The PC version is FAR superior to the console versions. This game can only really be experienced as it was intended on the PC. The console versions are ports and have been simplified and restricted in various ways to fit the limitations of those platforms.
I own the PC version and have played the 360 version at a friend's place. Go with the PC version, you won't be sorry. Plus, before long community modules and expansions will start to appear like they did with NWN which are only available for the PC.
if your pc can handle maxing it out then i would certainly go for the pc version. i have some friends that got it for console though just because their computers couldnt handle it all that well. if thats the case, im hearing that the ps3 version is the way to go. better graphics and whatnot.
You don't need to max the game out to appreciate it. The PC's controls, interface, and the ability to swing to an overhead view really give the PC the edge over the console versions. Seriously, the PC is the way to go here!
Agreed. I've also heard that the combat system is somewhat different for the console versions. More like KOTOR and less like the classic PC RPG's ( Baldur's Gate, etc.). Less of a challenge and less immersive but some people may like that. Fortunately, my PC can play with the graphics pretty well maxed at decent resolution, and the game is just beautiful. The graphics also seem to improve as the game progresses -- has anybody else noticed that? Anyway, finally a game that actually seems to be written with the PC in mind (power, graphics, interface, real SAVES, etc.) instead of just another port.
Do not touch the PS3 version. Dont believe any reviews you have read. It has absolutely atrocious framerate problems, and sound glitches. It looks slightly sharper than the XBox version, but overall, the XBox version is much better. It loads about twice as fast, it has a good consistent framerate, and doesnt have the audio problems the PS3 version has. If in doubt, just go read Bioware's DAO forum, and check the PS3 technical support forum. PC version is not without its problems. It has some kind of resource leak that makes the load times get progressively worse, the longer you play. And it also has some gameplay bugs not present in the console versions (apparently they shipped with a patch that has yet to come out for PC). I have a PC that can play the game fine, but I play the XBox version because its not as buggy, and does not have load time problems.
I own both the PC and Xbox 360 version and can testify without a doubt that the PC version is the one to get - if you have a PC that meets the system reg. Depending on your PC, load time can be long - but certainly not a problem. For those PC Gamers that endured NWN2's load time, DAO's load time will seem like light speed.
To me, and probably all PC Gamers who played - and fell in love with - Baldurs Gate and its Infinity Engine spin off, the PC vesion is superior for 2 big reasons:
1) Zoom & mouselook - as many people have mentioned before, the ability to zoom out to get a bird's eyeview of the battle field is an invaluable asset to any tactical military operation since the day the hot air ballon was first invented. In addition, mouselook and camera move give you the ability to move in one direction while looking at another, which give you another tactical advantage - not to mention being able move the camera to different areas of the battlefield, and also being able to look at all the cool graphics. On the console versions, the camera is locked slightly above you (exactly like KOTOR).
2) Tactical hot bar - The ability to place *all* of your spells or abilities on the hot bar and access any one of them them with one click. In the console versions, you have access to only 3 at a time - until you cycle them. Play as a mage on the console and the drawback becomes obvious.
There are some minusses on the PC version that I notices. In addition to long load time that some PC Gamers may encounter (I did not since my rig exceeds the recommended spec. The only time the load time is noticeably long is when I go to a new area - reloading in the same area is a breeze), I did encounter 2 bugs:
1) One time, when I go to Denerim, all my health potion (poultices) dissapear, and I did not notice it right away - as a reloading a save quickly may have solved this problem . Bummer, I've been saving them for boss fights.
2) After long period of play, when I change equipment - especially sword & helmet - the stats change, but not the graphics. For example, I switch to 2-hander sword. The graphics still show that I am wielding a 1-hander, but I have access to all my 2-handed abilities and am dealing 2-handed damage.
On the plus side, the game is remarkably stable. On my XP 32-bit, I experienced 1 crash approximately every 4-5 hours of gameplay - which is acceptable in my book. On my XP 64-bit, I play through the entire game without a single crash !!!
In conclusion, the PC version is the winner here, but that is not to say the console version is bad. Although not as good as the PC version, the console version is the same game with different gameplay mechanic. For those who prefer a bit more hack and slash without pausing the game repeatedly, the console version is less tedious in term of party AI micromanagement (enemies are also easier). As is, on the PC version, I am currently on my second play through. On the Xbox 360 version, I am still on the 1st chapter - fighting Dark Spawn in the tower of Ostagar.
EDIT: 12/15/09 - bug update. Another bug that I ran into on the PC version (**Minor Spoiler Alert**). In the Mage tower main quest, you will be transported to the Fade region to the realm of the Sloth Demon. You will have to go to different floating islands to unlock the way to the Sloth Demon Boss on the central island. Be sure to free your companion first before going to the central island. Going to the central island first before freeing your companions may trigger a bug that prevents your comapanions from appearing to help you when you come back to the central island for the boss fight. It is not really a game breaker because it is possible to defeat the demon boss alone, but it is hard to do - and next to impossible if you are a low level character that choose to go directly to the Mage Tower first without doing enough sidequests to level up.
If you get caught with this bug, there is 2 ways out that I know of. As I mentioned, the hard and short way is to defeat the Sloth Demon alone. The easier but much longer way is to reload the game to the point prior to entering the Fade.
Glad I could help. The PC version also has achivements. And from what I've read, you can also get achievements recorded online with the PC version. Sign up for an active online profile with Bioware, and play the game with your PC connected to the net. Your achievements and your personal 'chronicle' will be recorded to your Bioware profile. However, since DAO does not have Games For Windows Live (which is good IMO; I personally find GFWL very annoying), I don't think you will be able to link or add the achievements to your Xbox Live account.
Another aspect that I did not metion in my previous post - since it is minor to me - is that the graphics on the Xbox 360 version will seem outdated to those who are addicted to HD Graphics (most likely due to the limitation of DVD space on the disc). If you have a new gaming rigs that can take the full advantage of the 1920 x 1200 resolution with max details, shadow, and AA, the PC version's graphics look great even for a game that was developed 4-5 years ago. But then again, no matter what version you decided to get, DAO is still a great RPG. Happy Gaming.
Thanks for your insights on the PC version. I purchased the PS3 version, and regret doing so. I much prefer your description of the interface vs. what the PS3 has implemented. Suffice it to say the PS3 interface is really cumbersome and overly difficult to manage. Especially for a version that seems designed towards less tactical combat management and more hack-n-slash action.
Also, as someone who doesn't get terribly worked up about graphics (I still love BG2 graphics!), even I have to say that the PS3 graphics are just not up to snuff for a next gen console. Terribly dated, pixelated, and choppy. Really inexcusable in my opinion.
I think I'll wait until the PC version drops to $20 and pick up a copy to see what I'm missing on the PS3.
Just a word of advice--if you're not adverse to getting games through Steam, DA is available on there. They already had a one day sale for $36 (25% off I think), and if they do the same as last year, there is going to be a massive sale the week after Christmas. I don't know if DA will drop to $20 then, but they have specials ranging from 10%-75% off, so you may want to keep on the lookout for it.