Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

In August, the owners of the “most Orthodox platform” have a holiday – former console exclusives – Yakuza 0, Monster Hunter: World, Shenmue I & II remaster – came out or almost came out on personal computers. However, we all know that such holidays are often overshadowed by poor optimization, poor management and some other sores that often happened when porting from consoles to PC. Why this happens, which ports especially suffered from such problems, and which, on the contrary, showed a master class – we’ll talk about this today.

Exclusives enter ports

Disputes on the topic “PC or consoles” have always raged, and all the arguments of the owners of the “only and most powerful platform” have invariably been smashed against a list of exclusives available only to the happy masters of gamepads and consoles. “You will never play Uncharted, The Legend of Zelda, Heavy Rain, the coolest fighting games and a bunch of other hits,” consolers scoffed. Opponents responded by saying something furiously about “the coolest hardware”, Civilization, Total War and World of Warcraft, but their eyes were rueful. We don’t really play. But I would like to touch this unknown new world – somewhere in the depths of my soul, for sure.

Of course, there were pleasant exceptions. The first Halo appeared on Windows two years after its release on Xbox, and the same trick was done with the first Gears of War. The seventh and eighth parts of the originally console Final Fantasy quickly enough, a year later, came out on personal computers. Actively ported to the popular platform of the Resident Evil and Silent Hill series.

But in the case of games from Microsoft, it was more of a marketing ploy. Both Halo and Gears of War quickly became major Xbox exclusives. And Japanese curiosities did not always get successful ports – they often suffered from terrible control when using the keyboard + mouse bundle. The really big turning point came around the turn of 2011-2013, after the release of several important and successful console ports on PC. Since then, their number has only increased.

Be that as it may, we all know very well that often ports on Windows turn out to be terribly bugged and then patched for a long time. Or suffer from terrible management and interface. Or from something else. Let’s look at well-known examples.

Four failed ports from consoles to PC

Resident Evil 4

The game was released in 2005 on the Nintendo GameCube and moved to the PC two years later. At the same time, the management in the Windows version was just a nightmare. The authors of the port from the Sourcenext studio forgot to introduce mouse support for aiming, mixed up the gamepad buttons in the manual, tied the keys crookedly to movements. And in the end, they turned QTE episodes into a real hell – the gamepad buttons were always displayed on the screen, even if the “keyboard” was used, forcing the player to curse the day when he decided to try this Japanese miracle. But it turned out to be an excellent simulator for the development of memory. In addition, in the computer version, the graphics only got worse compared to the console versions, normal lighting and shadows disappeared somewhere, and the quality of the videos dropped – they were drawn in real time on the GameCube, and the PS2 and PC got a muddy “prerender”. We fixed all this later with both official and amateur patches.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

That would be the tree and the developers of the PC version!

Dark Souls

On the PC, the sadomasochistic masterpiece from From Software was released in 2012 – as they say, at the numerous (well, very numerous) requests of the masses working on personal computers. However, at the start, the port raised many questions – again, strange control, poor network code, problems with optimization and support for high resolutions, a limit of up to 30 fps, the legendary mouse pointer on the screen. But modders got rich ground to practice their skills in turning compost into candy – I’m talking about the famous DSfix first of all, which added Full HD support and removed the cursor.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

Well, you already understood who and why you would like to beat with such clubs!

Batman: Arkham Knight

The failure of the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight has already entered the annals of modern industry history – due to disgusting optimization and numerous technical errors, it was almost unplayable. As a result, in June 2015, the game was shamefully withdrawn from sale in the Steam store. They returned it in October of the same year, but seeing that nothing had changed much, they offered the buyers to issue a refund. Then the version was still patched, and only in January 2016 everything began to work more stably. Although it is still comfortable to play Batman: Arkham Knight on PC only the owners of the top-end computers – like the one installed in the Batcave.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

The most annoying thing is that the game is, in fact, gorgeous.

Devil May Cry 3

The quality of this port of 2006 release (the original slasher was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2005) is evidenced by the fact that by default the game was launched only in windowed mode. In the appendage – low resolution, lack of normal support for the gamepad, and its buttons were not really displayed. And in order to play normally, PC-boyars had to dance with a tambourine for a long time, install fan-made patches, and delete something manually.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

This is what the port of this beautiful game looked like in 2006.

Thank God, not all developers are careless about porting console hits to personal computers. And there are plenty of such examples.

