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Watch Dogs Graphics and Gameplay: PC Vs. Xbox One, With Surprising Results 210

Posted by Soulskill
from the platform-wars dept.
MojoKid writes: Normally, the question of whether a game runs better on the PC or a console is a no-brainer, at least for PC users. Watch Dogs, however, with its problematic and taxing PC play, challenges that concept. And since the gap between consoles and PCs is typically smallest at the beginning of the console generation, HotHardware decided to take the Xbox One out for a head-to-head comparison against the PC with this long-awaited title. What was found may surprise you. Depending on just how much horsepower your PC has, the Xbox One (and possibly the PS4 though that wasn't compared) might be the better option. There's no question that the PC can look better, even before you factor in the mods that have been released to date, but unless you've spent $300 or more on a fairly recent GPU, you're not going to be able to run the game at sufficiently high detail to benefit from the enhanced image quality and resolution. If you have a Radeon HD 7950 / R9 280 or an NVIDIA card with greater than 4GB of RAM or a GeForce GTX 780 / 780 Ti, you can happily observe Watch Dogs make hash out of the Xbox One — but statistically, only a minority of gamers have this sort of high-end hardware. This comparison should be viewed in light of the recent allegations that the PC version's graphics were deliberately handicapped.
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Watch Dogs Graphics and Gameplay: PC Vs. Xbox One, With Surprising Results

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:19PM (#47412487)
    ......you won't be able to tolerate incompetent VRAM padding and crippling redundancy of a very 2007-looking game.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:30PM (#47412535)

      Forget 2007. The game is not even much of a topic. Bland enough to not make as much of an impact as it was advertised to do. Watch_Dogs and Titanfall are both disappointments. Happy I didn't get caught up in the hype for them. Need to be wary of Dragon Age next.

      • Wasn't Dragon Age 2 enough to make you wary?
      • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:25AM (#47414477)
        Really? Games published by Ubi (Watch Dogs) and EA (Titanfall) didn't live up to their hype?

        I am Jack's total lack of surprise.
      • by Rotag_FU (2039670)

        What about Titanfall was a specific disappointment?

        I've owned it since day one and thoroughly enjoyed it. In many ways it was a breath of fresh air that shook up a lot of the cruft of modern progression based multiplayer shooters. I will acknowledge that there were a couple of rough edges at launch (mostly commonly expected but inexplicably missing minor features) however just about all of those have been resolved in updates. Still, I had more fun playing it than I have a game of this genre since probabl

    • by donaldm (919619)
      Flame wars here we come. :)

      Actually the best way to get console fanboys (yes there are girls as well), who are normally at each others throats to actually agree together is when PC fanboys criticize consoles. Still a high end (and more expensive) PC will always beat a console in terms of performance, however most PC's are not high end (as per the article) so the so called elitist criticism is rather childish.
      • Still a high end (and more expensive) PC will always beat a console in terms of performance

        Instead of performance, argue selection. There are more PC games not available for any given console than games for some console not on PC at all. Unless you're a fan of a particular first party universe (like the Smash Bros. universe) or a genre that historically gets ignored on PC (like platform fighting or JRPGs), you'll find more to choose from on PC.

        Oh, and FRAND standards aren't completely proprietary, but they aren't free either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Darinbob (1142669)

      Unless you've spend $300 on an xbox... (or whatever they cost).

      Basically PC games makes sense because most people already have a PC (or Mac). Currently, except for some high end recently released shooters (like watchdogs) in a competitive environment, you don't need a high end GPU and you can get by with a reasonably cheap one less than the cost of a console, or even play on a laptop.

      Ten years ago with a mid-range system you would tweak and poke the settings trying to get the best view you could get withou

      • by donaldm (919619)

        Basically PC games makes sense because most people already have a PC (or Mac).

        In what way does PC gaming make more sense? I have a gaming PC that actually runs Linux (ie. Fedora) as my primary and only OS although I do have virtual machines which I hardly every run. Normally a Linux distribution will not run "Games for Windows" without an emulator which in my case I could not be bothered to do, however if the game is web based I normally can run it. I can even run EMU games such as NES, SNES, Megadrive etc. Having said that I actually prefer console games over PC games.

        IMHO the gam

        • Normally a Linux distribution will not run "Games for Windows" without an emulator which in my case I could not be bothered to do

          Wine is not an emulator; it is a PE executable loader and an independent reimplementation of the Win32 API. This means Wine is a "Windows emulator" to the extent that Fedora is a "UNIX emulator". Or do games using the "Games for Windows Live" library have particular problems with third-party Win32 reimplementations the way games using PunkBuster do [winehq.org]? Or to which "emulator" were you referring?

          I can even run EMU games such as NES, SNES, Megadrive etc.

