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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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  • I'll never forget the just plain awful translations in Final Fantasy Tactics -- an otherwise excellent game. When the same spell name gets translated in different ways depending on which screen you're on ("Summon Lich" vs. "Summon Rich" -- yeah, awesome Engrish there ;) ), you've got QA problems.

    • by julesh (229690)

      If you really want to see poor translations, see the free-to-play MMO "fiesta". The mission text and the monster names were translated independently, I think, with the results that in many cases they just don't tie up in the slightest...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by PhoenixFlare (319467)

      "Summon Lich" vs. "Summon Rich"

      I always kinda liked that one, I imagined some guy named Rich in a Grim Reaper costume appearing to smite my enemies.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      Yeah, the original Tactics had a horrible translation...the version on the PSP though has an AWESOME translation...they really stepped it up.

      Of course, the PSP version slows to a crawl with some of the larger spells and summons, so it isn't all good news -_-;;

  • by Sowelu (713889) on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:49AM (#31282680)
    The new Prince of Persia reboot ensured that I won't buy a PC game from Ubisoft ever again. It suffered from the same "Let's fill the UI with references to console-controller buttons" issue.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      you know the first thing i thought of when i saw this article was Ubisoft.LOL

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by XAD1975 (1628499)
        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 Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:08AM (#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).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Voyager529 (1363959)

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

        I loved Crysis, you insensitive clod!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        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 g

    • by nutshell42 (557890) on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:04AM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KDR_11k (778916)

      GUI related nonsense also comes in games like Borderlands. Doubly aggravating because the developer claims to have optimized the game's GUI for the PC version yet controlling it with the mouse is extremely clunky. Meanwhile something like Section 8 uses the same GUI on PC and console and it works fine on both.

    • The new Prince of Persia reboot ensured that I won't buy a PC game from Ubisoft ever again. It suffered from the same "Let's fill the UI with references to console-controller buttons" issue.

      I had the same problem if I started the game from a shortcut I created to the executable. If I used the launcher from the game disk, all the UI references to the console controls went away.

      With respect to the port, I played it on both the PC and the PS3 and enjoyed the PC version since the graphics were very crisp compared to the console and I like the mouse/keyboard combo.

      • by Sowelu (713889)
        I got it from Steam, and running it from Steam still had a console UI. Any idea what specifically I'd need to do, in order to get a real UI back?
  • when? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:52AM (#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

    • Re:when? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Holmwood (899130) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:03AM (#31282762)

      Jade Empire, Mass Effect 1, Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2 are four that don't seem to suffer from the specific problems cited above at the time I write this.(i.e. bad translation of controls). I don't much like the minigames in ME1, but that's not a console issue.

      Fable was fine IIRC. Fahrenheit -- didn't like the control schema, but it was translated properly to PC IIRC.

      That's your half dozen right there, and just off the top of my head. (Granted, a lot are from Bioware). The problem isn't universal; some developers and publishers seem to care about doing a decent port and some don't.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BlueTrin (683373)
        Although these games have been targeted at a vast majority of console players, they are no console ports with simultaneous release and development.

        I understand your point but I think TFA refers to the ports.
      • Re:when? (Score:5, Informative)

        by naam00 (1145163) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:28AM (#31282892)
        What? Mass Effect 2 is horrible in this, especially the UI of your journal and saving and the like. All list-like displays (save files, journal entries) disallow double-clicks, instead forcing you to press some disconnected button to open something. The codex list (a tree-like structure) is worst, something probably working smoothly with sticks and buttons (usually an intuitive affair of 'entering and leaving' with two buttons), but horribly bewildering with a mouse. Weapon loadout choosing actually doesn't even make sense.

        Don't get me wrong, love the game, and maybe its GUI is bad on console as well, in which case, port successful!
      • Re:when? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by blahplusplus (757119) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:59AM (#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.

