When big blockbuster games get ported to PC, we tend to be cautious about our excitement, as PC gamers have been shafted over the years with tons of bad console ports. Our blood boils when we see crucial missing options like Vsync, Anti-Aliasing, and high-resolution textures. Worse even is when the games flat out don't work as they should. We’ve put together a list of ten titles that run poorly on the PC because they’re lazy console ports.
The half-eviscerated zombie of first-person shooters
Perhaps if poor Isaac Clarke had been able to switch parts with the late Isaac Hayes, Dead Space 3 might have been a bit less boring. At this point, we’d gladly throw in a few Chef-like wisecracks just to liven up the game a tad—might as well rename this one “Dull Space 3.”
Note: This review was taken from the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
When I devote time to media – whether it's a game, TV show, book, or slice of delicious chocolate cake drowned in molten frosting lava – I tend to lose myself in it. I think about it constantly. My speech becomes laden with referential jargon, and probably by pure coincidence, my friends start punching me in the throat more frequently. That's the power of a great world, though. You have to drag me away from it kicking and screaming, and even when you do, I bring a few chunks of officially licensed astro turf along for the ride.
But it's fun to be hopelessly and utterly absorbed in a place halfway across the galaxy from Real Life's day-to-day doldrums. Whether it's a million-mile-per-hour escape from reality or something that ends up hitting all too close to home, there's something downright magical about, say, wandering Fallout's wastes or selecting the “family” conversation option of every goddamn person in Mass Effect 3's entire galaxy. Things like that are, in large part, the reason I play games.
So I think I'm probably qualified to talk about why transmedia's insidious, spindly web of Facebook games, apps, iOS spin-offs, art books, and delicious chocolate cakes drowned in molten frosting lava is doing it so very, very, very wrong.
Watching one of gaming's most well-known faces plummet multiple stories and impale herself on a jagged iron pipe is an uncomfortable experience, to say the least. But wait, she's not done. Nearly sobbing, she proceeds to wrench her unfortunate new appendage from her side while emitting a skin-crawling scream. And that's just the beginning.
The first time I saw the latest Tomb Raider game in action, my heart nearly exploded out of my chest – probably in an effort to escape from the carnage. The rest of my body, meanwhile, wanted nothing more than to follow it. Lara Croft was in pain. Real pain. Blinding pain. Not “Rawr, me videogame character, me shrug off bullet to face like it tiny blind kitten baby” pain. It was ugly, dirty, and downright horrific. And it wouldn't stop happening. Lara constantly fell, slipped, and survived by clawing rocks until her fingernails were bloody scraps. The demo reveled in pain, said many pundits. It was “torture porn,” sharing a straightjacket with movies like SAW and the part of our brains that loves to stare at car wrecks.
I, however, disagree completely. Not only that, I think this is something the gaming industry could use a whole lot more of. Find out why after the break.
As a game, Dead Space 2 really isn't all that special. There's some decent shooting, sure, but if you've helped one necromorph with that pesky “having legs” problem of his, you've helped 'em all. No – what truly rockets Dead Space 2 from “good” to “fantastic” is the atmospheric, foreboding shell around shooting's chewy, gore-soaked center. Dead Space 2 is a game that's greater than the sum of its parts – but its parts aren't half-bad to begin with.
Dead Space 2's premise is remarkably similar to that of the original. You're still Isaac Clarke, falling-apart-at-the-seams necromorphs are still invading, and you're still coping with visions of your corpsified girlfriend. The devil, however, is in the details, and that's where Dead Space 2 really shines. For one, Isaac's no longer doing his best Gordon Freeman impression, and his struggle's much more cinematic as a result. The main plot's not Oscar-worthy or anything like that, but its twists and turns will definitely keep you on your toes.
Unlike its closest competitor, Activision, Electronic Arts broke its 2008 bank over original IPs like Mirror’s Edge, Dead Space, and Left 4 Dead, instead of the usual sequel-oriented fare. And at first glance, this risky strategy – akin to crawling when you already know how to walk, monetarily speaking – seems to have paid off.
During a conference call held earlier today, EA announced that Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space have roof-run and moon-walked their ways, respectively, to one million sales. Left 4 Dead, meanwhile, managed to pick the brains of 1.8 million retail customers. (Note: EA doesn’t have anything to do with the game’s Steam release, so it couldn’t provide any numbers on that.)
However, this tale of corporations, rebels, and zombies (of both the land and space varieties) doesn’t end happily. In spite of increased revenue, EA called its third quarter fiscal 2009 results “a clear disappointment.” The company posted an overall net loss of $641 million, mostly due to expenses and losses on investments.
Unsurprisingly, after taking such a beating, EA’s bleeding employees. The mega-publisher announced that it will reduce its workforce by 11% and close 12 facilities by the end of March. Roughly 1,100 people will be affected.
Good thing The Sims 3 and Dragon Age are landing soon, though, right? Oh. Never mind.
“Let’s see… I’ll take one copy of Spore – hold the SecuROM DRM, please.”
“Oh, er, sorry. Your order’s already slathered in DRM and, well, we can’t remove it. If you come back in a couple weeks, though, we might be able to scrape off a bit of it. Sound good?”
Has something like this ever happened to you? A pleasant Sunday afternoon installation spoiled by SecuROM’s goon squad? Well, no more. At least, if you ride under Steam’s banner.
“EA is one of the industry’s largest publishers,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “The EA titles coming to Steam this holiday include some this year’s top PC titles.”
He’s not kidding, either. Titles like Spore, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, Mass Effect, Need for Speed Undercover, and FIFA Manager 2009 are already available, with Mirror’s Edge, Red Alert 3, and Dead Space moving in with the Freeman family in the “coming weeks.” And, of course, these games will conform to Steam’s standards; in other words, no SecuROM whatsoever.
So, does this mean we can all finally kiss and make up with EA, and notice that it’s released some damn good games over the past year? C’mon now; it’s Christmas.
We just arrived at the EA press conference at the Orpheum theater. Lots of news being released, including the announcement of Sims 3, coming out in 2009. EA demos Dead Space, Spore, Mirror's Edge, NBA Live 09, Dragon Age: Origins, Left4Dead (characters redesiged), and id's Rage! Click through for our liveblog!