Since its less-than-stellar launch of the 8th gen Xbox One console back in 2013, Microsoft has worked incredibly hard to bounce back and get back on gamers’ good sides. Cross platform and cloud gaming are becoming all the rage among gamers, developers, and publishers, and Microsoft is seizing the moment. In one of its biggest and the most gamer-friendly moves to date, Microsoft is bridging the gap between the Xbox player and the PC player though the Xbox Game Pass for PC.
Game Pass is available to all PC gamers through the app download and a subscription, but with plans to incorporate the Game Pass as a built-in feature of Windows 11, PC gamers will have an immediate and unrestricted access to thousands of games, including Xbox exclusives, much like their console counterparts. More importantly, Game Pass will be a built-in feature of every PC by the beginning of 2022, so it has potential to make non-gamers into gamers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are several games currently on Game Pass that objectively feel, look and play better on the PC than they do on the console.
Below are some of our favourite games currently available on Game Pass (and Warframe).
I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee
A wildly successful and much beloved game, Skyrim is about to turn ten years old. Like most of the games on our list, Skyrim was made for PC gaming, then adapted for consoles. While this makes it seem like an obvious reason as to why Skyrim may be better on PC, it’s worth noting that its adaptation to consoles didn’t diminish the gaming experience as far as functionality goes. On last gen consolesSkyrim did suffer some rather unfortunate long screen loading times that PC players didn’t need to sit through, and the graphics left much to be desired.
However, unlike the PC players, the console players were always destined to only experience the ‘Vanilla Skyrim’. Modding has been such a huge part of the Skyrim community, that for some, playing without mods no longer feels like a completed game. The new Anniversary edition of Elder Scrolls will be released on November 11th this year, for both PC and consoles. Gamers will get to experience Skyrim all over again, with all DLCs included and Bethesda-approved community mods. Although Bethesda is known to be mod friendly, offering a bite of the experience to their console base, the monopoly on experiencing spicy Skyrim lies with PC gamers.
If you’re late to modding party, worry not! Most mods from the original Skyrim do not work on the Standard Edition, for which the community has created new mods. If you jump into Skyrim with the Anniversary Edition on PC, you’ll get to experience the best of Skyrim graphics, performance and mods.
Skyrim’s PC gamer base and modding enthusiasts who love the game took the ‘’choose your own adventure’’ to a whole another level. Although consoles are becoming more and more PC-like, Skyrim still looks, runs and feels a lot better on the PC.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Left Game Pass in March 2021)
Steel for humans, silver for monsters and gold for the Witcher
The immensely successful The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has set a whole new standard for RPGs and is easily regarded by many as one of the best games of its generation. The immense commercial and fan success of The Witcher 3 is a testament to this, and even though CDPR is a developer whose core audience are PC gamers, the release of The Witcher 3 on consoles has facilitated its vast and well deserved commercial success.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was the second in the series to have a console release. Designed unlike the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, which was geared primarily toward the PCwhile adapting to consoles, Witcher 3 was developed and released with console players already in mind.
Still, many fans argued that consoles didn’t, and couldn’t, do the game justice in showing how truly cutting-edge the graphics were. With the next gen update for the Witcher 3 coming sometime in 2021, PC, PS5and Xbox Series X players will get to experience The Witcher with a new coat of paint.
The update is sorely needed for the new gen consoles. Witcher is already six years old, but the update promises to do its graphics justice. Nevertheless, if you’re as big of a fan of the Witcher series, then you might agree that the Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt should be experienced on the PC at least once.
Dragon Age: Origins
In peace, vigilance. In war, victory. In death, sacrifice
Bioware is (or used to be) unparalleled when it came to developing RPGs. They have set a new standard for how we experience such games. The Dragon Age and Mass Effect series have both enjoyed a massive success (excluding Mass Effect: Andromeda, which most of us do not consider part of the Mass Effect series).
Dragon Age: Origins is among some of the best RPGs ever made, and while gamers can experience the game on consoles, Dragon Age: Origins was designed for the PC. Dragon Age: Origins is an old school RPG with strategy-based gameplay that works best with keyboard and mouse. This isn’t to say that playing DAO with a controller is impossible or even difficult but the controller layout, no matter how well optimised, cannot compete with the classic RPG skills and equipment layout. What can be simply clicked with a mouse on the PC, requires very many button presses to achieve the same on controller.
DA:O doesn’t have high requirements being such an old game and consoles handle it very well, but the gameplay and the experience is far superior on the PC. In addition, much like most of the games on the list, Dragon Age: Origins has some amazing game changing mods. For a game with such a heavy story, and which emphasizes choice, it is extremely impressive that some mods can alter certain endings. This adds incredible playability, especially for the fans of the game and series, but also for those gamers who enjoy old school RPGs.
Okay, so Warframe is free regardless of the Game Pass, but we thought it deserved a spot on the list. Love it or hate it, Warframe has come a long way to become one of the best (if not THE best) free-to-play looter-shooters(please Destiny players don’t come at me, we’re talking about free games). If being a space ninja wasn’t appealing enough, Warframe boasts impressive graphics and gameplay, especially on the PC. Like most games on this list, Warframe started out as a PC game, and despite its immense popularity on the consoles, Warframe’s core base are still PC gamers.
It is thus not surprising that the interface feels very PC-like; using the controller to go through the menu feels like using a mouse. Interestingly though, Warframe is all about fast-paced action and movement, yet many fans (us included) feel that a controller handles the gameplay infinitely better than the mouse and keyboard. Nevertheless, PC gamers are not defined by the exclusive use of mouse and keyboard for gaming, so Warframe is still best experienced on PC.
Not only does Warframe look incredible on the PC, the updates, offers and game economy lean heavily towards the PC gamer. Consoles are always about two weeks behind the PC player base in terms of content updates, and item drop rates on the PC also differ, which changes the in-game economy. The ease with which you can squad-up with other Tenno also influences the gameplay experience and by extension the ability to farm and acquire certain in-game items.
But possibly the best flex and a testament to how great Warframe looks and feels on the PC is the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G. AMD has partnered up with Warframe to promote the quite impressive Ryzen 7 5700G processor, and for a reason. The GPU particles system on Warframe is impressive to say the least and not every platform can do it justice. To further drive the point home, the settings menu for GPU particles quality in the game can be set as either Disabled, Low, Medium, High, or Ludicrous. And who doesn’t want to play a game in a ‘Ludicrous’ quality?
It was me against the world… and the world had it coming
Now that Bethesda has joined the Game Pass family, we can expect all of the Bethesda classics as well as future releases to be accessible on day one. Or at least, that’s the hope.
Fallout, much like Skyrim, is one of the staples of Bethesda Studios and among their most popular games series. While the last gen consoles come relatively close to the graphics of the PC version, the geometry, shadow and foliage rendering is simply much better on the PC. The consoles also fail to compete in render distances with the PC, making the weather changes and night/day cycles not look nearly as impressive as they do on PC.
Much like Skyrim, Fallout 4 has some incredible community mods. Bethesda has done a good job in making some mods available to console players, but the ability to mod and re-experience the game in a completely different way will always rest with the PC players.
Although not an exhaustive list, it is a list of some of our favourites. Consoles are becoming a lot more PC-like, but PCs are encroaching on console territory. Xbox has made the Game Pass available to PC players, and not long after, a PlayStation console-exclusive Days Gone was available for the PC as well.