        • Why should Mass Effect have had an infinite inventory? They could have easily had that on consoles; it was a game design limitation, not a game machine limitation Your cited Diablo II is a hell of a lot worse for inventory hell even with the stash, though, so I think you're just confused. ;)
    • by El Lobo (994537)
      Well, I don't know if this is a "port", but both Lego Star Wars games run fine in any platform I've tried, without showing any signs of foreign idiosyncrasy.
    • by julesh (229690)

      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

      I've played original GTA on PC (both DOS and Windows versions) quite extensively, and can't say I've seen such problems. Maybe the more recent titles in the series had them, but the original really didn't.

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      Despite the fact Halo is to xbox that Mario is to Nintendo, the pc port was very good. I only played the game on a pc, and although it needed a much more poweful pc than the xbox's 733mhz it never felt like a port. Controls worked well with keyboard and mouse IMHO.
      • They worked, and for some of the run-and-gun stuff I found myself going from gamepad back to controller. But I think the vehicles controlled much better with a gamepad.
  • Thankfully user tweak guides fixed most of it, and then a later patch cleaned up a bit. Still pretty ordinary effort though for supposedly "release quality".

    Mostly UI issues as people suggested, and bad mouse smoothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:00AM (#31282750)

    ... on PC requires a "crysis ready" machine.
    Will not run properly on a P4 2.8 + Radeon X1950 pro, runs ok on a C2D + radeon 47something.
    No way to turn off the background animations, menu navigation is extremely slow, the game seems to be a console version running in a console emulator...

    No surprise people are turning to Fofix.

    • works very well on my c2d, 4Gb ram, geforce 280

      But indeed, the guitar hero games are ridiculously heavy on pc's.

      GH3 barely ran on my previous pc (athlon 3500, 1Gb ram, gefroce 6800). But with a now modern pc i'd assume that it works perfectly
      and no controller issues since you'd probably buy the guitar with it ^^

  • by leromarinvit (1462031) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:01AM (#31282754)

    Hmm, let's see. USB is a bit of a turd sometimes...

    *ducks*

  • The PC port of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance was not bad, it was horrible!
    You had to map the keyboard/mouse/joystick to the Playstation 2 buttons via a config tool. I also never got the graphics to display correctly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Finally someone else understands my pain, I thought I was the only guy gullible enough to try and play that.

      I have actually had an easier time mapping mechwarrior to keyboard and mouse controls than I did Substance. Trying to bind dual joysticks AND 8 PRESSURE SENSITIVE buttons to a keyboard just isn't possible, even if you manage to get one of the expensive keyboards that CAN press that many keys at once you'll still run out of fingers.

    • by daid303 (843777)

      Tried to play the VR missions? There are 1st person missions where you need to aim with the keyboard. Made me feel all duke3d once again. Still finished them all!

      I still loved the game, and loved them for making a PC port, no matter how "bad" it was to configure.

  • by Fittysix (191672) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:06AM (#31282778)

    When Gears of War's PC port was first released, it was:
    1) buggy
    2) crashy
    3) released A YEAR LATER than the xbox version
    The crashy part was fixed, iirc about 2 months after release by a patch.
    As you can imagine, the sales for this port were a little slow. Video game companies being video game companies chalked this up to piracy. To them the fact that the game was a shitty port released a full year after the original with dated graphics and all couldn't have POSSIBLY been a reason.

    When time comes around to release Gears of War 2 - cliffyB says there's no plans for a port because the first one was just pirated too much...

    • by Spad (470073)

      GoW on the PC has the longest installer I have ever come across; it took over 15 minutes to install the bloody thing.

      I didn't find the game itself that buggy or crashy, just mind-numbingly boring.

    • Don't forget requiring games for windows live and that weird savegame shit, that was just more of a sign of epic treating it's customers like criminals.

  • by smd75 (1551583)

    The fact that it would crash at the required Golden Saucer chocobo race in windows newer than 98. Also the fact that Eidos didnt give a rats ass to provide a patch for it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by russ_allegro (444120)

      I loved it that at one point in the game to go on, you had to edit the registry to tell the game to look for the game data in a directory on your drive drive and not on the CD, then replace one of the video files so you were able to continue on with the game. This was the solution listed on the Eidos support site.

