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Good Ports, Bad Ports, PC Ports, Console Ports

Some video games are so successful they prompt a developer to expand their market, sometimes by porting onto other systems; consumers find that they sometimes have version options when they choose to purchase a game. You might assume it's just personal preference as to what version to purchase, but that's not always the case. Here are some games that suffered when they were ported to other systems.

Three Games That Are Better on Consoles

  • Resident Evil 4
  • Resident Evil is a well-known, successful series; it only makes sense that Capcom would want to make Resident Evil 4 widely available to gamers of all kinds. Unfortunately, those who choose the PC version don’t get the best experience. Apparently, the game did not initially support the mouse and keyboard out of the box, nor did all the graphical components work correctly. PC users had to wait until a patch to fix the graphics issues was released to be able to dig into gameplay.

    As for the mouse... it would be pretty upsetting to attempt to play a game, only to find out your hardware doesn't work with it! Most PC gamers purchase games with the expectation that they will be using their mouse to play (and in fact, many PC gamers prefer to use their mouse and keyboard). Another complaint about PC version of Resident Evil 4 revolves around the controls: many gamers feel that they are clumsy and make the game more difficult, possibly due to its lack of mouse support.

  • Darksiders
  • Darksiders is a Zelda-esque game that takes place during the apocalypse. Gameplay on the PC version of this otherwise entertaining game is pretty miserable unless played with a controller. To THQ's credit, they enabled mouse and keyboard support (unlike Resident Evil 4); however, the configuration was awkward. Gameplay is only marginally better with a PC controller – many buttons don’t respond or make sense. Once an Xbox 360 controller was swapped out, controls seemed to flow easier and it became quicker to chain commands. Controls aside, there are bugs in the PC version of Darksiders that detracts from the experience, especially when said bugs cause the game to crash. The game is still playable, but it's best to have the right controller and some patience.

  • Deadspace
  • Deadspace is a game in the horror genre that was successful enough to have two additional sequels made. The scariest thing about the game’s PC version is that gamers cannot control their characters very well. Imagine an abhorrent creature jumping out of the darkness and you turn to run... into a wall when you meant to run back down the hallway. Deadspace’s PC port brings the horrifying element of clumsy controls to the game. Mouse lag, bad cameras, and odd movement are just a few symptoms of this poor port. Buyers beware.

    Three Games That Are Better on the PC

  • Starcraft
  • Starcraft? Yes, Starcraft. You may not be aware, but the game has a Nintendo 64 port (that many gamers don’t talk about). Games that require pointing and clicking usually suffer on consoles because, well, they don't have a mouse and keyboard. It takes much longer to move the cursor around the screen, and it doesn't have the precision you get with the computer control scheme. Overall, it just feels very unnatural. Controls aside, the game doesn’t benefit from the vast online community that the PC version offers. Custom maps and online matches were left out of Starcraft 64, which really gives console consumers a poorer experience than their PC gaming counterparts.

  • Left 4 Dead (1 & 2)
  • Of all the games on this list, Left 4 Dead is probably the most playable and entertaining game for the PC. First person games tend to flow better on a computer. The mouse and keyboard controls give gamers the feeling that they are more—well—in control. Turning, reacting, and shooting feel more accurate, intuitive, and precise. Overall, graphics look much crisper on the PC ports of the Left 4 Dead games -- especially the fire effects. While the console port isn’t terrible, it is just not as good as the computer version.

  • The Sims 2
  • Much like Starcraft, the Sims 2 is a game that relies on pointing and clicking. The PS2 version of The Sims was changed just enough so that the game does not suffer from the use of a controller. It does, however, suffer in other areas. The biggest complaint with the console version of The Sims is that you can't age or have children. The Sims is a hit series on the PC, particularly due to its in-depth customization. A lot of that was missing from the console version, which is why many people were disappointed by it. If you want to play The Sims, play it on the PC.

    Personally, I prefer first person games on the PC and third person games on a console. One of the best investments I made was buying my wired Xbox 360 controller so I could use it with my computer games. It helps smooth out the control issue you see with some ports. What other game ports really make you cringe?

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