As an avid console and PC gamer, I’ve often enjoyed the PC experience of Call of Duty with the use of a keyboard and mouse over the conventional console controller.
With many hours spent playing PC based shooters, I’m well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of PC gaming, and I’m not here to support the ‘PC master race’ notion, far from it in fact – unfortunately. Now, before I continue I just want to clarify a couple of points: I understand a PC gaming environment is completely different to that of a console, player hardware is never the same for anyone and there’s tons of variables when it comes to performance and PC gaming.
PC gaming isn’t perfect, some could even say it’s more expensive, but before the usual trolls come out in force to say “PC sux” and “console is better” – you cannot and never will be able to beat the catalogue of games and the customisation/modification potential on a PC *full stop*. Lastly, I’m not at any point complaining about Call of Duty: Ghosts as a game – in fact I really enjoy it. I’m creating awareness and criticising the experience for PC players instead.
Which brings me on to Call of Duty: Ghosts on the PC. Having played Call of Duty: Ghosts development builds at numerous events including EuroGamer and GamesCom, as well as owning the game on the Xbox 360, I was fairly well accustomed to the smooth experience you come to expect with Call of Duty titles. Expecting the same to be the case with the PC version of Ghosts, I went ahead and parted with my money on Steam and began the ~25GB download for Ghosts Multiplayer.
Having invested in a recently built gaming PC including a Core i7 (Noctua heatsink), ASUS GTX 770, 16GB G-Skill RAM, 2x SSD’s, Windows 8.1, I was playing games comfortably with the likes of Battlefield 4 (no crashes, am I lucky?) running at full 1080p with EVERYTHING on Ultra settings and averaging around 70-80 fps during multiplayer, and never dropping below 60. Having waited patiently for the Ghosts download to finish, I decided to load up the game and jump into a match of TDM.
In terms of the Video Settings I had configured on the game, I made use of Nvidia GeForce Experience to recommend settings based on my hardware, most of which were set to High/Very High and at 1080p. I ensured any unnecessary background programs were closed including Fraps (which is known to cause problems with this game).
Well… where do I start? To begin with, 1080p with the *majority* (not all) of the settings set to High was simply unplayable – I would guesstimate around 30fps at most with framerate drops repeatedly to the point I couldn’t engage in a gunfight with anyone. No aspect of any map was smooth, again it was simply unplayable.
Thinking to myself, have I done something wrong(?) I went ahead and triple checked my Nvidia drivers, uninstalled completely and reinstalled them and gave it a second go – no change. It was obvious 1080p wasn’t going to work out, so I decided to drop the resolution to 720p.
Now running at 720p, I entered another game but this time Blitz on the map Stonehaven, and to my surprise it was an improvement until I left a fairly isolated location – again framerate drops all over the place. Instead of the silky smooth gameplay you see on a console, Ghosts on the PC consistently judders every few moments. Having done some general searches on Google and reading countless forum topics, it’s evident to me that this issue is very widespread, with some users reporting even a GTX Titan can’t hold down a steady framerate on the PC.
Tucked within the Options menu is the ability to set Optimal Video Settings, but all that really does is set everything to low and ultimately output a bad looking version of what should be comparable to the next-gen version as seen on the PS4/Xbox One. At this point I find myself asking why a game like Battlefield 4 looks and runs substantially better when in reality having a more demanding environment in terms of gameplay.
The issues for me didn’t stop there, when it came to recording Call of Duty: Ghosts, it wasn’t short of a nightmare. Fraps, a very well known and compatible program which records gameplay for about 99% of PC games just wouldn’t cooperate with Ghosts, DxTory crashed on startup, and I gave up trying anything else. Luckily the new ShadowPlay ability on Nvidia graphics cards was able to record at a respectable quality.
It is evident that Call of Duty: Ghosts for the PC is very poorly optimised and provides an inferior gaming experience for those who are forking out near-console prices for a badly put together experience. Anti-cheat capability appears to be missing as well as FOV editor, a standard amongst many PC games. Black Ops 2, developed by Treyarch is an entirely different story with great performance and perfectly smooth gameplay at maximum settings, averaging at 100+ fps.
In the ideal world we’d love to see Infinity Ward tackle these issues head on and deliver an improved experience to PC players, and can only hope that is a work in progress.
Let us know how you’ve been getting along with Call of Duty: Ghosts on the PC.