On paper, 2023 was a great year for PC gamers. After all, some truly amazing titles like The Last of Us Part 1, made their way to the platform. However, as has been the case with numerous other PC releases as of late, The Last of Us Part 1 also suffered from a myriad of performance issues. Players reported problems like stuttering and lag, even on PC builds that were top-of-the-line.
Graphical glitches, constant crashes, and just generally poor optimization left a poor taste in most PC gamers’ mouths. This was despite the fact that The Last of Us Part 1 is generally considered one of the greatest games of all time. This trend of poor PC ports can also be seen in other titles such as Forspoken, which was nearly unplayable at launch due to the title’s terrible optimization.
When even Triple-A companies are producing ports of such quality, it’s clear that something needs to change. PC gamers are tired of getting the short end of the stick every time because of terrible optimization on the part of the developers. This especially stings for gamers who have invested thousands of dollars into their rigs, and still fail to get a decent experience. Here are some other terrible PC ports we got in 2023.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Bordered On Unplayable At Times
EA especially had some truly abysmal PC ports in 2023, with the most notable ones being Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and Dead Space. The latest entry in Respawn’s Star Wars saga received a lot of complaints from players about the game’s performance when it first launched. Even now, after several updates, players have described running into stutters and an unstable framerate. This especially gets worse during combat. One review mentions:
Really wanted to enjoy this game. Tried a few times now and even on an I9 13900KS and a 4090 it is still so stuttery. After 8 patches, you would think it would be fixed by now but nope. This will seriously make me think about buying the next in the series. It’s a shame why it just cant be fixed. I am assuming it cannot be fixed after 8 patches.”
It’s hard to see why a studio as big as Respawn is struggling this much with optimization, even after multiple patches. And sadly this has resulted in the enjoyment of PC gamers being drastically impacted. This isn’t like the minimal stuttering that used to happen in some of Elden Ring’s initial patches. Instead, players have described the experience as borderline unplayable in some situations.
It’s one thing for these titles to not be optimized for older hardware. But when the likes of the RTX 4090 are seemingly having a tough time, it’s clear that the hardware isn’t at fault anymore. The worst part is that Star Wars Jedi: Survivor relied a bit too heavily on AMD’s FSR when it launched. This meant that players with other graphics cards, like Nvidia, had an incredibly limited amount of graphical settings they could change to their liking.
The Last Of Us Part 1 Was A Major Disappointment
Another amazing title that was unfortunately marred by poor optimization is The Last of Us Part 1. I’ve gone into a bit about why the game struggled on PC already. But with how many issues it had at launch, it especially deserves a closer look. For one, the game especially sucked at texture streaming. This problem was most apparent on 8GB GPUs.
Luckily, the problem was addressed in subsequent patches. This helped to keep the textures somewhat passable, even on lower settings. However, this was just one of the many performance issues plaguing the game. Another thing many players took issue with was how long it took to compile shaders at the main menu. Coupled with the overwhelmingly long loading times, it’s clear players were spending more time in menus than in-game.
The Last of Us Part 1 PC does not have bugs, you just did’t understand the story. This is not your story to tell, this is the story Naughty Dog wanted to tell. If you criticise these parts of the game, you are just a bigot who hates smugglers and big eyebrows. Bravo Neil, you have done it again.
Bugs and visual glitches were also quite common, with characters often having broken textures on their hair or skin. Players can’t help but poke fun at the sheer state at which the port was released. Many have even begun blaming the crowd who purchase these ports on the day of release. It’s clear that these high sales incentivize developers to simply pump out a port without taking the time to thoroughly optimize it.
The pre-release/day1 buyers also never seem to learn. IMO they are the major reason contributing to shoddy releases. Don’t put down money till you are sure what you are buying is in a decent shape. That will automatically shift the mentality and companies will try and put out a better performing version at launch knowing it will permanently harm sales otherwise.
Thankfully, the game’s performance is far from the state it was in, when the title was first released. That said, it’s still laughable that players are expected to wait weeks, or sometimes months on end for developers to release optimization patches. Especially when a lot of these ports are fully priced. It’s like you’re getting an Early Access version of a title, and are expected to wait months before it’s actually playable.
Redfall Emerged As The Most Broken Port Of Them All
If there’s one thing that Arkane’s Redfall was the best at, it was being an absolutely broken mess. While no version of the game is especially great to play, the PC variant especially led to a ton of headaches for players. Issues like low frame rates in crowded environments, as well as poor shadow quality and a general lack of optimization, are quite common.
As was the case with The Last of Us Part 1’s PC release, GPUs with less than 8 gigs of RAM noticed a lot of pop-in, with stuttering being quite common. These problems were further exacerbated by the multiplayer mode, which paved the way for desyncing, crashing, and lag. While the developers aim to fix this, and the myriad of other issues the game has had, it’s going to be tough to get people to care at this point.
It’s worth noting that not every PC release is disappointed. Baldur’s Gate 3, for instance, launched fairly smoothly on the platform. Despite this, Larian Studios has been quite quick with its updates for the title. Not only has the developer added new content since the game’s launch, but it has also fixed some of the bugs and performance hiccups that fans were facing, especially in the game’s third act.
As a PC gamer, you can only hope that 2024 will prove to be a better year for ports released on the platform. It seems the standard has been set so low, that at this point, good optimization feels like it’s almost entirely out of the question. Instead, most players would be content with games that aren’t outright broken. But with how the track record has been, even among Triple-A studios, non-broken releases might as well be a pipe dream.
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