The impact of new consoles on PC gaming right now.

The impact of new consoles on PC gaming right now.

Okay It’s been nearly a month now since I’ve found motivation to write something here, not at all because I haven’t been playing, but because the culture has changed in a way that i am not fond of, and there is enough negativity on the internet already.  Right now so much stock is being placed on what you are playing ON that it stopped being about the most important thing in gaming, which is of course GAMES ( i think i can say that pretty factually considering it’s what the franchise is all about) no matter what’s displaying images on your tv/ computer screen, or whether you jump with A,X or a space-bar, we buy these devices to do one thing, and that’s play games (unless you’re buying a ps3 as a media server, in which case good on ya, but why are you reading this?)

NO ONE can argue that the new devices are driving a spike between the community, of course they always have, but this is unprecedentedly bad.  I think part of it is that it’s pleasing to us psychologically to argue about something fun for a change, rather than arguing about taxation and legislation, we can read up and argue about something FUN for a change. it’s a matter of personal preference on the most open forum to ever exist, the internet.It’s par for the course really, it’s been this way ever since the release of the ps3/xbox 360 in 2006, I even remember being 11 years old in the year 2000 studying up on the consoles as they were released and having to pick a side.  Most of us are already tired of hearing it really, personally i have a feeling that the XBone will be the better device, but that’s unimportant. What matters is that the release of these systems has DESTROYED several games with their hype and marketing,

Surely over the last year or so, Microsoft and Sony have been sitting on game publisher’s heads to make sure the game runs well on their console, specially weighed texture definitions, painstakingly balanced graphics settings to try and obtain that perfect balance of pretty but playable that console systems have spent the last 15 years battling with. That’s fine really, It’s your console… your baby… as is evident right now, when consoles launch there are only a few titles available for them, and it is really up to these games to sell the system, it’s a lot of pressure, so naturally great time and effort are spent polishing those items, but at the cost of other things. often gigantic costs.  So it’s clear that PC ports are probably not going to be the top priority right now, which is odd because 3.4 billion more dollars were spend on pc games in 2012 than all consoles combined [source:destructoid]

Still makes sense though, because right now the sales of consoles are going to be reliant on launch titles, so I’ll let it slide if the PC ports aren’t especially innovative right now, I CANNOT forgive, however, games that aren’t even FUNCTIONAL as PC ports. Now if you’re a console gamer or just not an avid pc gamer in general the term “PC port” should probably be elaborated upon for the purpose of my writing here under my own definition

a PC port, is a term assigned to a game that was clearly designed with consoles in mind and then “ported” to PC at a time long after creation.  They are held to a high standard and judged very differently by many reviewers, therefore the accusation of being a bad PC port  is thrown around somewhat loftily, somewhat masking the issue.  I think this is a bad practice, because it makes pc gamers look like “master race” snobs, shich sadly some are.  Below are some examples of GOOD PC ports in my opinion, with absolutely no regard to the actual gameplay content whatsoever, this is strictly based on the port quality.

 

Call of Duty Black Ops 2: an excellent PC port if i ever saw one, some may bash the call of duty series, but that doesn’t matter, The pc version of this game is excellently ported, one of the best I’ve experienced.

  • built in FOV slider at release (85) with an update promised to patch it to a higher cap (delivered 3 days later to 95)
  • Good sound quality settings allowing those of us with unique sound setups to compensate for it appropriately ( i don’t mean sound whoring, just balancing volumes and supporting 5.1)
  • mouse optimized menus, and numeric representation for mouse sensitivity (thank you so much treyarch, really it’s dumb but thank you for making it so i just have to choose 9.5 when i got to another pc)
  • really good keymapping options ( included both toggle and hold options for many things which is a big plus with me)
  • Excellent optimization and feature rich video options
    • Already mentioned FOV slider
    • Optional Vsync
    • Built in user changeable framerate lock. (30,60,120, unlimited)
    • Video options accessible while in game and can be changed at any time including mid match

     

Crysis 2: Judged as a bad port by many, just because it didn’t push the technology of the time, but i think that was just because it was so well optimized,  overall a great port.

  • variable FOV
  • good sound settings
  • good graphical settings
  • absolutely outsanding optimization, anyone with a $150+ card could run this at max settings 60 fps, and it looked great
  • “ultra high res” texture packs as day 1 DLC (free to anyone with the game)

I think that should illustrate the features of a GOOD port, now lets see a list of the new console Triple-A  launch titles shall we?

Assassin’s creed Black FlagBattlefield 4
Need for speed Rivals
Call of Duty Ghosts

I’ve played 3 of these 4 so far, because black flag doesn’t come out until the 22nd, and unfortunately the laws of time still say it’s the 21st here.  I was quite excited for this line up of blockbuster titles all at once, even informed my boss ” for the next two weeks in case your wondering, no I’m not on drugs, there are just a lot of games coming out. Good, lord , it’s just upsetting really, there seems to be NO care tossed into the PC ports whatseover.