          With the Retrode discontinued, what do you use to make ROM images of your NES, Super NES, and Mega Drive cartridges fo

        • by kick6 (1081615)

          I have a gaming PC that actually runs Linux (ie. Fedora) as my primary and only OS

          Not many people are stupid enough to explicitly choose an unsupported OS to use on their dedicated gaming box. You are the absolute tale end of the bell curve, and I question your sanity for making this choice. At the very least, you're a sadist.

    • Watch Dogs is just a shitty port. But from what I heard, the rather modest (sub-$150) GTX 650Ti will handle Titanfall better than the Xbox One.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:31PM (#47412543)
    Because it hangs with any rig less than $400. Put a GTX 660 in this year so I could keep gaming in Win 7 after the forced upgrade from XP.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:31PM (#47412551)

    but when i watched the videos it made me feel like i was 23 again! ...but only in the sense that the graphics looked like something 2003. i guess i haven't missed much if this is the most hyped game of this generation...wow.

  • $300 for a GPU (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:34PM (#47412561) Homepage Journal

    Meanhile, the end result doesn't look THAT much better than the PS3, with its measly GeForce 7900 series.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Because you no longer need the best card in the store to make new games look decent if running at the monitor's native resolution. You can still crank things up if you want and if you have a monitor that can handle it, but most people really can't discern the detail difference.

    • Re:$300 for a GPU (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @07:12AM (#47413893)

      Meanhile, the end result doesn't look THAT much better than the PS3, with its measly GeForce 7900 series.

      This is typical. I don't even understand what this story is about. Yes, you need a $300 GPU in your PC to play a brand new AAA title for a brand new console generation. This happens every generation and for about a year the console people will be shouting "Nanner nanner bo bo" at us... But next year we'll only need a $150 card, and the year after that a $75 card. They'll still need their console and its price wont get cut in half every year.

      How do PC gamers address this problem? We don't play AAA titles designed for a console the same year that console was released. They suck for PC anyway.

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        How do PC gamers address this problem? We don't play AAA titles designed for a console the same year that console was released. They suck for PC anyway.

        And, they also might have less tweaks for graphics so that in a few years when that $75 card can run the game at max settings, you still can't get any better quality with a $300 card (which matches today's $700 cards). All the $300 card will do is allow you to run at a higher overall resolution, which eventually will start to expose things like lower polygon counts, lack of anti-aliasing (even injected after the fact sometimes doesn't work), etc.

      • A $150 card will beat the Xbone right now.

        • by mythosaz (572040)

          Do you have to connect that video card to anything, like, say, a computer?

          • Indeed. And in this review, [youtu.be] the guy explains how to build a solid gaming PC for $500, same price as the quite weaker Xbox One (before they got rid of the Kinect).

    • Meanhile, the end result doesn't look THAT much better than the PS3, with its measly GeForce 7900 series.

      I actually bought it for my PS3, and the graphic quality seems pretty good to me. Of course, I'm more about the game play than anything else.

      It's pretty fun, but a lot more driving & gunplay than I was expecting, and there's no real feeling of consequence.

      It's easy to get good karma simply by catching criminals, and if you accidentally kill a bystander, it's a minor hit to your karma. I'd expect it to tank, but it doesn't. Hacking people's bank accounts seems to not have any effect, which seems like it

  • Say what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:36PM (#47412565)
    Why does this work so hard to sound organic, when it seems more like a boldfaced ad for xbox?
    • Re:Say what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rwven (663186) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:46PM (#47412623)

      Yeah, pretty much. Watch Dogs doesn't look nearly as good as plenty of PC games out right now, and runs worse than most.

      This is nothing more than a deliberately handicapped, badly ported console game. The author is being a shill for the XBone, but the truth of the matter is that he's hiding Ubisoft's dirty downgrade of the game.

      PCs were capable of far more than these machines a year before they were released. Now the comparison is just a bad joke.

    • maybe the got some straight up cash for it. it's not like there wasn't a scandal about such bullshittery already.

      I mean, fuck, we've ALREADY had articles about shit dogs having a pretty shitty pc port that has features it has disabled on purpose to prevent the pc version from looking better.

      why the fuck would they choose watchdogs for doing this comparison? did the at least use the tweaks to bring the pc visual quality BACK to what it was on pre-release demo videos of the game? since you can do that on

      • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:52AM (#47412905) Homepage

        Let's check the differences. On a PC I can still watch a DVD on my big screen at the same time. Note the appear equally as large as my PC screen is far closer to me than my big screen TV. On my PC I can play a full range of FTP MMO, free flash games on the internet. I can browse the internet while watching TV. Never to forget I have a fully functional upgradable, dual bootable Computer and not just a games console. I can also buy much cheaper games without having to pay a quite expensive console tax and games discount sooner. With PC at a lan party everyone has their own screen so far better multi-player gaming. I have found every console port to be not that good games pretty much dumbed down PC games with clumsy controls.

