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When PC Ports of Console Games Go Wrong 398

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-other-words-always dept.
A post up at Gamasutra complains about the lack of effort put into the PC ports of some console games. The author picks on the unimpressively-reviewed Ninja Blade in particular: "Just as a quick guide to what we're dealing with here: when you create a new save file at the start of Ninja Blade on the PC, it warns you not to 'turn off your console.' Yes, Ninja Blade is one of those conversions: not so much converted as made to perfunctorily run on a different machine. In-game, you're asked to press A, B, X and Y in various sequences as part of Ninja Blade's extraordinary abundance of quick-time events. Whether you have an Xbox 360 pad plugged in or not, the game captions these button icons with text describing the PC equivalent controls. Only it doesn't always do that. Sometimes, you're left staring at a giant, pulsating, green letter A, and no idea what to do with it." What awful ports have you had the misfortune to experience?
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When PC Ports of Console Games Go Wrong

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  • Re:sup wit dat (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:50AM (#31282684)

    Please die.

  • when? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:52AM (#31282702)

    Please show me a single port of console game to pc, which didn't show these problems.... in over 20 years i believe its less than half a dozen

    Even quite successful series like gta suffer from these mistakes

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:08AM (#31282796)

    Between this, bad DRM, horrible optimization in a lot of console-to-PC ports and the fact that exclusives tend to be designed to run on hypothetical future computers from the year 2101, it's no wonder PC gaming is dying(as confirmed by Netcraft).

  • by Tukz (664339) on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:41AM (#31282938) Journal

    Most games I can think of that got ported from console to PC, suffers from a lot of issues.

    They all have one or more in common:

      - Lack of configuration
      - Extremely high hardware requirements
      - Bad mouse control (acceleration, non-configurable sensitivity etc) Example: Mass Effect 2 got THREE settings for mouse. And it's STILL very high on Low.
      - Low FOV
      - Difficulty setting too low for PC (it's easier when you actually have a mouse to aim with in FPS)

    But these issues are usually something that can get patched eventually.
    The most annoying thing about ports is this:

    They usually make a direct port of the game. What works on console, DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK ON PC!
    On PC, I got an entire keyboard of keys. Allow me to freaking bind actions to em, don't give me 3 "command wheels" or whatever.

    Don't make me "tap" a button to perform a action. Who thought of that?

    I can go on with numerous game design issues, but I think everyone gets my points here.
    When porting a game to PC, there are certain elements you just have to redesign.

  • by XAD1975 (1628499) on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:42AM (#31282950)
    Same as Garret... Does anyone really bother buying Ubisoft games anymore after the introduction of their new DRM scheme? Be it Wii, PS3, PC or any other format, I won't give them any cent.
  • by nutshell42 (557890) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:04AM (#31283042) Journal
    Even worse, the camera was locked sometimes which made mouse+keyboard controls near-unplayable.

    Ubisoft are the masters of getting 90% of a game right and then fucking up the remaining 10% so badly that you can't in good conscience recommend their games. But that's not restricted to their PC games.

  • Re:when? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:50AM (#31283250) Homepage

    Mass Effect 1 came out on XBox360 first and the PC port wasn't even done by Bioware, Mass Effect 2 came out on both systems at the same time.

    That aside Bioware so far has been doing great on porting consoles to PC or visa versa, as they actually redesign the user interface for each system, instead of just mapping mouse moving to an analog stick, which never really works.

  • Deus Ex 2 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElusiveJoe (1716808) on Friday February 26, 2010 @07:00AM (#31283532)

    Every time I see it, I curse both Ion Storm and Microsoft.

    The 64Mb memory of Xbox lead to room-sized levels. I had a feeling that game designers were more concerned about advertising this console graphics (oh, look, we have shaders and are not afraid to use them), than actually making a decent game. The six-button controller crippled the interface. The teenager target group lead to oversimplified gameplay (same ammo for pistol and flamethrower, WTF?) and a stupid plot (virtual Britney Spears clone is remarkable).

    And despite all that, it ran really slow on my PC, which had four times more RAM and a better videocard than this X-crap.

  • Re:Awful ports? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unts (754160) on Friday February 26, 2010 @07:17AM (#31283612) Homepage Journal
    Yes! Why on earth does it work like that? I try to plug a USB cable in, but it doesn't feel like it wants to go, so I invert it, and it still won't go. Then I frown and look down the end of the cable, decide once more upon the proper orientation, and whoosh, it fits.

    Truly an engineering masterpiece.
  • Re:Awful ports? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quantumplacet (1195335) on Friday February 26, 2010 @07:53AM (#31283794)

    only better engineering i can think of is the dell dimensions that have their front usb ports mounted vertically, facing the ground, under a cover. try getting that in on 3 tries.

