Now that we’ve gotten the bad out of the way, I’d like to talk about the things I really like about PC. As part 1 should have indicated, there are numerous issues to be had with PC but here I’m going to go into the things that outweigh those issues for me and make the PC my primary gaming machine. Besides the Vita, obviously.
Best graphics and options
In the case of poor ports this might not hold true, but in most cases PC games have the best graphical experience possible. While consoles can still barely run at 1080p 60 FPS, ala The Order 1886, if you have a good enough rig you can generally hit that ratio if it’s available-hell, some games now even support 4K resolution. Because PC is modular, and not limited to one preset console a generation it has far more capabilities for upgrading graphics and since new components are constantly being manufactured promising bigger and better graphics, PC is constantly moving forward in terms of power and performance.
Even on midrange rigs, you can get quite a bit of performance out and manage to get close to or even beat out next gen consoles. Additionally should your rig ever start showing its age, you can swap out components to get it back to standard and prolonging the life of the machine. I personally added a SSD to my computer on top of its 1 TB standard hard drive, and it’s made my gaming experience that much better, as well as swapping in a new graphics card better than my old one.
Another benefit of PC gaming is options menus, and the sheer amount of variation some games have to customize your experience. The options you have available on PC are quite numerous, and allow you to customize your experience quite a bit, as well as tweak things to get the best performance if certain things are causing issues or you don’t need certain settings to run high-or at all. Additionally, things like FOV can be boosted if you so desire, even if publishers leave the options out. You can go into game files and edit values-with the help of online guides-to force certain options like FOV, even if the publisher hasn’t deigned to put them in because stupid. The option to have a keyboard can also allow a bit more complexity than a controller can provide, and allows certain genres to play far better on PC than on gaming machines-ala RTS.
And then there are other options, less to do with games and more to do with the computer itself. To me, I love how much choice the PC offers in how you play with it and customize its appearance. You can use a keyboard and mouse, or you can use some random console controller instead should you desire. You can add LED fans and lights to your computer to make it glow, get a case with a window to be able to look at your machines guts, and choose your components to build the best rig for yourself that you can. Heck, you can even choose to use different OS’s should you desire. While windows is the primary gaming OS, you can move between Windows 7-10 for gaming, you could try Linux or Steam-flavored Linux, or you could even play certain games on mac if you so desire. While windows is optimal, the choice is there and it’s up to you to decide which one you find most desirable.
Then there’s marketplaces, of which there are many for PC which helps deal with the large upfront cost. On console the main digital retailer is the console maker themselves, and physical retailers as well. And while they do have sales, things aren’t nearly as competitive as they can be on PC. While it requires a large investment to get into PC gaming, game price often helps make the cost less of an issue over time. Sales on PC are incredibly frequent, and because multiple market-places are trying to compete you can often find deals all over the place, meaning that often paying full price for games is something that doesn’t happen that often. Even a few months after release, you can get games on sale far cheaper than full price and after a few years games drop significantly when they go on sale, allowing you to pick up older games you might have missed for a good price.
There’s also something to be said for multiple marketplaces and places to get games. While Steam is mostly dominant here-a factor with its own set of issues, but I may talk about that later-there are DRM free sites like GOG that even sell older games Steam might not carry. Their practices are also what led to Valve having a better refund policy and improving the marketplace as a whole-all because competition forced them to stop doing nothing and made them have to consider doing something.
But if you are getting sick of Valve, then you can avoid DRM altogether and go to GOG-especially for smaller, older and various games-as well as The Witcher 3. And recently, you can now use their optional client to keep all of those games running updated and smoothly. Heck, despite my hatred for EA even they frequently give games a sale on their own Origin platform and had a better refund policy than Valve before Valve got around to adding the refund policy. While Steam might be unavoidable for larger purchases, the competition is getting stiffer which will hopefully mean even more consumer boons. And I doubt the sales are going anywhere, meaning that games will continue to be plentiful depending on what you’re looking for.