        When comparing a console to a PC, you are really only comparing the additional cost of turning a PC into a gaming machine versus the console and the loss of use of your TV or a second TV (youch, you have just paid for your PC gaming rig). Gaming consoles of course do suit a particular IQ range of the video gaming market, there is not doubt about that and I'll stop there.

        • I can also buy much cheaper games without having to pay a quite expensive console tax

          With consoles, you can often buy one copy for the household instead of a separate copy for each player. I'm not aware of any modern PC games doing StarCraft-style spawn installation.

          With PC at a lan party everyone has their own screen so far better multi-player gaming.

          I thought games for Xbox platforms supported System Link play. Besides, buying one console and sharing a screen is a lot cheaper than buying two to four gaming PCs if you have an SO or kids. What advantage does a separate view offer for things like fighting games and cooperative platformers?

      • by sd4f (1891894)

        I seriously doubt a greater conspiracy. I think it's a matter of releasing the game at the same time on all platforms, so first, they don't bother optimising the code for PC, second they don't want any striking differences between the platforms, because it will upset one group of fanboys who have invested their egos into that system.

        Point being, it's better to just aim for the lowest common denominator. This was visible last generation, where at first there was some variation between X360 and PS4, until eve

  • Bad Ports (Score:5, Informative)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @11:36PM (#47412569) Homepage
    This is not new or unique. The PC is full of games that have ridiculously bad console-to-PC ports; With shitty controls, poor graphics, bad performance, and with absolutely no configurability.
    • by sd4f (1891894)
      Although with steam, we're starting to see a class of game which is significantly worse than ever before. Broken, buggy and incomplete games which are PC exclusive...
      • by Tukz (664339)

        The correct buzz term is "Early Access" and people pay lots of money for it...

    • This is not new or unique. The PC is full of games that have ridiculously bad console-to-PC ports; With shitty controls, poor graphics, bad performance, and with absolutely no configurability.

      Mmmyeah. I never got some of the mini-games, such as bowling, to work properly with keyboard and mouse in GTA IV for PC. Great quality assurance, LOL.

      • I don't think they worked properly on xbox from what I remember, the mini games were awful in that game...
        • Well, they were quite cheesy, I skipped a lot of them. I wonder if somewhere inside the engine the "Roman reputation" parameter sunk down quite deep when I always made excuses to the "hey cousin want to play some pool" phone calls. :)
    • And shitty PC to console ports, Half-Life 2, I'm looking at you.

  • Have an AMD 1090T with a Crossfired Radeon 6870s. Rig is old, but moderately beefy. Game ran fine on medium settings. May not have 4k textures and 16x anti-aliasing, but any hardcore gamer can deal with a little graphic fidelity loss for a playable game(r_picmip 5 anyone?)
  • In the old days, we all had windows desktops which could be modded and used to play games in addition to it's usual uses.

    Now all the kids (and myself) only own Mac laptops, and don't want to buy a windows desktop just to game.

    So the easy choice is to drop $200 no a game console to augment the Mac.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      There are more and more games that run on Macs now, at least on Steam (I'm not a Steam lover, but if you've got a mac it's a good way to go).
      Although if you've got a macbook pro, do you have money left over to buy a console?

      • There are more and more games that run on Macs now, at least on Steam (I'm not a Steam lover, but if you've got a mac it's a good way to go).

        Not really. There's a small subset of games, typically at much higher price points and late to market. I get 25 games for free each yr with XBOX LIVE GOLD, and pick up many AAA titles for $5 to $15 via on demand sales.

        Although if you've got a macbook pro, do you have money left over to buy a console?

        You can find an xbox360 for $100 on ebay/craigslist these days...or get a new one for $200. It's not just money though, there's no updating it, no viruses, no booting up and shutting down, no installing games, etc. It just works. And if it does break, just toss it or sell it on ebay and buy a

    • by Nyder (754090)

      In the old days, we all had windows desktops which could be modded and used to play games in addition to it's usual uses.

      Now all the kids (and myself) only own Mac laptops, and don't want to buy a windows desktop just to game.

      So the easy choice is to drop $200 no a game console to augment the Mac.

      Let know know when you find a current gen console for $200.

      • by kamapuaa (555446)

        PS3s and XBoxes are still being made/sold, and still have games coming out for them, and that isn't changing any time soon.

        • Yep. And the PS3 and XB360 are still very good platforms actually.
      • Here's a current gen deal: xbox 360 for $150
        Deal has expired; but they come and go.

        http://slickdeals.net/f/555149... [slickdeals.net]

        Oh, you mean the xbox one or PS4; well those are the latest gen, but xbox360/PS3 are still current gen.
        In fact, they are much better consoles to own for now. More games. Cheap games. Used games available.

