Tell Us Dammit: Worst PC Ports

Tell Us Dammit: Worst PC Ports

So apparently Batman: Arkham Knight isnโ€™t great on PC. Boo-urns. But itโ€™s hardly the first game to be guilty of a shoddy PC port. What are some of the worst in recent memory?

There was the original Dark Souls, which took ages to come around, and then was completely terrible until clever modders fixed the issue in, like, an hour or something. Ridiculous.

What are some of the worst ports you can remember?


    • The old PC joystick port was worse. You can’t even get a PC with one of those now.

      OTOH, the article does say “recent memory” which probably rules them out.

      • You can buy a cheap soundcard off ebay with one. Just search soundcard joystick port on ebay.

      • You can get gameport to usb adapters though I believe. I have an old Sidewinder 3D Pro laying around that I was tempted to get one for at one stage (but didn’t).

        • Still worth getting one ted. Some of the best series of joysticks made. Especially for mechwarrior.

          Later revisions actually came with the serial port to usb converter before the went fully usb

          • I have a joystick somewhere that uses a USB port AND the old-style joystick port.. No idea why, probably they had a working design and wanted to bolt on some extra features without changing it too much.

            Of course the joystick ports were also used for MIDI back then, but finding a USB to MIDI converter is pretty easy.

    • You shut your whore mouth!
      I love me some RS232 ports! So hard to find systems with them now, you have to add them in yourself.
      I can’t stand USB FTDI [or worse, the cheap knockoffs] converters.

      There’s nothing better than a nice RS232 port for low level communications with electronic systems.

  • Any of them that doesn’t let you rebind keys

    Or perhaps Red Dead Redemption due to its absence…

  • Playing Street Fighter 2 on PC in the early nineties was pretty horrible, the keyboard was no arcade stick replacement.

    • wow… i remember playing stick fighter trying to do normal fireballs. I did multiple fist pumps when i was able to pull off the dragon punch on the keyboard.

  • I remember alot of games where they had the DRM in the form of typing in a word from the manual, or a code of a card. I had a port of one of the old WWF games but lost the card to enter the right code, so could never type it in. So every time after I’d pick my character the game would reset. Worst port ever.

    • I had a friend that would ring me up to get codes, lol. I installed it on his machine during a sleepover.

    • Turn to page 53 of Encyclopaedia Frobozzica and enter the fourth word of paragraph 5, sentence 3.

  • I can’t remember the last time I was burned by a bad port. These days, I tend to wait a while before buying a game. If there’re reports that the PC version is unplayable then I just don’t play that game.

    Sure, I’ve probably missed out on more than a few games that I’d otherwise enjoy this way but I’ve also dodged a lot of unnecessary frustration.

    • After all the recent kerfuffle, this is a really smart thing to do.

      After buying a season pass for Bioshock Infinite I’ll never buy a pass again. I usually wait for sales but I really wanted to play Batman: Knight. Thanking god I bought it for PS4!

  • I never got to try the horror Ubisoft published PC ports of RE4 or DMC3 back in the day I haven’t had too much of a problem. I’ve seen plenty of rocky launches. During the Fallout 4 hype I was reminiscing about how New Vegas was unplayable for a month without the use of a fan made custom dll injector to get the game to run. That was fun.

    Oh wait what am I thinking?! GTAIV. Holy hell. What a disaster.

    • All I remember of GTA4 was a bright pink, texture-less bridge that my car drove right through then fell into the water below. All while running at a horrendous frame rate.

    • Oh god I remember when Halo was first announced for Mac and it was like HOLY SHIT A GREAT GAME AND ONLY FOR MAC and then Microsoft and then XBox and then… fml.

    • It was pretty shithouse on Windows, too. They somehow managed to make it look WORSE on powerful PCs than it looked on the original xbox. Unbelievable. And the mouse-aiming was an utter dog, sluggish and unresponsive as shit thanks to that whole ‘stick threshold’ carried over.

  • CoD Ghosts? I can’t even finish the campaign because it’s that broken. It’s the only reason I got the damn thing and the setting actually looked cool.

    Also I want to say Dark Souls 1 & 2 because of the FPS problems. Like in DS1, if you boost frame rate to 60 it breaks certain jumps and ladders. Then in DS2 where weapon durability goes down at double the rate because of 60 FPS.

  • Dead Space was absolutely unplayable. That FOV – and textures. I bought it on Steam and played it for a grand total of 0.2 hours (just checked!). It was horrific. Wish they had Steam Refunds then…

    • Hmm – even though I bought it ages ago, would I still be eligible for a Steam refund if I’ve played it less than 2 hours?

    • I must’ve played that game at least 4 or 5 times all the way through. Loved it so much. You missed out man.

      But yeah, FOV (and controls) were awful. I liked the gfx tho’

  • Ace Combat Assault Horizon was pretty awful. It didn’t help that it was a terrible game, too.