Modding and backwards compatibility
Personally, this is one of my favorite factors of PC gaming-the mod community. Even for games that don’t allow it, modders can get to work and improve the experience. Whether fixing broken ports of wonderful games, like Durante fixing the terrible Dark souls port or adding in content and bugfixes to older games like KOTOR 2, mods are wonderful. And in games that allow it, it improves the experience and allows you to further personalize the game and make it that much better.
Just look at Fallout 4-a game I really like, but with some bafflingly missing options and stupid decisions holding it back. Before the game has even gotten modding tools, there are a bevy of mods on Nexusmods that improve the game. The horrible layout of the dialogue system, the lack of a bit of variety of in town building, certain aesthetic things and customizations-all of this was added in and improved the game immensely. You can even go into the files of the game itself and mess with the FOV to add in what Bethesda neglected to and change the FOV of the game. Things like that make a good game a great one-and give more life to games, allowing new stuff to constantly be added even past the company proper working on it.
And all of that is added by people who love the games, work together (usually) and don’t charge-though there are tip jars to allow you to give them a bit of cash if you like their work. Modding is coming to consoles soon enough, but I have the feeling that it’s going to be somewhat limited in what comes over and what kind of mods you will actually be able to use. It’s a good step-and hopefully one that encourages mod functionality to become a rule rather than an exception, but I fail to see it getting all that much traction outside of Bethesda.
When both the PS4 and Xbox-one were released, both were released with caveats aplenty-and one of those big caveats was no backwards compatibility except in specific cases and instances. The Xbox-one is now slowly trickling them out, and is asking which ones fans would like to come to the console and Sony is releasing old games as well-though there are apparently issues getting classics bought on PS3 onto PS4, and apparently its mainly an upscaling to 1080p along with a 15 dollar price tag.And even then, what games come to the new consoles are, as it has always been, are pretty dependent on whether or not the company feels like it an is legally in the right. Sony was random and inconsistent with what older classics it allowed on the Vita, meaning certain games never made it to the console-a console that was panned for not having a big enough library.
However as opposed to the issues there, PCs can run even DOS games with the right modifications. Old games can be run in emulators and sold officially, or unofficially if getting a legal copy is near impossible. Games from years ago can be purchased and enjoyed, as long as they can be made to run with modifications that might allow greater compatibility or even just allow full screen support. Heck, GOG specializes in selling older games and has a forgiving refund policy if you can’t get it to work. There’s even generally links to forums on GOGs own site that allow you to find tweaks to older games that allow them to actually function. That allows gamers to go back and find games released on PC years ago, and experience them for themselves, ala System Shock 2.
And those modifications don’t even have to come from the devs or another dev team. Thanks to modders, old games can be made to run on new systems, modded to work at all-or work better on new systems, and even be stabilized or have new content added to improve the game further. KOTOTR II-as mentioned above-was buggy, missing content/ storylines and the ending was clearly rushed-and now the official version on steam has quite a bit of that content modded into it from the word go (spoilers at the provided link).
Functionality as a computer and communication
And finally, one of the more obvious points-that the PC functions as a computer. I haven’t used the web browser on the PS4 or Xbox One, but previous experience with the Vita and PS3 browsers has proven to be fraught with poor design choices. Again, the PC offers choice, allowing you to choose from several browsers and have a far more personalized choice then on console. Due to the nature of a controller, typing is also generally built into PC’s function-ala a keyboard-making usage of a browser and text based chat much easier. Additionally there’s different communication apps so you can form a party and talk to them via things like skype or discord-and avoid the cancerous cesspool that can be is open mic lobbies.
While the PC platform is imperfect-I made that very clear in Part 1-above, I’ve made the case for why I think it manages to surpass its flaws and be one of the best options for gaming available. Really, so much of it comes down to the sheer amount of options you have at your disposal, making it a more personal machine than either of the consoles to me. By sheer virtue of what it is, you can fix broken games or fix things you don’t like about finished products and make them all the better. I understand why some people go for consoles, but whenever possible I advise people to give PC gaming a try if they have the capacity to get past all of its issues. It’s a great platform for playing games, and after having mine for long enough I can honestly say I would never go back to consoles limiting the choices I can have-innane or otherwise.
Thanks for reading!