Eight great ports from consoles to PC

Silent Hill 2

In contrast to the aforementioned Resident Evil 4 and some other comrades, the example of Silent Hill 2 proved that Japanese horror games can feel comfortable on personal computers. Excellent graphics, good optimization, sane controls and a more or less normal camera (compared to some other samples) – nothing here prevented a focused dive into the depths of the metaphysical hell that flared up in the subconscious of James Sunderland.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

“I take it you can’t wash your hands?”

Alan Wake

Another horror about how a man entangled in his own subconscious and complexes is looking for his wife. A loud exclusive for the Xbox 360 from the authors of Max Payne, two years after the release on the console, still visited PC-penates in 2012, where he showed an example of an almost perfect port: the game here is more detailed compared to the version for the Xbox 360, fully supports keyboard, mouse and gamepad, there are advanced graphics settings. In general, a fairy tale, albeit a very dark one. The award was almost 2 million copies sold on Steam.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

This is how Alan does with the authors of the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight.

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

This part of the famous series did not stay long as a console exclusive – in the spring of 2015, it was also released on computers. And at the same time, it pleased with chic optimization, which was not an iron rule for Assassin’s Creed.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

Such an optimization at the start of all games in the series!

Mortal Kombat: Complete Edition

The ninth part of the legendary fighting game was released in 2011 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and three years later under the name Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition triumphantly reached personal computers. And then it turned out that the thesis “fighting games are only for consoles!” This is a lie and a provocation. Since then, almost all the important fights have been regularly released on PC, forcing us to buy gamepads. Or break your fingers on the keyboard.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

“Did you buy a gamepad?”

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow — Ultimate Edition

Remember the sad example of how unsuccessfully the wonderful slasher Devil May Cry 3 was ported to the PC? And here we have a different situation. The PC version of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, subtitled Ultimate Edition, was released in 2013, three years after the console version, and offered improved graphics with support for trendy graphics technologies. So even now she looks great. And at the same time, there are no restrictions on 30 fps – everything works at 60 frames per second. Yes, you still need to get used to the local camera, but for the sake of such a story and characters, you can endure.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

Belmont receives two DLCs for the Ultimate Edition.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition

You may not like Final Fantasy XV (which I, as you remember, did), but you can’t help but admit that this is a chic port. It includes almost all previously released content for consoles, all materials from the season pass, opens a first-person view, adds new tasks and supports the achievement system. And yet it looks great thanks to the latest graphics technology.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

In this game, only landscapes are good. Okay, joke.

Gears of War

The computer version of the first Gears of War, as in the case of Halo: Combat Evolved and Alan Wake, is executed almost perfectly – but it could not be otherwise, given who is behind all these games and what bets were placed on them at different times. Coming out in 2007, a year after its release on the Xbox 360, it pleased with improved graphics, an additional chapter, a new multiplayer mode and a level editor.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

In the Ultimate Edition, the first part looks no worse than many modern blockbusters.

Bayonetta

Probably the best PC port in recent times. Anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, SSAO, scalable textures, the ability to switch between English and Japanese voiceovers at any time and watch all the delights of the main character in full 4K – you see, it was worth waiting eight years since the release of the slasher on consoles.

Orienteering Ports - The Best and Worst PC Ports

Curves in both cases are good!

***

Today, in the era of multi-platform, the situation for dedicated “bakers” is, of course, noticeably better than before. There are more and more good ports from consoles to personal computers, and fewer and fewer bad ones. Platinum Games, following Bayonetta, moved to PC and Vanquish, and almost all significant releases of Final Fantasy moved here. And in general, almost all important JRPGs today either come out immediately and on computers, or are transferred in the form of remasters and re-releases. Microsoft publishes all its new hits simultaneously on Xbox One and Windows 10. And even though downloading them through the Windows Store is still hell and hemorrhoids, the fact remains: these games are available on the most popular platform. And this August proved that even such console curiosities as Shenmue and Monster Hunter are possible on computers. Life got better…

For complete happiness, it remains only to close your eyes, take a deep breath and dream – here you are playing Sony and Nintendo exclusives on your computer, going through all the missed Halo and Gears of War series. Then you slowly take out your lip-roller… Yes, there were, are and will be exclusives for consoles – they sell consoles. But practice shows that sooner or later they may appear on the PC – even in the window of emulators. And you must admit, for the sake of such games, we would not have suffered the most convenient control, and we would have closed our eyes to a low resolution. Nothing, modders have already honed their skills enough.

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