With its large file size, fans shouldn’t be surprised that God of War is graphically stunning, evidenced as early as the loading screen. Santa Monica Studio has a reputation for pushing the hardware to the limits, and its upcoming third-person action-adventure game is no different. As the camera focuses on Kratos in the loading screen, players get their first glimpse of the powerful graphics in Kratos’ sweaty and wrinkled brows, weathered skin, and the beautiful details of his beard.

The overall graphics for the game are impressive, even down to the most minute detail. For example, light can shine through distant grass, and crates break apart based on the player’s swing. Moreover, the combination of full deformation and perfect object motion blur allows snow to mold based on what’s happening around it. Overall, from the depictions of Kratos and his foes to the smallest environmental details, God of War can be described as a masterpiece. Check out a full analysis here:

Whether played on the PS4 or the PS4 Pro, the game remains beautiful thanks to the graphic checkerboarding technique, which is comparable to native 4k. Of course, in a still frame, the checkerboarding is obvious, but the effect is undetectable in normal gameplay. While some gamers may have strong feelings concerning this visual technique, it makes sense here because rendering God of War at native 4K and maintaining a smooth rate would be practically impossible.

For the game’s performance, there are three primary configurations: the base model’s 1080p 30fps target, the Pro’s 2160p checkerboard, and a performance mode that utilizes full HD with an unlocked frame rate, all of which may have attributed to the game’s positive reviews. The base model holds steady at 30fps, but it does occasionally dip. The 2160p checkerboard experience is about the same, but it does, as expected, perform better over the base model. The unlocked performance mode is the most varied, which some players may find more detracting than enjoyable.

Nevertheless, the game is a visual powerhouse and deserves the abundance of positive reviews it has received. God of War proudly stands among other beautiful games such as Uncharted 4 and Horizon Zero Dawn in terms of raw beauty, with even Phil Spencer congratulating Sony on the addition to the franchise.

God of War is set to release on April 20, 2018, exclusively for PlayStation 4.