    Also, the Bully/Cannis Canem Edit port was pretty bad. Really awkward controls and no way to remap them despite every other game in the GTA family having the option.

    • The PC port was actually OK for Assault Horizon, but the game itself? God damn, it was nothing but a total mar on the Ace Combat series.

  • Hmmm… there’s definitely a few in my Steam library.

    Dead Space 1
    Deus Ex 2: Invisible War (not because it was buggy, but because of console-centric design decisions)
    Crysis 2

    Late edits:

    Halo for Windows
    The Force Unleashed

    • What was bad about Crysis 2? I thought it was fine. Better controls than the first, but worse setting and story. Still made it hard to go back to the magnificence of the first and having to use mouse menu’s to change suit powers.

      • Woof… hm. This is going back a ways, tough to remember the specifics in detail but from what I recall when grumbling in an unsatisfied review, my primary complaints were a dodgy mouse pickup/input lag/smoothing, cutscene glitches, crashes/sound glitches over cutscenes or menu UI, pause/main menu not working, shadows/tagging-overlays not picking up correctly, which could well have been the typical ATI vs NVIDIA fuckery.

        I actually played it on the 360 first (yeah, another game that I’ve actually bought twice – filthy industry-destroying pirate that I am), and it ran smooth as butter by comparison. And that’s not taking into account the console-centric design considerations, limiting fights into small ‘combat arenas’ and similar.

        The take home point was: Old, inferior hardware should not run a game better than newer, more powerful hardware. They lose the right to complain about ‘vast possibitilies of hardware configurations’ when so many other games manage that apparently impossible feat just fine. That sort of poor excuse is the hallmark of a shitty port.

  • GTA IV was one of them originally, i remember i bought a retail copy, installed it, played through the first cutscene and crashed, i had no issues with it from Steam though. GTA V runs like an absolute dream though, it seems R* learnt their lesson.

    Watch_Dogs was another shitty PC port and nearly anything by Bethesda, modern Fallouts and PC’s weren’t the best of friends, at least for me anyway.

  • Battlefield 4 taught me a valuable lesson. Never pre-order a game, even if you are super excited for it and spent over 500 hours in BF3.

    Game was broken for a long time, like around 2-3 months, but kudos to DICE and EA for getting the game to where it is today and sticking with it.

    • Funnily enough, I had exactly the same lesson taught to me with Battlefield 3. Over 1000 hours in BF2, probably same in BC2. Then BF3 came out and I was like wtf!

      Played 13 hours and never touched it again. Who in their right mind thought a spawn screen that you couldn’t use your mouse with was a good idea… on PC… morons…

      I didn’t even purchase BF4… ๐Ÿ™

  • Deus Ex 2 Invisible War was profoundly terrible. GTA IV also not so hot. Saints Row 2 was pretty damn broken.

  • StarGlider on DOS. Truly horrible.
    The text was all in plain text in the files though, so we made a NSFW version with all the stuff renamed and thought we were hilarious at the time ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I remember doing that in CS 1.6, you could name the guns any hilarious thing that you wanted!

  • Of course everyone remembers the broken menu’s in Skyrim. I think I cried tears of blood every time I wanted to use a spell or change my favourite items. I don’t know how you can write code that can’t detect a mouse hover. Even had it when clicking on an item that wasn’t highlighted it would select the highlighted item.

  • Any console game from the 90s that got a PC port was horrible =P

    Maybe even the early 2000s too.

  • Can’t believe nobody’s mentioned ‘Assassin’s Creed 3’. The game runs OK until you get to Boston, at which point the frame rate tanks unless you drop all your graphics setting to ‘Low’ and modify a ‘.ini’ file.

    • And conversely, any Wii/Wii U/DS/3DS game or feature that doesn’t let you use buttons to navigate the menus >_>

      • No, smash bros Wii u is the worst, for shunning touch screen navigation of the menus.

        You’ve been doing it for a decade, and the on-screen buttons are huge! Bad Nintendo, bad!

        • It would never have even occurred to me to try that ๐Ÿ˜› If only because I play it with the pro controller, but even if I did have it on the gamepad there. Kinda interesting though, would’ve thought you’d be able to mess around with the menu like in Kid Icarus for sure.

          It just bothers me because most of the time I’m using buttons, so to let go with one hand, reach around to grab the stylus (fingers are not an option, I don’t want fingerprints on my screen. Though fingernails are there for the lazy option) then start doing stuff on screen feels like too much of a hassle. It’s just like watching people go and use a mouse to manually click through all the menus on a computer when there’s perfectly good keyboard shortcuts right there at your fingertips.

    • BG&E was pretty solid, with a patch that fixed a lot of remaining issues… but it was one of Ubi’s many experiments with hideously dysfunctional DRM – in this case their implementation of TAGES meant that, whilst the game ran really well after the patch, you actually needed third-party save hack tools to bypass three game-stopping bugs introduced by the copy-protection!

