Review by XGlite015

"Not quite the ultimate gaming machine!"

The Personal Computer(PC) is a great tool for almost everything especially in multimedia content, designing, internet, and office or work applications. But what about gaming, is it the right hardware for the job? well the answer is yes and no. Yes, because the PC has or can have an infinite variety of games available, macromedia flash games, emulators and ROMs, and PC games. Plus the luxury of having to play online or LAN all the time. No, because if you are going to go with PC gaming you're gonna have to shed out alot of money for hardware upgrades and set-up. In this review, I'll be giving 2 separate scores for the graphical and audio capability categories, one score is for a standard PC set-up(meaning average 32 or 64 MB graphics card, 128 RAM, 800+Mhz processor, etc.) and the other is for maximized PC set-up(with the most advance hardware, 128+ MB Video card, 512+ RAM, 1 GHz+ processor).

GRAPHICAL CAPABILITIES: (Standard set-up = 7 out of 10, Maximized set-up = 10 out of 10)
A PC with a very powerful video card, high RAM, and processor can produce the best graphics in gaming ever, surpassing any game console. Yearly PC graphics cards exceed the capabilities of the previous cards meaning new kinds of graphics engines or techniques can be applied on games. Unfortunately for gamers who doesn't have enough money to keep their PCs up to date cannot afford the luxury of getting the best graphics. Anyone stuck with a standard or outdated PCs will have to stick with old games or whatever games their hardware can handle. And minimum requirements doesn't cut it, if anyone wants the best PC gaming experience they need to have very good hardware. For example, Command & Conquer Generals, minimum requirements are 800 mhz processor, 32 or 64 mb video card, and 128 mb RAM, I played it on a PC with an Nvidia 64 mb GeForce 2 video card, and 128 RAM and it still plays sluggish despite having 1 ghz more than the minimum requirements. I've experienced long load times, some lag and slowdown, and random crashes. Older games can be played with ease and without annoying graphical problems but PC games evolve fast and PCs should be upgraded often to keep up. And what's the deal with PC graphics anyway, Splinter Cell runs smoothly and looking great on an 800mhz Xbox with custom Nvidia GPU/video card, and 64 mb RAM but playing it on a PC with the same specs that I've played C&C Generals, it runs so bad you might want to bash your head on the monitor. Even minimum graphics setting doesn't do well. Why can't the PC game developers just do something to create games with good graphics and still run smoothly on a PC with standard set-up.

AUDIO CAPABILITIES: (Standard set-up = 5 out of 10, Maximized set-up = 10 out of 10)
On standard desktop speakers, PC games sounds ok but sounds bad compared to standard TV speakers. With a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound set-up and a high profile audio card, the sounds are simply amazing and extremely realistic especially when playing first person shooting games like the medal of honor series.

GAME LIBRARY: (7 out of 10)
The PC game library excels in the first-person shooting, simulations, MMORPG(Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) and real-time strategy genre(RTS). Other genres doesn't really play or sell well on the PC namely Adventure/platformer, RPG, Sports, Bemani, and light-gun shooting games. Those genres are best left with the game consoles and is better to be played on a wide-screen TV with a great speaker set-up, in the living room where you can have food, sit comfortably on the sofa, and have some friends playing or watching. Console ports usually don't sell well on PCs and vice versa, so there are only few console ports you can find in its game library, only popular ones like Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy 8, Silent Hill games, etc. The only problem with PC gaming is that gamers are dumped with the same games over and over again. How many shooters, RTS, and Simulations are there that are basically the same with only minor differences? too damn many to mention. There are great titles that separate themselves from the pack like Half-life, Alien vs Predator 2, Half-life:Counterstrike, Warcraft 3, Starcraft, to name a few but still, once you've played a good first-person shooter, everything else seems like the same 'ol game. Though PC gaming is lacking in some genres, there are some titles and upcoming titles that every gamer should definitely check out namely The Sims games, Starcraft, the upcoming Doom 3 and Half-life 2. But be wary that newer games means upgrading to a higher level, so don't bother playing Doom 3 and Half-life 2 without having a PC with high specs. PCs also plays ROMs using emulators, you can play games from old atari game consoles to Playstation games and also Flash games made from Macromedia Flash making PC gaming an infinite game machine. And PC gaming is still the king of online gaming, offering more games than console online gaming as well
as games exclusive only to the platform.

PC gaming is great if you have a great hardware and set-up, the only way to experience PC gaming at its finest. If you like online gaming very much and LAN multiplayer games then PC gaming is for you. Todays game consoles also offer online gaming, they have good online games but still PC gaming is still king of the hill by offering dozens of MMORPGs, a genre not yet fully explored on game consoles. If you like to play 1st-person shooters, RTS games and simulations, PC gaming doesn't disappoint. The only downside of PC gaming aside from lacking some genre is that you always play on your desk, sitting on a chair. In console gaming, you're on the living room with a widescreen TV and you can eat and do some stupid stuff like dancing or jumping around like a monkey while playing and taunting your opponent or showing off with friends. Console gaming is best for party gaming, seriously it would look lame to be playing on a PC while having a party and you sure can't play Sambe de Amigo, New Dance Dance Revoltuion games, Karaoke Revolution, or Eye-toy Groove and on a PC. And aside from upgrading, you need to wait for your PC to fully boot and make sure it's optimized to avoid crashes. PC gaming doesn't still give the fun factor and experience of console gaming, it can be rough if you don't have the proper equipment but it can be great if you have. As a gaming machine with a maximized set-up, it gets an overall score of 9, with a standard set-up, it gets a 6 out of 10.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/28/04

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