I really don’t want to work out how many hours I spent playing the Sea of Thieves final beta this weekend. It was many hours. Probably too many. There was a nagging thought in the back of my head the entire time: This feels like a console game. That in itself isn’t a problem but I was playing on PC and the effect was somewhat jarring.
There are different expectations when playing a game on PC compared to consoles. Sitting back with a controller feels very different than sitting at a desk with keyboard and mouse. If a game’s UI doesn’t reflect that, then it feels like the developers didn’t keep all of their audience in mind while making their game.
With Sea of Thieves the entire control scheme felt like Rare took the Xbox One controls for the game – radial menus and all – and remapped them one to one with keyboard and mouse. These controls could be remapped, which is a handy feature that I’m always a fan of, however there was still the overall feeling that I should be playing with a controller.
After a few hours I relented and plugged in an old Xbox 360 controller. It made a world of difference.
At least the entire situation was better than attempting to remap controls in Ori and the Blind Forest which has you digging into a hidden text file in your user folder to type in what button you want to do what. Be careful when doing that too, put a comma in the wrong place while trying to setup Mouse4 to jump and all the controls will revert to default.
Controls aren’t the only thing to worry about when it comes to PC ports. Having appropriate graphics settings so that all the dials can be turned appropriately to get a smooth experience on your rig is equally important. There’s far too much variation in PC configurations for developers to have a one size fits all approach to this.
Before you even get to dealing with various settings there is the occasional issue of trying to get the game to work. With DRM, driver issues and the occasional port rushed out on short notice without much budget, you end up with occasional train wrecks like Arkham Knight.
With all that being said, are you happy with the current state of PC ports? Are there games you think handled the jump particularly well or spectacularly poorly? Are there any companies you avoid because of a bad history of PC ports?