Let’s assume, for the sake of this discussion, that you’re an adult. Let us also assume that you have at least some sort of disposable income that you can put towards gaming and not jeopardize your other responsibilities. Finally, we need to assume that you have multiple gaming systems… Ready? Ok.

Grand Theft Auto 5 will finally release on PC this week. The original release was in April 2013, and the PS4/Xbone release was in November 2014. Each “new” release is being sold at full price, and early reports are indicating that it’s the definitive version. I know Gavin is currently playing through Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the Wii U – it was also released on last-gen consoles and on PC, and listening to Gavin speak about it, the Wii U version is the best version.

How do you handle the multiple platform paradox? Do you buy it upon release on whatever console you have, or do you prefer to wait for the “best” version to surface? Or, are you like me and Gavin and buy it again and again and again… on all available platforms?

Monday, 9:42 am – Gavin

So, a few points on Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Director’s Cut: Colon on the Wii U:

Yes, I do believe that it is the best version of the game that has been released.  Obviously, the Wii U is likely the weakest platform for the game, so it doesn’t look as sharp as it does on, say, a PC running SLI Titanforce Crossfire 80K whatever-the-hell.  That said, it still does look great.  The pre-rendered cutscenes all look great; it starts to show weakness in the in-engine cutscenes.  The static environments are all incredibly sharp.  I played this on my laptop before I got an external monitor, and the colours are much sharper on my TV than on my laptop.  The only thing that gives away the fact that I’m playing on a weaker console is hair and facial animation.

I will buy a game multiple times if I’m getting something new out of the experience, or if the original method by which I played a game is no longer valid/supported/available.  I probably didn’t need to buy DEHRDC:C again, considering I already have it for the PC (the $5 upgrade version), but I will say, the gamepad really does make things feel more immersive.  The following functionality is available through the gamepad:

  • Hacking now takes place on the gamepad using the touch screen.  It’s a simple change, but it just feels better, like this is how it should happen, rather than using analog sticks and buttons.
  • The map and radar system.  You can pop the radar system back onto the TV screen, which I did for usability reasons, but if you’re a fan of uncluttered UI, it removes a potentially distracting box from the screen.
  • Inventory management.  Exactly like what you think it is.
  • Upgrade system. Again, exactly like what you think it is.
  • Tutorials.  Easier to read text on a small screen in front of you than a big screen further away from you.
  • The ability to make notes, drawings, voice recordings, etc.  This is very valuable for when you need to come back to something that you don’t immediately have access to.
  • Director’s commentary.
  • The gamepad functions as a sniper scope.
  • One augmentation require the use of the game pad.  For “smart vision”, you hold the game pad up in front of you over the screen like a scanner, and it scans the regular screen and displays the “smart information” like X-ray images, enemy mood, etc.  It’s absolutely fascinating as a concept.  I probably won’t get that upgrade because I don’t need it to do what I want to do, but I love the idea of it.

Basically, it feels like they wanted you to “touch” as much as possible.  For these reasons, it feels like the Wii U version of it isn’t just a port, but rather that they put considerable effort into it.  It’s a shame that it sold as poorly as it did, but I’m not surprised – the majority of people who wanted to play DEHRDC:C, but hadn’t by the time that it was released on the Wii U, were happy to buy it for other systems for much cheaper (on the Wii U, it was a $40 release, compared to $20 everywhere else).  Needless to say, I’m not likely to be able to buy Mankind Divided on Wii U.

Just going through my Steam and Wii U library, I can see that I have repurchased the following games that I already owned or was already given at least once:

  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: DC:Colon
  • Deus Ex, the original (had it on CD, preferred Steam integration)
  • Splinter Cell 1, Chaos Theory, and Conviction (I have a problem)
  • VVVVVV (I wanted it on the 3DS as well)
  • Fable: The Lost Chapters (I appear to have donated my Xbox copy to charity)
  • Jade Empire (same)
  • A few SNES virtual console games (Super Metroid, Yoshi’s Island, Link to the Past.  You’d better believe I’m snapping up Illusion of Gaia if it ever becomes available).
  • Max Payne 1 and 2.  I had legal copies of those, but in the interest of decluttering some shelves, it cost me $3.74 to have lifetime access to them through Steam.

I could reasonably see myself repurchasing a few PC games on console if/when they become cheap enough and I want a couch experience, rather than a PC experience (read: we only have one computer, and my wife often uses it for work), or if remastered versions of games are released for a console.  Over the past week, I’ve been giving some thought towards purchasing a new console down the road (my laptop won’t play great games well forever, and it’s already four years old), maybe in 2016.  There’s a host of titles from the PS360 era that could be remastered that I’d want to jump on if given a chance!

So, I’m not going to judge if someone wants to repurchase a game in a different medium.  As long as they’re getting some enjoyment out of it, then who am I to judge?  I’m certainly guilty of it.  But I will also note that I don’t pay full-price for me repurchases.  Anything bought on Steam was absolutely bought on sale, and DEHRDCC was $20, original price $40.

Man, Deus Ex.  I spent a considerable amount of time playing it this weekend.  It’s vaguely hypnotic.  The soundtrack is done by an electronica artist, so it gets very rhythmic and ambient.  It’s very relaxing to just walk around, listening to the music.  There’s so much to see and experience, and the world-building is absolutely fabulous.  Things feel real, like you’re walking around a real neighbourhood.  There are conceits, of course, such as the hacking system to open locked doors, and each NPC only has two lines of dialogue coded, many of them repeating across characters (in the Detroit hub-world, I had about half a dozen NPCs complain that their ride, Gerald, was 15 minutes late).  But still, it’s fabulous, and the art design, which was probably the most striking thing about it, still completely holds up.  Lighting, and the design of lighting structures such as desk-lamps and ceiling lights, is tremendous.

It was my game of the year for 2011, and I don’t regret that decision one bit.  It’s just fabulous in every way.

Monday, 7:45 am – Ricky

I’m reaching on this week’s topic, but I think we’ll mostly just be talking about the games we’re playing this week. Except for matt, who will be playing the game “having a baby” today instead.