      It is also great that the minigames were cpu cycle timed instead of actual time. Trying to replay it a few years later on a faster computer, it is impossible to play any of the minigames because th

      • by pcolaman (1208838)

        Yeah, the graphics on the PC Port > FF7 PSOne, but everything else about the PC Port was epic fail.

    • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:07AM (#31283070) Journal

      If you want to play Final Fantasy VII on a modern PC, don't even bother looking at the PC version - it was a bumpy ride even back when it was new, let alone with modern hardware and operating systems. Buy a copy of the Playstation version (can be found very cheap second hand) and grab ePSXe (or your emulator of choice). The same goes for Final Fantasy VIII. You'll get better, more configurable graphics, fewer bugs and a few useful (if slightly cheaty) extra features like fast-forward and a save-anywhere option.

      Alternatively, VII and VIII are available on the Playstation Network for a few dollars each which gets you an electronic copy portable between the PS3 and PSP (though this is probably still less "nice" than playing the original version emulated).

  • A few awful examples (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RogueyWon (735973) * on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:26AM (#31282876) Journal

    I think the worst example has to be Ghostbusters. The console versions are fairly good and somewhat quirky, if ultimately flawed, third person shooters. The PC version is actually broken. As in, it can't even reasonably be described as "working". If you want to install to a drive other than c:\ you're out of luck. If you have anything other than "generic Windows sound card" drivers installed, you won't be hearing any voices in-game. And some of the early fights are essentially unbeatable without cheating, due to collision detection and clipping issues. Oh, and it does the whole "console controller analogues" thing.

    There are plenty of other awful examples. The Prince of Persia reboots have been mentioned (justly so) and I think the more recent installments in the Tomb Raider franchise also deserve a mention. Last Remnant is another good example; Square-Enix titles have never been particularly kindly treated on the PC anyway. Fire one of these up on even a top end PC with an Xbox controller plugged in and it's still very much apparent that you're playing the "second best" version of the game.

    That said, there are plenty of decent ports out there. While I know others disagreed, Fallout 3 felt pretty good to me on the PC. Mass Effect 2 likewise feels as though they've spent a lot of time optimising the PC version so that it feels at home on the platform. In fact, there are even a few cases where it is the console version that feels like a nasty port. Pretty much any RTS that makes it onto the consoles can be chalked up in that category. The recent AvP game looks and feels far better on the PC than on the consoles; the Predator is an over-complicated nightmare to control on any platform, but the PC version does work out somewhat less toxic.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dingram17 (839714)
      I found that the game worked really well, but loading took a long time. I think I need to buy an accelerator cartridge for my C64.
  • by Tukz (664339) on Friday February 26, 2010 @05:41AM (#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.

    • Oh, I fully agree. Mass Effect dialog wheels don't seem to be affected by mouse sensitivity. I have my sensitivity set quite high - about 5x the maximum the UI allows - because I don't have much room to move my mouse around. Navigating through dialog options is a tad annoying.

    • The hardware requirements of most games are pretty moderate, I have yet to play one game except Crysis which does not run perfectly fluid on my PC with a 80$ NVidia GT, the problem is that most people have shoddy intel integrated graphics controllers in their games, while the consoles have processors 5 times as slow as intels normal above atom offerings, the graphics controllers are 5 times as fast as the ones Intel provides but still way slower than the current bunch of low range cards from ATI and NVidia.

  • Prototype is a fun game -- it's got a story line, but you can free-roam and do missions like the Grand Theft Auto series (but with superpowers instead of cars).

    But... It's obviously a console port.

    Most of your actions are based on combos that would be fine with a gamepad, but it kind of breaks down with a keyboard and mouse. I always find myself doing the wrong action because it's hard to chord the correct command for what you want.

