I had a strange revelation a few minutes ago. I was talking to my boss about Call of Duty coming out today. I was explaining how I was very angry that I wouldn’t get to play it on my Xbox today since it was in the shop (more on this in a minute). He, being equally excited for it, said “why don’t you just buy it for the PC”. It was then I realized that my idea of an enjoyable “multiplayer” experience had changed. For years I have been a strong supporter of “PC games first” when it came to the multiplayer aspect. There was a time where I would NEVER have considered playing a shooter on a console. For me, PC gaming was the ultimate in “team sport”. Then Battlefield 2 killed my clan, my computer aged beyond it’s years, and going “pubbing” and trying to find a server to play on became a laborious task. Taking 20 minutes to find a server with a good ping, without cheaters or retards, playing the maps I wanted completely took the fun out of playing. Plus, with no friend to play with, I was always flying solo. More recently, having played games over Xbox live, I can see the instant benefit of a “match making” system in Halo 3, or finding players with similar ranks in CoD. Take away the hardware advantage people might have on a PC over each other and go with a standardized box and you’ve leveled the playing field. Now it’s about skill again. All those problems I would have with the PC are solved simply by Xbox Live existing.
So, when my boss asked me why I didn’t just buy it for the PC, I actually had to think about it. I reasoned in my head that, if I did buy it for the PC, who would play with me? Where would I play? Who is going to run servers for it? Even if I can find some place to play, would my teammates come back to PC gaming and join me? Then I thought about playing it on the Xbox, how easy the server browsing was in the beta and how well the match making system worked.
The down side I still struggle with is the peripherals. A mouse and keyboard are simply better at FPS games. They are. There have been numerous tests to prove it in the past and on a fairly consistent basis, the PC gamers come out on top. I can add my own experience and say that there are simply some maneuvers and some shots that I know I can make on a PC that are impossible to make on a console for all but the most hardcore players. There will always been a few guys who are just one with the machine and can manipulate that controllers into doing things that no one else can, but I’m talking on the whole.
So anyway, I think simply on the basis that I don’t have anyone to play with and that I doubt the PC community will support a game like Call of Duty well into next year, makes me lean towards the Xbox as my platform of choice for this one.
Now, Team Fortress 2 is entirely different. I considered getting the “Orange Box” for the Xbox but opted for the PC instead. I can honestly say that I haven’t enjoy PC gaming this much in a long time. It’s brought me back, it really has. It made my CoD decision even harder. Truth be know, there still are some games with will live on for the PC from now until eternity. Half Life is one of those. There’s a few games coming down the pipe that fit that category as well. Unreal Tournament is one of them, Frontlines (in Jan) is another. I’ll be buying those both for the PC. Some game, although available for both platforms, lend themselves the other way though. Assassins Creed coming out next week will be most definitely an Xbox purchase, as will “adventure/rpg” games like Mass Effect. I think any time the input isn’t a consideration, the decision will lean towards the Xbox. Simple games (in terms of actions) are better with simple controllers. If I’m trying to call in an arty strike, while sniping an enemy convoy, while coordinating the attack via voice with my team mates, well, that sort of thing lends itself to an input device with more the 6 buttons. PC all the way.
As for my Xbox, you heard right. It’s in the shop. Last week it starting having random video issues. We’re not talking “red ring of death”, we’re talking a problem with the video connection coming out of the box. The video would simply go black, but I could hear the audio from the game perfectly. There was no “crash” of console or the game. I could still hit buttons and hear my character doing things. I called up MS and they said that sometimes the connector on the back becomes a little loose and they can simply replace it. It’s a simple repair and should be back to me in a week. They were actually quite nice about it. They’re sending an empty box, with packing material, a pre-paid UPS label and everything. The repair center is here in TX and they’re giving me a free month of Live for my troubles. Not bad customer service if I do say so. The box should be here today or tomorrow, so if I can get it sent off I should have it back for Mass Effect on the 20th. Until then, I can dive back into Team Fortress, so no real loss of gaming.
It seems that my content has been stolen for nefarious link spam purposes. A piece of this very post was posted at the website for the trackback comment below. I’ve left the comment (minus the link of course) so you can see what douchebaggery the internet is coming to. Honestly, why steal this and post it elsewhere. It’s not really that interesting. If it was someone reputable, this wouldn’t be a problem. But having it appear on a link-farm, google-ad, spam blog is just too much.