      GTAIV can never be mentioned enough in discussion of bad PC ports… also I seem to recall the much-beloved FFVII actually having some major stability issues on PC

      • Yeah, DRM should be burned at the stake. CD Projekt RED are the only ones with the right mindset on DRM when it comes to the bigger devs in the industry.

      • Well that’s good to hear.

        You know, if I wasn’t a gamer, I’d find DRM to be the funniest, blackest joke ever >..

  • Apparently Enter the Matrix has a bug that was so bad you couldn’t actually finish the game.

  • Final Fantasy 8. The original PC port was so in line with the Playstation that it didn’t even have an exit or quit option when getting out of the game. But I think this has been resolved since coming to Steam.

    • Square Enix are notoriously bad at making sloppy PC ports. In Final Fantasy XIII if you touch the esc button it tries to quit the game instead of what happens in virtually every other game which is to bring up the menu.

    • damn you for reminding me! I had forgotten all about that one! >.<
      *throws SR2 on pile with GTAIV… hugs SR3 because it’s not its fault that it had such a bad parent and it still turned out okay*

  • Dark Souls was really janky, but I still love the game…. moreso after DSFix.

    Actually, the one that stung the hardest was the original Soul Reaver. Completely unplayable without a controller :

  • Borderlands was a bit shite in comparison to the wonderful job they did with Borderlands 2. I’ll echo the sentiment of others in regards to Dead Space 1 as well, that was awful.

  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed port stuffed up the QTE controls so much so that passing a certain one was impossible for many players (crashing Star Destroyer).

  • Going back a ways, the original port for FF7 on the PC was pretty bad, mainly because you had to move around using the numeric keypad. Basically it was the PS1 version with the original buttons mapped to particular keys on the keyboard. The choice of keys made was not always optimal.

  • Most PC ports are pretty rubbish. This one (Arkham Knight) is pretty much right up there with the terrible ones.

  • Prototype 2… that was unplayable, the first one was perfect so it was such a letdown.
    GTA4 was also horrible too.

  • GTA 4 was pretty horrible.
    The first few Assassins Creed games wouldn’t run smoothly no matter watch spec your machine was.
    Trials Evolution was pretty bad, had this weird stutter that seemed to effect everyone no matter you settings.
    Every Tell Tale game (although that goes for nearly every platform!)

    • Actually, I tend to find that while not particularly impressive, Telltale games are better on PC than any other platform I’ve tried. Sluggish as fuck on the PS3 and on the iPad it is a crime against game development.

  • 7 years along and I STILL can’t play GTA 4 on my supercomputer at anything more than 640×480 res with lowest detail….must be getting at least 5 fps. I’m overreacting of course but GTA4 was, as just about everyone here in the comments has mentioned, a dog of a port.

    • … I never didn’t find GTA 4 bad, I did have to upgrade my Graphics card (was due anyway).

      But I also had a PS2 Game Pad plugged in

  • Alias

    [Yeah, the game based on the TV show with Jennifer Garner].
    Not only could you not remap the controls, they didn’t even bother to rename them from the PS2 version. So, they keymap referred to X, O, โ–ณ, โ˜ , I had to button mash to work out the keyboard controls…..

    I think it was the only game I have ever made use of EB’s return policy for.

    • I’ve had that with a few games that I can’t remember. Nothing worse than a press โ–ณ to attack message in a PC tutorial

  • I remember Saints Row 2 being rather crap driving was horrible you tap the a or d button and you flip the car.

  • Ghost Recon Future Soldier. My first experience with the legendarily bad run Ubisoft has with PC ports. Wasn’t even a case of it not running well – most people’s mice wouldn’t work, couldn’t get the res over 1280 something, without it shitting it’s pants, console-tinged menus everywhere, it was literally unplayable. Gave them a couple of weeks to fix it, was still borked, and gave up.

    Hoping, praying, begging, anything to ensure Rainbow Six Siege is not only a good game, but a good PC port. But, knowing Ubi, there’s no chance.

  • Dead Space 1 – Horribly weird mouse aiming
    Borderlands 1 – Extreme menu lag, terrible optimization
    Dark Souls 1 – Its fine with DSFix but I shouldn’t have to download mods simply to play a game
    Saints Row 2 – Terrible optimization
    NBA 2K10 – Still had the Xbox buttons listed for actions
    Silent Hill: Homecoming – Needs 2 different mods just to be playable, can’t change settings in game, need to modify a .ini file
    Fallout: New Vegas – Crash vegas
    Doom 3 – Doesn’t actually work with 80% of video cards

  • The Last Remnant.

    I tried playing the game but since all the controls were listed as their original Xbox ones I was quite literally unable to play it. Press X to ragequit.

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!