It’s been a surprisingly good year for PC ports, in both quality and quantity. We got Bayonetta and Vanquish, both wonderful ports with few issues or compromises. Destiny 2 plays so well on PC, self-proclaimed Destiny addict and PC Gamer boss Tim Clark says he can never go back to playing on consoles. And we’ve made it through 2017 without a messy launch like Arkham Knight or No Man’s Sky.
But, as always, a few PC ports arrived with some half-baked features or just plain weird problems. Here are the worst we know of from 2017.
Nier: Automata’s performance issues and lack of patches
This one was so much of a bummer that I wrote a whole article about it. Nier: Automata mostly runs fine on PC, but a few performance problems that simply shouldn’t be there really drag it down. They were significant enough for the fan community to rally and build a tool to address the port’s problems, going so far as to change how the game sleeps its render thread during cutscenes to prevent obnoxious stutter.
Really, the baffling thing here isn’t that Nier: Automata had some problems. Developing games is complicated, and issues happen. It’s that Square Enix never bothered to have Platinum work on a patch for a very popular and successful game. PC players deserved better.
Blue Reflection launching with 720p 2D textures
There was a lot of confusion around Koei Tecmo’s Blue Reflection, possibly thanks to a translation mixup, that it would only support a resolution of 720p. Thankfully, that wasn’t true. Unfortunately, the game’s 2D illustrations actually were only 720p in the initial PC release; Koei Tecmo quickly fixed that with a patch just a week after launch.
Blue Reflection still had a barebones launcher and no graphics settings to be found, making for a pretty meager PC version, but canny players quickly discovered you could fiddle with plenty of settings through the .ini file and Nvidia Control Panel. Definitely could’ve been worse.
Sonic Forces launches with crashes galore and strange framerates
It was always going to be rough for Sonic Forces, following in the footsteps of the beloved throwback that was Sonic Mania. But the new 3D Sonic landed particularly hard on PC, where players experienced some nasty crashes on launch. To its credit, Sega worked hard to fix the major issues as quickly as possible and has put out a couple more patches since.
The funnier, slightly weirder issue affected the framerate: locking the game at either 30 or 60 caused it to run at either 22 fps or 32 fps for some players. What’s that Sonic slogan, again? Gotta go fast, but not quite as fast as an analogue film projector from the 1930s?
Nioh says: what’s a mouse-oh?
We were shocked to see the Dark Souls-inspired, Sony-published Nioh make its way to PC at all, and it’s a delight to have another Japanese action game on the platform. And credit where it’s due: Koei Tecmo is getting better at PC ports, even if a lot of them (like Blue Reflection above) are pretty barebones. Nioh was a tantalizing so close to doing it right port, but then it came out and…didn’t support mouse controls?
Okay, I get it: 95 percent of people who play Nioh are going to play it with a controller, and mouse and keyboard is a secondary concern. But it’s pretty weird to release a PC game in 2017 that doesn’t even acknowledge the mouse as an input device. Oh, and custom keybindings? Yeah, those were missing too.
Thankfully, this one has a happy ending too: Koei Tecmo put out a patch a few weeks later adding custom keybinds and giving the mouse the respect (and camera controls) it deserves.
Destiny 2 solves performance problem, introduces hitching problem
Destiny 2 landed on PC with a mostly fabulous port, running smoothly at higher framerates with totally reasonable system requirements. It looks fabulous. But it had a few days of performance problems that were frustrating at the time and are amusing in hindsight, because Bungie managed to make them worse before it made them better.
First, there was a strange performance degradation issue that was hard to pin down. As you left the game running for a couple hours, it started performing worse and worse, and players figured out this had to do with an issue Destiny 2 was having loading in its clan roster information. Bungie patched this issue with a hotfix, but inadvertently jumped the gun and introduced an even more annoying problem: constant stuttering. Oops. Another hotfix soon patched things up, but that just shows why you shouldn’t rush out a patch before it’s definitely ready.