Thursday, 26 May 2011

Crossing platforms with Portal 2

Cross-platform play is cool. I finally got around to going through the Portal 2 co-op campaign and I must say, I’m very impressed by the way I did not notice any odd behaviour or glitches caused by my partner who played on his Steam enabled PS3, while I sat at my faithful PC. Obviously then it must work exactly as intended, but I can’t help but ponder why this co-operative black magic isn’t employed more.

I know that I will open a big can of angry, opinionated and juicy worms when I say this, but cross-platform play might not be as widespread as a perfect world would allow due to the superior speed and accuracy of the computer mouse. I know there are probably those out there that could beat me in a mouse versus gamepad duel with one thumb gnawed clean to the boned, but it’s a simple fact the mouse is better.

Camera control might be better suited to the precious right thumb stick, but aiming and shooting accurately is a whole different story. It’s even been suggested that Microsoft killed Windows to Xbox cross-platform play because the console gamers “got destroyed every time”.

So that puts a hole in the hope for competitive games getting more cross-platform functionality, but I can’t see why it can’t happen with more co-op focussed games. Portal 2 has proven that it can work near seamlessly. Okay, there are a few arguments that the PC version has been slightly ‘consol-ised’, but aside from the “Do not turn off console” warning you get when saving the game, it’s not abundantly different from what I’d expect from a PC interface. There are certainly more obvious console ported PC titles out there.

With Steam now on PS3, it would be great to see more cross-platform titles emerge that can bring gaming communities closer. It’s a positive step towards the one console solution. Of course that’s probably an argument that the major hardware manufacturers would argue against, but for consumers it’s a good thing.

My faith in Valve keeps on growing, probably not quite as fast as Gabe Newell’s wallet girth does, but pretty damn close.

1 comment:

YellerBelly said...

Ed Stern (lead writer for Brink) pointed out to me during an interview that while a mouse is better for aiming - true for many people, but not for my joypad acclimatised hands - an analogue stick is much better for movement.

I won't believe that a mouse is 1000% better than a stick until somebody actually lets me play competitively cross platform, so I CAN SEE FOR MYSELF!!!!! I mean, the only PC-console cross-platform FPS that ever existed that I know of is Shadowrun - which everybody said was crap.