NOTE: Yes, we know it’s not a console. Shut up.
The elephant in the motion-control room that Sony and Microsoft aren’t talking about is that motion control is a sad attempt to reinvigorate two platforms that are going to look increasingly dated over the next few years of their planned 10-year lifespans.
The PC already had a game three years ago that still looks better than anything current consoles could hope to achieve. The mouse and keyboard, despite being an ancient idea, already nailed the “precision” that motion control claims to bring to gaming. And the mouse will always be the superior tool, because it sits on a stable platform. Holding up a pointer at a screen for hours on end is tiring and hampered by the human arm’s inability to hold perfectly still – just look at the jiggly cursors you see on the Wii and PS3, or the slow-as-a-granny-in-a-walker Kinect cursor.
Above: Also, nobody’s ever going to do this for a mouse
While the consoles pathetically flap their arms trying to bring in casual gamers, the PC is only becoming more powerful, while still maintaining its prestige as the true hardcore gamer’s platform. PC gamers aren’t afraid of buttons. We’ve been playing games while using 10 times the available buttons of any console controller, while simultaneously making use of gaming’s most immersive, precise way to aim, flick, and click: the mouse. Notice how Nintendo shied away from blabbing about motion control at E3? That’s because they’ve realized what a lame gimmick it is, and that the industry is already moving away from it. Unfortunately for the PS3 and 360, Sony and Microsoft haven’t realized it, which means they’ll be floundering while the PC focuses on real, concrete gaming.
Obviously, better graphics do not mean better games, but if you play a console version of a triple-A title and then compare it to the PC version, the difference is astounding. Particularly with games designed to draw you in with their ambiance, PC games win out, and this coming fall is the perfect time to upgrade. Currently, DirectX 11 graphics cards are crazy expensive, but give it a few months and not only will they be cheaper, but so will processors and Solid State Drives (SSDs), all of which combine to make fast, gorgeous gaming that’s way beyond what consoles can achieve.
At this point, it’s getting embarrassing how far behind visually the current generation of consoles has become. PCs are already next-gen, and will continue to get even lovelier in their visual capabilities. Every month that goes by makes the consoles trail farther behind, while PC components become more affordable. While console games continue to claim HD visuals and instead quietly render their visuals to be well below the capacity of HDTVs, PC monitors continue to blow away anything even the best TVs can deliver, with ridiculously crisp, anti-aliased visuals on top of the subtle lighting effects that DirectX 11 graphics cards can produce.
Fallout: New Vegas will almost certainly be huge, but those playing on consoles are getting a clunky, muddy-looking version of a game series that has always been about the PC. Management-heavy games like Fallout and Mafia always offer a more streamlined experience on PC compared to the console versions, because the mouse and keyboard make navigating your inventory way faster, meaning you spend more time playing the game instead of fumbling through windows or quick-selection wheels. Then, of course, there are the shooters…
Medal of Honor? FEAR 3? Call of Duty: Black Ops? Please. Not only will these games make their console counterparts look like last-gen knockoffs, but there’s no comparison to the mouse when it comes to precision aiming. While the “hardcore” FPS “pros” on Xbox Live and PSN talk shit to noobs about learning to aim, the real pros on PC will snicker at their pathetic reliance on auto-aim.
Let’s also not forget the importance of immersion in horror games like FEAR 3 and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. With the PC’s sophisticated and subtle light and shadow capabilities, creeping down corridors lit only by flickering, dancing lights will be nightmare-inducing. Which version will make you quake in terror more?
The PC has always been the only place to properly experience certain genres, like strategy games and MMOs. StarCraft II will have enormous legs, with a playerbase still growing throughout the fall and high-level competition heating up. But it’s the big PC exclusives, like the titanic Civilization V, that will provide experiences that can be found on no other system. Napoleon: Total War – The Peninsular Campaign will also be coming, but it’s with the MMO angle that the PC will truly bring its dominance to the front.
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online is quietly creeping onto the scene, and for the many fans of the Warhammer universe, this is no small thing. Yet not every MMO arriving in the fall will be conventional RPG stuff. LEGO Universe has shown it’s ready to take a whimsical yet creative approach to the MMO, with a level-design philosophy closer to that of single-player games. Yet there is one juggernaut expected in the fall, and it pretty much seals the deal for the PC’s win. Even if you don’t play World of Warcraft, its influence is inarguable, and the Cataclysm expansion will make some serious waves. It’s not just your typical add-on for high level players; it’s going to reshape the entire world of Azeroth, meaning a fresh experience for new players, returning players, or players wanting to create a new character. It’s sure to reinvigorate the biggest game on the planet.
Who wins? Check the next page to see!