Monday, May 9, 2011

Of PC and Console - The PC Overshadoweth.

Up until a year ago, I wasn't much of a PC gamer. And three years ago, it was only City of Heroes, Team Fortress 2, and struggling through Left 4 Dead. I mean clawing my way through these games. Not to say these were bad games, far from it. The frustration I endured through playing them on my piece of crap Acer was overwhelming, though. Back then I would turn to my 360 as this powerhouse and bastion of great gaming. Mass Effect, Fable 2, Fallout 3... Things my computer would collapse in on itself if it tried to run, my 360 made possible; and better.

That's not true anymore.

Yeah, mate. We're in space.

I now find myself with a system pushing World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, and Portal 2 at 60 frames per succulent second. All the bloom lighting evaporating my eyes with beauty, the textures crisp as apple pie in October, and the particle effects. My god, the particle effects.

At this point, it's hard to find myself getting Portal 2 for the 360. Why should I, aside from the fact that I already own it? If I get into a game, I can kind of b e crazy. I'll buy it every chance I get. (Peggle: 3 times. Plants vs. Zombies: 3 times. Portal: 3 times. And let's not count the fact that if Nintendo remakes it, I will come). But that tide is quickly receding, and I don't know if I'm going with the flow or not.

I'm addicted to Mass Effect, which is in itself an entirely different story. In the past two months I have cleared through both the first and the second, making that the 3rd time I've completed Mass Effect 2 this year alone. I have a problem, but again that's a different story. Suffice to say I have made some Shepards, and I've decided the fate on some galaxies. At this point, wanting to continue life as Shepard in Mass Effect 3 is a given. But. I don't know if I can. Why? Because I played Mass Effect on the PC, and the difference is like playing a new game.

The original Mass Effect was a shoddy train-wreck of a technical disaster on the 360. Cutscenes dropped entire chunks of frames, textures would pop in literally 10 seconds after you've started moving around. Combat was impossible to follow due to the slowdown. I still loved it, despite it's technical failures, but the PC version (purchased on steam for 5 fucking dollars) is perfect. There is no flaw. It is 60 frames per second, bloom lighting, etc. etc. I think somebody muddled with it because it looks technically more advanced than it should, but in any case it's better, and so is Mass Effect 2.

So why play this on 360 if I have a clearly superior version? I've invested hundreds of hours into this series already on 360, so I'll likely finish it there. As I do, though, I'll be left wondering. Wondering why I'm not playing it on the PC. Wondering if these achievements really mean anything to me anymore. As I watch whatever fantastic final moments play out (likely planning how I will differ my actions in the subsequent 4 playthrough's), each time I will ask how much better it must look on PC. Then, some time later, it'll be on Steam on sale for $10. Then I'll get it, and punch myself for the time not spent playing it here from the beginning.

This isn't a PC vs. Console argument per se. There's still a ton of reasons for consoles to exist, and honestly I still like them more.. for the most part... But I do question whether or not it's time for new consoles to start coming down the pipeline. Mass Effect 3 could be so much more, and I want it to reach that potential, while enjoying the convenience and comfort of my console home. If I could transfer my Shep's over, I probably would. As it stands, I am creating new ones (never did try that tech class!) so we'll see how that goes.

If you haven't played Mass Effect before, and you're in possession of a beefy enough computer, I say go for it on PC. If not, please still play it on 360. It's an amazing series and well worth your investment

So where do you stand on PC's versus Consoles? Do you have games that you prefer on one or the other? I would love to hear back from you. Both of you.

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