    The mouse is a really effective way to control things -- except with this

  • One good one (Score:2, Informative)

    by gaelfx (1111115)
    I remember playing Megaman X for PC and I was pretty impressed with how well adapted it was to the keyboard. It did away with the whole 16-digit code system of "saving," and in lieu there were actual saved games. Controls were pretty easily changeable (though I used the same setup I do for SNES emus that I normally use. That being said, I've played a couple of the latter PC ports of MMX series and they were ok, though not much different from the original. So I guess I would say that Capcom had the dualism d
  • ... had awful console-type controls. Game was probably good, but I quit and deleted it after about ten minutes because the controls were completely illogical to a PC-gamer.

    They were essentially gamepad-controls that had been reassigned to keyboard keys. They made no sense to a pc-gamer used to a certain de-facto standard of controls.

    It also had (as I recall) the typical you-can-only-save-when-we-say-so console conversion issues, as well as the wonderful "please don't turn off your console" while saving.

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      THANK YOU! I was reading all these posts thinking "was I the only one that tried assassins creed on pc?". Game was awful, there's no way to save and it doesn't explain that anywhere. There's no menu to escape out to either which made it more frustrating. Judging from the increase in horrible ports to pc I'm wondering if someday all the "good" games won't be on consoles, seems with the more powerful consoles and strict antipiracy (how long did it take them to hack ps3? 4 yrs?) it seems devs don't want to
      • it seems devs don't want to bother with pc anymore unless the drm is horrible.

        Or unless it's the dev's first title. Especially Nintendo doesn't want to deal with startups; see Bob's Game.

    • by tepples (727027)

      It also had (as I recall) the typical you-can-only-save-when-we-say-so console conversion issues Would you rather have had NetHack-style the-game-is-saved-continuously-even-when-you-die save mechanics?

  • GTA IV! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s[ ]hdot.org ['las' in gap]> on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:07AM (#31283066)

    Starting out with more bugs than a jungle, and the only patches available being on gamecopyworld.com
    And then having up to 3 seconds of input lag (time between pressing a key, and the car reacting).

    But only when you saw how crappy the graphics were, and how the game was slow like a dog, did you know that it was a console port.
    The graphics card was irrelevant. The only thing that counter, was if you had more than 2 cores.
    Because apparently, they implemented the PS3 vector processors in the CPU, instead of the vastly more powerful graphics cards.

    • Re:GTA IV! (Score:4, Funny)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:49AM (#31283244) Homepage
      All that, and crappy DRM as well. It's like they punched you in the nuts, then whined that you hurt their fist.
      • by JAlexoi (1085785)
        The cracked version is same crap. It's good that I played both the retail and the cracked version before deciding on the purchase. I did not go for the PC version of the game as a result.
        Now you can count me as a lost sale you f**ktards! And I am an actual LOST sale not due to piracy.
        • by JAlexoi (1085785)

          The cracked version is same crap. It's good that I played both the retail and the cracked version before deciding on the purchase. I did not go for the PC version of the game as a result. Now you can count me as a lost sale you f**ktards! And I am an actual LOST sale not due to piracy.

          PS: I will not buy the game for any platform, and played it for lono nger than 15 minutes. Nor will I actually play the game illegally.

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      You're right, it's probably one of the few programs that require a quad core processor to function properly
  • A gamepad works great for fighting games, and the standard fixed perspective jump 'n run platform games. But it is really terrible for games where you actually have to aim. It annoys the hell out of me that I can't get the camera where I want with games like Uncharted and Brutal Legend (don't own that many console games). Gamedevs often try to be clear and compensate for this horrible input method. These clever tricks of course should be removed ASAP for the PC version, because there you have a good device

  • As a games developer (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:29AM (#31283160)

    As a games developer, its really pisses me off too.

    Thing is the word "port" is a misnomer. Since in development dev kits are rare and expensive so only the more senior guys get them or you have to share.

