The PC versions of multi-platform games are supposed to look better, not worse.
As you may remember from last year, Konami’s big sports series Pro Evolution Soccer now runs on the Fox Engine. As you may also remember from last year, for reasons unknown, the PC version of PES 2016 and the PC version alone (the PS4 and XB1 versions were gorgeous) looked like shit, despite Metal Gear Solid V — another Konami Fox Engine game — looking quite lovely on the same platform.
Well, sports fans, anyone hoping that was a one-off is going to be pretty upset with PES 2017, because once again, the PC has been left in the dust by the console versions.
The PC version is almost entirely lacking in visual effects beyond basic lighting.
While the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the same game have all kinds of colour and lighting and weather and sweat effects, the PC version lingers like a last-gen port, with washed-out visuals and bizarrely low-fi textures on things like the grass.
It’s not all bad. As you can see above, the most important models in the game — the players — are pretty similar to the current-gen console versions. But it’s mostly bad, and these screens and videos don’t really do it justice. When you sit down and actually play the PC and PS4 versions side by side, as I have this week, it’s like playing two different games.
The featureless green mass that is the PC version’s grass is particularly low rent.
2006 messaged, it wants its grass back.
Making matters worse is that the game plays differently on PC as well. It’s not as bad as it was last year, where everything from animation to ball physics felt off, but it still feels more sluggish and less physical than it does on PS4.
All of which adds up to users (quite reasonably) suspecting that this is some kind of weird hybrid port, making use of some of the character models from the current-gen version of the game while drawing the rest of its code from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.
This sucks. The PC can do better than this, and football fans on the PC deserve better than this. Hell, PES 2017 itself deserves better than this; the PS4 version is really good (my annual PES vs FIFA review rundown will come next month), so it’s a shame that PC gamers can’t enjoy the same calibre of sports game that folks playing on consoles can.
Most of the images in this post were taken from the video below, made by Candyland, which does an excellent job of rounding up a lot of the visual differences between the versions.