The many, many benefits of PC gaming

Posted on Feb 26 2013 - 1:33pm by Eric Guzman

 The many, many benefits of PC gaming

Console and PC gamers have warred for ages over which community has the superior gaming experience, yet many folks who have spent time with each platform will tell you that both platforms are needed. You don’t want to miss out on console exclusives like Halo, The Last of Us, God of War, and Gears of War. LikewisePC exclusives such as StarCraft II and League of Legends should be in your collection. That said, PC gaming has an ace in the hole: superior graphical and technical fidelity.

I thought, until recently, that console games released to PC were inferior, lazy ports that were riddled with issues. Dark Souls helped me make that argument, but there have been a number of games that have changed my stance on the matter. As hard as I’ve been on Capcom recently, the company’s surprised me with the quality of its Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and Street Fighter X Tekken PC ports. The recently released DmC is a beautiful massacre on PC at 60 frames-per-second. The comparisons are easy to make having played both the console and PC versions of these titles. It doesn’t end there: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a completely different experience when graphical and quest-helping mods are applied. You can also extend gameplay by downloading user created content for no charge.

 The many, many benefits of PC gaming

The differences are not always drastic ones. (Click to enlarge)

When I read my colleague Gabriel Zamora’s DmC review, my excitement for the game was on the wane. I’ve always stated that a reboot would be justified by solid gameplay, but I thought Ninja Theory failed to deliver. Although I agree with much of what Gabriel wrote, I believe he played a flawed version of the game.

The heart of DmC is its gameplay. Nothing can be done about the mediocre, predictable narrative, but the console version’s gameplay is easily the neutered version running at 30 frames-per-second. Dante looks sluggish and you experience slowdown — it’s the total opposite of how the game is supposed to run. Previous series entries run at a 60fps on consoles and, thankfully, that’s the case for the PC port. It keeps the stylish action smooth and swift. The difference is significant.

Capcom’s PC fighters are improved versions of their console counterparts, too. The character models in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and in Street Fighter X Tekken are smoother and less jagged. There are even costume mods to personalize your characters free of charge.

This, however, doesn’t mean every game looks drastically better on PC than it does on consoles. In some cases the cosmetic differences are minute.

 The many, many benefits of PC gaming

The difference is astounding. (Click to Enlarge)

Arguments about bad console ports are now becoming mote. Yet, gamers did experience that debacle last summer with the release of Dark Souls. The game was riddled with small bugs, and a 720p issue that didn’t allow users to use their own custom monitor resolution. However, that issue was quickly resolved in 23 minutes by community member Durante who promptly posted a solution on NeoGAF. A savvy gamer pushing out a fix is impossible on consoles. The actual developers have to go through proper channels which often take time and cause delays. Just ask Fez developer Polytron  how painful the process can be. Or try to explain to PlayStation 3 owners why the disastrous Skyrim frame rate bug and DLC issues were so frustrating. Then you’ll start seeing the benefits of PC gaming.

PC gamings’ positive aspects aren’t not just cosmetic. The online experience is completely free there are no subscription fees to pay and from my experience the PC community is more lax. I haven’t experienced Xbox Live-caliber trolls, racial slurs, or swearing 10-year olds.

Valve’s Steam store is easily an incentive to consider PC gaming if you’re still not convinced. A few weeks ago I purchased Hitman Absolution for $16.99 and Sleeping Dogs for $9.99 — both amazingly good deals. You’ll run into Indie Humble Bundles a few times a year that will let you purchase a number of indie games like Bastion, Super Meatboy, and Sword and Sworcery on your PC for as little as $1.

When gamers limit themselves to consoles they miss out on great PC games like Diablo III, Team Fortress II, and Hawken. Yes, the same can be said about console exclusives ( I’m not gonna reiterate the point), but as it stands now it’s more common to find a console than a capable gaming PC in a home.

 The many, many benefits of PC gaming

Grand Theft Auto IV graphics mod.

There’s this angst that has been associated with building a gaming PC. People think components are easily damaged, hard to put together, and expensive. You need to be careful when putting together a gaming PC,  but it’s not open heart surgery. Plus, with $600.00 you can build yourself a gaming PC that can play games on par or better than their console counterparts.

I’m not stepping on consoles. I grew up in a multi-console household and wouldn’t have the honor of calling myself a gamer if it I didn’t have a Genesis, Super Nintendo, Saturn, Nintendo 64 PlayStation, Dreamcast, and the other consoles that followed. But gaming is evolving and PC’s are now multi-purpose powerhouses. If you’re unsure where to start check out How-to Build a Gaming PC.

You’ll be glad you did.

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Features Editor Eric Guzman will play any game at least once. Any game. That even means Detective Barbie, although he prefers to flex his video game muscles with fighting games such as Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. When he isn’t in the digital dojo, he loves watching films or reading comics.

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  • JimPicken

    You should edit this a bit. :/

    I can play Team Fortress 2 and Diablo 3 on xbox.