The Playstation 4 finally has its first God of war title, in the form of a budget remaster of the 2010 PS3 classic, God of War 3; but if you already own the original PS3 version of the game, do you have any reason to upgrade to Santa Monica’s remaster?
The biggest improvement boasted by the developers comes in the way of the frame-rate, boosted from a lowly 30fps up to 60. We’re currently working on our frame rate testing, but early impressions are fairly positive thus far. We have noticed that the game is certainly not 60FPS locked, and we’ve noticed a few instances of frame-rate drops. Currently we’re unwilling to release the results because they’re still early, but the frame-rate is still considerably stabler than that of the previous generation, with dips still within the high 50fps Range.
The smoother animation made a rather noticeable difference in the gameplay between both versions – switching from the PS4’s remaster to the original was almost painful at times – particularly when performing actions which required timings (for example, countering enemies felt noticeably more sluggish with the lower frame rate).
The extra frames of animation also helped combat appear considerably more brutal and detailed – air combos flowed, limbs smoothly torn from torsos during throws and even swinging across great chasms felt more natural. That’s not to say the original PS3 title was unplayable by any means; I personally loved the game on its initial release, but God of War 3 Remaster feels considerably better.
Back in 2010, developers released disappointing news that God of War 3 wouldn’t hit the 1080P resolution target they’d set initially announced, and instead the developers released the game at 720P, which was confirmed by Jeff Rubenstein on the official Playstation blog. The PS4 remaster does indeed increase the native resolution to 1080P, the extra pixel count is immediately noticeable upon booting up the game – even within the games menus.
In the above set of images (remember to use the slider to switch between them) you can spot a few subtle differences, including a seemingly different blood pattern on Kratos’ shoulder armor.
Unfortunately, the aliased ‘jaggies’ in the game are rather noticeable, and the opening cinematic (where the God of Olympus are surveying the climbing titans) makes the absence of MSAA or similar all too obvious. Fortunately, most gameplay (particularly when in the midst of heavy action) jaggies are less pronounced.
Keeping on with the bad news, the Playstation 4’s remaster is noticeably lacking when it comes to textures, and they still look decidedly last generation. There’s also an absence of improvements to texture filtering, a simple smattering of Anistropic Filtering x16 wouldn’t fix the lower resolution texture issues, but it would at least help remove a little bit of the blur, particularly at extremely angles. Textures therefore look flat, muddy and certainly aren’t what you’d hope for in a game which is given the next-generation treatment. Even Kratos himself lacks detail, particularly noticeable during extreme closeups (for example, just after you press the ‘start’ button on the games title screen.
Lighting and shadows have subtle improvements – for example, flashes of lightning cast better shadows, lights seem to affect more areas and small improvements to the landscape are subtle, but do add to atmosphere.
Certain elements – such as the rocks comprising the insides of Gaia have noticeably more cracks, crevices and surfaces as you’ll see in the images below. Once again, the differences are subtle, but it certainly looks more realistic and… well, rocky.
You’ll easily be able to spot the differences in the two images – with the PS4’s darker and coarser looking textures having a noticeable bump mapping type of effect. shadows and lighting have also been tweaked, but you’ll notice that the lighting on Kratos himself remains largely unchanged.
Below we see a comparison of the initial entry into Hades (which is pretty much par-for-the-course with God of War games). You’ll notice that the water (particularly in the distance) looks nicer, but that’s most likely a function of the higher 1080P resolution from the PS4. Aside from that, GoW3 looks pretty much identical across both versions of the game.
God of War 3 PS3 vs PS4 Early Impressions
So, given our early look at the PS4’s God of War 3 Remaster, should you buy it? Well the answer mostly comes down to if you’ve played the original or not. If the answer is no, then yes, it’s a great gaming experience – but a crying shame they didn’t include God of War Ascension – even if they’d had to put the price up a little to do so. If the answer is yes (particularly if you still own the original) I’d ask if a higher frame rate and tighter controls would be enough of a reason for you to play through the game all over again.
Personally, I’d much rather play the Playstation 4 version of the game – but here at RGT, we can’t shake the feeling that Santa Monica should have done a little more to earn your cash, particularly in the texture department.
Buy the game
If you’re thinking of picking up the game, please consider using one of the Amazon links below to help us get a few pennies!
God of War 3 Remastered – PlayStation 4 – US Amazon
God of War Remastered (PS4) – UK Amazon