So the gauntlet has been cast and the war has begun between Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Thousands flocked to the stores to get their respective consoles with a rigor in their step, essentially submitting their vote for who will be the winner in this generation’s Console Wars. We’re only but a few weeks into ‘the war’, but what is there to really talk about? The only thing that comes to my mind is one word… delays! Watchdogs was my number one launch title prior the next-gen releases as I’d sat in anticipation for its release since the game’s debut at E3 2012. Thank’s to its delay however, the lead was then taken by Dead Rising 3 – which isn’t really anything new as its more of a serious upgrade to the franchise (although done very well in comparison to its previous installment), and it’s not really anything new.
In my opinion, there are only five real titles that stand out amount the launch crowd: Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza 5, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack.
But why would I choose just these five titles? Well that’s because they are all available only to their shiny new platform. These are the exclusives for this generation’s launch, which of the five there are only two are new potential franchises. During the launch of the last generation’s systems (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii), I cannot recall a solid set of launch titles for any of them. The difference between then and now is backwards compatibility, it’s something that is noticeably missing and appears to be something that people crave greatly. In fact the want to transfer 360 titles grew strong for some fans that they were tricked into ‘bricking’ their Xbox One consoles, thanks to certain members of 4chan spreading a rumor that such functionality could be possible. Sony actually fooled me by giving the impression that my purchases through the PlayStation Store on my PS3 would then carry on over to the PS4, but alas… that was not true either.
With Destiny also now set for a September 2014 release (rather than the rumored Spring), having Backwards Compatibility would have been something to hold onto at least with this lack of games. Ryse is a solid title, but I doubt that it’s replay value is going to keep it going with most gamers. Even now, people still play Call of Duty: World at War and that was released over 5 years ago. With Forza 5, let’s not get this twisted… its a gorgeous looking game. Still, its an installment to the series and its basically what you would expect from any continued racing series. More cars, more tracks, more tweaks in customization, more of everything basically. Killzone: Shadow Fall definitely does change its structure a bit though making it stand out a bit, though it is still the weaker in the First Person Shooter genre running in 3rd behind Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts. Knack is the only game released among the launch titles that has an interesting platform and I could see developing into a new continued series for Sony.
Beyond these titles, what are we left with? Games that are already available on the previous generation of consoles. Make no mistake, Assassin’s Creed 4 is amazing on both the PS4 and Xbox One with a noticeable difference from the PS3 and 360 versions, but if this, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, FIFA, Madden, NBA2K14, and other such titles are the ones you want and you don’t have the next generation consoles… you aren’t missing much at all. And now, the South Park: Stick of Truth game has been delayed as told to me directly by my local game store to March 2014. And after all that hype with their 3 part Console Wars series, it was rather shocking to me that it would now be delayed as they advertised even in magazines such as Game Informer that the game would be released in December. Stick of Truth is and was not intended to be a next gen title though, so that’s it not really a disappointment relative to the argument at hand. But it kind of goes along with the idea behind the question of ‘what’s with all the delays’?
As I stroll through my local game stores and large department stores, I still do hear many consumers asking around for the next gen consoles that still appear to be selling out and in high demand, yet the scalper sales on eBay would kind of paint a different story as even those sellers are not getting probably as much as they had anticipated either in their price gauging. This is a good thing though I believe as it still means that the hype and anticipation is still genuine for both consoles where the interest of the gamer is still peaked as to what the next huge game title will be. It seems like a smokescreen though because the previous generation of consoles at least had a laundry list of coming soon or developing titles listed at game stores and were talked about in game magazines, yet this next generation appears to have a lack their of. Perhaps because of this lack of knowledge for what the next series of titles on these next gen consoles are, is what is causing consumers to be waiting in anticipation. Perhaps they are standing in their local game stores, staring at the wall of games with its small assortment, and saying to themselves…”This isn’t it. You’ll see. They can’t be holding back for nothing. They are planning something big.“. With all the release dates of titles now planned for a late March and April release such as Titanfall and Watchdogs, I’m not holding my breath for anything really strong in-between at the moment. Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is supposedly coming out in February, but again…who is to say that won’t be delayed either at this point.
So what have we learned so far from this installment of the Console Wars? Well honestly, not a heck of a lot. Sure we can talk to our consoles, activate apps, marvel at their interfaces for a while, but beyond that…just a few games that in all intensive purposes, people just don’t really need to run out to get them. I’m one of the lucky few that own both consoles, and no I’m not endorsed by either one where I got them for free or at a discount. I waited in line just like everyone else. So you would probably ask of me, why if you are saying that these consoles are not worth getting at the moment, did I buy them? Well, the answer is simple…I just really love games and I like to see what is at the forefront from the beginning of the console wars. I don’t consider myself hardcore or elite, but just an enthusiast about games really.
I believe my lasting word right now for Phase 1 of the Console Wars right now is to let the so called hardcore and elite hash it out right now. There’s no reason for the novice or causal gamer to really jump into it at this point. Buy yourself a PlayStation Plus membership and perhaps a PS Vita. Sure there aren’t that many games on the PS Vita that stand out either, but with PlayStation Plus, it really is worth it with all the free games from PlayStation Plus and the previous generation games ported to the device that can make that itch to get something new satisfied. And if you’re an Xbox fan and refuse to buy Sony products, first I say….you’re crazy. Stop depriving yourself of games simply on a weak sided argument. You don’t have to buy both consoles like I do, but if you really want to spend that money burning in your pocket and you have no interest in any games released at the moment on the Xbox 360, I believe its worth it. But in truth, you’re probably better off just saving your money at this point. So if you haven’t bought the next gen consoles yet, speaking as someone standing on the frontlines at Phase 1 I say: Wait for the next wave on Phase 2. Phase 2 starts in April, and even then it will be just a small surge as E3 is right around the corner from there and there really is no dead time in the game industry than just after E3.