Here’s how God of War Ragnarok plays on the PlayStation 4


“God of War Ragnarok” plays very much like a last generation game. (I said as much in my preview of the game). So I was curious to see how 2022′s headlining PlayStation 5 title works on a last generation device.

“God of War Ragnarok” looks and performs stupendously on the base PlayStation 4. The image is sharp and crisp, especially with incredible high dynamic range color application. Even during its busiest action sequences, my eye was not able to perceive significant frame drops.

In fact, I could scarcely believe my eyes. Having just played the PlayStation 5 version, I could barely tell the difference. I’ve spent half my time with “Ragnarok” on PS5 in the resolution mode, which sticks to a 4K resolution while locking performance to 30 frames per second. Outside of the expected blurriness of the lower 1080p resolution for PlayStation 4, the difference is hardly noticeable. The texture quality seems a bit lower on PlayStation 4, but the highly detailed snow deformation remains intact, as do particle effects.

Impressions: ‘Ragnarok’s’ opening hours point to a safe God of War sequel

Loading times are another story. On PlayStation 4, loading into a save took about 50 seconds, as opposed to the mere handful of seconds on PlayStation 5. Fortunately for PS4 users — and unfortunately for people hoping to tap into the PS5′s full feature set — “Ragnarok” is optimized for the PlayStation 4 first. This means the game barely has any visible loading screens once you boot up your save file, but it also means, as I mention in my first impressions on PS5, that “Ragnarok” is a game designed with several invisible loading screens. Within the first half-hour, players will encounter cracks in walls to slowly slide through, a common tactic developers have used to hide the loading of the next section of the game.

Oh, and yes, the PS4 fans will kick into overdrive for much of the game. I tested the game on a PS4 slim model, which is often quiet, even when playing taxing games from as late as 2020. But with “Ragnarok,” the fan was audible from a few feet away.

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All of this is to say that much of “Ragnarok,” at least in its initial few hours, is a game of several sections tied together by hidden loading screens. Even on the PS5, it feels very much like a PS4 game.

But this should be welcome news for anyone who hasn’t yet been able to get a PS5. When you play “Ragnarok” on the 2013 machine, you are getting a an experience that is barely compromised and highly optimized. Many have called “Ghost of Tsushima” Sony’s swan song for the PS4, one of the most successful and greatest consoles of all time. But it’s clear now that “Ragnarok” is the true closer for this old but incredible machine.

Much like “The Last of Us” was the last exhibit of the PlayStation 3′s full capabilities, so is “Ragnarok” for the PS4, a product made by developers with full mastery of a machine that’s served tens of millions of players well for years.