  • Re:when? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Friday February 26, 2010 @07:59AM (#31283830)

    Wrong.

    Mass effect 1 had horrible inventory management on the PC (i.e. still had the 150 item limit, when it should have had effectively infinite) A small adjustment to the amount of items you could carry would have fixed that, oh and a stash/chest ala Diablo 2 (a 10 year old game almost now I think) could have at least gone a long way to prevent inventory hell.

    Let's not also forget the convoluted shop interfaces when compared even against console many supremely old RPG's (we're talking 20 years here). It's sad when a game from 1992 (FF4) has better inventory then a game in 2007'ish (mass effect 1).

    ME2 did also suffer from console-itis by REMOVING instead of fixing the item system from mass effect 1, they turned ME2 into gears of war now in teh mass effect universe, lets face this fact please.

    It was so obvious the game was gears of war reskinned /w slight modifications. There ar etonnes of issues with ports, Mass effect 2 made up for their lack of deeper game options with a comitment to story, cinematics and simple shooter action because they weren't up to the job of a full RPG, and they wanted to hit the mass market of drooling first person/third person shooter fanboys.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:55AM (#31284328) Homepage Journal

    and the fact that exclusives tend to be designed to run on hypothetical future computers from the year 2101

    You'll have to give a citation, please.

    And I'm not talking about your hyperbole of "from the year 2101", but just your assertion that "exclusives tend to be designed" for computers other than those that are readily available for say, under $1000.

    Games like Eve Online, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series and others show that PC gaming is not dying. I'll go out on a limb and say that more people are playing computer games today than in 2003.

    And if you've got some "study" by Netcraft or some other company who's scripts I block from my computer that says people aren't playing PC games any more, I'd really like to see it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @09:21AM (#31284626)

    He never said that PC gaming was dying. He said that console to PC ports tend to require disproportionately higher powered hardware than the console from which it came and he's generally correct about that.

    In short, you are a fucking idiot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @09:40AM (#31284838)

    You work at the wrong studio. I have three dev kits in my office, and there's nobody on the team that doesn't have one. The cost of a dev kit is miniscule compared to the cost of a developer.

  • GTA: Vice City (Score:3, Insightful)

    by netsavior (627338) on Friday February 26, 2010 @09:57AM (#31285016)
    The pc port was actually pretty good, few bugs that bothered me, but one gigantic, huge, blaring flaw...

    It was really really really really super easy. It was the exact same gameplay as the PS2 version (which I also owned) but mouse+keyboard is so far superior to the console, that every single gun might as well have been "the golden gun" from goldeneye. I am serious, those super hard missions where you had to take out 900 guys and you had to try 1000 times on PS2 and still you just barely pass it after breaking a controller or two.. cakewalk when you can actually aim.

    The hellicopter mission, where you are taking passes on the mob base, with a tinfoil hellicopter... That mission was the bane of the ps2, finishing with more than 5% of the chopper health was a feat of god... On PC, 99% health was like oops, LOL I should not have made pizza rolls while playing that mission.

    It really opened my eyes to the common notion at the time that the gap was narrowing between console fps/3ps and PC, it was just not the case. Still isn't, because a controller will never (barring comprehensive design changes, and I am not sure motion control will ever quite cut it)have enough precision and reaction.
    It was really weird having a pretty nice port that was totally useless, and it really turned me off of the PS2 version, made it seem like "Nintendo hard" Hard because of gimped controlls not because of good design/creativity.
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday February 26, 2010 @09:58AM (#31285036) Journal

    >>>unblocking 200 ports

    Stories like this and the Slashdot summary are why I made an attempt at PC gaming in the 90s, but then quit. Computer gaming was fun in the era of Atari 800s, Commodore 64s, Atari STs, and Commodore Amigas, because you had FIXED hardware that just worked (and worked extremely well - better than the PCs/Macs). No need to mess with drivers or cards or other nonsense. Gaming on those old 8/32 bit machines was plug-and-play easy.

    Computers are no longer that easy to use, so I bought my first console ever with the PS2 and Gamecube. Where PC gaming had been a major headache, the consoles once again returned the simplicity that I experienced with my Commodores and Amigas. Plug and play. No headaches.

  • by Korbeau (913903) on Friday February 26, 2010 @11:03AM (#31285818)

    Not sure what all you guys have against GTA IV on PC. Aside the fact that it takes like 15 minutes to start the game because you have to create accounts in Game for Windows, update Game for Windows etc. it runs quite well and I never had any bug or isssue.

    Of course, you needed a decent gaming machine for the time.

    It's like saying Doom 3 is a pile of sh** because about nobody could run it correctly at the time of release.

    Note that I'm not arguing that they couldn't have made a better port, it's just that I don't understand why this is cited as one of the worst example of PC porting in gaming history.

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