Battlefield 4: performance issues, hitbox detection issues, frame dropping, and poor optimization topped off with a 3/5 crash liklihood in game which will take from you all xp and unlocks gained through the match. I have faith in dice however, because similar issues presented themselves in Battlefield 3, and were solved in a reasonable timeframe , so odds are it’ll be fixed in the comings weeks.

Need for speed Rivals: I was looking forward to this game, really i was, Need for speed hot pursuit was something amazing and i was looking for that again. I was excited beyond belief at the possibility of playing online and busting other racers, and of course myself trying to outrun any cop that thought they could collar me, It is with great sorrow that I must refuse to buy this game, as it is the only message we can possibly send to this company. Unskippable cutscenes, LOTS of them, and absolutely zero keyboard and mouse optimization, ( which didn’t bother me because i was using a controller, but it’s still there and dumb) make menus infuriating to navigate without a gamepad or controller, Insulting tutorials that make the first 3 hours more of a game of simon says than a racing game, and a COMPLETELY unplayable online community have forced me to steer clear of this one.
The framerate in this is capped at 30, which is annoying, but not the end of the world, I’d even be willing to tolerate this really, if not for the absolute CRUSHING failure that it brings with it. there is a console command that can be run to change the framerate lock, but it has the hilarious side effect of doubling the speed of the game, which is kinda cool and funny in single player, because your car is traveling twice as fast as it should so any pursuit becomes laughably easy. That’d be fine though, i can just play at 30 fps.  Unfortunately online however, It is filled with people playing with unlocked fps, I’ve seen instances of supercars flying by other players at what must be speeds approaching the sound barrier, it ruins the game having cops that can fly in at 600mph and total your car in a single impact or take you out with near-instant lock on emp. Of course it’s equally impossible to catch a racer doing 400 mph when your police issue lamborghini murcialago can only do a paltry 202.
This can’t be fixed either because the frame rate is directly tied to game play-speed within the program, there is absolutely no way for Ghost labs to fix this issue, which is ultra-depressing, because this game’s online feature  AI Drive looks amazing.

Last but not the most oderous turd in the pile of dogshit that are the PC ports of the console launch titles

Call of Duty Ghosts: this one cuts me to the core, because i bought this on day of release, and i was ultra excited to get in on the ground level of the new call of duty, unlike black ops two where I joined at the end of the cycle and every person i play against has prestiged at least twice. What i got was Ghosts, easily the worst functioning game i’ve ever played ( this includes ride to hell retribution).

  • AWFUL optimization, I play on my rig which has an I7 4770k 16 gb of ram, and 2 Xfx hd7870 black edition Overclocked Graphics cards, not the most impressive array possible, I know, but by normal means, a machine that should play ANY game with no problem ( battlefield 3 117fps ultra settings, black ops 2 flutters between 190 and 200) so expecting 60 fps out of Ghosts seems like a fair request to me.
  • mouse acceleration issues  (bad ones) unless every time you launch the game you open up task manager and set memory priority to normal.
  • A memory leak that over the course of 1-2 hours of play can completely fill up 8 gb of ram,and cause the system to start pagefiling
  • horrible game connections, it is getting better, but on day one, i was getting more kills holding down fire and spinning then i was actually shooting “at” people
  • random frame dropping and freezing including in menus
  • artifacting and texture issues that are rather rare, only seen them a few times, but when they pop up they block out entire screen and force you to restart the game.
  • framerate lock at 90, so on a 120 hz monitor vsync is pointless.
  • vsync doesn’t actually work, it still tears frames even at 60 and 60
  • NO FOV OPTIONS, LOCKED AT 65 which make me physically ill playing the game, especially combined with the fish eye effects of sniper rifle scopes ( activision suing FOV mod creators)
  • random crashing and freezing
  • single volume slider, which means for me to hear anything at all around me (including other players gunshots) I need to turn it up to the point where my own gunshots are deafening, i played one match like this and my ears were ringing by the time the match ended.
  • gameplay effecting glitches, such as diving below floor and shooting people from under the map

I could go on for a few more pages about all the things that make me want to go visit infinity ward and cut the game disc into shards and start inserting the shards into people’s eyeballs, but I am getting angry just remembering all the things that make me hate  that i spend 60 dollars on this. I have been online regularly hoping for updates or patches, and the most players I’ve seen online at any one time is 8,000, comparatively at 7pm est last night there were 2,800 playing call of duty black ops 2.

 

so there you have it, The new consoles are apparently diverting so much time and apparent necessity for polishing that the games i play are drastically suffering, I feel somewhat justified holding that against the console makers really, their competition is drawing so many resources that game developers are forced to try and cater to them, and it’s hurting game quality in the process. I don’t care what pops up on your screen when you grap your controller, mouse, flight stick, whatever, but I do care about marketing tactics forcing the release of crappy games that make more money from pre-sales, than they will on actual sales, because people reealize it’s utter crap once the press embargo is lifted.

 

 

 

 

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