WILL IT LINUX? ‘God of War’ Performance and AMD FSR

It took nearly 4 years to get here, but Sony Santa Monica’s masterpiece God of War finally landed on PC in 2022. Not only is it a strong port, but it also boasts official support for AMD’s FSR upscaling technology (check out this guide if you want to use AMD FSR on games that aren’t officially supported). But will it run on Linux?

A quick peek at ProtonDB suggests that yes, God of War will definitely run on Linux, (it’s currently rated Gold) but sometimes there are minor caveats. Less often, there are game-breaking caveats. So, I wanted to try it personally and let you know what my experience was like.

And since we’ve got AMD FSR baked in, we’ll also do some quick screenshot comparisons and evaluate the type of performance boost you’ll enjoy when switching it on!

My Gaming Rig

Here’s the obligatory neofetch screenshot detailing my hardware and software. I’m running a liquid-cooled Ryzen 3900X CPU, and the original reference model of AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card. My distro of choice is Kubuntu 21.10 with that sweet, sweet Candy theme and kernel 5.13.

What About Steam Proton?

I’m happy to report that God of War runs flawlessly (on my machine, anyway) without needing to configure any custom version of Proton. You just need to check “Enable Steam Play for all other titles” in the Steam Play tab of your settings menu, and you’re good to go.

Steam should use Proton Experimental by default, but I also tested the game with the latest variant from Glorious Eggroll (Proton 7.0rc6-GE-1). Both versions are good to go, and the performance seems identical for this DirectX 11/DXVK title.

Steam also picked up my Xbox One controller and the game mapped the controls perfectly (I’ve seen other games display DualShock button prompts even with an Xbox pad plugged in). Thanks for that, Sony!

Additionally, the audio seemed to be in-sync with the onscreen action, whether it was dialog or battle effects.

God of War Graphics Settings and AMD FSR

I’m playing on a 4K (3840×2160) display, and I tend to start my testing with all the quality dials cranked up to establish the best-case visual scenario — and the worst-case performance scenario. As such, I selected “Ultra” for each graphics option. These defaults tend to best demonstrate how valuable AMD FSR can be, as the upscaling tech typically boosts me over the coveted 60FPS mark.

God of War continues to reinforce that on my system. Playing without AMD FSR at 4K on maximum quality settings, I saw a consistent 45 FPS to 60 FPS, but rarely higher. During fights and world traversal, it leaned more towards the lower end of the framerate spectrum.

AMD’s recommendation for gamers playing at 4K is to try “Quality” and “Ultra Quality” FSR modes. Since both were available, I tried both!

But first, here’s a quick refresher of the “near-native” resolutions you can expect with both of those modes. They render the game at the following resolutions and intelligently upscale them to 4K:

AMD FSR quality presets and input resolutions.

So if I run God of War with my monitor’s native resolution of 3840×2160 and turn on FSR “Ultra Quality,” the game actually renders at 2954×1662 and upscales it to 4K. And if that doesn’t quite deliver the performance I want, I can turn it down to “Quality” and AMD FSR will render the assets at 2560x1440p and then upscale it to 4K.

In both of these cases, it’s easy for you to see the added sharpness and detail of the native 4K screenshots compared to the FSR ones. That is, with still images. I have to stress that in motion, the differences are hardly noticeable and the performance uplift far outweighs the slight reduction in image quality.

What kind of performance uplift? Let’s have a look!

God of War Screenshot Comparisons and Performance

The following screenshot comparisons are best viewed on a high-resolution monitor. You can see uncompressed, full-screen versions of these sliders by visiting the links listed in each caption.

God of War (Max Graphics) 4K: FSR Off vs FSR “Quality” Mode. UNCOMPRESSED VERSION: https://imgsli.com/OTIyNjk

The very first shot of the game gives us a close-up of Kratos’ character model using the in-game engine, so it’s a perfect opportunity to compare image quality and performance differences. Above, look at the sharpness of the beard, handprint and leather wraps. If you’re feeling particularly eagle-eyed, you might see how the quality of the light reflections changes on Kratos’ face.

Of course, you’ll also see a dramatic 60% framerate improvement, from 54 FPS to 90 FPS!

God of War (Max Graphics) 4K: FSR Off vs FSR ” Ultra Quality” Mode. UNCOMPRESSED VERSION: https://imgsli.com/OTI2OTM

And in this comparison (above) I’m using the Ultra Quality FSR mode. It’s exponentially more difficult to spot the lower-quality textures and details here. In motion, I’d argue it’s damn near impossible. Yet we see an impressive 40% improvement in framerate, from 54 FPS to 76 FPS. At 4K resolution, this is a meaningful difference!

God of War (Max Graphics) 4K: FSR Off vs FSR “Quality” Mode. UNCOMPRESSED VERSION: https://imgsli.com/OTI2OTU

My intention with the screenshot comparison above was to show an improvement or degradation in the crispness of text, but I honestly don’t see one. As expected, the character models are a bit blurrier.

God of War (Max Graphics) 4K: FSR Off vs FSR ” Ultra Quality” Mode. UNCOMPRESSED VERSION: https://imgsli.com/OTI2OTY

This is a more realistic scenario that should represent your average gameplay experience, showing Kratos out in the open world. Above, you can compare the details for yourself with AMD FSR Off, and running in Ultra Quality mode. To my eyes, the foliage and shadows look just a touch better running at native resolution. But again, with the game in motion, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice.

But you will notice the 32% jump in framerate, as God of War consistently cranks out 60+ FPS with Ultra Quality FSR enabled.

Share Your Results On ProtonDB!

If you’re playing God of War on Linux, take a few minutes to create a report on ProtonDB. Every contribution helps! In the meantime, thanks for reading this, and enjoy your time gaming on Linux!

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