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The worst PC ports of the best console games

15 may, 23:13

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The modern video game industry has a wide variety of available entertainment platforms. You can play on almost any device – from smartphones to computers or Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo consoles. Developers make use of a large number of sales markets by porting their products from one platform to another. After all, this is a win-win situation for both companies and players – fans can enjoy their favorite games on any device while studios make big profits. However, sometimes the process is not so smooth, and something goes wrong during porting. PC ports are the ones to suffer such fate the most often. Sometimes they can lose half of their advantages and get an armful of disadvantages on the way from consoles to a computer. In this article, we’ll take a look at the worst examples of porting games to PC.

NieR: Automata

Let’s start with a fairly fresh game. NieR: Automata was released in 2017 on Playstation 4, and it immediately won the player’s hearts with a deep storyline, dynamic combat system, and an elegant protagonist. The high popularity brought high profits, which made porting a matter of time. However, the following PC version had many bugs, screen resolution problems, and other shortcomings.

But the main problem was the further actions of Platinum Games – the developers of the NieR series. The studio promised to fix all bugs and release an appropriate update. It is a common practice when releasing ports, but the whole process stopped at promises. At the same time, a year later, the company released a port for Xbox One, and an improved PC version for Xbox Game Pass with it, while completely ignoring Steam and similar platforms. Of course, hope dies last, but we are highly unlikely to get the patch. It’s a pity because the game fully justifies its popularity, but the company’s attitude towards PC players spoils the whole impression.

Resident Evil 4

Now let’s move on to the “king of terrible ports” – Resident Evil 4. This is the game that most gamers think about when mentioning the phrase “poor optimization.”

As with NieR: Automata, the fourth installment of the acclaimed horror series was not bad at all on its original platform. Leon Scott Kennedy as the main character, the setting of an abandoned village, and the general atmosphere of horror deserve the player’s attention. But, unfortunately, many people remember the game only because of the poor-quality port.

What was so bad about it? One word – movement control. The game came to PC from the Playstation 2, which is infamous for its unusual architecture and low portability. But even the Playstation was not the first point on the game’s journey to computers, because Resident Evil 4 was initially developed for the Game Cube. Thanks to this mixture of mechanics, PC users could not use the mouse in the game, which mostly consists of shooting the infected villagers. QTEs were another cause of a constant headache because of the unclear and buggy keyboard controls.

In 2014, Capcom made a re-release with a fixed control system, but waiting seven years for comfortable gameplay is way too much for an AAA project.

Metal Gear Solid 2

Despite the iconic status of Hideo Kojima’s creation, it has also had problems with optimizing games on different platforms throughout its history. A typical example is Metal Gear Solid 2.

This game, like the previous ones, first appeared on the Playstation 2 in 2001. This fact is not surprising since it was the most popular platform at the time. However, the architecture was extremely unfriendly towards any ports – not only on a PC but even on other Playstation. Therefore, the later version for Windows also had a lot of bugs and clumsy controls but the highest quality of the plot was able to smooth out the possible dissatisfaction of the players.

Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening

Moving slashers from consoles to PC is a hard task, especially when the original comes from Playstation 2. But the DMC 3 port for PC rightfully deserves “people’s love” for its optimization problems. Bugs greeted the user at the very start of the game in the form of a windowed mode, which you could solve only by pressing Alt + Enter. Speaking of the keys – there was no trace of the traditional “Exit” button in the slasher – you had to use the Alt + F4 combination instead to open a special menu.

The controls are worth a separate mention – Capcom continued the traditions of Resident Evil 4and did not even try to add mouse support.  The most unusual layout was responsible for combat control, being vaguely reminiscent of the gamepad keys. Because of this, users often joked that only pianists or octopuses could play DMC 3 on the keyboard. All attempts to change key assignments were reset upon exiting the game, and the external gamepads were invisible in most cases. Thus, the game seemed to deliberately make you get used to the desired layout.

However, after spending some time in Devil May Cry 3, all of these cons begin to smooth out. Gradually you get used to the unusual way of closing the program or the “octopus” layout – and then the game reveals its full potential. If you endure the beginning, Dante will be able to perform hurricane combos even when the player uses a keyboard.

Batman: Arkham Knight

An interesting fact – all previous games were created by Japanese developers. However, optimization problems are equally common for Western studios. A perfect example of this is Rocksteady StudiosBatman: Arkham Knight that was created in 2015. The release of the PC version happened at the same time as for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, but the obvious difference in quality makes it clear that the consoles were the target platform.

The thing is that the third-party development studio Iron Galaxy was responsible for the release on PC. In this case, the choice of the studio was so bad that the publisher Warner Bros. had to withdraw the PC version from sales for a while for further revision. Issues included constant game crashes, spontaneous disabling of graphical effects, cache loss, and more. A few days later, the game returned to the stores along with a new patch that fixed some of the main shortcomings. The company released a few more fixes afterward. Thanks to this, Batman: Arkham Knight is much more enjoyable and convenient to play nowadays.

As you can see, developers could avoid problems with porting in most cases. Just don’t involve third-party studios in the development, or pay more attention to the target platform’s capacities (yes, Capcom, you can use a mouse on computers). The main thing is to try to bring the product to a new device with the highest possible quality, and in case of problems – to promptly correct the situation. Then the players will gladly thank the developers by purchasing the game – and everyone will be happy.

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