Today, I would like to discuss one of my fundamental rules of gaming, primarily my view of the different gaming platforms and why certain types of games should only appear on the ‘right’ platform.
PC games seem to be something of a dying breed, which I think is a shame. Some of my favourite games ever are PC games: Unreal Tournament, Starcraft, Half-life, Portal and even (most recently and perhaps most lucratively) World of Warcraft. So it is often difficult to understand why this sector of the gaming market has collapsed.
One problem, of course, is with piracy, and the DRM systems and other terrible ideas designed to combat the pirates. Assassin’s Creed 2 and C&C4, for example, both require persistent internet connections to play a single-player game and throw you off as soon as the connection drops. This make absolutely no sense to me, but this is a rant for another time…
To me, there are several game genres that work better on PC, including Strategy Games and First-Person Shooters. I realise that Halo is an FPS, almost entirely exclusive to Xbox, but, controversially, I have never liked Halo. I just don’t think the controls work and the game has to be ‘dumbed down’ to accommodate the poor controls. Also, I’ve played the original Halo on PC and was incredibly nonplussed by what is an incredibly bland game, but I’ve got off-topic again. The point is that I think First Person games need the mouse to look around with sufficient accuracy and speed to be exciting.
Something similar applies to strategy games, where you have to select units and groups of units, issue complicated orders, manage control groups, construction and combat. This, for me, simply doesn’t work without the speed and accuracy of the mouse. This is, perhaps, backed up by the fact that there hasn’t been a successful version of Starcraft or Command & Conquer on consoles.
Equally there are games that do not lend themselves to PC gaming and are better off on a console. These include platformers, racing games and third-person action games. Althought there are fewer buttons on the console controllers, the combination of analogue sticks, analogue triggers etc., do make it much easier to play these particular genres of game.
Basically, there are just some situations where you need to be able to move the character (and, usually, the camera) in a way that isn’t suited to a keyboard. An analogue stick (or two!) are perfect for the job, especially when you need to move the character around in 3D space and the camera with care at the same time. It just gives more sensitivity than the binary nature of the keyboard.
Well, that’s it really. Cue the angry emails from Halo fanboys, but that’s just what I think. It has to be said that there is a fairly obvious way around the issue – if you have a PC you can buy a 360 controller and just plug it in! Hell, perhaps with all extra online features coming to consoles, maybe we will see keyboards and mice for consoles, which might improve certain games. But, for now at least, I will continue to play my games on the right platform!