Console vs. PC - Controls
I long looked down upon consoles, especially for my passion, the First Person Shooter (FPS). The A-W-S-D keyboard control for motion/strafing, and the mouse look turned on, are about as perfect as I ever expected. Also, I was able to bind macros to keys, and when I was playing a lot of deathmatch, I had taunts hooked up to keys so that I could rub it in when I killed another player.
The console ports require the use of a controller, and while the two predominant consoles (Sony PS and Microsoft Xbox) have similar controllers with two analog joysticks that become the motion, and the look functions. It is inherently less precise and controllable than on the PC, particularly when you have optimized the mouse sensitivity to match your skill.
Of course the games do have some “fuzzing” of the accuracy, that helps narrow the gap, but in general it is different, and more difficult to master.
But it is not impossible.
I have learned that with time, you build muscle memory, and you adapt to the new controls.
This doesn’t happen instantaneously. It takes a lot of practice. Uncountable hours, over lots of days, and one day, you just become proficient.
When I first tried to play some FPS’s on my old Xbox 360, (call of duty, and the original Doom) I got frustrated. I wasn’t immediately good at it, and I got frustrated and walked away, going back to my other games (mostly the Forza franchise).
This time, I have become much more focused. I didn’t give up easily, and I kept trying (and dying). I bought the original Doom game, where the interface is different, and being a 2D game with some 3D bits is a good training ground. Play a bunch of those old levels, levels that I played to death in the 1990’s, some old friends, so to speak.
I began to get good at the two stick method, and more comfortable with how to use the controller. Do I miss the keyboard+mouse controls of the PC? You betcha. But, do I miss it enough to build a gaming computer?
But I am working my way through the campaign for Doom 2016, and making consistent progress. (I have some observations on the new Doom for a later post)
The real reason why I am sticking with Consoles
I certainly could build a kick ass gaming PC, hell, I followed the tech curve in the late 1990’s building a new PC every 18 months or so, always looking for the next edge. The faster graphics cards, or bigger drives, or faster processors, all of these were necessary if you were playing deathmatch, online and wanted to have a chance of winning.
But this got pretty expensive. Stupid expensive.
Whereas for a console, the hardware is frozen. Every player has the same CPU, the same video hardware, the same controllers. Developers can push the hardware to the absolute limit, knowing that there won’t be incompatibilities, and quirks. And recent consoles, from the Xbox era and later, there is serious checking for hacked and modified consoles. Unless you are 100% happy not being part of the community, you are likely not hacking your console. Many people bemoan the days where a mod-chip and some simple “breaks” were your ticket to success.
The me from the 1990’s would be in this category.
But, the me from now, is totally NOT in this category. I like the fact that in 2015 I bought my Xbox One, and apart from plugging in an external drive because I have totally packed the built in HD, I am glad that the Xbox One has been a solid performer.
The real bummer? I have a total jones for the original Quake, and alas, it is not available for my Mac. And it is not on the Xbox.
Not enough of a bummer to build a PC though.
Because if I did, I would want to build a monster, that can run Doom Eternal at 200+ frames per second at 1440p. And a $1,200 video card that is in limited availability.
I will pass.
I continue to play on my Xbox One. I am getting good at my favorite FPSs with the controller. I know I could play better on a PC. But I am enjoying the experience on the Xbox.
Now that the next generation of the Xbox is out, I will likely buy the Series S. Mainly because I don’t anticipate buying a 4K TV, and the smaller footprint + the backwards compatibility of my existing games make it a very good option going forward.