- Related Games:
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
As I sit here reading the latest big topics in gaming discussion, I'm awe-struck at how "downgradation" has once again found its way into headlines. In case you haven't heard, it appears that The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is the latest game to be surrounded in controversy.
I'm not particularly phased by the information for a number of reasons. Let's talk about why.
It seems like time and time again we encounter games that fail to capture the visual magic of their gameplay debut trailers. Watch Dogs was one of the greatest examples of this last year, and now it appears that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is joining the club. With one week to go until launch, the final build has found its way into the hands of gaming outlets, and a plethora of media found its way online. Without hesitation that media was compared to what CD Projekt Red has shown during the past two years. Many gamers have concluded that the game doesn't look as good as was promised.
There are a few reasons that downgradation exists. For one, during gaming development it isn't until the final months of the software development life cycle that time is spend polishing assets to where they need to be to impress consumers. But since many publishers feel the pressure to announce and show off their game months or even years before release, they need something beautiful to demonstrate ahead of time. So, they build a controlled environment that shows off their vision of what they want the game to be like. These builds typically run on extremely powerful PCs that are capable of handling the visually stunning and typically unoptimized code.
Many gamers get the impression from the media that this is what the developer plans the game to look like across all platforms at launch. That simply isn't so. In many cases, the console versions look substantially worse at release, and even the PC version suffers. But while the console versions are stuck with the developer-defined graphical settings, PCs are able to mask blemishes with raw processing power.
The rise of PC gaming
While many console gamers have been busy complaining about how current-gen consoles are missing their mark, PC gaming has been on a streak of progression. Major technological advancements have been made in the past couple years that consoles have missed out on. Nvidia's 900 series immediately springs to mind with its remarkable performance and strong feature set which includes MFAA, Dynamic Super Resolution, and Voxel Global Illumination. Meanwhile, Intel's Haswell architecture has led benchmark charts with a remarkably efficient 22 nm process.
The problem with consoles is that their hardware is designed and finalized more than a year before their release. So, while the Xbox One and PS4 are already 16 months in age, they're technically older than that. In other words, while PC hardware has evolved substantially over the past three years, both consoles have remained the same. LIke it or not, downgradation isn't going away, and in-fact I know of at least one other top-tier AAA game coming this year that is yet to join the controversy.
Which brings me to my next point. PC gamers rarely have reason to complain about visuals. Sure, there are bad ports from time to time—hello Dead Rising 3—, the customization and scalability of the PC gaming environment is able to remedy these concerns in most scenarios. For example, while the original Dark Souls PC release was held back by a frame rate limiter and frame buffer cap, modders found a way around it. In the case of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, there are dozens upon dozens of graphical options that when turned all the way up provide a visual experience unparalleled. Resembling early media or not, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Ultra settings at 1080p is a truly astounding experience where disappointment is unwarranted.
It's time to make your move
If you're tired of feeling let down by console games, it's time to seriously consider investing in a gaming PC. You're in luck, because the deals have never been better. For example, if you buy the world's greatest price to performance ratio GPU, the GTX 970, you'll receive a free copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Batman: Arkham Knight. Meanwhile, there are great power supplies and cases that can be had at a budget price.
Let's look at how costly it would be to take the jump.
Case: Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-01 ($50)
Mother Board: MSI H81M-E33 ($50)
CPU: Intel Core i5 4460 ($190)
Graphics Card: ASUS STRIX GTX 970 ($330)
Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB ($60)
Storage: Western Digital Blue 1TB ($55)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80 Plus ($40)
Included: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Batman: Arkham Knight.
Not Included: Display, keyboard, mouse, speakers/headphones.
Note: It is recommended that you invest in a Solid State Drive for fast loading and storage reliability.
While you may look at the $775 price tag and see that as a huge turn off, what is important to consider is just how powerful this PC is. Intel's Haswell line absolutely destroys the processing power of the AMD chips on current-gen consoles. Meanwhile, the GTX 970 scores more than double the benchmark points the Radeon HD 7850 that the PS4's GPU is most similar to. This is a PC that is capable of remarkable things, and the two included games certainly soften the blow.
Made better, PCs are infinitely backward compatible. You aren't stuck with playing games only released within the past two years. You can go back and play StarCraft or even Doom if you feel like it.
There is no substitute for a proper gaming PC, and no better way to say goodbye to downgradation than to invest in one.