In November of 2016 I lost my home (and also the brand new PC I had just finished) to a massive wildfire. Not bitter about that at all. Man, the PC was sweet. Anyways, I digress. While working and living in hotels (renter’s insurance pays off, guys!) I secured a console. Even though I vastly prefer the PC, I wanted to play games and didn’t have the ability to go forward with a PC until I had a home again. Thus, I was left in a position I had not been in for years: Playstation, or Xbox?
I stayed awake for days, frantically searching on my phone. Sweat dripped down as anxiety over-rode me. I felt my hands were two rocks, blindly smashing the LED-screen like a caveman first discovering lewd cave-paintings. Sweaty and short-of-breath, I settled on the PS4. What swayed my decision the informed reader asked? Why, it was dumb luck. I walked into a local reputable pawn shop, it was $200, and had two controllers as well as a few games. Perfect. I was excited to try out the exclusives I had missed for Playstation. One of the few things that pushed me that way, in hindsight, was that there were only a few Xbox exclusives I could name, and none interested me.
I knew the transition would be rough to go to a console, but I underestimated how rough. I am used to certain aspects of PC that I took for granted. Multi-tasking is something I do so frequently on PC that I generally forget it’s rather difficult or impossible on a console to the degree I was used to. Didn’t help the hotel’s wifi was a solid 80kb/s, and no I’m not exaggerating. The first game I properly purchased with my PS4 was Battlefield 1, and shortly after Final Fantasy XV. I fucked up. You see, I purchased the disc for Battlefield 1, and a digital copy of Final Fantasy XV. I firmly reiterate, I fucked up. I did not know how slow the internet would be but it took me three days to download it. Lesson learned, and not the console’s fault, but it was a part of my experience.
As a segue I fucking love controllers. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t use them frequently on a PC set-up unless the game is broken without one (looking at you Dark Souls 1.) I’ve become used to the precision of a mouse and keyboard, and I felt truly clumsy with a controller in my hands. But like anything else, a few hours and it felt natural again. I have small hands and that particularly impacted my enjoyment of the PS4’s controller. I do remember how awkward the original Xbox controllers were, and am glad that form factor has dissipated into the dark canyon of hell where it belongs.
Hands down PC wins across the board but that’s not to say I was disappointed. In some games I felt they were a little off, as I’ve been running high-end computers for half of the last decade. Things like load-times did seem unbearably long, particularly Skyrim (of course I re-bought it for the fourth time.) That said, certain titles blew me away. Particularly, The Order: 1886. Though I thought the game itself was somewhere between a work meeting about something that doesn’t involve you but somehow was labelled mandatory, and a root canal, the seamless transitions between cutscenes and gameplay were phenomenal. I’ve yet to see that even on PC. The character models were pretty, the environment was beautiful. It’s worth playing just because it’s so damn pretty, but generic white grizzled protagonist does generic shit a la Steampunk.
Aside from that title though, the score is on PC’s side across the board. I use my console a lot, particularly with friends. That said, I found load times to be bad, distance rendering was nothing more than a few pixels, and that made it hard for some long-term fighting in Battlefield 1. Is this the end of the world? Nah, not really. Inconvenient for someone used to pixel-perfect firing like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive demands? Yes, absolutely.
A beautiful, wise, intelligent, and powerful man once said “Playing on the PC can be a god damned chore.” He’s not wrong. I love PC, I firmly support it as the superior system to play games (with a big asterisk next to that, one that’s on fire, and neon, that screams “IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY, TIME, AND DESIRE TO TRY IT.”) Otherwise, a console is more than sufficient for most people, and that’s fine. Just because I prefer the color red doesn’t mean anyone else who doesn’t like red the most is fucked in the head. Except for people who like yellow. I question them.. Shady happy fuckers.
A PC is love/hate relationship. Sometimes you just want to start up a game and it’s got to update the game, update drivers, or verify the integrity of the game’s cache. This is something that’s just learned over time to deal with. At this point I pay enough attention to the games I play to know when updates go live, and I queue them overnight while I sleep. If I am not sleeping I’ll hang out on Twitch, play an offline game, watch YouTube, watch Netflix, read articles, check reddit, etc etc. I’ve become accustomed to be able to multi-task even with a low-end internet connection, but that’s not for everyone.
The biggest downside is the general knowledge of building a PC, maintaining it, and upgrading it. How do you know what’s an adequate part? You can budget build a console killer for the same price as any console if you want to run a lean system, but for the enthusiasts that might not cut it. I got into PC because I’ve struggled with the middle-zones for years, I’ve always been into the cutting edge, and it’s scratched that itch.
What did I learn?
Consoles are decent for the entry and middle-level gamers that neither have the time, energy, and/or money to get into PC gaming. Some of the exclusives are just downright awesome in their respective ways, but ultimately my heart is in PC, and remains that way after my foray.
AyYoAugury is a pudgy fuckboy with bad taste in music and long hair. Fucking degenerate. Reach out to him on twitter @AyYoAugury.