    This means there is (and must) always a working PC build on the go. Yep, all console games start life as PC games, you don't code directly on the console, your in Visual studio. Also a lot of the testing is done on PC as its a hell of a lot easier to debug and for large periods of devlopment your console builds might not even be working. For instance on our AAA title the Playstation 3 build spends half of its time utterly dead. (Fyi the Playstation 3 is a terrible console and is actually less powerful than a 360, the graphics power is especially poor)

    So there's no excuse for putting out a bad PC release, its just lazyness. or more likely bad producers and their corporate overlords dailing to listen to the concerns of the designers and pushing out a shoddy product.

    One fo the problems also is when the art is created for the console. Art in a decent environment should be compiled together choosing correct sizes, resolutions, compressions for the platform. This often isnt done. This means that a texture that looks nice and crisp on the console will look utter pants on the pc at 1920*1080 as it will be having to upscale the mips.

    What should be done is that each platform should have people responsable for it at each step of its production. That would ensure you don't end up with terrabad "ports". Try pitching that to management tho. :(

    -Anon because I don't want to be fired. :D

  • by yourtallness (1183449) on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:30AM (#31283162)
    • Almost no shading and piss-poor textures. They were sensible enough to release a patch for this. Patch had no bounds checking for disk space. If you had too little disk space, the installer would fail without any hint as to why.
    • X-box key names. Imagine having to remember what key press you mapped the X-box key to when it flashes on the screen while trying to avoid certain death by a rolling boulder.
    • No mouse support...
    • Forced 16:9 letterboxed display

    Despite their hard effort (or lack thereof) to make the game piss off PC owners as much as possible, the game was still awesome.

  • by Tei (520358) on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:34AM (#31283176) Journal

    - FOV settings, the fov is related to the distance to the viewer. On a PC, people is near the screen, so the FOV sould be higuer, is just a number, but even 90 million dollars videogames forget to change it on the PC. Out of lazyness, is not modified. (note: It may need to recompile some maps, and edit some weapons a littel).
      - Stupid messages "Don't shutdown the machine"
      - Savepoints, but thats parts of the mechanic, and can't be fixed
      - Autoaim, thats helps pad users, because you can't properly walk and aim on a pad (seems) so need autoaim. With a mouse, you don't need autoaim. Out of lazyness, is not deactivated.
      - HORRIBLE server browsers or lack of server browser. Idiot-box with a single button. Lack of dedicated servers. A whole horrible bad network experience, with not community sense and not respect to the PC values of freedom and user control of the experience.
      - The game greets you with a "Press ENTER". This is a arcade saloon artifact from 1982. It has not reason at all on a PC.
      - Use of bloated middleware. .NET, Windows Games For Live, etc.
      - Unoptimized code. Code written for the console, that runs poorly on the pc.
      - Smallish maps. Since the consoles are serius ram limits (like 512 MB or less) some maps are really small, and you see lots of "load screens". On the PC proper games use streaming to have not load screens, or the maps are giganteous large.
      - Quick Time Events. These things work ok with a pad, on a keyboard are something like a "learn where the A and B key are on your keyboard" minigames. Don't work at all on the PC.
      - Weird resolutions. If your game don't support 1280x1024, your game is shit, cause this is a normal (low) resoultion for lots of LCD. This force people to use lower resolutions that looko blurry, and with enormo pixels.
      - Lack of configuration options. The console people like FEW options, the PC people like MORE options. Add a FOV setting, and autoaim settings, a resolution setting, a bloom setting.
      - Use of the UNREAL engine. This engine don't support things like AA, so you have to force AA on the driver, but it don't work on some engines. Games like Borderlands suffer of this. Unreal could be a decent engine for consoles, but is BAD for the PC, because is optimized for the consoles.

    I could continue, but I am wasting my time here. since most of these problems are out of lazyness. Disabling autoaim sould take a well managed company only 1 hour of time, If people don't know you have do disable autoaim for the PC, what the hell are you doing near a "conversion to PC" proyect?

    • by tepples (727027)

      Use of bloated middleware. .NET, Windows Games For Live, etc.

      Isn't that backward? Don't you have to use XNA (based on .NET) to develop for Xbox 360 unless your company has prior commercial titles on another platform?

