by Aitch Cee
This month will mark one year since the release of the PS4 and X-box One. In a year’s time, so far, Sony has outsold the Microsoft systems at nearly 2 to one. While some may look at sales as the bottom line, as a fan, it’s always a good idea to take a look at what’s been given to us and say what we liked and what we haven’t. The objective of this post is to take a look back and see what really made a difference this past year and if the jump to new systems was worth it.
I originally was going to save this for last but circumstances and corporate finagling made me place it first. I initially got a PS4 and was going to wait a bit for the Xbox One. My initial thought has always been that the extra $100 that Microsoft was charging people to force them to get the Kinect would drive people to get the PS4 but then something kind of weird happened. Sony ran out of systems right after launch and it would be a few months before they would get any back in stock, but you could walk right in and get an X-Box One. Most of my friends, unable to get a PS4 did just that and eventually, waiting for and eventually getting, a good trade-in deal at Gamestop, I managed to trade in my Xbox 360, games and other excess surplus and picked up the Xbox One. I really didn’t want to at the time but, that’s where most of my friends were playing. Funny thing is, I do remember a lot of pundits saying that at the rate Sony was selling systems; Microsoft would be forced to do a price drop. Now, for anyone that has gamed for as long as I have, we all know no big company has ever dropped the price of a new system its first year, unless it was dead in the water. Imagine my surprise when they dropped the price on it earlier this summer to $399 and again by another $50 for the holidays. So far with the Xbox One, while I like the fact that I can turn my system on and off with my voice, that’s all that the Kinect has been good for and it’s sad that as much as Microsoft stood behind this product, they have not made anything worth using it for. Also, the whole idea of using the system to snap applications is a good idea, I have never been one who was fond of gaming and trying to multitask. I mean trying to play Tomb raider and watch the game? Not happening. Check the internet while figuring out what to do in Titanfall? Nope, not working. And worst of all is, when turning your system on and it has to update, you can forget about watching TV if you are running your TV through it. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not a bad gaming system but it tries too much to be what it isn’t and it should stick to the core at what its primary mission is: playing games.
As far as the PS4 is concerned, I like it for the simple fact that it does just that; plays games. I enjoyed right out the box that it was easy to set up and easy to update and that the controllers can be charged to the system. I don’t know what Microsoft was thinking when they felt like people should still be popping batteries into their controller. The only flaw with the controllers however, is the short time that the charges last. There are a few places where Sony has fallen short however. When it comes to remote play, Sony has finally given a purpose to the PS Vita. But, of course the problem is, in order to truly enjoy remote playing games via the Vita, it’s still preferable to have a Dual Shock controller and the only way to do it is through a few workarounds in which you would have to set up a secondary account which in many ways is detrimental as some games actually cull information from past games on the PS3 and players would lose out so much. I am still holding out hope that Sony will release a patch for the PS4 and Vita which will allow the controller to function but if this doesn’t happen in another year, I will give up the Vita. Which brings me to my 2nd failure thus far: The Playstation TV. I already knew going in, that it wasn’t playing Vita games which was a bit sad considering it’s running practically the same OS, but I really wanted it for the PS4 streaming option and it failed miserably. I still am baffled at how something which runs the same OS as the handheld system had such issues with lag and connections to the point that it was practically unusable. If it performed, it would have been a game changer for Sony but it was a huge fail. So, overall when it comes to overall value, while the Sony system itself is great, its surrounding peripherals underwhelm in this first year.
