As consumers, we all want the best games to be available for the systems we own. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case when a game first launches. Due to prohibitive development costs and publisher agreements, we eager gamers often have to wait months or years for our most-anticipated titles to reach our controller of choice — to be “ported” to a console we own.
In some cases, it’s worth the wait, but others have gone so horribly wrong that it makes us cringe.
Dragon Quest XI
(Square Enix Co., Ltd.)
For a port to be considered “good,” in my opinion, it must include everything its predecessor had, improve graphically if moving to PC, or be as playable as possible if moving from a more powerful system to something like the Nintendo Switch or mobile platforms.
Dragon Quest XI is a prime example of a great port. Localized and ported to PC from PS4, it’s truly worthy of the 10/10 scores and positive reviews it’s getting. When a game is ported to the PC, there are certain set of expectations — players want access to graphical settings and expect increased performance. SquareEnix, while being known for poor ports, really nailed it this time.
Epic Games’ Fortnite is another shining example of a port done well. For a while, the title was available only on PS4, Xbox, and PC — leaving gamers with just a Nintendo Switch or phone out to dry. Now, the battle royale juggernaut is available on nearly every current-generation platform available, with some of them even allowing cross-platform play. Honestly, I can’t think of any other title that has ambitiously moved onto as many systems in such a short span.
Honorable mentions include Dark Souls Remastered (and only the Remastered edition), Final Fantasy XII XV, and Terarria.
Monster Hunter: World
Bad ports are the ones from which we expected much, only to receive so little. Somehow, in the process of swapping to a new platform, these titles lost content found in the originals or introduced game-breaking, crippling bugs.
Monster Hunter: World got some fantastic reviews when it initially launched on PS4, but the later PC port fell short. Supposedly, Denuvo, an included digital rights management software, is causing massive server stability issues. Then, if you manage to get past the vast array of connection problems, you might run into an almost-laughably sadistic bug that corrupts your save file at the final boss, eradicating 40 to 60 hours of progress — which is a blink in time compared to how long many gamers anticipated the PC port.
Another port that fell extremely short of expectations was Secret of Mana on the PC. It takes all of your nostalgia for the wonderful classic, shines it up with new graphics, and then grinds your hopes for a good time into dust with bugs, rampant crashes, and save file corruptions.
Moving on to the disasters. These are the ports that were so egregiously bad that buyers demanded refunds.
The top of the list is easily Arkham Knight for PC. The initial release was so bad, in fact, that digital sales were suspended and angry videos swarmed the internet. You wouldn’t know it by looking at today’s reviews, but it took years for the developer to acknowledge and fix the many issues. It has a dark history much like Batman himself.
Saints Row 2 had a similar story — they made grand promises of pristine performance only to deliver a bad joke with an uninstall punchline. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition fell to its own meme and died. When gamers have to download user-created mods for a game just to get it playable… something is seriously wrong. From Software admitted it was rushed and eventually released a solid remastered version — for which players had to fork out cash.
The silver lining here is that, in general, ports are being handled better today than ever. Developers are paying more attention to the nuances of each system and are exceeding players’ expectations left and right. Some are even fixing their mistakes.
Nintendo’s Switch is opening the floodgates to bring in more older titles. PC gamers can enjoy some of the best new mobile games and mobile gamers are getting tons of classics.