  • I've found that most games that play on both a console and PC/Mac suffer when your playing them on anything but a console. It's simply that when designing a game that is going to be run on the console at all your much better off playing to that lower common denominator than the other way around. Or to put it another way you will end up just having a massive kludge of a console game that was designed for the level of complexity that can be done on a real computer.

    Even with the Mass Effect series which I ha

  • The translations of the controls from console to keyboard for various Resident Evil games was awful, especially in recent releases. Many were unplayable unless you used cheats, because you couldn't control character motion well enough in combat scenes.

  • Deus Ex 2 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElusiveJoe (1716808) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:00AM (#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.

    • by Tim C (15259)

      Hear hear.

      Also, Thief 3. The original game was a masterpiece, and Thief 2 built well on its foundations.

      Thief 3 was pretty, I'll give it that, but it was rendered half brain dead by being designed for console compatibility. Watered-down, simplified game play, and levels that actually had clouds of fog representing the transition point between "bit you have loaded" to "bit you need to load"; walk into one and it told you what was happening and sought confirmation.

      Way to kill the immersion that was one of the

    • by Kamineko (851857)
      You didn't think that the inclusion of NG Resonance as a sinister, omnipresent construct created by the WTO for the purposes of intelligence gathering was genius?
  • Do you remember the "insert coin" messages in console games, back in the days?
  • For those unfamiliar, it's basically GTA but slightly more tongue-in-cheek, with a heavy emphasis on character customization, a la Def Jam: Fight for New York, or The Godfather. It's a blast to play. It's really one of my favorite games. Which makes it all the more bitter that THQ did such a crap-ass job of porting it.

    I suspect that Ctrl and left-Shift are mapped as shoulder buttons, because that's how you scroll through the in-game menu, not with the arrow keys or the mouse. Despite having graphics that ar

  • The problems in the PC version of Dead Space are well-known: [techreport.com] delayed movement, delayed aiming, partially rebindable keys (you can't use the cursor keys to walk because they're permanently bound to the RIG menu), etc.
  • I can't believe nobody mentioned Final Fantasy 8. It was running on an emulator, it even had some of the same graphics bugs that EPSXE had at the time (square hit boxes were visible on the maps). To be fair all they had to go on for FF7 was gold masters, Square deleted the original code/graphics (200 gigs was a lot back then, lol). But then What's FF8's excuse? To this day the best way to play them is running in EPSXE.
  • I'm surprised nobody's mentioned DMC3, the poster boy of bad console ports. Basically unplayable due to totally fucked up controls. Even if you got a PS2-like controller and the PS2 DMC3 manual so you could make some sense of the controls, there was no support for analog axes so it still played like shit. Also the graphics looked like ass and the menu navigation was extremely confusing. Overall it felt like it was running on top of an ultra-shitty emulator.

    Worst...console port...ever.

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

    by netsavior (627338) on Friday February 26, 2010 @10:57AM (#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.
  • View from the inside (Score:4, Informative)

    by tylersoze (789256) on Friday February 26, 2010 @12:53PM (#31286696)

    Having been personally involved in coding several of several ports mentioned in these comments, to and from a wide variety of different platforms, the way it usually works is that the publisher will outsource the development to company like the one I work for. The schedules are always very aggressive and tight so unfortunately you know what the end result of that is. It's not like we're trying to make a bad product, we do the best we can given the constraints. Personally I find the job very rewarding and fun and intellectually challenging, even if the end result isn't always that great. I get to see a lot of code from a lot of different companies and it's quite interesting. The challenge is, basically, here's a big mess of code of uncertain quality, get it to work on another platform in 6 months. I *always* give the publishers realistic timelines, which they ignore and we still wind up having to do it 6 months. The only way to get a real quality product on multiple platforms is for the original dev team to develop for all those platforms themselves, or give us enough time to do the port. A lot of times we'll get the contract a year or more after the original game has shipped, we've only occasionally be able to develop the ports simultaneous the original development.

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