PS5 just gave God of War a huge 4K performance boost

God of War PS5
(Image credit: Santa Monica Studio)

If you’ve been lucky enough to snag a PS5 and own God of War, we have some good news: the PS5 version is getting a free update today, February 2, that will let you play in 4K at a smooth 60 frames per second.

Developer Santa Monica Studio explained that the update will change the game’s default graphics setting to combine a “checkerboard” 4K resolution with the framerate synced to 60 fps. That’s a direct upgrade to the existing default, which also includes checkerboard 4K but only a mere 30 fps frame cap.

You’ll be able to switch back to the original settings by selecting “Original Performance Experience,” though there’s no apparent reason why you’d want to. The new 4K/60 fps mode, named “Enhanced Performance Experience,” also seems like a straight step up from the “Favor Performance” setting. This offers up to 60 fps, but at a lower resolution.

If you’re not familiar with checkerboard 4K, it uses a technique called checkerboard rendering, whereby the game actually runs at a lower resolution — in God of War’s case, 2160p. The image is rendered in a checkerboard pattern, with filters extrapolating (guessing, essentially) what should be drawn between each square. This allows the system to render less detail while still presenting enough detail to pass for 4K; indeed, you’ll need a 4K TV to run God of War in Enhanced Performance Experience mode.

Given God of War was a sumptuous graphics showcase on the PS4, running it at a native 4K is very demanding. And it would appear that even the PS5's 10 teraflops of graphics power can't deliver God of War at a full 4K 60 fps. 

We don’t know an exact time when the patch will roll out, but it will be sometime later today.

Control: Ultimate Edition next-gen graphics upgrades

God of War isn’t the only game receiving a next-gen performance upgrade today. Control: Ultimate Edition has also launched on next-gen consoles, bringing with it two new performance modes for the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

“Performance Mode” targets 60 fps, but still runs at upscaled 4K (it renders natively at 1440p) by lowering some of the quality settings. “Graphics Mode” does the opposite, targeting 30 fps at an upscaled 4K with ray tracing for transparency and reflections.

The Xbox Series S version is also getting its own, scaled-back version of Performance Mode, which again targets 60 fps but renders at 900p for an unscaled 1080p resolution.

There’s no equivalent of Graphics Mode on the cheaper Microsoft console, though considering the last-gen console versions of Control were plagued with slowdown issues, the promise of 4K/60 fps on the newer consoles is an enticing one.

The PS5 version of Control: Ultimate Edition also includes support for the DualSense controller’s resistant triggers and haptic feedback features. Remember, though, that regardless of which console you own, you’ll need to either buy the Ultimate Edition outright to get the new toys, or download it through PlayStation Plus. 

Owners of the original Control can’t upgrade for free, and won’t be able to use the new performance modes or DualSense features if they’re playing it through backwards compatibility.

Don't fancy playing Control or God of War? Then check out our picks for the best PS5 games and the best Xbox Series X games

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.