Bad Console Ports for PCs: Is this the end of PC Gaming?
I love playing games on the PC. With console games, the controller has always gotten in the way for me. A keyboard in the left and and a mouse in the right is the most natural way for me to play games. The last few games I have played have been sad disappointments.
The latest was the super hyped Watch Dogs which released a PC version the same day the console versions came out. If you bought a console version, you are probably not reading this, you are probably enjoying the game. If you got the PC version you are probably mad as hell, like me. Reddit, the Ubisoft Forums, the Steam forums are filled with complaint after complaint about how unplayable Watch Dogs is for the PC. Like the others, I’m seriously questioning Ubisoft’s quality control with the PC version.
The most common complaints, besides crashes and graphic glitches, which is the norm for most PC games these days, is controlling your character. The controls are non standard, you have to edit an .ini file to get the mouse to work, and the camera gets in the way of controlling your character with a mouse. Worse, driving a vehicle is seriously broken, as it does not use the mouse at all.
I get the feeling that Ubisoft could care less about PC gamers. I will assume that many of these issues will be patched in the future, but these issues are so bad I wonder why they were not caught in beta testing?
This is not my first bad experience with an “A” title game on a PC, in fact the last 3 or 4 games I purchased have had playability problems. The commonality in all the titles is they were all ported from console games.
This seems to be a very clear pattern for me. I tend to enjoy games designed specifically for PCs, and tend to not enjoy so much games designed for consoles that are ported to the PC.
My biggest complaint is the use of menus for everything. This is a relic of consoles where there are not enough buttons on controllers. On PC designed games, you usually have a tool bar on the bottom of the screen which you can click on for easy access, and even bind stuff to keypresses for even easier access. Consoles have you open a menu which pauses the game, breaking game immersion, cycle through a menu looking for what you want, select it, then leave the menu. This menu interface basically killed Skyrim and Dragon Age 2 for me, as I found the menus way too annoying.
Less annoying was Bioshock Infinite which was also menu driven, but you did not have to access it every time you got some new inventory or faced a new enemy. I actually made it through to the end on that one, but have never felt the desire to play through it again.
Games designed specifically for PC are some of my favorite games of all time. The biggest category of PC only games is MMORPGs, which is why I play them the most. Dragon Age: Origins, which unlike its sequel was designed for the PC then ported to consoles, is still in my opinion the best non-online RPG for the PC. Most of the other PC designed games I enjoy are older games from when PC was king of the game industry, but they often have poor graphics compared to today.
Games designed specifically for PC are few and far between. For game companies the money is in tablets and consoles. The monetary investment to make an ambitious game like Watch Dogs is so high that they have to focus on console play, and only put minimal investment in the PC port.
That is the future of PC gaming: bad console port after bad console port.