Published on April 14th, 2014 | by Mog0
The New Generation Of Game Consoles: High Hopes And Expectations
I considered writing a piece on the New Generation of games consoles not too long after their release. But firstly, I was busy playing on them, and secondly, I didn’t feel it was fair to write up on them without having spent time with them. So I waited. And now it has been several months since their release and I’ve had the chance to play numerous games on each of the new consoles.
This is my take on the New Gen of console gaming.
It was early last year that we began to receive detailed announcements about the Next Generation of console gaming. PlayStation and Xbox were out to battle for buyers, and like many gamers around the globe I was really, really, excited to see what they had to offer.
Sony and PlayStation made the first move, and on the 21st February 2013 they hosted the world’s press in New York city to reveal the specifications and features of their new product; the PlayStation 4.
Then on May 21st, Xbox held ‘The Event’ in a specially erected marquee in Redmond, Washington, where they showcased their new hardware; the Xbox One.
Being an avid gamer and crazy excited about the new consoles, I stayed up late and cancelled dinner plans to make sure I saw both announcements live.
Now, there’s something you should know about me before I continue. I went into the whole ‘Next Gen’ party as an Xbox fangirl.
For years I loved my Xbox above and beyond all other games consoles out there. To me it was my baby; my precious; the console on which I first fell in love with a game; the console on which I shared many hours of my life with a glorious variety of characters…
It just seemed sturdier, personalizable and I loved the controller. The Xbox just felt less…pretentious than PlayStation (personal opinion, no bashing here thank you! 🙂 )
That doesn’t mean I was blinkered or anti-PlayStation. On the contrary, I owned (and still own) a PS3. Hello? PlayStation get great exclusives, why would I not want a PlayStation?! The Uncharted series is one of my favourite game franchises ever, and Beyond: Two Souls was one of my games of 2013.
Anyway, back to where I was going…the announcements.
First to fire was PlayStation and their specification jargon fest, which I admit, did little for me. I’m not a tech geek and all the specification speak didn’t really get my heart racing. I admit that all the system memory talk and GPU numbers whooshed over my head.
I happily watched all the new game information and along with the talk of some new social tool called PS Share my interest was piqued. But I was left feeling quite deflated at the end of it all as I was hoping to see the console. But they wanted to keep it all a big secret until E3, which was fair enough I guess.
I had a lot of people venting at me over this, ‘it’s not about how the console looks, it’s about what it does!’ blah. Yes, but I still wanted to see it, gah!
We did however, get to see the Xbox One at ‘The Event’. And what a brute! There seems to be a regression in size going on, as with mobile phones, bigger is apparently better these days.
Now I admit that I probably paid more attention to the technical jargon from Microsoft, but I was an Xbox fangirl remember, I was biased.
And then we waited. And waited. Until November. Then BOOM! The Next Generation became New Generation; current generation.
Unlike a lot of people I know, I was amazingly lucky to get both consoles on their respective release dates.
My first new arrival was obviously the Xbox One.
I raced home with my new precious and treasured each moment of unpacking it. I didn’t rush it, I didn’t tie myself into a mess of wires. I just enjoyed unwrapping each component of the new stage in gaming evolution.
It was beautiful. Immaculately packaged and presented with love. All shiny and black and BIG!
I switched it on and squeed like the big fangirl that I am. A quick and simple set up with my gamer tag imported easily and new avatar created, and it was ‘Hello Mog’… Unf, I LOVE YOU XBOX!
And then I played around with a couple of features… And my buzz broke a little.
Yes, it was a beautiful beast of a machine and it was shiny and new, the menus were all pink and pretty (I love a bit of personalization) but, well, I just didn’t click with the hub.
The features that I expected to be uber cool, like snap and ‘always on’ were just a little meh. The Kinect 2 was disappointingly slow to respond (that’s when it DID respond) and moving around the various apps felt clunky and old. And after waiting for my new console for so long I was gutted that I didn’t love everything straight away.
So instead of building an irrational hatred of my new toy, I decided to pop a game on.
I had gotten Ryse and Battlefield 4 alongside the console. I decided to play Ryse as it was an Xbox exclusive and I thought it fitting that the first game played on it should be one that was made for it. Yeah… error.
Firstly, the game had to install. A new feature of the Xbox One that I had known about but not one I had expected to take so long.
Secondly, it got very boring, very quickly.
I’m not saying that Ryse wasn’t somewhat impressive. It was visually STUNNING. From the fire and the water to the beads of sweat dripping down Marius’ face, it all looked incredible, far, far superior to the Xbox 360. No, the crispier than crisp graphics weren’t the problem. It was the game itself.
After a few hours of gameplay the relentless repetitive nature of the battles were the problem. I’m not anti QTEs, in fact I think that they can aid the flow of some games and they always look very impressive, but Ryse took the p*ss. It depended on them. And I got so bored of button prompts that I turned it off and sold it within a week of it’s release. True story.
I felt ever so slightly deflated by the disappointing first impression of my new baby. Actually, I was gutted. And so for two days I didn’t switch it on. I sat and sulked and waited for the PlayStation 4’s release day.
Then it was Friday again and I was feverishly unpacking yet another new console.
