The 2018 God of War reboot is one of Sony's crown jewel exclusives: and once more, technically, you'll be able to play it on PC. The title was announced for the PlayStation Now streaming service, which has a PC version (opens in new tab), and now accessible in the app.
Why's it so beloved? This reboot took a series that was arguably rather tired-looking by the time of PS4 and changed the genre, setting, and combat system entirely. There is something of a Naughty Dog formula to many of Sony's biggest games, and God of War wears the influence of The Last of Us proudly on both bulging sleeves.
Kratos in the original trilogy had motivation to hunt the gods (the death of his family) but was basically just a raging psycho: the games largely sold themselves on the ludicrously gory finishers. By the end of the third game you'd killed pretty much the whole Greek pantheon. In this God of War Kratos is in the world of Norse myth, an interloper that the gods want to hunt down, and now he has something to protect: his son, Atreus, who's by your side the entire game and plays an active role in combat, navigation, storytelling and puzzles.
The quality of this game blew me away: I'd played the old ones and liked them well enough, but if it wasn't for Bloodborne this would probably be the best exclusive the PlayStation 4 ever had. This is as good as it gets for a particular style of game: hell, even the ending's great. As our friends over at GamesRadar+ wrote when reviewing it at the time: (opens in new tab)
"I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how good God of War is; how well realised its world, how nuanced and layered its characters and storytelling. The depth and craft of its combat, puzzles and almost every system it has sparkles and shines with an indulgence and luxury that regularly stopped me in my tracks to drink it all in. Whether breathless and bloody in the aftermath of an axe-hacked victory, or watching Kratos and his son Atreus share a genuinely human moment, this is a level of game-making that doesn’t happen often. The final question really isn’t about where it sits in any game of the year discussions, but rather its place in eventual game of the generation talks."
It would be preferable to be able to buy it on Steam of course, because PlayStation Now games come and go, but at least it's now playable on PC.
To play God of War you'll need to download the PlayStation Now for PC app, create or sign in with a PSN account, and off you go. The service offers a seven day free trial to boot, and you could definitely blast through this in a week, or is $8.99/£8.99 for a month's access. Sony says on its site that you'll need a DualShock 4 but other thirdparty pads do work with the service, with the obvious caveat that you won't be able to use touchscreen functionality (as I recall this is not a major element in God of War).