Hitch takes a look a back at the last generation of video games. He’s a bit of a stick in the mud.
Let me be honest here: I don’t have an Xbox One or a Playstation 4. I’m still gaming with my Xbox 360. It’s not that I don’t want to update my gaming system, but since I definitely can’t shell out hundreds of dollars for every new gaming system that hits the shelves, I’ve been taking my time on deciding which console to buy next (besides the fact that all of my friends are equally broke, so we’re all still happily playing together on our Xbox 360s). Beside the price, my biggest concern in buying a new console is the games. After listening to the Sony and Microsoft presentations at E3, I’m actually starting to lean a lot more towards the Playstation than the Xbox One, mainly because of the Playstation-exclusive games that are being released. I’m not about to kip on over to the store to pick up a new console, you know, because BILLS and GROCERIES and RESPONSIBLE ADULT-TYPE STUFF. However, when I do finally procure the funds needed to get a new gaming console, here is what I’m thinking about:
The Order: 1886 (February 2015)
This game looks absolutely, incredibly fantastic. Here’s a basic synopsis: The Order: 1886™ introduces players to a unique vision of Victorian-Era London where Man uses advanced technology to battle a powerful and ancient foe. As a member of an elite order of knights, join a centuries-old war that will determine the course of history forever. Not only does this game sound incredibly exciting, but Sony will also be releasing some collector editions of the game that will come with some amazing extras. Seriously, I must have this game, and it looks like it is going to be a Playstation-exclusive game.
Destiny (September 2014)
I highly doubt there is a gamer out there who hasn’t heard of Destiny. However, in case you’ve missed the buzz, Destiny is going to be Bungie’s new game, and it looks amazing. Here’s a rundown on the game: In Destiny you are a Guardian of the last city on Earth, able to wield incredible power. Explore the ancient ruins of our solar system, from the red dunes of Mars to the lush jungles of Venus. Defeat Earth’s enemies. Reclaim all that we have lost. Become legend. It looks like the game itself won’t be console-exclusive, but it does look like they’re planning to launch Playstation-exclusive content. So even though you can play it on the console of your choice, it looks like the better gaming experience will be on Playstation.
The Last of Us, Remastered (July 2014)
Here’s a basic synopsis of the game: Joel, a ruthless survivor with few moral lines left to cross, lives in one of the last remaining Quarantine Zones. These walled-off, oppressive cities are run by what’s left of the military. Despite the strict martial law, Joel operates in the black market of the city, smuggling contraband for the right price. I have been wanting to play this game since the moment the original came out. Of course I haven’t been able to because this is a Playstation-exclusive game, but seriously, all I hear is how awesome this game is. Sony will be releasing a remastered version of this game in July (though, from what I hear, it hardly needs “remastering”) for the PS4. I’m pretty sure this alone is a sign from the Gaming Gods that I need to make the move over to Sony-Land.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2015)
This is another one of those Playstation-exclusive games that I’ve always wanted to get into, but never had the console to do it. Thief’s End looks fantastic, and it will be releasing exclusively for Playstation 4. There isn’t too much information available about the game at this point, but it looks like the game will follow Nathan Drake several years after Uncharted 3 as he journeys to uncover the truth about a historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate’s treasure. Honestly, you had me at “pirates”.
Ultimately, there’s a lot of exciting stuff in the future for Playstation. They’re even doing cool stuff like allowing Xbox 360 and PS3 players to upload their progress from GTA: Online onto the Playstation 4 version of Grand Theft Auto V. The thing is, I just can’t get myself to fully abandon Xbox. I’ll always hold out hope that Valve will release a Left 4 Dead 3 (though I guess I could just play the game on Steam), and with Fable: Legends and All the Halo Games Ever being released exclusively for Xbox One, I’m not ready to say goodbye to Xbox. Maybe the real answer here is to just buy both *looks at bank statement, weeps*. Okay, maybe not.
I’d love to hear from you guys on this. Why do you love your PS4 or your Xbox One? Should I stick with Microsoft for my next console, or should I move over to Sony? Did I miss something awesome from Sony and Microsoft’s presentations at E3? Tell me what you think in the comments!
The year 2013 was a great year when it comes to the video game industry and not so great when it comes to certain releases and events. Here we will list the most notable, best and worst the world of interactive entertainment offered us this year.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Two Worlds: More than 20 years ago the only Zelda game to hit the Super Nintendo was released and was very well received. To this day it is still said to be the best Zelda game by many. In late 2013, it received a proper sequel. Nostalgia is a factor for picking this; nonetheless it’s a great Zelda game with iconic music and gameplay.
New Consoles: This entire year was exciting from a news standpoint. Waiting for the new console reveals, the potshots between Sony and Microsoft and finally having the PS4 and Xbox One in our living rooms was worth the long, long anticipation.
Gone Home: Over the past year or so, artistic games have been popping up everywhere. In that mix are indie games with stories to tell. The best representing this category is Gone Home. The story itself is a patient and enthralling journey through an empty house in which the story is told to you via your own investigation. No spoilers here, Gone Home is one experience you need to take yourself.
Japanese RPGs return: The past couple of years have been cluttered with Western style RPGs and finally in 2013, the JRPG returned triumphantly. There are a slew of great titles from Fire Emblem Awakening, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Tales of Xilia and Final Fantasy, gamers nearly drowned in the flood of JRPG heaven.