Yes, it was less ‘presented’ and simply packaged into it’s box but it was so pretty when it came out it. You’ve seen it right? It’s just sexy. And that Dual Shock 4? Oh baby.
With it hooked up and ready to go I sat back and fell in love with it’s beautiful simplicity. There’s no clutter on the dash; it has a clean and simple news feed of all my pals activities; the navigation is fast and logical… I love it.
My PSN profile imported with no problems (which surprised me as PlayStation do love to complicate things), so I decided to pop Killzone: Shadow Fall in as I expected a rather lengthy installation time… but no. None. BOOM! I could play it straight away. So I did.
And HOLY MICK FOLEY!
I thought the Xbox One’s graphics were impressive… the PlayStation 4’s blew me away.
I mean, I sat there transfixed, muttering to myself… ‘OMG this is incredible! It’s awesome! LOOK AT IT, it’s so pretty. Look at that! And that. AND THAT!’ …somewhere along the way I think my head exploded.
Actually, it kinda did, as I was shot to shit as soon as I got control of Lucas. I wasn’t the least bit bothered though. In fact I died several times during the initial introduction as I was more interested in looking at the game rather than playing the game.
I know, I know, graphics aren’t the be all and end all of a game, and they can’t carry a crap game. But the PlayStation 4 seriously has the potential to be able to do so.
I think I could quite happily sit and watch one of those ‘dynamic themes’ that you can get on the PS3, on the PlayStation 4. With graphics as advanced as they are on the PS4 you don’t need a window. Fuck it Sony, just give us dynamic themes on the PS4 and trap us all indoors forever. We’d probably love you for it.
In all honesty I wasn’t really bowled over by Killzone, but I played more of that than I did Ryse (probably because Ryse really was that poor), as I wanted to see the world. I wanted to see how far the PS4 pushed themselves and just how impressive it was.
And quite simply, it was astonishing.
And it’s not just limited to Killzone, oh no.
I’ve played Assassins Creed: Black Flag, Thief, Contrast, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Infamous: Second Son, and they’ve all looked incredible. Even Black Flag and Ghosts impressed and they are games that were not specifically made for the Next Gen consoles.
In the past, given a choice, I would always buy a new game for my Xbox.
With the New Generation however, not so much. Now, I choose to buy games for my PlayStation 4. Unless of course, they’re Xbox exclusives.
But why? I hear you ask.
Well firstly, as I stated earlier, the functionality and usability of the PlayStation menus are far simpler and superior in my opinion.
Secondly, the installation and loading times are FAST. And with limited game time this is a major factor for me.
Thirdly, everything just looks and runs better on the PlayStation 4. And why would you not want a game to perform at it’s best? Why would you want it’s existence to be half fulfilled? Why? Why?!
For a moment let us return to the Xbox One.
Don’t think that I’m anti-Xbox now, not at all. I’ve played several games on it since and my annoyance at it has diminished somewhat. I have gotten over my irrational hatred of it’s menus, and if I sit and think about it, it was all my fault anyway. I had high expectations of the Xbox One, I’m now thinking they were maybe too high and I was let down by the reality not living up to my fantasy.
After my initial disappointment with Ryse I eventually turned on Battlefield 4 and what a pleasant surprise I had. It’s one hell of an enjoyable shooter, with a great camaraderie between the characters. I funking loved my team by the end of it. Oohrah! And yes, it looked incredible.
Another game I bought was Lego: Marvel Superheroes. I’ve played the rest of the franchise on the Xbox 360, and as it’s a simple series that doesn’t rely on looks or immersion into a game world, I continued my Xbox tradition. It’s a highly enjoyable little title that I tend to dip in and out of. And I will say that it’s the best looking Lego game I’ve played (so far), but that’s hardly surprising, right?
And lastly, but by no means least. I’ve played Dead Rising 3. The Xbox exclusive zombie fest. And what a freaking zombie fest!
The sheer volume of zombies that the Xbox one can animate and handle without glitches is astonishing! Slicing and hacking at limbs and heads has never been so much fun! It was a genuine pleasure to rid Los Perdidos of tens of thousands of zombies.
So yes, the Xbox One is a very capable console, and it does come loaded with features… that I just don’t use. Yes, you can get achievements for watching Netflix and such, but I have a Smart TV so I don’t use my console to watch TV shows. I see a lot of the extras as pointless, except for the ability to hop from game to achievements/messages etc. without losing game progress.
But it’s not exclusive to the Xbox One. The PlayStation 4 also has this feature.
And the PS4 has one bonus, that for me, really pushes my vote to Sony’s side.
It has the PS4share button. And I love it.
A simple little button on the dual shock 4 that allows you to take screenshots and/or videos and share them via social media. And why would you not want to capture the beauty of these New Gen games? See something gorgeous or funny? Snap it and share, that’s what I say. It creates discussion, laughter, interaction. For someone like me who has very few friends with any interest in video games, I love this. I get to share my passion for these games with like-minded people. It’s brilliant.
I’m thankful that I didn’t have to choose between the two consoles when the New Gen was released, as I would have bought the Xbox One over the PlayStation 4.
And I would have been thoroughly annoyed that I’d had my hopes dashed and expectations ruined by the shadow that the PlayStation 4 casts over the Xbox One.