This is where it gets problematic and it has been so in the past 5 or so years. I honestly miss hard system exclusives and by that I mean when there was a time that you had tons of games that you were only going to play on one system or another. Perfect example could be Mario vs Sonic and it would be academic, except we are talking about 1st party games. But who remembers when Nintendo got first dibs on Capcom’s Street Fighter II? The only way to play was to get a Super Nintendo. The way games are sold now, is that there are fewer exclusives around to really push players into either camp. You really just get a system based on where your friends are playing. I am kind of stuck with having two systems as I know where I will play the majority of my games but if my friends want to multiplay a game then I have to decide if I really want to play on that system just to do so (1st world gamer problems right? HAHAA) but other than that, when I look at all of the hyped up games that were supposed to sell systems this cycle, I can honestly say, I wasn’t impressed. By comparison, when the Xbox 360 released, Call of Duty 2, Oblivion and Saints Row were great memories that first year. So, when I look back at this year, Titanfall fell short because of a lack of single player modes and few multiplayer options out of the box, Watchdogs was a sad GTA clone, however Infamous 2nd Son was a great sequel even though I have never been an Infamous fan. And to me, Ryse, for all of its repetitiveness, was a good game and still visually one of the best looking games early on in this cycle. Thief was an abysmal failure and nearly everything else up until last month has been last gen system ports with some bells and whistles that made them pop. Oh yeah and Destiny…well, it was an over rated FPS MMO but in some ways better than Titanfall. And poor Driveclub. A lot of hype built up for a poorly received game not to mention, still nothing for PS Plus players as promised. Overall, I did enjoy ACIV, Tomb Raider, Diablo III as well as NFS: Rivals which again were last gen console ports.
Looking forward, while Just picked up the new Assassin’s Creed game which really shows for good or bad, what the new systems can do, I am looking forward to Dragon’s Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Batman: Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3. If there are any concerns to be had when it comes to these new systems though, is so far the lack of any real new IPs as it feels like if anything, we are still playing sequels to games we have been playing for the last 10 years and if this cycle is as long as the last one, we need some new ideas quickly. Shadows of Mordor showed that finally a decent Lord of the Rings game could be made, Lords of the Fallen has been touted as a good Dark Souls clone and many are hoping beyond hope that The Order will succeed. In the far future, I am hoping to hear more about the next Uncharted game, hopefully a new Red Dead Redemption and truthfully, if Activision and EA wants to shake it up and throw it back, use this console cycle to take Call of Duty and Battlefield back to WWII or at least give me a new Medal of Honor game from that era. I am not the only one in this assessment.
Which Do I Prefer?
Before I answer that, this is not an answer of which system is better because to me what it boils down to is, both systems’ job is primarily play games. The majority of games out this holiday season you can and will find on both systems. Some of these games may have system exclusives but in my eye, I really don’t see that much of a difference just only in where my friends play, but if I had to give up one system right now, I would keep my PS4. I am holding on to my Xbox One simply because a few games that are coming may require me to port info over from my 360 or there actually may be some exclusives coming down the line. It also kind of helps that Microsoft got the EA Access which does allow for extra early gaming access although you only get 6 hours of playing time.
So to sum it up, in my opinion, it’s been an ok console launch, and as expected, we got a few rehashes of games that were on last gen consoles, many promises were made and many were broken. Many games were hyped to be cutting edge and have fallen short. As stated, I wasn’t overly impressed with some of the new hyped game launches but that’s the peril of being an early adapter. I still think, that if you look hard enough, there are still a few games that you can really enjoy without being concerned about the hype machine. Again, I think when it comes down to picking consoles, it comes down to cost and where friends are playing. There are few and far hardly any exclusives that scream “I must have this system!!” unlike last time, you had games such as Gears of War and Uncharted. If anything the one thing that may wind up hurting consoles overall is the crazy amount of DLC games have nowadays and the amount charged for them. Right now, even though Sony has the lead in sales, it’s still going to be awhile before anything comes along that truly separates these systems if at all. Would I recommend anyone getting a system now? Of course, why not if you can afford to? If you can’t there are still plenty of games coming for the Xbox 360 and PS3 to keep you busy but when you are ready, come on and make that jump. Am I happy with my systems? Sure, I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t because after going nearly 10 years and finally getting something new, I am glad to have made the jump.