Trevor: You can talk all day long about how awesome Grand Theft Auto V is, but the best thing out of that entire game is a character. Sure you have an engrossing story, sandbox gameplay at its finest and an entire online mode worthy of being a game released by itself … But, I found myself enjoying the character Trevor more than anything else. It is psychotically fun to watch the antics on screen performed by Trevor and almost scary what an entertaining factor he is alone.
Oculus Rift: No longer will you have to visit the amusement park to experience a virtual reality. Soon enough this attraction will be mounted to your face and you’ll be directly in the experience while comfortably seated in your computer chair. There are already some games taking advantage of this technology and many more companies said to be developing their own VR headsets. This is one trend I can’t wait to go full retail.
The Last of Us: This is one of my favorite games of 2013 and without a doubt it will top many lists for game of the year. Visceral gameplay, well-developed characters, detailed graphics and arguably the best story ever told in a video game from this past generation all packed into one tense journey through zombie-ridden America. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t sink your teeth into this one.
Online gaming and broken releases: How many big games have been released this year and how many of them have had their hiccups? A pretty big handful: from Grand Theft Auto Online having a rough start to the SimCity disaster (no pun intended), this year was full of disappointments when it comes to game launches, especially on the online front. Thankfully, most of the games that had a troubling start are being patched or have already been fixed. Sadly, you can’t come back from a straight up cancellation.
Call of Duty and Battlefield 4: Two very different games, two very different issues. Battlefield 4 has probably had one of the worst launches this year for nearly every platform it was released on. It’s been shrouded in controversy for well over a month since its release and still many players cannot have a solid gaming experience online and sometimes offline. Call of Duty: Ghosts however really hit rock bottom this time. It is clearly evident that something needs to change with this franchise. Call of Duty is tired and recycled at this point, with Titanfall just around the corner; there is a lot to fear.
Nintendo still hasn’t gotten their act together: What can I say? I love Nintendo but the past few years I’ve just been face palming with every other piece of news I hear regarding the big N. The Wii U is entering Saturn territory, their online structure is light years behind its competitors and most of all, they aren’t milking key franchises like Metroid, Star Fox and F-Zero, all of which are begging for HD or portable iterations.
Discs and no progression towards a fully digital future: Sadly, this next generation of consoles won’t be benefiting from a near complete digital future. Microsoft had it right initially, but backed down because of the massive outcry from the console gaming audience. If you own a PC, then you’re in the right place. New games are pretty much available day one on the console storefronts, but many would still prefer the game disc to sit in their consoles.
The modern gaming community is very unforgiving towards a lot people, particularly the giants in the industry. When large companies screw up, we notice. And most of all, we aren’t stupid. We know when something is up and when we have been wronged.
One quality I will not understand is how easily gaming communities forget, accept and move on. Remember when Sony was hacked and the PlayStation Network was down for nearly a month? User information was supposedly accessed and taken! How could a consumer forget that so easily? Or when companies sell “downloadable content” that is already packaged on one of its games?
That previous example is common practice nowadays, but it still doesn’t settle right. Though it’s this kind of treatment we as gamers have gotten used to. In this fascinating world of technology and the next generation of console hardware right around the corner, we have a lot of cool things to look forward to. One of those things is no longer a part of that future.
The digital only gaming space has existed on the PC for years. It’s not hard for me or any avid PC gamer to understand that when you purchase a digital item that it’s yours forever and nontransferable. So what’s the big deal about that happening on a console? It already happens when you buy a Xbox Live Arcade game. I find a digital library much easier to manage than a consistently growing stack of DVD cases. The Xbox One would’ve been one giant and much needed step towards the inevitable future of gaming … until we complained. And it worked.
Basically, Microsoft was offering a similar ownership environment to the PC, only with some other perks. If you buy the game, it’s yours, physical or digital. The assumption with the physical copy is that you wouldn’t be able to trade it with a friend or sell it back to a retailer. Also, an online connection would be needed to verify the product. Gamers despised this notion, quickly siding with Sony on the issue once it was announced that the PlayStation 4 games could played without such restrictions.
Microsoft backed down shortly after laying out the plans for the Xbox One and after seeing the effect it had on the public. But why? Microsoft was definitely headed in the right direction with the Xbox One. I really don’t see the problem of their approach because it so similar to what already happens on PCs. I will admit the constant Internet connection does seem a bit farfetched since a lot of PC games don’t have that kind of DRM.
One feature that was potentially pretty cool that Valve seems to be picking up on is the Family Sharing program. I think a lot of gamers would’ve loved this idea if it wasn’t tied to the Xbox One’s proposed DRM policies. Given the fact that Microsoft as strayed from their original intentions, it could mean that we’ll be seeing this feature implemented sometime in the upcoming console generation which starts this November.
I see the gaming community as an incredibly welcoming one and at the same time I see it as a very immature one. A community that is easily upset and delicate when it comes to change. On the other hand it’s defensive to criticism from the mainstream and changes that disrupt the norm. Some company is going to have to make the unpleasant move towards stricter DRM policies. All of them seem scared of upsetting their user base while the gamers are just as scared about having to make the inevitable changes.