  • You can't just compare the Xbox one with a PC of the same price on horsepower when the Xbox one is sold at a loss, making its money back on licences.
    • by sd4f (1891894)
      Well, if you're trying to compare value for money you can... Once you factor in cost of games, it starts to become a different story.
      • Value for money largely depends on how many games in your sample set offer a same screen multiplayer option for those who want to use it. One copy of a $60 game can be cheaper than two copies of a $40 game.
  • This game is ridiculously resource intensive on the PC. I usually do a big upgrade on my PC every 5 or 6 years. I just upgraded to a factory overclocked 780ti, z97 mobo, SSD to hold games, 24 gigs of ram (I also run a lot of VMs during the day for work), and a 4790K CPU this past week. With all that this game still struggles to stay at or above 60FPS, dipping to the 40's at times. It is a terrible port.

    Titanfall, while not quite so bad, is another game that seems to demand more than it should from th
    • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:45AM (#47412873)

      I really hope this isn't the start of a really bad trend of porting over crap, shoving it out the door, and telling the PC community to just throw more hardware at it.

      What do you mean by start... This has been happening for years.

      • by EvilSS (557649)

        I really hope this isn't the start of a really bad trend of porting over crap, shoving it out the door, and telling the PC community to just throw more hardware at it.

        What do you mean by start... This has been happening for years.

        Yea, but it really seems to be accelerating lately. I went for years on a 8800GT running most games without much issue. Granted, over the years I've had to dial back the settings as games got more resource hungry. Last year I picked up a 660Ti thinking it would last at least another few years. Already replaced it because it was already having trouble running games at high or ultra less than a year later (something that took a few years with the 8800).

    • Maybe the PC version is actually the console version running within a custom virtual machine.
      • by EvilSS (557649)

        Maybe the PC version is actually the console version running within a custom virtual machine.

        It's not but OK.

    • shoving it out the door, and telling the PC community to just throw more hardware at it.

      Hasn't that been standard procedure for ALL PC games, not just the ports? And now that we've got developers who were formerly x86-Windows only doing console games, they're doing the same thing to we console gamers.

  • The game is rubbish, so who cares which hardware it runs best on?!

  • by Jahoda (2715225) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:09AM (#47412723) Homepage
    So this is where we're at now? Not just pay-to-play and inflammatory nonsense, but straight-up government-grade XBOX propaganda where we hear complete garbage like "statistically, only a minority of gamers have this sort of high-end hardware", when your bog-standard $200 R9 270x or Nvidia 760-whatever *smokes* the current console generation in terms of image quality. FPS, and resolution?
    Not to mention the hilarity of this all centering around "Watch_Dogs", a game that is a textbook example of publisher bait-and-switch and making promises that are never delivered upon. Ubisoft is the Comcast of gaming.
    This isn't even my opinion, this stuff is in wide discussion anywhere on the internet that cares about gaming in-general.
    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      But it's true, right? If a cheap Dell off-the-shelf computer was far better than the current generation, that would definitely show how terrible the current consoles are. Instead, you need to spend maybe $800 minimum, you probably want to build the computer yourself and therefor need to have the time and the knowledge to build the computer yourself and then deal with any potential issues...

      It's not really a story that you can do better than a console if you're willing to put in a larger amount of money, t

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:17AM (#47412751)

    that the game was cripple... would only people with high end hardware notice? Perhaps... but so what? The PC is not the console. Its not a uniform one size fits all platform. You release your game with variable settings that end users can tweak to get the best performance for THEIR machine.

    Its how its done. The engine makers build in the hooks to change graphics settings dynamically on the fly with no trouble for a reason.

    Just offer it and move on.

  • A 7950 cost 149$ (Score:4, Informative)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:20AM (#47412757)

    and has been in my box for over a year

    obvious troll story

  • Surprising results would be Ubisoft making a PC port that's stable and efficient right out of the gate and doesn't attack its customers with onerous DRM. The headline almost reads like an Onion article.

  • I bought my GPU for 250 dollars 4 years ago and it still runs all games on high settings.

  • Sorry but the console won't get any better over the years and PC hardware will. So even a year from now, everyone will be playing Watch Dogs at a higher quality.
  • This whole article is misleading and pointless, as it has been discovered (and confirmed by UbiSoft themselves) that UbiSoft INTENTIONALLY crippled the graphics of PC versions (only) of WatchDogs.

    http://www.maximumpc.com/ubiso... [maximumpc.com]

    Assuming the asshat game developer didn't intentionally cripple it, top end PC graphics will always be capable of more/better performance than consoles. Its just common sense, not least because a top-end GPU card alone costs significantly more than an entire console.

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