily fixed by hitting the "Steam" button and then going back into the game, but it was a bit annoying to deal with. I also did notice that moving the left analog stick has a very slight delay. I tested to see if this was due to SteamOS's cap, though even when Vsync in game was on with no cap, there was still that delay. It wasn't really noticeable when getting into the game though, just when I specifically stopped to test it.

Conclusion

I still am in shock as I tested and wrote this review, I was playing God of War on a handheld device. This game is so good and I was pleased with the performance. Of course, in terms of technicality, it could be better. It does still have framerate spikes and some bugs, but overall, this is a huge AAA game that has no business running as well as it does on Deck. If you haven't played the game before, or on the fence about it, do yourself a favor and grab the game. The compromises are well worth it.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

God of War is an insanely good game and while there are compromises to play on Deck, they are well worth it.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Reviewed By:
BarbecuedKitty
Steam Profile
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$49.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating

Review

God of War (2018) is the first game in the rebooted-ish God of War series. You play as angry man Kratos who, with his son Atreus, must honor his partner’s dying wish. Along the way, you will travel across the land, encountering the gods of the norse mythology, all while training his son to be an angry boy. This game detracts from its predecessors heavily, focusing on telling a compelling story in a third person view over a beat-em-up style game. The game is phenomenal all around and is easily one of the greatest games to have ever been made. Saying this was a worthwhile experience is an understatement, so I was praying this would run well on the Steam Deck.

God of War's Max Settings

Knowing how this would turn out, I started my benchmarking with everything set to max. Lo and behold, it was horrible. Everything set to max with native resolution and no caps resulted in a 20 FPS average with a 24W+ battery drain and temps that were rising up to the high 80s. And this was in one of the less heavy areas of the game. I had no intention of using max settings though and here is where the review gets a bit tricky.

God of War Max Settings

While God of War looks beautiful, battery drain and temps are high, as well as the framerate hanging around 20 FPS or lower.

The Perilous Journey to Optimization

God of War is a super intensive game and I feel there are two ways to play this: 30 FPS with a battery/quality focus and 40 FPS with a performance focus. In my testing, having a specific quality-focus build results in battery drain that hits a bit too hard, though it is possible to play.

Seeing as how draining God of War is, I wanted to see how far I could get the drain and temps down while keeping a stable 30. Thankfully, God of War does have FSR 2.0 integration, so I didn’t have to turn the resolution down as much to save battery. I set the TDP to 9 and started reducing some quality settings to make sure the stable framerate was hit. I ended up with a nice mix of original and high settings, with 3 of them being low. With those settings and a 1152x720 resolution with FSR 2.0 set to quality, we get a fairly nice picture with a mostly stable 30 FPS. There are some framerate spikes, but I don’t feel they are noticeable in general play without the graph there. I have seen some minor slowdowns too, but these tend to happen in cutscenes or entering new areas, which don’t impact gameplay as much. Turning up TDP could mitigate some of these, but will also drain everything much faster. Even when all the settings are set to low, I still experienced some form of spike, so while these settings may cause a little more, they still don’t feel noticeable and give more to the game while saving a significant amount of battery drain.

When it comes to 40 FPS, it is possible to achieve it while still looking quite good, though at a cost to stability. I would say overall, the game is 80% stable at 40 with these settings, though there are still mini spikes which are much more noticeable due to the increased framerate. On top of that, battery drains significantly more and temps get up to 80c, which in itself is still not that bad. It is also slightly blurrier as the resolution is changed down to 960x600, and FSR 2.0 set to balanced, but the smooth framerate does make up for this. It is still decent looking, though personally, the upgrades to quality and less noticeable spikes win out for me.

Left ImageRight Image

The difference in quality is clear and while 40 FPS can be hit, the temps and battery drain are massive.

There were no clear differences when using a different Proton version for God of War, so you can pick and choose which one you would like to use. I prefer using Proton GE when I can. If you don't know about it or want to install, you can follow our guide for it!

I did also encounter a couple bugs with the Deck. I noticed that after some cutscenes in God of War, my controls would stop working. This was easily fixed by hitting the "Steam" button and then going back into the game, but it was a bit annoying to deal with. I also did notice that moving the left analog stick has a very slight delay. I tested to see if this was due to SteamOS's cap, though even when Vsync in game was on with no cap, there was still that delay. It wasn't really noticeable when getting into the game though, just when I specifically stopped to test it.

Conclusion

I still am in shock as I tested and wrote this review, I was playing God of War on a handheld device. This game is so good and I was pleased with the performance. Of course, in terms of technicality, it could be better. It does still have framerate spikes and some bugs, but overall, this is a huge AAA game that has no business running as well as it does on Deck. If you haven't played the game before, or on the fence about it, do yourself a favor and grab the game. The compromises are well worth it.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

God of War is an insanely good game and while there are compromises to play on Deck, they are well worth it.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Reviewed By:
BarbecuedKitty
Steam Profile

SDHQ Recommended Settings

SteamOS
30 FPS
Limit
60
Refresh Rate
HRS
No
TDP Limit
9
Scaling Filter
FSR Sharpness 1
GPU Clock
1100
Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Output Resolution: 1152x720

AMD FSR: Quality

FSR Sharpening 0.3

Texture Quality: Low

Model Quality: High

Anisotropic Filter: Min

Shadows: Original

Reflections: Original

Atmospherics: Low

Ambient Occlusion: Original

Projected Battery Usage and Temp
~14W - 15W
~65c - 70c
2.5 - 3 hours
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$49.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating

Other Builds & Information

40 FPS

SteamOS:

40 FPS Cap with 40 Refresh Rate

Half Rate Shading OFF

TDP Limit OFF

FSR Sharpness 1

 

Proton Version:

No Forced Compatibility

 

Game Settings:

Output Resolution: 960x600

AMD FSR: Balanced

FSR Sharpening 0.3

Texture Quality: Low

Model Quality: High

Anisotropic Filter: Min

Shadows: Low

Reflections: Disabled

Atmospherics: Low

Ambient Occlusion: Disabled

 

Projected Battery Usage/Temps:

17W - 19W with spikes to 20+

Around 75c - 80c temps for CPU and GPU

Around 1.5 hours of gameplay

4 comments on “God of War (2018)”

  1. Thanks for the review

    I don’t really understand why you’re doubling up on FSR here?

    Also surely the deck has enough VRAM to run at higher texture quality.

    I tried the settings out and while they look good I don't really understand the choices, you can run at 720p with original settings with a near locked 30fps. It seems to me any sort of FSR in this game causes constant frametime spikes.

    1. Hi there and thank you for taking the time to try out our settings!

      The Deck has the capability of running the higher texture quality and at native res with original settings, but we also try to mitigate temps and battery drain with the settings we provide. And with the GPU Clock Speed Frequency being set, it tends to alleviate most of those spikes. We will be providing full quality-only builds for those that don't care much for battery drain, but that's why I made the choices I did! In this case, I did find the doubling up did help a bit with the game's overall quality and allowed me to keep settings lower so we could maximize battery life!

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