So as some of you know, I recently put together a new PC. It's been a long time and I was due for something "modern". Since my old PC had seen better days...
Although it was never my intent to build a "gaming" pc, since I gave up on that rat race, I used gaming as a benchmark to make sure that whatever I built would keep me happy for at least the next 4 or 5 years with little upgrading, in terms of applications and general computing are concerned.
After being away from the PC gaming scene for at least 3 or 4 years,I realize that consoles have really closed the gap on PC gaming. It makes sense since console gaming has flourished over the last 3 or 4 years, while PC gaming seems to be in deep trouble based on sales (which many attribute to piracy).
So after building my PC, I decided to to try out a few games where I could compare the PC version of games I'd played on consoles. Surprisingly enough, the differences seem to be more subtle than I thought. I've heard the stories about how modern PC gaming "graphics" could blow away modern consoles out of the water, and I have to say, that's not necessarily the case.
The first game I tried, which is something I've been playing on the 360 for almost 2 years now was COD4. Aside from higher resolution (slightly sharper image since the 360 version seems to be 720p) there really isn't that much of a difference. I actually prefer the 360 version. The games themselves are better organized in Live and everyone uses com. I got the feeling while playing on PC that I was playing with a bunch of bots, since there wasn't that much interaction and you have to pick a game from a endless list of servers (many of which are empty).... No after game lobby, you go from one game to the next, etc. On the positive for the PC version, the mods are actually pretty friggin' cool. Some of the mods I played included paintball (funny as hell) and Aliens which is an Aliens vs. Humans game, Aliens have laser guns and look like... Aliens.
Second game I tried was the HAWX demo. I figured surely there would be an advantage here for the PC version since it takes advantage of DX10 (tried it before nuking my windows 7 install). I was pretty disappointed to realize that it is identical to the 360 version. No difference whatsoever. If anything the PC version was annoying since the game calls the user to push 360 controller buttons on several occasions. It asks me to push "A" (round green button on the 360 controller) when I push "A" nothing happens, push enter on the keyboard, vioala! Either way no noticeable difference.
Third game was COD2. I bought a copy years ago on Direct2Drive and was pleasantly surprised to find that my account was still active and I still owned the game. Multiplayer on PC is still active mods and all. The 360 version has been dead for a long time, so there's not much else to compare since the graphics are identical on the two games. COD2 was a launch title for the 360 so it looks very good.
Lastly, and this isn't a comparison since there's no console release of it, Crysis: Warhead. I bought the thing purely on curiosity. Sure enough if I turned everything on, my PC would slow down quite a bit. Reduced the resolution and everything became playable. Game is beautiful, but I'm not sure this couldn't have been done on a console. As a matter of fact, I think Far Cry 2 looks "cooler" than Crysis for the most part. BTW, Crysis is a game with no soul. It's basically a tech demo, visual eye candy, that's it.
FPS and RTS controls on PC are always better than playing with a game pad. But after a couple of years on a gamepad, I've gotten used to the game pad and feel comfortable with it. Controls aside I have to say that aside from the occasional title, I think I'll continue to do the bulk of my gaming on the Wii and 360. The ease of use and pick up and play nature of the Wii along with the 360's Live component make the Wii-60 a great combination for my tastes.